Interview with John Pengelly
Dual spearfishing world record holder John Pengelly joins us and shares the tales of these two special fish taken from the waters of French Polysnesia. On his second day in the Austral Islands John took the opportunity to shoot a 137 lb or 62.6 kg Wahoo that beat out the former record by more than 12lbs. As if the Wahoo wasn’t enough John went out again and shot a 240 lb or 109 kg Dogtooth Tuna smashing the former 91kg, 200.4 lb model taken by former guest on the show Cameron Kirkconnell in Indonesia. This interview is packed full of practical information and ideas to improve your spearfishing. Listen in!
John Pengelly Spearfishing Dogooth World Record 240 lb or 109 kg
Key takeaways for me from this interview
- Opportunity (good and bad) comes when you least expect it
- Body positioning for pelagics + shot placement is crucial (listen for further detail)
- Stay calm in tough situations by doing the best you can with what you’ve got + keep a good first aid kit
- Taking a world record. Using certified scales and taking the second shot with a speargun you loaded yourself
- Prepare your gear a week in advance of a big trip
As if this bloke wasn’t cool enough with two impressive world record fish he then had to go and get himself a girlfriend that loves spearfishing as well (I’m glad she gave him some encouragement to come on the show:)Thanks for giving him a push Hilary!
Down to earth, relaxed and insightful. That was my impression of John after an hour chatting with him on this interview. Listen in for some awesome tips and insights from John Pengelly!
Episode Time Stamps
5:00 How John started spearfishing
7:00 First memorable fish and learning how to start regularly spearfishing Coral Trout. We have a good discussion about learning early hunting techniques
11:00 French Polynesia – a trip straight off the back of an (unsuccessful) trip to Norfolk Island. John was working at Ocean Hunter in New Zealand at the time when he was given the opportunity to head over and hunt with well regarded spearfishing Gerard Grave aka “G” in the Austral Islands G’s French Polynesian backyard. This is one hell of a story about one hell of a trip. Two very special fish taken over several days.
38:00 What were your major struggles when you started spearfishing?
- Inadequate information
- Freediving and pushing breath-hold with mates
What helped with your spearfishing?
- Freedive pool training, USFA safety video (link below), mentors and experienced spearos
41:00 What are your current spearfishing challenges?
45:00 What is your favorite spearfishing hunting technique and how do you apply it effectively?
- Be relaxed and keep your body language calm. Slow movements
- Take in your surroundings and get out of the ‘seek and destroy’ mentality
- Learn fish body language. Watch and observe before pulling the trigger
- Coral Trout – approach them from the top in free fall. Especially for the cagey big ones!
- Adopt the attitude that going home empty handed is ok
50:00 What has been your toughest situation in the ocean? (we get 3!)
- A mate blacking out in Johns early days and timely rescue
- John’s been attacked by a Bull Shark off Lamont Reef
- A mate falling 7 meters from a rock and landed on his head
66:00 Veterans Vault – Understanding the Oceans Cycles
- Don’t believe everything you hear
- Keep a Dive Log
- Develop your own forecasting methods
- Learn to enjoy the whole spearfishing process
75:00 Whats the funniest moment you’ve had out spearfishing?
79:00 What is in your spearfishing divebag?
82:00 Spearo Q&A
- What is the single best piece of advice you’ve been given spearfishing?
- Who has been the most influential person in your spearfishing?
- During your 11 years spearfishing what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
- What does the spearfishing experience mean to you in one sentence?
- Who is the best person to go spearfishing with and why?
Mentioned in the show
- Erez Beatus freediving video
- Wayne Judge
- Spearfishing guide Gerard Grave ‘G’
- Brett Vercoe – Liquid Focus
- Weatherwatch APP
- Westpac Rescue Helicopter
- Air Sea Rescue men and women everywhere
- RACQ Rescue Helicopter
- RACQ Life Flight
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