It was bound to happen. Last week a 500-pound goliath grouper grabbed a scuba diver from his knee to below his calf and shook him underwater. This occurred at 165 feet on a sinkhole offshore Sarasota.
Dan MacMahon just had speared a cobia and said the goliath had been stalking him. Fearing his knee would buckle, he slammed the fish in the head with the butt of his speargun, but it only backed off a few feet and attacked again. In the split second between attacks, MacMahon loaded a 30-06 powerhead, designed for shark protection, onto his speargun and killed the fish. The grouper's behavior led MacMahon to believe he was not its first victim.
One only can wonder what the outcome would have been had a novice spearfisherman been attacked on a popular wreck like the Tramp Steamer, where a dozen or more monstrous goliath groupers, a protected species, reside.
The St. Pete Open Spearfishing Tournament is Aug.16 at the Tierra Verde Resort & Yacht Club. Weigh-in begins at 6:30 p.m.
- Chad Carney teaches scuba & spearfishing and runs charters out of St. Petersburg. Call 727 423-7775 or e-mail email@example.com