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

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!

Zombies go spearfishing

We were a SAD crew…

Sebastien had landed in La Paz early in the morning. When I picked him up, he bravely (or is it barely?) stood on the airport arrivals sidewalk after a soul destroying 15 hour red-eye flight from Montreal. Terry Lynn and myself had partied until daylight. It was a mix of socializing at the mezcalaria named “La Miserable” as well as a visit to another bar with a genuine DJ.

This image is not fuzzy, that’s how it was. The only document… later we couldn’t work our phones.

Many bad decisions were made before and after sunset, but we had agreed to go fishing… So the “zombie squad” hit what passes for roads in Baja.

Yeah, road.

The secluded beach we were going to was at the end of five kilometers of a forgotten goat trail. It’s not entirely possible to ride it in a compact car. Not without some work at least… the trick is to get out of the car every sixty seconds to place rocks strategically in the many deep ruts that would otherwise destroy you undercarriage. Obviously, a jacked up Jeep or Ranger would only need to slow down once in a while if it can stay on the road. There are no guarantees though since one such vehicle spent most of the evening and much of the night stuck in mud. It took three large specialized off-road trucks, multiple mud dives and a lot of expertise to get it out. I could write an entire book on Baja “non-roads”.

One of the better stretches.

bettering the road…

We launched our kayaks two kilometers from a rocky point. Terry Lynn was foaming at the mouth for a yellowtail.

Two kayaks overtook us to the spot. Yes, in this secluded place with no road access, we had competition! Fortunately they were anglers. Terry Lynn gave them the mean eye. I held her back as she reached for her speargun. Fish and Games can be sticklers about such things.

We anchored 200 yards from the point, out of the way of the anglers. The tide was very low. For some reason, this is when we see the most fish in the Sea of Cortez. There were immense schools of yellow snappers, some monstrous bar pargos, alas no school of yellowtails.

I almost took a shot at a 30 pound bar pargo. I don’t know if it would have been a record, but it would have been a personal best. I think it felt the my inner conflicts since it fled as soon as our eyes met. It was a wise decision on its part. I would not have trusted me.

I dove the rocks in depths between 15 and 20 meters. The sand was at 21 meters, much shallower than the other points in the same area. Perhaps it was the reason I wasn’t seeing schools of yellowtails. I saw them elsewhere almost every time I landed on sand below 23 meters. They were all small though. I hadn’t seen a large one all season.

I was laying between boulders at about 19 meters when finally I saw a large silhouette. It saw me and fled. I turned the 120 and took the shot within half a second. By that time it was a long shot, but I struck it in the yellow line near the head.

I fought the fish all the way up to keep it out of the boulders. The power of those fish is surprising. I only gave it about 15 meters of reel line since it fought me up the water column.

It really went for it after I got to the surface. It took me back down with ease. That’s when I lost the camera I had on my forehead! I didn’t know it at the time. I barely feel it in general, and never think about it. Down it went, taking incredible images!

Terry Lynn was close by. She helped me find the camera. I knew it couldn’t be very far even with the current, and the visibility was good enough to search a wide area at every dive.
It took about half an hour. It was Terry who finally spotted it next to a boulder. I could hardly believe it when I grabbed it from the sand.