Well we've thrown a few technical tips your way now it's time for a bit of adventure. Thought I would recount a terrific day on the water we had recently to gee you up about going spearfishing.
It seems "crazy", in fact, that was the exact comment from a local fisho as I donned my wetsuit in the wee hours of a recent chilly winters morning. But being a spearo I had made a few observations that may have passed him by. The afternoon before the water from the headland had looked clear and calm, the tide was high around 10am and during the short trip to the beach the fog was sitting listlessly in the valleys. Perfect! It was going to be one of those perfect days on the water.
It is difficult to explain the feeling, but I am sure all you fisho's understand the feeling when you crest the hill heading down to your local boat ramp and there is but a ripple on the ocean.
A quick change of attire into the wetsuit and the well oiled machine that is our beach launching flies into action. FYI if anyone is interested in how we beach launch there is a great "how to" beach launch video on our latest DVD, free with each issue of Spearfishing Downunder Magazine. Check the website for stockists or buy online at www.spearfishingdownunder.com.au.
The chatter of the ripples under the hull is sweet music as the Zodiac, powered by the 50HP E-Tec, races across the bay and we head north up the coast. The HSD reads 12m and I can clearly see the bottom.
It may not be apparent to many fisho's (and Marine Parks), but there are days, even when the weather is fantastic, that you simply cannot dive because the water is too dirty. You simply can't see and it's darn freaky, swimming around in muddy water. So when we get some nice clean water, we get excited!
The first stop is our lobster spot. We refer to it as Cray-Z, because it produces a terrific number of BIG Eastern rock lobster. What the? I can see the bottom from the boat! I fall over the edge of the Zodiac and I can actually see some big antenna waving around on the bottom. First dive brings me down onto the bottom and I peer into a nice crevice and see 5 big lobster peering back at me looking decidedly nervous...as they should be!
Timely reminder that there is an upper size limit on Eastern rock lobster in NSW - it is a carapace length of 180mm (18cm). I have a reasonable idea of what constitutes an oversize lobster and these puppies are way too big so I leave them to go forth and, multiply!
Do not disturb them if you are certain they are oversize, for two reasons. Firstly you can damage them while removing them from the hole and secondly, often if you come back in a day or two the big fellas will still be there, but they will have been joined by 20 legal lobster! Game on.
Not too far away we find another hole and despite having a heap of oversize lobster, there is some really nice, close to max lobster in there. We easily get our bag of 2 - something fisheries need to address given the fact the last three years there has been an increase in the commercial quota, but no increase in the recreational quota. I believe that there is some research going on to ascertain the recreational catch, which hopefully will lead to an address of the inequity currently occurring.
I digress! A quick jaunt into deeper water and the visibility only gets better. First dive on one of my favourite reefs and I find a fish I have been looking for, for 10 years, a massive pearl perch! Later tipping the scales at 4.08kg, ecstatic, would be an understatement. Additionally, the reef is covered in Teraglin which despite diving here for the last 6 years I have never seen before. I manage a nice one at 2.5kg and some fantastic footage of the school shoaling around me. The day is just getting started.
As high tide arrives it is time to move into the coast and find a mulloway, with a bit of luck. Hunting mulloway is a 5 page article in itself, so I'll leave that for another time. I rarely target the really big fish (+15kg), as they IMHO, aren't the best eating, often have worms and are a bugger to fillet. So we are after the <10kg models.
The ocean is lapping the rock around the headland as we happen onto a nice school, I get some sensational footage and pick up a nice 8kg fish. We get one each and then leave them alone. You could go on shooting Mulloway all day but I am a big believer that 1 per day is plenty.
The inclusion of the DVD with the magazine each issue has given me a terrific creative outlet. I have 3 really nice fish in the boat and I grab the camera to film the other guys and the incredible array of fish life we come across throughout the day. pearl perch, mulloway, lobster, teraglin, mangrove jacks, even a rouge winter Spanish mackerel.
Spearfishing Downunder Magazine: Issue #34, some amazing articles, how to, tech tips, etc. Plus, at no extra charge 45 minutes of quality underwater footage from around Australia including the adventure above and footage of species like barramundi, red emperor, mulloway, jobfish, whiting, lobster, coral trout, Venus tuskfish, WA dhufish, Spanish mackerel, pike, southern bluefin tuna...I'm rambling. Check it outReads: 1734