Author Archives: René Potvin

About René Potvin

Started freediving and spearfishing in 1986. I competed for the first time in 1994 at the Connecticut Open. I won the B division with a bunch of togs with Murphy's beat up 90 cm Viper. I later won the North Atlantic Championships in 2003, 2009 and 2010. I participated in the FIPSA Worlds in Cabo Frio in 2006; came in 13th. I also play underwater hockey with CAMO in Montreal and do a lot of underwater photography. In 2006 I started making spearguns. They are known as Renesub Spearguns. The website is renesub.com

Poor man’s dentex

Most days are slow days during winter in Baja. The fishing is difficult, deep and the water is cold. People showing up during the winter are shocked by how challenging it can be.

I’ll shoot fish but I have to work for them. Fortunately, there are some fish that stick around. One of them is the “poor man’s dentex” : Barred Pargo (Hoplopagrus guentherii). Bar pargo can present a challenge any time of the year, and they are all over the place. They can be easy to shoot in some circumstances, when they get territorial, but that’s not in winter.

These were shot at 16 and 23 meters. Each took their time to show up. It truly is a breathold game with these… a bit like dentex.

See how they can simply swim around a shaft

Here is an example of a bar pargo being territorial

I’ll have to post the footage of my largest this year (2021). A 25 pounder that swam straight to me at the end of april.

Fast shooting in Baja

When it comes to Cuberas, you don’t have much time to shoot when they are outside of their holes. It’s a quick draw game. Otherwise you have to follow them to see where they will hole-up and hope it’s not in a maze of boulders with 1000 exits, which is exactly what I was dealing with.

The large cubera, 24 pounds, was not on this video. I got it while retrieving the anchor! Again, it was a quick draw.

Morey eels attack my fish!

Yesterday I shot a 31 pound yellowtail from the bottom and it took 30 meters of reel line before I reached the surface. It swam all over the place in the rocks and it took me 15 minutes to get to the fish. By that time three morey eels were eating its guts. I was a bit relunctant to grab the fish. Any of you ever got bit?

I always wonder about eels when my legs are laying there behind me, as they usually do, and there are nice cracks where i imagine monsters live….

Otage au Mexique!

Je viens d’apprendre que je ne peux plus retourner au Canada! Ca tombe bien, je n’étais pas chaud à l’idée des couvre-feux et de l’interdiction de voyager. 🤣

A Baja, la vie normale suit son cour. Évidemment il y a des cas de covid mais personne ne panique. À La Paz, où je suis, ce n’est pas la situation de Mexico City, qui elle est débile. Je ne serai pas rassuré si j’y vivais disons le, mais je ne suis pas certain si je préfèrerais être dans un Québec en pleine hystérie collective…

Trève de conneries… La vie normale, c’est la pêche! Et hier, j’ai même attrapé mon premier wahoo de l’année! 24 kg! et les yellowtails sont partout.

Pour ce qui est du transport, même avec un cooler de 110 litres c’est problématique! Je veux pas faire chier mais…

Il y a d’autres poissons dans la glacière. Normalement je n’en tire pas beaucoup (sérieusement je limite mes prises au max), mais on m’avait demandé d’en ramener pour un souper. Par conséquent j’avais choppé un cubera et deux yellowtails… et voilà qu’au retour à mon kayak (j’avais mis le dernier yellowtail sur mon dos et j’avais rechargé mon arbalète “juste en cas”) et bien des wahoos géants me bloquent le chemin. Ils ont une attitude agressive… Je ne suis pas rassuré et, le drame, je dois défendre ma vie!

On ne voit pas le tir sur le wahoo. C’était très inattendu, mais j’a actionné ma camera pendant le combat. Le truc me tracke comme un jouet. Je file sous l’eau comme je ne l’ai jamais fait auparavant. Le fil de mon moulinet est pris dans le poisson que j’aie à la ceinture. Je pourrais la larguer bien sûr mais j’ai les boule. Par chance, je finis par le maitriser.

Voilà une autre vidéo, celle là est d’hier. Je sèche un yellowtail.

Bref, la vie c’est fantastique…

(Excusez moi, je voulais plutôt dire je suis avec vous dans cette dure période, et que je vous recommande de rester à la maison!)

Channel catfish spearfishing! oct 2020

Channel catfish is my new favorite freshwater fish!

The channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) are found in heavy current and most divers and spearfishermen have rarely even seen this type of catfish. It’s called “barbu” in Québec and here is the government chart for the fish : https://mffp.gouv.qc.ca/faune/peche/poissons/barbue.jsp

To be honest, it’s barely “spearfishable”. You may shoot one by chance once in a while if you hunt deep close to channels swept by heavy currents, but to actually target them is on the insane endeavor level for most people. That said, with the new provincial regulations banning walleye, we’ve been reduced to hunt for fish far too easy to shoot (bass), so this is quite a find for us. It took us three years to find this new challenge in the St-Laurent, but here it is! This renews my love for the seaway spearfishing. This is a game changer and may be the single good thing about 2020.

Fun fact: It looks like a killshot, but it wasn’t a killshot… the fish spouted shit high in the air once in the boat… and JJ got some in his mouth! You can see him gagging at the end mouahahaha.

Do subscribe to my chanel! I need to buy new cameras!

45 pound yellowtail

Shot this yellowtail at 23 meters near La Paz. I was fishing with my 130 with two bands and a 7.5 mm tahitian shaft. After landing this fish I started using a slip tip. Given the power of those monsters, I didn’t trust my ability to always get a good shot. It took forever to bring back to the surface. I stabbed this one also jajajajaja (my mexican maniacal laugh).

Large leopard grouper makes a mess

So I was aiming for yellowtails. Since I had shot a 45 pounder recently, I used a slip tip on my 150 cm with 3 * 16 mm bands at 3.5 (very stiff considering the lenght).

The shaft was a 7.5mm and the slip tip was a Spear Master (so was the shaft, I love those).

As it happens, I shot a leopard grouper with it. It was the second large grouper I had taken with the slip tip in a week… that’s what happens when you use a slip tip, every fish is going to offer itself for slaughter so you can’t use it on pelagics… anyway.

I didn’t hit anything but the fish and the thing bent like butter. This thing is made from non heat treated metal it seems….

The ordeal with the grouper was not over… it swam through every coral holes it could find! And then I lost my gun! Fortunately Terri Lynn was there for the rescue!