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Suncoast Spearfishing Challenge : Team Shaftermath

Justin Moraine of Team Shaftermath had a successful 2015 Suncoast Spearfishing Challenge, and sent us his first person perspective on their big win. Congrats Team Shaftermath!

For over a month, my dive buddies and I have been planning a deep trip to spearfish in the 200-225′ range out in the Gulf. Both times, the weather didn’t cooperate, so we had to reschedule. The time finally came, and the weather looked perfect for us to proceed with the trip. But, it just so happened to be the same weekend of Chris Barton’s Suncoast Spearfishing Challenge out of Marina Jacks in Sarasota. Ken Jones, Chris Hill, and Peter Hamburg met at my house, and we all loaded up and departed the dock at 9 pm Friday night. Seas were flat and skies were clear until about 2 in the morning when the rain and wind started to set it. It didn’t stop us, however.

Ken and Pete dropped on a spring to fill their jack category, so Chris decided to gear up and shoot one too. It was funny because Chris only went to 40′ and was able to land his 63lber. As the day progressed. We weren’t doing very well. There was a bad thermocline where we were, and the water was super cold on the bottom resulting in no fish. We all agreed to move shallower and to get more bottom time. Ken was on deck ready to drop on the next spot. The show looked amazing! We knew something was going on since Ken’s bubbles stayed in the same spot.

When he surfaced, he had a nice carbo about 35lbs. He told us there was a bigger one down there, so Peter dropped and shot a smaller carbo around 30 pounds. Ken told him it wasn’t the same one, so I decided to drop. Well, I made it halfway down, and seven bull sharks swarmed me. I didn’t want anything to do with the sharks, so I aborted my dive. We hit one more wreck close by and Peter was able to drop the hammer on a 26 lb permit to fill our pelagic category. Chris shot a decent cubera on his next drop that really helped us out in the Calcutta!

We were roughly 85 miles from land, and it started to get late with the sun going down quickly. There was one last spot I wanted to drop on because the fish show looked good. On my descent, I saw a nice carbo meet me in the column. At that point, I could see the bottom and his home, so I put a shaft in and stoned him to where he sank. I think I was in the boat after 7 minutes with the winning grouper at 53 lbs. As a team, we ended up winning the Calcutta.


On top of that, Chris Hill won the biggest snapper and second place aggregate, and I won biggest grouper. If it wasn’t for such a great group of guys to dive with, who knows where we would have ended up. I just want to thank my dive buddies for a great weekend, and I would like to thank Chris Barton and the club for putting on a great tournament.


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