Spearfishing, in the White Sea

In early August, I again went to the White Sea. If it is very close to say, this is the edge of the Chupskaya Bay, the north-western side of the sea. The sea is very beautiful. Unlike the usual Black Sea, there are no endless sea horizons.

This area is an archipelago of large and very small islands, the straits between which sometimes are not more than 100 meters wide. The depth in them reaches 30 meters.

In general, it is necessary to note the depths here are decent and there is no need to swim far behind them. 15 meters from the rocky shore and under you already 15 meters deep. In some places, small ships stick directly to the rocky shore, even at low tide, when the water level drops by 2.5 meters.

The place in which I was lucky to dive, I accidentally found 3 years ago, when I was just gaining experience in deep hunting. Then I was able to drift up to 12 meters along a vertical cliff (what I did not see then the limit to the black abyss made an indelible impression on me). At that time, I flashed a 3.5kg cod with a lantern in the cracks of the rock, took it and was very proud, especially since the ichthyologist from the station of St. Petersburg University, located nearby, assured me that the largest here in the last 10 years was not found 🙂 it was not found, so he said as a specialist. (I can imagine what kind of a revolution would threaten science if the pundits did not catch the scientific material by minded women and were armed with a mask and flippers).

It should also be noted that this year there is another equally important major ichthyological research expert categorically arguing that the cod cannot sit in the crevices of rocks near the shore, it swims only in flocks at a depth of 100 meters, and there are no catfish in these places at all. But, something I digress from the topic.

For diving, I chose a low tide time to throw a few extra meters from the dive. The lowest water in this place was at 13-00 and at 01-00, i.e. every 12 hours. The first dive and I plunge into the eerie gloom of the northern sea. The blade goes down to the black. At the bottom there are several logs, on one of which, like an amanita, pink actinia grows 15 centimeters high.

The water temperature is 15 degrees. The transparency is 7-8 meters, but the water is kind of dark. And whoever called the sea White, it should be called Black. By the way, I’ll run ahead, I have sinned all over the sea, but such dark water is in the bays where rivers flow. When we then went further into the sea on the islands, the water was lighter. Maybe this phenomenon – the darkening of the water, is due to mixing with fresh water, and maybe because of the remnants of timber rafting, I do not know.

In the water column jellyfish are floating, bright crimson color, thin threads of tentacles are spread out on 1.5-2 meters. On the 3rd dive I fall into the net of these tentacles, the horror, the burn of the face and lips is worse than nettle. In the Black Sea, jellyfish are simply affectionate compared to these.

Here on a dump of meters on 11 I see a single stone meter in diameter, from under the stone the characteristic blade of a broken mussel stands out with whiteness against the background of a dark silty-sandy bottom. All think one catfish there. And just as I was approaching, a gray muzzle of “moray eels” protrudes from under the stone. The grin of the teeth of this beauty is rather sinister, but she has no reception against the harpoon.

The shot is right in the mouth, and now the catfish, like a snake wraps around a harpoon, pops up. The main thing is not to allow yourself to bite this toothy, which she persistently tries to do while I send her to the kukan. It was the largest catfish on this trip at 2 kg. At once I will say that, with all the external unattractiveness, a catfish surpasses cod in taste, resembles catfish, white and fatty meat.

I swim some more 15 meters along the coast and go out on that steep stall, which I noticed three years ago. The stall is visible from above, 8 meters from the surface of its top, and goes 18 meters, I found out after a dive, then there goes a flat, silky slope up to 30 meters, but I didn’t swim there. Below 18 is empty and terribly cold. I processed this underwater rock for two hours. Slowly, thoroughly shine through every crevice. I rested on the surface for a long time to increase the diving time.

Took during this time three cod. One 2 kg and two per kilogram. But the most amazing meeting was waiting for me at the very base of the cliff at 18 meters. A fascinating picture opened to me there: a black cave, such a rarity for these places. In it, I could squeeze sideways to my waist, and having stretched my left hand forward with a lantern, I could hardly light the far edge of the cave.

Of course, I was expecting a meeting there with fish, but I didn’t particularly worry, as the fish here are rather slow. But what is it! I see the head of a giant cod with big eyes like a cow. Then I understand that by squeezing one side into the cave, I can either go there or shine or shoot into the dark. With two shoulders in my cave do not climb. After the third dive, I took a comfortable position, kneeling at the entrance to the cave, I could aim in the beam of a lantern, but I was disappointed. In addition to the persistent dregs created by me, while I tried on which side it was more convenient to climb, I did not see anything.

Okay, enough for the first time. Yes, and I froze thoroughly, for some reason I put on an old (summer) suit, and the sea temperature is not summer at all, especially in the thermocline.

In general, the hunt on White is similar to the hunt on Black. It is also necessary to look for cracks and crevices where the fish is hiding. There are no passing and free-diving fish, not even small things, and this creates the impression of an extinct sea, but this impression is deceptive. As I have already noted, the relief with caves and crevices is very small, but if you find even a small crack, or a single stone, there is a 90% fish, cod or catfish sitting there. 

Catfish approaching the hunter at first scares him, jumping out on the floor of the body with a grinning mouth, and then hides in a burrow or a crack tight. You can shoot at it several times until you hook, the catfish will not go anywhere from its hole.

