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How to spearfish Gilthead bream

gilthead-breamThe Gilthead. NOT guilthead! Named for the gold stripe on the forehead hence ‘gilt’. An infrequent visitor to our waters with an obsessive spearfishing following. Sometimes called the ‘Golden One’ this is perhaps out most prized target and many spearos strive to encounter one of these elusive fish.

The current British Record for Gilthead is 3.34 Kg, held by Crystal Vis’ very own Titus. The fish grow much bigger than this however and some 15lb plus fish were seen this year off Portland.

When to catch gilthead:

We have encountered Giltheads infrequently between June and October off the South Coast

Where to catch gilthead:

The Giltheads seem to favour the South Coast. Specimens have been seen off the Dorset Coast and as far West as the Eddystone. They are natives of the Mediterranean so presumably come here for a holiday.

Behaviour and hunting:

Giltheads are very difficult fish. They favour deep water and flat bottoms with little or no cover. They will often be seen hanging behind a shoal of black bream, being even more cautious.

Giltheads are fast moving, powerful and very nervous. We have rarely encountered them in depths less than 20m.

Our approach to Giltheads is one of firepower and great depth! A powerful fish that will never come close demands a powerful gun. Our Giltheads were caught with guns 110-140cm. A dive to 20m+ on the mussle beds may just produce a fleeting sighting of a Gilthead. A long range shot is the best approach as it is unsafe to hang around too long at these depths. Do not dive beyond your competence in search of these fish.

A Dive Report

Final moments of the current Gilthead Record

“Ghosting down at 22m, it was dark despite the 6m plus vis. A vast shoal of black bream whirled about like a carnival downtide of me on the mussle beds. Time was definitely ticking and as I was looking for a target in the dense mass of fish, I saw a huge gillplate moving from left to right. The size and colour suggested a 15 pound plus bass, so I lined up the 140 to fire. As I was about to shoot I saw that it was not a huge bass but a much shorter and stumpier fish. Fortunately the hit was good as it was a stuggle to bring the powerful fish up from such deep water. The very long shooting line of the 140 definitely helped. Moments later the new British Record Gilthead was on the boat!”


11/10 absolutely amazing!!!

Weapon of choice:

Rob Allen 140cm Carbon with double 16mm rubbers and 7.5mm spear

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