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March 13, 2008

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Spearfishing Neanderthals

Congratulations to Fly Talk's "Morons of the Month" ... Lousiana's Hell Divers Spearfishing Club! Seems these neanderthals in neoprene have set a new low standard for senseless testosterone-induced violation of a resource by gunning down tarpon for "sport." Bonefish and Tarpon Unlimited sent a press release on the topic yesterday. The Hell Divers' website is full of glory shots with dead tarpon...

Tarpon Massacre

Now ... I really like diving. I've even done some spearfishing. I had a chance to dive with tarpon in January, and, truthfully, the thought of shooting one never crossed my mind. Maybe it's because the "silver king" is one of the most majestic fish in the sea, often living to over 80 years old. Maybe it's because I realize how far these fish range, and what a treasure they are for sport fishers.

The fact that this is happening in one of the most economically and environmentally sensitive sport fishing regions in the country -- help the sport fishing industry's post-Katrina recovery ... let's kill the tarpon! -- disgusts me. This is beyond stupid. It's selfish.

The Outdoor Channel shows "Speargun Hunter" on Saturday nights featuring, you guessed it, the Hell Divers. You might consider E-mailing an opinion, or suggesting that the Hell Divers quit spearing silver kings to: Outdoor Channel



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Mark Ernst

Morons of the Month...Hells Divers... Another blow for sportsmen and a free pass for the antis to dig into...Just great to see guys spearing Tarpon...Contacted Michael Dorsey personally and let him know my distaste for the subject. As and outdoorsman and occasional spearo this runs with things that should be illegal.

Robin D. Berg

Correcting the Record re: Speargun Hunter


There never has been, nor will there ever be, a tarpon taken by spear or any other means on Speargun Hunter, an original series featured on the Outdoor Channel.

The subject has never been raised and would not even be considered. As the shows producer and director. I have made it clear to everyone that we stick with fish that are abundant, edible and taken legally and ethically using strictly legal means and gear.

Although spearing tarpon may be legal in LA, it will still never make it on the show, there are a number of fish that have been completely ruled out as potential shows, Our goal is to portray the sport of spearfishing in a highly positive manner.

We also understand and share the concerns of the sportfishing community, so your comments are important, and always carefully considered.

Finest regards,

Robin D. Berg
Series Producer/Director
Speargun Hunter


I appreciate your response, and respect the fact that your show doesn't include hunting tarpon for sport. I think your ethics and intentions in this regard are clearly positive.

That doesn't change the fact, however, that the people featured on your show do promote spearfishing for tarpon, for blood sport, and that's highly offensive to a far larger audience of sport fishers, the audience of this site included.

We'd like to hear from the Hell Divers that they'll swear off spearing tarpon.

Failing that, we think it's your responsibility to feature ethical hunters on your show who do not advocate tarpon kills, on or off-screen. If they do not stop, we suggest you might look for new talent.

We will also be pressing wildlife officials to make this practice illegal in LA.

Thank you for your response.

Kirk Deeter

Captain Gregg Arnold


I live and guide in La. and I don't like this one bit either. It is totally wrong.
Please don't think that all the people in La. are morons (MORONS). Believe me this will be passed around for others to see and I'm sure everyone from La. will receive a rash of S--- from this. If there was anything I could do I would do it today.

Gregg Arnold 504-237-6474

That website makes me sick, why do spearos always preach selective harvest and taking only what you can eat? I have seen so many spearfishing pictures with literally stacks of tuna, wahoos, bottom fish. I think that this sport needs to clean it's self up a bit, because to a sportsman like myself that is close to sickening.


i want to know which one of those guys has the smallest pecker. guy in the middle maybe?

conway bowman

wow.... spearfishing is an honord sport here in so cal. It has a great history and following. I think the grandaddy of spearfishing/free diving Jack Prodonovich is rolling in his grave right now. There is no reason a Tarpon should be killed.



Do you guys crimp the barbs on your spears? Sounds like a sad state of a sport where you kill and literally end the chance of anyone else battling that fish. Crimp every barb I ever throw, and unless we eat it streamside, that fish is living to fight another day. Don't ever wanna have to explain to my son why you can't catch a certain species anymore.