Cod behaves differently. She hides very well, especially small to a kilogram, so clogged in the cracks that it is very difficult to distinguish it from a stone. Large cod occupies a more prestigious housing: wider crevices or small caves (I did not see large caves) and stand head to the exit. When she sees a hunter, she can leave, but she does it without haste, not like a Black Sea fish. Most likely, it was simply that nobody scared her before. Wounded cod also remains in its crack and does not go anywhere.

In general, because of such passivity of local inhabitants, the hunt is less exciting than on the Black Sea, where the score sometimes goes for seconds. Here you can dive 10 times for one crack, flash a fish there with a lantern, then call a friend, show him this sight. You swim the next day, and this fish will sit and wait for you.

On the second day I was going more thoughtfully. He put on a new Beushat 7 mm suit, picked up a new OMER moonlight flashlight, which hits more crowded, brighter and farther. The rifle-crossbow from 750 mm was replaced by 600 mm, there is no need to shoot far and powerfully into the cracks, and so the tip of the harpoon flattened itself against the rocks.

Immediately swam to the cave, where yesterday there was a large cod. In my heart, of course, the thought crept in that she no longer waits for me, but there must be someone in such a cave. I make several dives for digging without getting into a cave. And after a three-minute rest down. Carefully, in order not to stir up the silt from the bottom, I plan and get up to the convenient position I have chosen yesterday. The water was settled, transparent as crystal.

I turn on the flashlight and immediately highlight all the fish. Beauty! Cod hangs sideways to me in the center of the cave and mows one eye on me. It is inconvenient to shoot all the same, I want to come closer. Anyway, the distance from the end of the harpoon is about 2 meters. I aim precisely at the eye. Shot. Rybin makes a left turn, raises a cloud of dregs and hides in the depths of the cave. IS, HAS GOT. I fold the gun back and carefully pull the harpoon over the tench. Amenable to easy. Why!? I could not miss the mark. NOT. The harpoon is empty. It’s time to go up. Terrible insult and disappointment. The largest fish is gone again. I make 4 more dives. I do not want to believe in what happened, but in the grotto persistent haze. Lantern highlights only fog. We must go to another place.

Then luck did not turn away from me. In three hours I collected 10 tails of different caliber. The largest were two cod, two kilo. Nothing outstanding, boring gathering. It’s time to go, I feel that I am tired, the dive has become shorter.

When I return, I decide to visit my familiar cave, in the hope that the murk has dissipated. I was not mistaken, there are still small particles floating in the water, but the lantern clearly illuminates the fish in the very depths of the grotto. She stands at the side of the half-sided, head away from me. A large white tear is visible on the head. So, I got a little higher, the harpoon tore the skin off my head and did not catch. Well, nothing, fate gave me another chance, I should not miss. I squeeze as deep as possible into the grotto. I pull out a hand with a gun. Now I take a little lower body in the center of the body of the fish. BACH. I calmly crawl out, pulling. NULL !. What kind of witchcraft. Up.

I can’t wait two more hours. I do a lot of rest before long work and down. I look into the grotto. Mutishcha, nothing is visible. Only I know that she is there. And the grotto is pretty straight without turns. I will shoot for good luck. Though all the riddles. Again I get in as much as possible and shoot where the cod’s head used to be. Tianyu lin Heavy. Not enough to plant a harpoon in the slot. But suddenly I feel that tench gives way, and even with jerks. REALLY GOT !!! For sure. I pull out SUCH “feature.” HOORAY!!! Now urgently upstairs.

Yes, it was not there. All my attention is focused on fighting fish, and there are still 15 meters to the surface. I feel that I really want to breathe, in the heat of the struggle I stopped controlling time, and my movements are not as smooth as they are. I drove off the panic, turned the cod snout to the top (the fish was very sail when ascending and braked me) and smoothly and broadly began to row with flippers. And here it is the long-awaited surface !!!

But with the first breath I was seized by the joy of victory. Difficult ascent went into the background. Hooray! I took her! Very labor fish. I notice a small hole in the side of the trophy, so I just punched it a second time, the harpoon bounced off the rock, the flag could not open.

Without removing the cod from the harpoon, I swim to our camp, 50 meters away. I shout to my comrades to drag the camera, there is a surprise. Surprise pulled on 4 kg 600 g. The total weight of the fish caught was 13,600. The next day, the cook announced “fish day”.

The third day of the hunt was not very significant. We went out to sea, I hunted near the picturesque island. looking for cod in the shore dump at 11-12 meters. I took 6 pieces, with a total weight of 10,500. It was interesting that I met a very large stone at 10 meters with a decent hole under it. There were 3 large fishes at once. The paradox is that I took them all in turn. None of them tried to hide. I did not meet such nepuganoy fish! They pulled on 2kg, 2kg and 3.4 kg.

At the end of the White Sea hunt, already in the shallowness, I accidentally found a beautiful starfish. The main thing is very rare, 12-ray, regular shape and unusual crimson color. The funny thing is that on the last day we could not find a single star for souvenirs home, and in the old days they could be collected in buckets.

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