D.I.V.E.R. Email - April 4th, 2024

Destination • Information • Video • Environment • Record

Hey there, spearos. This is The Stone Shot, your weekly dose of spear content (and maybe some fishing, but we try to keep it below the water line)

If you’re new around here, every first Thursday of the month I send out the DIVER email. What’s that, you ask? Let me break it down for you:

The D.I.V.E.R. Email

Destination • Interesting • Video • Environment • Record


South Texas

Captain George Brown

"Spearfishing in South Texas is a truly incredible experience. We’re lucky to have a world-class location for the sport. The Gulf here is rich with marine life—from dolphins to whale sharks to diverse ecosystems with amazing reef and pelagic species."

Those are the words of Captain George Brown. He runs spearfishing & fishing charters out of South Padre Island, TX .

The big thing in STX is oil rigs. Anyone who has speared around these structures knows the unique challenge they create. You need a shorter gun to navigate inside the rigs but the larger pelagics will often come up outside the rig. That’s why Captain George uses a 105 inverted roller with an 8mm shaft.

Top targets: Cobia (lots of cobia), african pompano, wahoo (especially in winter), mahi mahi, snapper species, and tuna.

Best time of year: The best time of year is May-September but wahoo can be found during the occasional nice days from December to March. Cobia are most often found in September and October.

Reach out to Texas Blue Water Spearfishing if you want to skip the learning curve and get some local knowledge.


The Mysterious Case of the Spinning Fish

In the Florida Keys, there's a concerning phenomenon occurring with fish displaying abnormal spinning behavior, which in some cases leads to their deaths. It’s been happening since late 2023, with various species affected, showing signs of disorientation and spinning in circles.

Research into this phenomenon has involved multiple organizations, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, among others. They have been investigating several potential causes, such as environmental contaminants, fish health, and water column conditions.

But so far, no definitive cause has been pinpointed.

A Green Lead?

One interesting lead that researchers are exploring involves elevated levels of the algae Gambierdiscus in the water where affected fish have been found. This algae is associated with ciguatera poisoning, which affects marine life and humans (iykyk), and its increased presence might be linked to the observed fish behaviors.

Despite the ongoing investigations, the exact cause of the spinning behavior and subsequent fish deaths remains unclear. However, the collaborative efforts among scientists and environmentalists are hoping to uncover the root cause to address and mitigate this environmental concern​.

We will keep you updated when we know more.


Some of the greatest battles in film - Braveheart, Gladiator and Jose Liccardo fighting this stud sea lion for a white sea bass... 🤯

Click photo


An Eco Friendly Spearfishing Competition

I spoke with Mat Coombe the other week about his event Cartel Ranch Spearfishing Rodeo. According to Mat, “it’s the first and only eco friendly sustainable spearfishing competition in the UK”.

Sounds great. But what makes it “sustainable”?

No Boundaries - “The competition runs from dawn till dusk on Saturday, allowing divers to explore anywhere in the UK, provided they return by 5 pm for fish scoring. This limits the damage to one beach by not having 50-100 divers at one spot.”

Point System Over Weight - “We use a point system where only one of each species is counted. This cuts down on waste and prevents people from just spending the whole competition hunting the biggest fish. Also, it means fish can be presented scaled and gutted and ready for eating or freezing.”

Trash Clean Up - “We have a category for the most rubbish collected from the sea during the dive.”

Eco-Friendly Trophies - “We did away with plastic trophies. All trophies last year were made from driftwood or boat parts found along the shore or during dives. The only exception being the belt buckles we provide the winners.”

This will be the fifth year of the event, and it's set to be the biggest one yet. With brands like YETI, Riffe, MeatEater, Noob Spearo and more all supporting it, this type of competition seems to have some legs.

I for one think it’s a great idea!

It’s a three day event where contestants camp Friday and Saturday. Dinner is provided Saturday. If you’re in the UK and want to participate, sign up here.


King Mackerel

Weight: 77.8 lbs / 35.3 kg

Location: US

Date Speared: 4/29/2018


“On April 29th 2018 My friend Sean and I decided to dive locally after trying to dive to the north a few days earlier. I encountered south current and bad visibility, so we headed about 50 miles south. When we got offshore, to my amazement, the south current was still there but the vis was 50 to 60 feet and the current was only 1 knot. Both Sean and I were able to get some nice Mangrove and Mutton Snappers and our day was going great.

We took turns diving and it was my turn to get in the water. I chose a dive spot that I don't frequent very often and many divers don't know about. The bottom is flat with undercuts that generally hold Snapper. After numerous dives catching Snapper and one small King Mackerel I was going to take one last dive and head home. After descending down to the bottom a small snapper approached me from my left, but out of the corner of my eye I saw a large King Mackerel swimming from the mid water down to check me out. I slowly looked into it's direction and realized that this King Mackerel was one of the biggest I have ever seen. It came within 15 feet of me and then started to swim away. I knew if it sensed my excitement I would lose the opportunity to spear this fish. I stayed calm and as soon as it turned away I left the bottom and got within 10 feet of it and let the shaft go!

The shaft went right behind the gills and the fight began. The fish took off for the surface and nearly spooled the 200 feet I had on my 130cm Rob Allen rail gun. When i reached the surfaced I yelled to Sean to throw me a buoy. As he approach he almost ran over the reel line which was on the surface. I directed him away and he was able to throw me a buoy. With moments to spare I attached the buoy and the remaining line was dumped off the reel and the gun was torn out of my hand.

Next, I knew I needed to secure this massive fish with another shot. I asked Sean again for a gun he handed me one and I loaded it and swam after the float. After 20 minutes and several attempts to get the fish close i was finally able to put a second spear through it's gill plates . I thought with a shot like this that the fish wasn't going to last much longer.

I was wrong!

The fish took off again and dumped the 200 feet of line within 20 seconds and ended breaking the second reel and tearing the second gun out of my hand. After ten to twenty minutes more, I finally had the amazing fish in my hands and was able to dispatch it.

I have spent decades trying to land a fish over 50 plus pounds and have not been able to keep one on my spear until now and the the fact that I landed a Pelagic fish with a reel was a real accomplishment. After putting the fish on a official scale I was stoked to see the fish was well over 50 pounds and was now a new WR.”

I hope you enjoyed this months DIVER email!

PS - We’re searching for great spearfishing stories. Any stories of your own that you'd be willing to tell? Respond to this email and we’ll send over a short questionnaire!

Want to share this newsletter with your friends? Here’s a link that you can send them!