The best thing about starting out in spearfishing is every fish is your first or your biggest. I can’t claim any world records, but the stoke of pulling up a fish is something that cannot be beaten.
Recently, we set out on a Saturday trip to the rigs. It was the first time Kyle and I had the opportunity to get our new boat deck bloody, so we wanted to make sure it was a good day. We all geared up, jumped in the murky green water and made a few dives. Around 40 feet, the water cleared up and you could see red snapper swimming 10 feet off the rig. I picked the largest of the bunch and took a shot.
I hit the snapper but it was high along the backbone. It swam deep and fast. I grabbed my reel, held on so the fish wouldn’t tangle my line in the rig legs, and swam toward the surface.
Once I hit 20 feet below the surface I was not going anywhere. I started to kick harder, but still no movement. My dive buddy/husband Kyle was paying attention and started to swim over, seeing that I was struggling to make it to the surface. I loosened the drag on my reel to make room for a quick breath on the surface and then went under again. I SWEAR the fish didn’t look that big underwater.
After a few tugs we assumed the fish was tangled on the rig leg. Being the only girl of the group, I felt a little embarrassed and cursed my weak self for not getting the fish up faster. Austin Powell, Kyle and I took turns diving down to check out the damage. At about 65 feet, the big ol’ snapper swam under a rig leg, right into a tangled mess of fishing line and old rigging rope. We knew this was going to be a team effort to free the snapper and save my shaft. I held the line tight at the surface while Kyle swam down to the tangled fish with his gun in hand. Austin swam down behind Kyle to spot him in case he got tangled or anything went wrong. Kyle shot the snapper with his gun, cut my line so it fell loose then cut the snapper out of the web of fishing line.
Kyle surfaced with the largest fish I had shot to date in his hand and a big smile on his face. It ended up being the biggest fish of the day! It is always nice to know I can hang with the guys, but even better knowing that I have an awesome group of dive buddies that h
ave my back no matter the situation.
My favorite part of living in New Orleans is the food. Coincidentally, my favorite part of spearfishing is the same. Here is one of my favorite recipes for you to try. I used red snapper, but any white fish will work.
- 1 (13.5 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion, plus more for serving
- 4 snapper (or other white fish) fillets
- Steamed rice for serving
- Combine first seven ingredients (coconut milk through fish sauce) in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, eight to nine minutes.
- Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and green onions. Set aside to cool slightly. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Scoop out ¼ cup of the sauce for marinating the fish. Save the remainder to serve later.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place fish fillets on top. Season fish with salt and pepper then brush fish with the ¼ cup of reserved sauce.
- Cook fish in oven until opaque in center, 10-20 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.
- Serve fish with hot rice and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with additional cilantro and scallions, if desired.