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Old 07-26-2010, 08:45 PM   #16
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Re: Thanks MAKO! My First Nationals

good luck, keep us posted.
Ocean's your oyster, go find your pearl!


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Old 08-10-2010, 10:32 PM   #17
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Re: Thanks MAKO! My First Nationals

Guess it is time to give some type of report. This was my first Nationals and probably my last. It was challenging and a lot of work. At the end of the day, our team scored 8th out of 19 teams, which we figured was “respectable”. I wish we had a print out of the scoring and ranking, but that is apparently not yet available.

As a teen, I dove in many lakes and reservoirs and quarries, but these were primarily located in colder climates, Pa, NY NJ, Vt, NH so I didn’t know what to expect in Arkansas. The three of us (Andrew, Scott and I) left West Palm on Thursday after work and drove straight through towing Scott’s 18-ft Cat for around 22 hours which included a few pit stops, but no sleep breaks. We spent the next two days scouting on the Tournament Director’s boat (Phil Lamm), who was extremely accommodating, driving both days for us and taking us anywhere we wanted to scout.

Conditions are what I would normally consider undiveable. The top couple feet was terribly hot, around 91 degrees and then a thermocline started around 22 feet where it cooled to maybe 74 and then at around 31 feet it got much colder maybe 64 degrees. I had no thermometer nor depth gage so all this is estimated except for the surface temp which was monitored by the depth recorder.

Visibility above the thermocline was generally about 2-5 feet, but at the top of the colder water the visibility went to around 1 foot for a few feet within the highly stratified water column. Eventually we found some clear, huntable water between 25-40 with 6-12 ft vis, with a few cleaner spots.

I had a terrible time with the temperature at the surface and could not bear to wear a wetsuit, no matter how hard I tried. Everyone else was wearing suits, many 2-piece hooded wetsuits, but most of the guys look like freedivers, while I’m not exactly streamlined (being a good 30 lbs heavier than I should be) and was only able to wear a thick dive skin, lycra hood and Mako dive shirt. I was hot on the surface and cold on the bottom, but it was the only configuration I could devise without suffering from bouts of claustrophobia at the surface.

Most days, the afternoon air temperature was over 100 and I think it may have reached 110 or 111 one day on the lake. Even when buzzing around at 25 mph, 110 degrees feels like it is burning your skin. Much hotter than Florida.

The first two days were extremely disappointing in that we found a few bass but hardly any carp or buffalo carp or drum. We were allowed to weigh in only 2 large mouth bass and I think 35 carp or something, so we just had to find the carp. Some days, we would see only 1-3 carp per person. It was incredible how devoid of life most areas were in the lake. After 2 days, I told my kid on the phone that I would have clearer water and be able to shoot more fish at our local boat ramp. And I meant it!

We spent 3 additional days scouting on Scott’s boat (without a driver) and still had found very few fish. I think it was the third or 4th day of scouting and another team (Santeiro / Gvinovart / Dean - (Miami Freedivers) pulls up, and shows us their cooler of fish they said they shot (in the out of tournament zone of the lake) in a two hour period. It was incredible! I literally jumped onto their boat and rummaged through their cooler in disbelief.

The cooler had at least 125 lbs of fish and included huge buffalo carp (20 lbs), regular carp, LM bass, Drum and maybe some other fish. To add insult to injury, Dean was not aboard because they said he was having ear problems and they didn’t need to scout anymore anyway. The one cooler contained 5 times as many fish as we had seen combined in like 4 days of scouting. Apparently these guys knew a hell of a lot more than us. We were quite discouraged but we continued to scout with very limited success. It wouldn’t have hurt so bad if these were local boys, but how the hell could these guys from MIAMI be kicking our ass so bad, even before the tournament started??

Before the tournament, we had been hearing conflicting reports of some teams seeing very few fish (like us) and other teams sighting schools of large fish. Wednesday evening we headed into the local restaurant for a final dinner before the tournament. Not 6 feet from the salad bar, we see Jay Riffe sitting alone and he waves us over to his booth. Jay was one of the major sponsors of the tournament and I thought it was wonderful that he took the time to fly out and spend 2-3 days at the tournament.

Jay shared a few great stories from his competition days and we related our predicament which could be summarized as: We didn’t have crap for spots and apparently some other teams did. His advice reaffirmed our decision: we were going to have to play follow the leader and head to the dam area where we expected to see most teams. We had neglected to effectively scout this portion of the lake and with maybe 35-50? miles of shoreline and a diversity of habitats, scouting this lake was not an easy task.

