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Freediver, 8 Months Pregnant, Spears Possible World-Record Fish

a black drumA black drum; (photo/Andrea Izzotti, Shutterstock)
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The 40-year-old angler nabbed the potentially record-breaking fish off the coast of Destin, Fla., while diving in 10 feet of water, 8 months pregnant.

Think you’re a badass? Allow us to introduce Julie Augustine, a freediver who recently speared a 37.6-pound black drum during a 45-second dive in Choctawhatchee Bay, off the Destin coast in Florida.

Did we mention she’s pregnant? Eight months pregnant?

“I saw its shadow. In the water and from my vantage point it was a big shadow,” Augustine told the Destin Log while describing the accomplishment.

“So, I took the shot and it was a good shot. I brought it up and I was hoping and praying.”

A good shot indeed. The International Underwater Spearfishing Association lists the current female diver record for black drum in the Sling/Polespear category as 36.3 pounds. U.S. diver Lucie Cardot landed the record fish in 2018.

Augustine utilized a 9-foot Bermudian slip-tip polespear on her prospective record-breaking fish.

“It’s very primitive,” she noted in the Log.

Fish Story

According to the Destin Log, Augustine didn’t set out to break a record on Oct. 1. The opportunity arrived serendipitously after her boat-owning friend Joe D’Agostino spotted a school of fish that some keepers appeared to be swimming in.

“Do you want to go find a world record?” D’Agostino asked.

Augustine was game, and shortly thereafter, she was diving in 10-foot-deep water in tough visibility.

“There were some fish that were bigger than the one I got. On the surface, they were clearly visible, you could see their shape, but then when I got in the water, I couldn’t see the tip of my spear,” she told the Log.

But Augustine prevailed, and Weightmaster Bruce Chevas at the Destin Fishing Rodeo certified the weight. The Destin Log variously reported it as 37.6 and 37.8 pounds.

Expert Swimmer, Spearfishing Newcomer, Devoted Prenatal Mom

Augustine is a former collegiate swimmer and military veteran, but has only been spearfishing for a few years, she told the Log. In the summer of 2020, she took up freediving and hasn’t looked back.

She’s also a physician’s assistant and brings that medical knowledge to her risk assessment while participating in her sport.

“My baby’s health and safety are, have been, and will always be my top priority. I’m blessed to have had a relatively healthy pregnancy. I listen to my body and work closely with my obstetrician to ensure any activity I or we participate in is safe for both of us. If at any point that changes, so will my activities, in or out of the water,” she said.

She plans on naming her son Finn. The wee babe (and future freediving world record setter?) is due on Nov. 15.

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