I have spearfished for most of my life. When I saw the picture of the Tarpon, I was sick to my stomach. My best day out spearfishing ended when I had 4 large aj's. Anything much more is wasteful. For what it's worth I eat everything I keep or kill I would shoot myself with a speargun before I shot a Tarpon.


RE: Peeeet

Spear and release? Seriously?

I'm ignorant. I've never spearfished, but what is the mortality rate on spear and released fish?


I think that was tongue-in-cheek there, Matt.

But I'm troubled by the lack of response by the show ... please hit the Outdoor Channel (link above) with more emails asking them to get a public pledge from the divers to knock off the tarpon kill ... or find new talent for the show ... or, failing those, dump the program.

Obviously everyone wants to jump to conclusions and that is great for story telling in the media world. Amazing how people today cannot wait for the next thing to jump and scream about. Talk about a pebble snowballing into a boulder!

The truth of the matter is that very few tarpon are speared every year and size limits have been self imposed years ago and yes, some are eaten. More than I can say for the number of fish kills from fishing them with light tackle. So before you all go patting yourselves on your backs like good hypocrates take a look at the many youtube videos of tarpon being eaten by sharks while the fishermen laugh. I invite anyone with enough (nerve) to hang onto a seven foot fighting tarpon at 130ft then I will respect your educated opinion. Ignorance breeds fear.

Scott Salacia

After weighing in on several comments about the Hell Divers Spearfishing Club, I have to admit that I was wrong to attack this group of competitive divers. They obviously do practice stewardship of our oceans and I admire that, although I didn't understand that at first. What they do is leagal, they have a valid arguement and I appologize. I will be happy when this whole mess blows over.


Explain how they practice stewardship. And explain how you eat them, anonymous, two posts up. It's all take, simply for kicks, with these guys. There is a point to be made about fighting tarpon well/not watching sharks eat them. But tarpon anglers do so much more by way of conservation -- that hypocrite argument is a [email protected]&#! rationalization for selfish, moronic behavior.

And, by the way. It takes more (nerve) to man up, sign your name and take some accountability for your words, than to hang onto a dying fish at 130 feet.

Stan Smith

Scott, from TX? We appreciate that. I'll PM you on your website with a letter explaining more of what we do and how we do it.
PJ's best day of spearfishing according to his above post was shooting 4 large amberjack. I don't know anyone beside a commercial fisherman that would need to take 4 large AJ's for himself in one day. And he wants to jump on us? Please.
The fact remains that as legal as it is we don't kill a fraction of the fish that the fishermen do. On purpose or not. I think that is what is getting everyones goat, it's the on purpose part.
Some would say that it's not near as sporting to sink a hook in their gills while you stand on a boat with high tech gear and a beer slowly wearing the fish down to defeat and possible death from being helplessly eaten alive....(dramatic huh?) Until you've picked a fight with one on his own turf you have no idea what it's like to go hand to fin with a seven foot fish. We don't go home with a sunburn we go home with broken gear, pulled muscles and bleeding.
I could see your point if we did indeed slaughter any species but the truth is that we don't.
We are exrememly active with the Gulf Council, fisheries,local universities, etc. in protecting the future of all gulf fish. We have self imposed size limits and banned many species from our competition list even though they're still legal to take.
If you need something to get mad about go pull up to a commercial snapper boat and see the thousands of undersized dead fish float off or jump on a longline boat that just dragged it's cable across a reef killing all of the soft corals, etc. Those are real problems. Oh and coonasses eat anything yawl should know that by [email protected]

Chris Hartwell

Just so you guys know, this isn’t a popular thing to do down here in LA. I am a member of the Louisiana Council of Underwater Dive Clubs, and I can honestly say that there are probably under a dozen tarpon killed spearfishing every year in LA. On top of that, tarpon aren’t a pressured species for fisherman in LA due to the overabundance of edible gamefish we have here.

Rght or wrong, the number of tarpon killed spearfishing in LA pales in comparison to the catch and release mortality of tarpon fishing in Florida.

Just trying to help put things in perspective,

Chris Hartwell

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