On tournament day, Phil Lamm (the tournament director) had promised to drive for us again on his 20ft aluminum boat which was very fast with a new 150 Suzuki. We headed to the dam area and spent a considerable amount of time diving adjacent to some other teams. We never got within probably 200 feet of other teams, but there was no rules precluding us from diving as close to other competitors as we thought safe. We were surprised to see only maybe 5-6 teams in this general area. Conditions were good most of the day and we had 6-12 foot visibility. A strong squall blew in toward the end of the tournament which immediately threw up 2 foot high whitecaps and stopped us from diving for the last few minutes of the tournament.

We ended up finding a few fish that day, but scored nothing close to the winners. I’m honestly not sure of the scores, I think the winner Hausler (had around 135 pts) and my score was only around 19. I found no large fish. Other teams brought in multiple large buffalo carp which yielded 21 points each (which is the maximum). I think I shot 6 fish, Andrew 7 and Scott 8. I know Scott and Andrew had considerably more points than me (40-60?) and Andrew received a trophy for the second or third largest fish of the tournament, but since I was so far out of the running, I never paid that much attention to the points.

Overall we were not that displeased with our scores, because we shot more fish on tournament day than we ever saw scouting (on one particular scouting day I saw only one legal fish). Probably the most surprising aspect of this tournament for me personally was how well Yuri did. This “kid” came in second, dumping several huge buffalo on the weigh table as well as an assortment of other fish. He and his team (Palm Beach Freedivers Club) are from my home town and were young and quite inexperienced. I think everyone was blown away by how well these guys did, I know I was. He also won a very nice gun from the raffle at the banquet.

I would like to thank my teammates Andrew and Scott for inviting me to fill in for the third member who was forced to drop out. I also need to express my appreciation for the hospitality of the Midwest Dive Council and especially Phil Lamm who was extremely generous and did his very best to help us out. Also thanks to Dano at MAKO Spearguns for sponsoring our team. I took a number of different sized guns, but that little 70 cm Predator, with a single 20mm band punched through every shootable fish I saw on game day.
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Last edited by jfjf; 08-11-2010 at 08:18 PM. Reason: team placed 8th not 7th
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:53 AM   #18
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Re: Thanks MAKO! My First Nationals

Great job Jim
very nice write up

[url=www.makospearguns.com]MAKO SPEARGUNS
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:48 PM   #19
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Re: Thanks MAKO! My First Nationals

Good Job...Keep your head up...there'll be other tourneys...and like westpalmspearo said awesome write up
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:25 PM   #20
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Re: Thanks MAKO! My First Nationals

Nice summary Jim and again thanks for lending me that fin. (my other fin ended up breaking by the end of the tournament.) Please post the individual and team results when you find them out. Thanks
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:39 AM   #21
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Re: Thanks MAKO! My First Nationals

Originally Posted by DiveMan View Post
Nice summary Jim and again thanks for lending me that fin. (my other fin ended up breaking by the end of the tournament.) Please post the individual and team results when you find them out. Thanks
Thanks! The results are posted within another thread within this section.


Last edited by jfjf; 08-12-2010 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:54 AM   #22
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Re: Thanks MAKO! My First Nationals

Thanks Jim, I was petty shocked myself. Only after I got 80 points or so aboard, I realized that I can actually do well in this tournament and lucky enough I did... Again, Couldn't have done it without my team, especially Dylan. My whole thing was - do my best and never give up! I spent hours reading and studying the fish (I even took a road trip to the Bass Pro Shop to see those mysterious fresh water fish in their tank), hours at the pool, hours scouting and exactly 6.00.00 hours in the water during the tournament. And when I got out of the water, I told myself - "Yury, you did the best you could have done and it will be a great pleasure for me to shake a winner's hand!". Thanks again for the kind words Jim.
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:42 AM   #23
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Re: Thanks MAKO! My First Nationals

interesting stuff, thanks for sharing... what did you do with all the carp?
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:12 PM   #24
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Re: Thanks MAKO! My First Nationals

The carp were required to be kept chilled on the boat and were placed in a refigerated truck for use by a company which utilizes the fish, although I am not sure of the details. They were not wasted.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:42 PM   #25
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Re: Thanks MAKO! My First Nationals

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