Freediver breaks world record in Destin, FL for red snapper

Skye Bailey has done it again!

Just 3 days ago, the Mississippi-born freediver set the speargun and pole spear world record. And as of Wednesday afternoon, she broke her own world record for the largest red snapper caught on a pole spear.

And the best part? It happened in the Bay just off of Destin, Fl.!

“I started freediving in 2014”, Bailey told Get The Coast on Wednesday night. “My husband and his friends transitioned from SCUBA to freediving a year or so before, and I never thought it was something I could do. I took the Level 1 Freediver course at Benthic Ocean Sports in Destin, FL and have been hooked ever since!”

Skye Bailey with red snapper (source via Alex Fogg)

Yesterday was not a normal trip for Skye. Her husband, Kyle, called her around 4pm and asked if she wanted hit some dive spots in the Bay after she got off of work. She loaded up her gear, met them at the dock and was in the water shooting the fish 15 minutes later.

“We were diving a spot that had a lot of tires stacked on top of each other”, said Bailey. “Kyle spotted a few red snapper sitting inside the tires. I dove down, picked the biggest one a took a shot with my pole spear. It definitely hit the snapper but my slip tip didn’t stick for some reason. I came up for a breath, a little confused. Kyle made a dive back down to see if it was in the same spot.

Skye Bailey with red snapper (source via Alex Fogg)

“DIVE! DIVE NOW!”

Kyle came back up to the surface yelling, “DIVE! DIVE NOW! You hurt it and it can’t swim well.”

Bailey continued.

“So I took one big breath, dove down and looked around. Sure enough, it was twitching and half swimming around the reef. I had hit it in the backbone the first time which is why my slip tip didn’t engage. So I took another shot and got it the second time! I brought it to the boat thinking it was way smaller than it ended up being.”

Skye Bailey with red snapper (source via Alex Fogg)

Bailey’s previous red snapper world record was 15.2 lbs. that she set in May 2018. Wednesday’s red snapper weighed in at 16.5 lbs. and 29” long.

Skye hails from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She and her husband moved to Destin in 2018.

source via Alex Fogg

Did you know there are snorkel reefs just off of Okaloosa Island?

If you want to learn more about where to dive and fish artificial reefs like the Bay Cones, click here to view the map.

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