By the Left Coast Rebel
It's been a few years but I used to go spearfishing quite often near Children's Cove in La Jolla. Visibility is great, "catching" fish is almost a certainty; it's a lot of fun (incredible, actually). One thing that always gave me the eeby-jeebys though was just what do when we spear-shot a fish. I mean, when you shoot a bass, croaker, etc. with a speargun, there is a considerable amount of fishblood involved.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that blood in the water + lots of seals (which are shark bait, too) + La Jolla being natural breeding grounds for Great Whites = a heightened risk of shark attack.
Justin Schlaefli, 28, got acquainted with this obvious truism, face-to-face recently.
NBC San Diego has the story:
A man suffered only minimal damage to his wetsuit Monday afternoon when a shark bit him near the Children’s Pool in La Jolla, later calling himself “completely lucky to emerge unscathed.”Be sure to read the rest.
Justin Schlaefli, 28, was spear fishing with two others near a lifeguard tower at about 2 p.m. when they were confronted by the fish, which was a possible 7-foot-long sevengill shark, San Diego lifeguards said.
The NBC article notes that Justin Schlaefi chronicled the incident, stating that the sevengill shark was obviously going after a calico bass on his stringer (see what I told you!).
Incredible stuff, here is the opening 2 paragraphs of his La Jolla shark attack account:
I am giving this report while things are still pretty fresh in my mind. My intent is to educate/warn and not demonize sharks or scare people. I considered not sharing this story beyond my friends because of the inevitable second guessing/ calling bullshit etc.... However, this information may have value to others and so I will share my experience. For those who want to armchair quarterback, let me tell you that you were not there and you can't know how you will react until something like this happens to you. I don't appreciate the shoulda/coulda/woulda BS.And the photo of Justin Schlaefi's wetsuit, after he was attacked by the sevengill shark:
I decided I needed to get in the water today after work and I knew some guys who wanted to go. One of my buddies has been diving for a bit and we have been diving a couple of times. The other guy is a brand new diver and had only been in the water twice. After looking at conditions, we knew we could expect some wind chop and 5-10' viz. We head out off of South Casa in La Jolla. I was armed with my Riffe Euro 90 with a floatline, my buddy had a jbl 38 special with a float line, and our other friend had a simple pole spear. We ended up heading out and doing a few drops looking for the usual suspects. Pretty soon, my buddy shot a decent Calico with his JBL. I was really stoked because he is still a newer diver and it was so early in the dive. He had forgotten his stringer so I toss the fish on my belt and we start doing some more drops. We kept close because it was choppy and these guys were newer divers. Pretty soon, I see a shark cruising right under me. I get a really good look at the shark as it was slowly cruising and tentatively ID as a 6-8' 7-gill based on the long tail and lack of a prominent dorsal fin. The shark also had a roundish nose and was kind of narrow. I see the shark heading right for my buddy who had just dropped down and I think about shooting it right there.... however, I was with two newer guys and it was kind of rough so I wasn't sure it was a good idea. After a few seconds, I am a little concerned that the shark was going for my buddy and I almost pulled the trigger but he veered off and I didn't.
Close call! Hopefully my wife doesn't read this. If she does, I may be banned from spearfishing permanently.
RELATED: I wrote about spearfishing at Ehow recently, here.