This story is intended for divers who dream of hunting big fish!!!!!

    The thought and desire of being towed around by huge fish floods my mind as I prepare to embark on what would become one of the most memorable catches of my life.

    For the past three years, I have been in search of shooting a large Yellowfin tuna. For many divers this is considered to be the ultimate fish to spear. I have been on many trips and seen these fish in the past, but the fish never came close enough to give me the opportunity to actually catch one. The challenges of hunting these fish are that they roam the deep blue, and never settle in one area. One week the fish could be there and the next they could be gone. These fish are also extremely wary of divers therefore making judgment of distance much harder. It requires patience and persistence to have a good day hunting Yellowfin Tuna.

I planed the trip to Mexico like usual, 6 months in advance. I have gathered a few hardcore divers that are committed to hunting the vast blue. Tom Fiene, Joe Sarapochillo and Mark Dabalski. This was it! We were going to bring fish home this time. We emptied three large coolers and vowed that we would not come home until they were full.

The lady at the airport thought were weird for caring huge empty coolers up and down the isles. We check our bags and thought about all the gear we had packed the night before.

I had a custom gun built in Indonesia. It is made only for BIG GAME in blue water. It is 70 inches long and I use 5 thick bands. I designed and customized every piece of equipment so that it was perfect for me. Tom and Joe also had the signature customer built blue water guns which are powerful and very accurate. We also took along a few 130 cm euro guns for shooting wahoo and jacks.

After driving for 2 hours by boat, we were finally in the middle of the no where. The open ocean tipped the boat side to side as the Capitan looked for the sea mount. I prepared my diving gear, and loaded my gun. I was the second diver in the water and with in 20 seconds, just as I came out of the prop-wash, I saw a large 250-300 pound blue Marlin headed straight for me. I froze and kept my profile as slim as possible. Just as I started worrying that the massive fish was going to spear me, he turned broadside about 18 feet away. We were both on the surface, and I did not wast to spook the fish, so I took aim and squeezed the trigger. Wak!!! I hit the fish right behind the gill plate. The shaft went into the fish and stuck out the other side. The shot was a bit high, but I figured it would hold.

    The fish took off like a freight train. I grabbed on for the ride and Yelled for the Capitan. “ I shot a marlin, Get the others for a back up shot”!!! I was excited and now clipping along at about 12 miles per hour. I could not put my snorkel into my mouth and my mask was covered with bubbles, when suddenly my buoy pulled out of my hand and sunk. My line deployed and I watched the buoy get pulled 100 feet down. I grabbed my second float and wWAM it went down also. I was getting worried that I was going to loose my gear on the first dive of the first day of the trip, so I pulled hard on the fish only to see the buoys coming back up. After fighting this fish for 15 minutes, I was now ¾ of a mile from where I had originally shot it

    The cable of the slip tip had sawed through the upper portion of the fish. It will live, but I lost it. These fish are powerful that will test your equipment to the extreme. I was very disappointed that I had lost the fish, when suddenly this Bull Dorado came right in on me. I re-loaded my gun with one band and BAM!!! I shot it. This time I did not put as much pressure on the fish and managed to land it.

    WOW this was two nice fish in 20 minutes. When I got back on the boat I expected to see loads of fish. I figured, if it had been this good for me, them they must have some nice fish also. I jumped into the boat with my dorado, and to my surprise, they had not yet seen anything. I was hoping that the trip would continue with this amazing luck.

    The next few drifts seemed good; we were learning where to position our selves’ just outside the bait to hunt the tuna. I saw one school that was in the 150-pound range, but they were at the edge of visibility. About 1 hour later, I spotted 2 nice wahoo. I dropped down as stealthy as I could and shot the lead fish right in the gill plate. Instantly it was stunned, when suddenly the line went zipping through my hands at lightning speed. I love shooting wahoo for their fast runs. I retrieved the fish and another one fallowed it. I called Tom over and he took a shot, but it tore off. They have particularly soft flesh and are a hard target.

    This was a great day for me. I had shot a Marlin, Dorado and a wahoo. I was happy, but not finished yet, so we went to another spot where the seamount is shallower. I dropped down to 65 feet and watched a large fish swim up to me. It was a curious amberjack. I wanted until it turned broad side about 14 feet away and let him have it. I put the tip into his head and the 30-pound fish started to sink. I stoned him!!! Once I was back on the boat, I was smiling from ear to ear. This was just the first day of four. I knew right them that we would fill the cooler!!!

