D.I.V.E.R. Email - Thursday Feb 1st, 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)

Welcome to the first ever DIVER email. What’s that, you ask? Let me break it down for you:

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

Destination • Information • Video • Environment • Record

I’ll send out this email on the first Thursday of every month. Enjoy!


Outer Banks, North Carolina (shipwrecks)

On the east coast of the United States there are two currents.

The Gulf Stream - a warm current that flows from the tip of Florida northward to Cape Hatteras.

The Labrador - a cold current that flows from the Arctic Ocean southward to Cape Hatteras.

This area, where these two currents meet, is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. The converging currents cause turbulent waters which in turn create random sand bars, sometimes miles off the beach. The result? Over 3,000 shipwrecks.

Spearfishing The Wrecks

The Outer Banks cater to spearfishers of all skill levels, offering a variety of wrecks to explore. Near the shore, shallower wrecks are accessible for swimming, where you can hunt species like sheepshead, tautog, and spadefish. Venturing to the deeper wrecks, spearfishers can target amberjack, grouper, rainbow runner, cobia, and much more.

However, the reality is that you never know just what will show up on any given dive. And that's the beauty of Outer Banks spearfishing.

Blue Water

In addition to wreck diving and shore diving, the Outer Banks boasts some of the best blue water spearfishing on the East Coast.

The objective is to reach the Gulf Stream, where the current forms large mats of Sargasso grass, creating perfect conditions for drift hunting in the deep blue. Here, one can expect to encounter tuna, wahoo, king mackerel, mahi-mahi, amberjack and more.


How To Safely Spear When Sharks Are Present

Any avid spearo will encounter sharks at some point in their lifetime. And to safely spear around sharks, you must understanding both the behavior of sharks and adopt specific safety measures. Here are some key tips to enhance safety while spearfishing in areas where sharks might be present:

  1. Dive with a Buddy: This is a general rule for spearfishing. However, when it comes to diving with sharks, having a diving partner can be beneficial for shark management, particularly after a fish has been shot.

  2. Minimize Vibrations: A struggling fish is a dinner bell for sharks. Get the fish to your body (safely) and brain it quickly.

  3. Refrain from Excessive Splashing: Similar to the last tip, minimize splashing as this can attract sharks. They can hear low-frequency sounds from splashing and may investigate to see if there is distressed prey​​.

  4. Don't Wear Shiny Jewelry: Shiny objects can resemble fish scales and attract sharks. It's best to avoid wearing jewelry while spearfishing​​.

  5. Understand Shark Behavior: Recognize that most shark bites are either mistaken identity or defensive actions. Sharks are not inherently aggressive towards humans but may react if they feel threatened or confused​​.

  6. Do Not Feed Wildlife: Feeding sharks can lead to them associating humans with food, potentially leading to more aggressive behavior in future encounters​​. Don’t feed sharks. Don’t support tourist operators who feed sharks.

  7. When a shark is curious: Stand your ground and show the shark your confidence. Don’t swim away from the shark as this is when it can attack you. Use your speargun as a barrier between you and the shark. If there is more than one shark and they keep returning (especially after you’ve poked it with your speargun) it’s definitely time to consider getting out of the water – however, try to do this calmly and with little splashing.

We’re going into their world and need to be ready for encounters with sharks. Sharks are an important part of the marine ecosystem, and understanding their behavior is key to coexisting safely in their environment.


Black History Month

In the world of fishing, including spearfishing, African Americans are underrepresented. I believe that representation is important. The more often a young person of color sees someone who looks like them participating in our sport, the more likely they are to believe they can do it too.

So, in the spirit of Black History Month, we’re featuring some amazing creators in fishing:



This week, we’re spreading the good word about SeaTrees. The non-profit directly relates to our sport, and I couldn’t think of a better cause to support.

SeaTrees plants, protects, and restores blue carbon coastal ecosystems around the world to reverse climate change. This includes mangrove forests, coral reefs, seagrass, kelp forests (looking at you, WSB hunters), and much more!

The cool thing about SeaTrees is that you can choose a specific project to donate to. They have projects from California to Kenya, and all over the world. Check them out, send them a few bucks, or just share with your friends!


African Pompano

Weight: 64.7 lbs / 29.4 kg

Spearo: Valente Qunitero Baena

Location: Mexico

Date Speared: 4/22/2016


At approximately 10:30 a.m. on 22 April 2016 I was spearfishing from my boat, the Alexander, with my crew, Rick Selleck (diver), Alejandro Arzapalo (boat captain), and Sergio Gonzales (deckhand). We were working a shipwreck nearby to Isla Mujeres that I recently discovered, we call it the Blue Chihuahua. It sits at about 95’. We were seeing schools of African pompano and amberjack in the midwater, right above a very cold thermocline.

While the visibility was poor at about 15', the schools remained very calm and we were shooting fish on every dive without having to enter the colder water below. On my fourth dive I was level at about 50’ when a shadowy school of about five African pompano began to circle me. I was able to pick out the biggest of the school and shot him with my Rob Allen 130 Tuna gun with 7.0mm/180cm sharkfin spear. My gun has two ⅝” rubber bands and an open muzzle. I used 8’ of Rob Allen 1.8mm Dyneema tied to the spear, along with 125’ of 11/64” nylon rope (coiled in my weight belt). I did not use any reel, float line or buoy.

I hit the African pompano just above the pectoral fin and he put up quite a fight. I thought that the fish was fighting hard due to my shot placement. I saw that it was a good holding shot so I was able to swim to the surface and fight him from there. He pulled me underwater several times before I was able to wear him out. Once he had tired I was able to pull him into my arms. I then pulled the spear shaft through the body and stuck the tip into his brain, instantly dispatching him. It took me between five and 10 minutes to land him.

It wasn’t until the boat came to me and I got the fish out of the water that I realized he was a possible world record. Since the current world record holder, Rick Selleck, was diving with me, we both agreed that this fish was much bigger than his current record fish and I left it intact until we were able to measure and weigh it on a certified scale. At the end of the day, we returned to the island where we were able to make all of the measurements. It was apparent that this fish is nearly 10 lbs heavier than the current record. My crew did a great job to support me in this endeavor.

Let me know what you guys think of the DIVER email! Like it? Love it? Hate it? Respond to this email and let me know!

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!

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