The 2004-05 season was Chris Mihm’s first as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers organization. Over the course of the 82 game season, Mihm showed Lakers fans his ability to play with both great precision and skill. Just this past July Chris took a vacation to remember, accepting an invitation from former teammate Brian Grant to take part in an extraordinary fishing adventure in the Bahamas. What set this fishing expedition apart from the rest was this trip not only consisted of typical fishing from a boat, but also included free dive spear fishing. What is free diving you may ask? Free diving is when you dive deep under water without the aid of scuba equipment. Did you know Chris would do this? Well, the truth is, neither did he before this experience.
Upon leaving the seaboard Chris and the guys quickly got into the action, dropping fishing lines off the back of the boat in the hopes of catching a kind of tuna called mahi mahi. “The first day on the water we did some mahi mahi fishing on our way over to Bimini,” said Mihm with a smile. “And once we hit a school we would stop the boat, throw our lines, with everyone manning their own fishing rods, and do some actual fishing.” Mihm recalls the group catching somewhere between 20 and 25 tuna the first day alone.
Arriving at their destination later that day after a successful day of fishing, Grant and his family slept on board the ship, spread out between the boat’s three staterooms, while the remaining sailors slept in one of three beachside condos rented on South Bimini Island.
The morning of the trip’s first full day in Bimini began with technical instruction by an accomplished free diver appropriately nicknamed “Frog.” Mihm has long been a fan of the water, and has always felt comfortable in the ocean, but did not know how he would do with the sport of free diving. With expert instruction from the trip’s guide, Chris was taught the proper breathing techniques, how to stay calm deep under water, how to operate a Hawaiian sling used to spear the fish, and how to swim close to the fish without scaring them away. With an eagerness to put to use what he had learned, Chris and the group were in the water within a couple of hours, free diving and spearing fish at depths of 25 feet below the surface. As Chris and the group grew more comfortable in the water, the guide would take them to deeper water. Later on the trip Chris would graduate to diving to depths as low as 40-50 feet below on the final day, a feat that really impressed everyone on the trip.
The first day Chris speared a few fish that ranged in size from five to 15 pounds, hunting for larger targets as he gained more experience and confidence. Diving down to the bottom and staying submerged at the bottom for as long as 10 seconds, Chris did not have much time to locate a target and fire before having to swim to the surface to catch a breath. “It really is a great sport,” Mihm remembers, “But it was fun just sitting back and watching our guide sometimes. He could stay down under water for a well over a minute, while 50 feet deep, searching for fish hiding in the reefs with a flashlight. It was something I will never forget.”
On the return trip back to Miami the group did some deep sea fishing for red snapper, dropping lines to depths of 1,100 feet, reeling in over 20 fish. “It was a great trip, I had a blast” Mihm says following a three hour workout at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo. “I was really pleased with myself being able to dive as deep as I did, and the guides even said I was a natural and were sad that I had to leave.”
It was a trip Chris felt lucky to have been apart of, and one he was pleased to be able to share with fans.