An expectant mother has inspired women, fishing enthusiasts, and others after pole-spearing a possible world record fish while freediving at eight months pregnant.
Julie Augustine, 40, of Destin, Florida, captured a 37.6-pound black drum with her nine-foot polespear on Oct. 1, 2022. The incredible catch is pending a world record certification from the International Underwater Spearfishing Association.
Augustine told Fox News Digital in a phone interview, “I’ve been approached by several individuals who recognize me, and they will come up and share how inspiring my story has been to them and how it’s motivated them to get off the couch and do something that they wouldn’t have normally done after reading what I was able to do while pregnant.”
“It’s one of the most beautiful, special things to come out of this,” she said.
Augustine is a physician assistant and an Air Force veteran. She began freediving after she took a free diver safety course in 2020 and earned her certification.
Augustine said didn’t have the most outdoorsy background growing up, but she was open to pole spearing because she was looking for a watersport to help stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During her pregnancy, Augustine said she cut back on her dives as a precaution against sharks.
Augustine explained, “During the warmer months, like in August, it gets quite sharky. The bull sharks love to be around where people are fishing.”
The black drum fish she caught was the first time she had been back in the water since her fifth month of pregnancy, according to Augustine.
According to Augustine, pole spearing is one of the “more primitive” and “not as maneuverable” spearfishing methods when compared to spear guns.
“On the polespear I use, you basically just have the three components, which is the spear tip, the shaft, and then the band on the back,” she stated.
“The way you load it, you reach back, grab the band with one hand, and then you just pull up as far onto the shaft of the spear as you can, and all the ‘connect energy’ is stored within that band within your arm.”
“You have to get a lot closer to what you’re hunting to try to get a good shot,” she continued.
Catching fish with a polespear can attract sharks, so Augustine advises all spearfishers to dive with a buddy or crew so someone can be on the lookout for wildlife or other potentially dangerous situations.
“When you actually spear the fish, of course, there’s that adrenaline spike there. But, as far as freediving goes, you have to be in an almost meditative state where you’re slowing down your breathing, and you’re slowing down your heart rate,” Augustine said.
“One of the best things that you can do in pregnancy is to de-stress and remain calm.”
Augustine said she’s happy she’s been able to maintain a calm environment for her first baby and has listened to her body and obstetrician.
Augustine stated that she hopes other women who hear her story realize they don’t have to give up an opportunity or experience due to age or pregnancy.