    The second day we headed back to the same spot. I was ready for some more action and I know Tom was itching to spear something nice since he lost his wahoo the day before. On my second drop, I was hanging near the edge of the bait when 2 nice 40 pound wahoo came right up to me. I aimed and took a 12 foot shot. I hit this one in the gill plate also. I like to shoot these fish in the gill plate so they cannot rip off.  This is the strongest part of the fish and it they seem to fight less when you shoot them there. I pulled the fish closer and saw that it was being fallowed by another wahoo. I yelled for Tom and he made a quick dive to 30 feet. He took aim, but the fish bolted right before he could take the shot.

    Now that Tom had missed lost his second opportunity with wahoo, he was really eager to spear a fish. Tow hours later when I got into the boat to head up current, I herd Tom Yelling. We stepped on the gas and I yelled back to him, “ What did you shoot?” He replied “TUNA!!!” I quickly through my buoys back into the water and grabbed the video camera. As I approached Tom, I could se that this was a LARGE TUNA. I dived down with the camera in one hand and the gun in the other. I filmed the second shot. Now the fish was not getting off. We battled the fish as he tangled the lines and kept our hearts beating fast. Once the fish was one the boat, it weighed in at 190 pounds. This was a dream come true for Tom and the team. We finally go a Tuna.

    I was excited for Tom, but I was determined to shoot one my self. I jumped back in the water and had a couple more brief encounters with some distant tuna. The day had come to an end and I had not achieved my life long goal yet.

    Day three is my lucky day!!!! I have always done well on the third day of any spearfishing trip. I had a good feeling about this one. On my first drift I was down at forty feet. After about 1:20 minutes, I looked over my shoulder and saw a nice 40+ pound wahoo. I steadied the gun slowly, took aim and squeezed the trigger. It was a 20+ foot shot. The longest shot I had taken with this gun. CRACK!!!!! I stoned the wahoo. As I surfaced. I saw Tom above be. He was so excited to have seen the whole thing. He watched me stone this massive wahoo from 20+ feet. Yes, this was going to be my day!!!

    Two hours later I had been doing drifts over this high spot that was loaded with bait, when suddenly the bait seemed to disappear. I started my dive and caught a glimpse of yellow in front of me. It was a Large 200 pound Yellowfin Tuna Swimming right in front of me. I swam harder to close the gap, but this turned out to be a fruitless effort. I slowed my kicks until I came to a stop, when all of a sudden tuna started passing me from behind. They had been fallowing me like I was the lead fish!!! I turned the gun and lined up on one that was heading right at me. Just as he started to pull away, I pulled the trigger. It was like everything went into slow motion. I watcher the shaft enter the left backside of the fish and come out near the bottom on the other side. As the fish rapidly bolted, I could see the rear 2nd third of my shaft bending as the line drew taut. My dream was about to come true.

    The battle was on. The fish swam straight for the bottom as my buoy started to sink. He leveled off at about 170 feet and started to swim west. I yelled for the boat and my good friends were quick to get in the water with the camera and the second gun. Joe Sarapochillo was on the camera and swam hard to keep up with me, as the fish was still pulling hard at this point. After about 15 minutes of fighting the Large Tuna, We started to see color. Tom had the second gun and made a deep drop to 50 feet where he placed a good shot in the fish. Now I knew I was going to lad this fish. I screamed for Joy and hugged Tom. I pulled the fish in and was amazed at the size. It was a 160-pound Yellowfin Tuna!!!!

We called it a day after that and decided to get some rest for the last day.
When we got in the water on our final day of spearfishing in Mexico, we wanted to hold out for some big fish. I spotted a 60 pound Wahoo, but I could not get him to come closer. Later, I saw a Large black marlin that was in the 300 pound range but also could not get it to come in closer. Tom saw a marlin, Joe saw a marlin and Mark saw a Dorado, but this day the fish were hesitant to come close to us. I guess we had shot enough fish at that spot, so we moved in to a shallower spot. I dropped down and speared a 60 pound amber jack. I love shooting those fish because for their power. Joe Enjoyed hunting the reef also and managed to shoot some Large jacks. The fish we caught on the last day was donated to the people that lived in the town we stayed in.

    While the trip had come to an end, I had a since of euphoria. I was finally at ease. The journey of hunting Yellow fin tuna was 3 years of great diving and spending time with my best friends. I must say that hunting this fish has helped me become a better diver and I look foreword to the next trip next year.

Special thanks to:

Joe Sarapochillo from

Tom Fiene from

Mark Dabalski

Fish on!!!!!!

Dan Silveira from