The great groupers of the Costa Smeralda

Salvatore had promised me a “tour” on the wrecks off Olbia, but in te previous days we saw and captured numerous large groupers, fishing on bottoms from -20 to -60 meters, especially he who is a great champion!

But something was missing for both of us. Sardinia is famous for this type of fish, there are still plenty even though they are increasingly hard to find and capture.

One of those challenges with the sea to tell friends in front of a beer without being afraid to exaggerate.

Salvatore Roccaforte, who lives and fishes here for a long time, told me that he saw and captured every kind of fish and that, on the right days, this sea never betrays a fisherman.

We left early in the morning hoping to meet some nice dentex. We traveled north and started diving at dawn with light that was still dim. This is the part of the day I prefer: little noise, few boats. We did not find anything interesting: the depth meter indicated between -20 and -30 meters, but there was little movement of fish. Some white bream and some little grouper too small to fish.

We moved again to the north where Salvatore knew a rock spur that was worth the visit. It is steep and descends sharply towards the bottom, it’s also full of large boulders and slabs: an ideal environment for the development of underwater life.

We threw ourselves into the water from the inflatable fishing boat and Salvatore, with his usual pace, had already gone down and gone back a couple of times.

I also prepared myself and went down underwater.

As I descended I was enchanted by the magnificent submarine landscape, but suddenly I noticed a shape that made everything disappear. I was still distant about fifteen meters but I was sure it was her, the queen.
She was motionless, majestic and royal beside a great rock around -30 meters and I knew I should not be impatient not to scare her; she would soon lose her royalty by flickering away faster than a flash. Then I sank, taking advantage of my weight, even for a few meters,

counting the seconds that did not seem to ever pass either to get to an optimal position and either, above all, to my lungs that are under stress.

But in the end I launched and the shot went to sign!

I had taken it, great! I could go back to the surface driven by the euphoria for the winning challenge that made me gain a few seconds of air.
Looking down I knew I was not wrong, it’s a very big grouper, a great catch!
The fish was recovered by Salvatore who promptly dived because he had seen the scene.

“Bravo, you screwed me over” he said to me smiling …

A slightly vulgar compliment, but the compliment of a champion is never trivial.

The Big Grouper

Spearfishing at large depths is an EXTREME SPORT. The risks associated with this practice can also be FATAL to athletes of long-term experience if a STRICT DISCIPLINE is not followed: always in the water with the COMPANION, great psycho-physical PREPARATION, SAFETY equipment and boat support, appropriate RECOVERY times, THOROUGH KNOWLEDGE of the apnea discipline and its limits, are essential elements to lessen the RISK OF DEATH!