It was a cloudy and windy morning on the 7th August 2007 when myself and my 2 dive buddies left the pier of Santa Maria do Sal aboard the Whanadoo to hunt the Wahoo that often frequent the area.
We had decided to dive in an area 4 miles offshore that the locals call the “Canal”. We started the dive on the Northern section and then planned to move to the Southern area a little later in the day. We jumped into the water at 08:30 with the water temperature being 26ºC and the visibility about 12 meters.
The serious amount of plankton in the water made it seem as though we were diving in the evening, but the very slight current made landing in the zone every down easy. After diving for an hour without seeing any Wahoo and a few small Triggerfish being the only fish around, we were thinking about moving to a more productive area.
While breathing up on the surface, I suddenly spotted a Sailfish coming towards me just below the surface. I waited until the fish got a little closer and then dived in its direction, swimming hard to try to get in position for a broadside holding shot. Suddenly the fish changed course to its right, which put it in the perfect position. I aimed with my 1.6m Rob Allen and shot the fish slightly high through its mid body with it immediately taking off for deeper water. The Sailfish suddenly doubled back towards me and literally brushed past my legs on its second blistering run. As it passed, I was reassured to see that the spear had penetrated the entire breadth of the fish and was holding well.
The fish continued to run, with my Rob Allen 35lt hippo float working well to tire it. After 17 minutes of the fish fighting the float and bungi, I was able to control it and pass it safely onto the boat.
Been pleased with my Sailfish already landed, we decided to move more South and focus solely on hunting for Wahoo in 70m of water. While lying 5 meters down and scanning the water, I saw a familiar shape swimming towards me. The shape became more recognisable and I suddenly realised that it was a Sailfish, but much bigger than any I have ever seen before.
The fish continued approaching until it was just over 10 meters away from me. I kept my 1.6m Rob Allen Railgun alongside hoping to not spook the fish and it becoming just another story of one that got away. As it swam nearer, it started veering away, so I dived to intersect. I was hoping to be able to place a shot in the fish’s head to immediately kill it. Unfortunately, the fish had already turned too much as it passed and I could not easily have placed the spear in its head, so I rather levelled out my 1.6m Rob Allen Railgun and placed the shot mid body and hoping that it would penetrate the solid fish as well as still been able to hold during the blistering runs that I knew would follow.
The fish took off at breakneck speed along the surface with me swimming behind my floats trying and keep them within sight. After 25 minutes of hard swimming, the fish turned and I was once again able to get hold of the my 35lt Rob Allen hippo buoy. I slowly recovered my floatline and bungi meter by meter and asked the captain to pass me my 1.3m Rob Allen reel gun. I loaded my spare gun and as I dived to the fish’s level it began swimming wide circles around me. I aimed and easily placed another shot through the middle of the fish and upon reaching the surface, clipped the gun onto the same buoy that was holding the original gun. The fish suddenly got an enormous burst of energy and sounded to try shake the shafts holding it. This is the first time that I have ever seen a 35lt Rob Allen hippo buoy stand upright, which will give you a good idea of the power that the fish was exerting on the gear.
After another 25 minutes of fighting the fish, I was able to retrieve enough floatline and bungi to reach my ghostleader and slowly approach the magnificent fish. I was reaching a stage of exhaustion and carefully took the fish by its gills, placed my knife into its brain and slowly swam it to the surface.
When I finally got the fish onto the boat, I realised that I thought it was a big specimen, but I never knew it was this big! We ended the days hunting as we already had more than enough fish to last us weeks and began the long boat ride back to Santa Maria do Sol.
Once on the pier, I was able to have the 2 sailfish weighed and photographed, with the smaller one been 24.75kg and the larger setting a new world record and tipping the scales to 47.75kg!