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A Fish Too Far: Florida Spear-Fisherman Drowns After Being Entangled and Pulled to Ocean Bottom by Giant Grouper
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MIAMI, Florida -- A Florida diver shot a large grouper with a speargun then apparently drowned when the fish sped into a hole, entangling the man in the line attached to the spear, investigators said today.

The 42-year-old man, whose name was withheld, was free-diving in about 7.5 metres of water off the lower Florida Keys on Saturday and speared a Goliath Grouper (a protected species in Florida), Monroe County Sheriff's Detective Mark Coleman said.

"It looks like the fish wrapped the line attached to the spear around the victim's wrist. The fish then went into a hole in a coral rock, effectively pinning the man to the bottom of the ocean," Detective Coleman said in a news release.

Police divers found the speared fish tightly wedged into the hole, with the man's body still tangled in the line, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.

Goliath Grouper are the largest members of the sea bass family and can weigh hundreds of pounds.

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Reader Comments

2 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

I live in Key West and I recall this incident. He was diving at night and it was an activity that he indulged in on a regular basis, using a jetski as aquatic transportation and a divelight to illuminate his prey. He was diving alone. Unless you are "free-shafting", which means using a spear that has no line attaching it to the speargun, if you shoot a fish of that size and only wound it,(as opposed to a "kill shot"), the spear and the gun are going to go wherever the fish decides. A fish in the grouper family will head for the nearest shelter and "hole up", whether that be a crevice in the rocks, a cave or in this case a coral head, the wounded fish will generally always behave this way under such circumstances, often wedging itself into the tightest spot it can find, where it will be the least visible and vulnerable. Unless you let go of the gun you will go with the fish. If you can't let go because your arm has become entagled in the line, then you have no choice. I do not know if he had a dive knife with him, but will assume he did not. My personal rule is that I do not go spearfishing without a dive knife strapped to my right calf. Under similar circumstances, that rule once saved my life, and even then it was only after a few brief moments of panic that I remembered I had a knife. At the small cost of a spear gun and a dive mask I exited the ocean that day. This unfoftunate man made a series of poor choices that result
   comment# 1   - patrick · usa · Feb 4, 2009 @ 4:13am

Grouper's Revenge
   comment# 2   - Captain Ahab · The Ocean, Earth · Jun 30, 2011 @ 9:42am
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