Spearfishing in Panama
with Azimuth T8

After a first trip in 2010 demonstrating the potential of Panama’s Pacific coast, we came back in 2011 better prepared both physically and technically.
In addition to my beloved Azimuth 120, I used the latest version of Azimuth 115 T8, in order to evaluate myself the solutions implemented by Gregoris to improve the previous versions of the T8. I had previously fished with a 130T8 which was very accurate but the recoil was too strong and manoeuvrability not so good.
I first have been able to check the remarkable work of Grigoris. Although the mass has been significantly increased (hence the nickname “the log”!) thanks to its new shape the new T8 is easier to move laterally than its predecessor (and even than standard Azimuth!) and its general manoeuvrability is improved. When going down the gun is positioned against the body. Its round shape makes it very easy to rotate along its axis and therefore move forward in shooting position. All this is made easier by the limited length of the gun (115, compact head) which appeared optimal for Panama’s often average visibility.

I tested 2 configurations: Reel/double flopper spear, and slip-tip/breakaway. The first configuration was to hunt the big cubera. The XL reel would have been in theory preferable but the place was not deep enough to make this issue critical. The choice of the double flopper spear was on the one hand to ease penetration in the scale armour compared to the slip-tip, on the other hand to handicap the fish, in particular to prevent it from getting stuck deep inside a cave.

Strategic success with many big snappers including a 21kg specimen shot at 4m from the tip of the gun. This fish was out of range for my Azimuth 120 and the impact of the 8mm spear allowed me to prevent it from leaving the rocky reef and reach for the deep crevices of the drop off, with on top of that current and limited visibility.

With the breakaway and slip tip I was not feeling so comfortable for cuberas, more rigged for large amberjacks or snappers. A deep dive on my flasher allowed me to cross the path of two large almaco jacks of ca 35 kg each. The shot behind the eye almost killed the fish, which did not fall but did not move either. After 5mn of statu quo at the surface, the big fish eventually floated up, stunned.

Finally, drifting on a rocky bottom of average depth but with low visibility, I spot a group of snappers and what I think is a giant grouper, actually just a very big cubera! I prepare the dive and reposition myself, hoping to land on the right spot. I dive and find myself suddenly just a few meters from the school of cuberas patrolling over the rocks. The very big one turns and moves away. Too bad. But another biggy glides under me. I stretch myself downwards and shoot instinctively, hoping this will go through!

The battle was tough; I gave all I had to prevent the fish from reaching the bottom. Alex will double the fish but the outcome was clear. The monster was weighing 27kg and would have also been impossible to shoot with my Az120, both because of the distance but also because the response of the fish would have been probably quite different, even if the slip tip gave it some room for moving.

Conclusion at that stage: “The log” is not kidding, without painful recoil and with an exceptional manoeuvrability. So if you really aim at the big ones, the T8 must be your choice, not only for its fancy looks!

Next report from Indonesia, the land of the big doggies and GTs, with a 125T8.

PS. Pedro amazed us catching his personal record cubera 2 months later, with his Pal110 equipped with a 6.75 Trygons, in open water. Still, this guy really has guts.

Angelo Germidis

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