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Platypus
04-25-2009, 02:27 PM
Anj called me the night before we were all scheduled to go diving. She had just returned home from diving one of her usual spots, and told me that she had to go back there. We all planned to do a blue water trip, but Anj had her heart set on something. She was pretty vague about it, and if she’s anything like me, it was because she did not want to jinx herself.

“Who’s going with you?”

“Haha...um, me?”

She is notorious for solo diving, so I gave her some motherly, I mean, Big Sisterly advice and demanded she call me once she was out of the water to let me know she was ok, she is one of my favorite dive buddies, afterall.

That morning, the usual crew shows up at the ranch, except for my dive buddy Jeff. I tell the guys to head on over to the spot and we’ll meet them there. I wait patiently for an hour, and Jeff is a no show. Adam and I get into my truck, and just as we turn the engines on, here comes my uncle in the driveway with 2 new baby steers for our ranch. Well, I guess I’m staying home.

It is about 2 hours later that Anj calls me. I can hear it in her voice, she is excited. Thinking that she must have gotten that kumu she has been chasing forever, she blurts out – “I got my first ulua!!!”

“No way! How big?”

“Oh, I dunno? Can I come over and weigh it?”

"Of course!"

So she journeys over to our place. I know Anj’s little set up real well, and I know the 48 Qt Cooler she uses to transport her catch home with. So I didn’t think it would be a real big ulua, maybe a 15lber, but a first anything is exciting!

She pops open her trunk and I see the cooler, with the lid firmly closed in the back of her trunk. "Well, where is it?”

She points at her dive bag. It was too big to fit in the cooler, so she put it in her dive bag and packed it with ice. OK, now we’re talking!!:thumps:

As we’re lifting it out of her trunk she tells me the story…

"A few weeks ago, Troy and I had made a really early dive because I had to be back early for a Fight Night dinner at a friend's house. As soon as it was lighted, we were in the water, headed for a finger that I normally search. I had shot a small munu on the way out and had unhooked my gun from my tag line. As we reached the finger, as many times I had gone out there, I had never witnessed such a mass of fish using the left side of the finger like a fish highway. I knew something was up and the first thing that came to mind was...shark! As I scanned the deep for unusually large bodies, I noticed something large and dark sitting on the left side of the finger. Ulua! Of course, I wasn't hooked up to my tagline and I didn't have a reel. After looking at the fish for a few seconds and weighing my options, I decided to swim back for my float and Troy and hope that the fish would still be there. I'm sure that the ulua heard all my commotion of yelling for Troy and yelling "Ulua!" to him because as we approached again, the fish slowly swam off into the deep...bummers.

So...the day before (Saturday) I drive out by myself. Unfortunately I had been hanging out with friends the night before and couldn't get myself out of bed as early as I had wanted. I get there, gear up and I'm in the water by 8 am. Again, I swim out to the finger. There are a few fish still taking the highway, but not nearly as many as the prior dive. No ulua either. So, I head to my dive spots. As I'm swimming and scanning, I make out a dark figure in the distance. Those long pectoral fins are a dead give-away. It's an ulua, probably the same one, swimming off to who knows where. I don't see it after that, but after holding off too long for some great fish, I go home empty, but determined to get that ulua.

After talking to Angela and teetering between going out with the guys to South Point for some blue water game, or heading back to "my spot", I finally decide to test my gut feeling that the ulua is a local resident. This time, I'm up at 4:30 am, out of the house by 5 am and in the water by 7:00 am. I'm hooked up and ready to go. I see the fish highway on the left and continue swimming out. A 2-3 pound omilu swims straight up to me at and I point my gun towards it. "Nah, I have to be sure the ulua's either here or not." I take a second look at the omilu and keep swimming. I'm a little bummed because I haven't seen the ulua yet.

Oh well...and then... "Holy crap!" There it is! I see the ulua's head pop out from under a small ledge on the side of the finger. My heart races as I hover over the finger praying for the fish to slide back under. As I breathe up as best as possible with my adrenaline already pumping, the fish has a glimpse of me and makes a U-turn back under the ledge. That's my cue. I glance at my tag line and make sure I won't get tangled in it, take a deep breath and kick for the coral. My gun is aimed towards the fish as I wait for the ulua come back out. His big eye turns to look at me and then...whack! Immediately, the fish's mouth gapes open and blood pours out from its gills. Slowly, the fish sways its tail back and forth. For a few seconds, its stunned. Eventually, it wakes up to the fact that it's just been shot and heads over the finger.

The faster I swim after it, the faster the fish swims away. The ulua angles in toward the reef of the first drop-off. Unable to keep up, my shooting line becomes entangled. That comes off, but the ulua tangles the line again. This time, the fish jams the end of the shaft into the rocks, give a couple of swift kicks, and pulls out from the shaft. "Ah!" I follow the fish, knowing that it will eventually succomb to the blood loss. It then makes a U-turn back towards me at the surface, swimming wobbily from side to side. Fortunately, as I follow see the fish coming up, my float is about 10 feet away with my 3-prong dangling from it. I grab my 3-prong and slam it into the side of the fish, practically in the same hole that the shaft made. I can see that the fish is on its last leg, but even then, I'm not able to get a solid hold of its tail to subdue the fish. The 3-prong slides out and I desperately grab its tail one last time and hold on for dear life. As I slide my fingers under its gills and dispatch the fish, I can't help but be absolutely exhausted but thrilled nonetheless. My shaft is so badly damaged that I can't stick it back in my gun. I do the side-stroke, back-stroke, jerk and swim technique and finally drag my catch back to shore. I don't have enough ice and the 48 qt icechest won't close because the tail is sticking out. So, I unload my dive bag, slide the ulua in (tho it barely fits that too) and pick up a few bags of ice.

The first person I call is my boyfriend in Australia. First thing Ant asks..."So what'd you shoot?" Haha...he know's me all too well. I then call my folks and leave a message for them. Angela and I talk for a while and I head over to share with her one of my most gratifying catches.

We hang the ulua on the scale and it reads 35lbs on the dot.

When my dad and I start cleaning the ulua, I notice just how lucky the shot is. The shaft hadn't penetrated the other side of the fish. Instead, the barb opens inside of the fish's head, gets caught in the gills and rips a hole in the membrane between the gills and fish's body, which causes the ulua to bleed profusely."

Now she's spoiled, looks like she has some bigger uluas in her sights! :eek::thumps:

oceanhunter1
04-25-2009, 03:06 PM
nice fish

Mobile Diver
04-25-2009, 07:35 PM
Very impressive!!:thumps:

clavinr
04-26-2009, 12:52 PM
whoa! Huge!

rigdvr
04-26-2009, 03:13 PM
Nice! Tell her congrats for me...I cant wait to come back and get another one, you know, one of the ones I never saw that bolted out from the ledge when I shot that baby one

OceanEd
04-26-2009, 03:29 PM
Congratulations. It has to be a great feeling.

Natedogg
04-26-2009, 09:50 PM
Great story. Congratulations Anj!

Blesum
04-27-2009, 12:47 AM
Way to go. Tested for cig? Pass? Yummy?

-Paul

Johnoly
04-27-2009, 07:16 AM
Great first time fish!

biggsy
04-27-2009, 07:29 AM
Great story and congrats on the fish! :up:

SpearMax
04-27-2009, 07:35 AM
Very cool Anj! Congrats!

varzob
05-03-2009, 10:53 PM
Way to go. Tested for cig? Pass? Yummy?

-Paul


Hi!

Whats the process of testing it for toxin in Hawaii and how long/much it takes?