Tom Yum soup usually uses prawns as the main protein but octopus works a treat as an addition or as an alternative. Octopus can turn tough if overcooked. Freezing them for a week helps tenderize them.
The soup is easily made but if Tom Yum paste is readily available, use it. Octopus can be caught wading in rock pools or freediving reefs and weed beds. They can be tickled out of their caves with a spear disconnected from the gun.
Deryck Tan with Perth Octopus
350g (12oz) whole prawns
750ml (3 cups) water
125ml (0.5 cups) chicken stock
3 slices galangal*
3 lemongrass stalks, crushed
5 kaffir lime leaves, crushed
2 chillies, preferably birds eye
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 octopus, cleaned and if desired, cut into bite sized pieces
120g (4oz) mushrooms, preferably oyster
1 tomato, diced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
* The best substitute for galangal is to use 1 tbsp fresh ginger root with 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
Shell the prawns
Place water and chicken stock in a pot
Add prawn heads and shells, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chilies and garlic*
Simmer for 10 minutes
Strain the broth
Add mushrooms, tomato and onions to the broth and simmer for 4 minutes
Add prawns and octopus and simmer for 1 minute
Add lime juice and adjust the taste to suit
Garnish with coriander
If Tom Yum paste is readily available, make the soup with it according to instructions and then add the mushrooms, tomato, onion and octopus
Hot smoking fish is easy once you get a few things nailed, and should be embraced and not avoided. Brining greatly improves the texture and taste of any smoked fish. Keep it simple with an easy salt brine for just one hour.
Serve the finished smoked spanish mackerel hot with vegetables, with salad or in a wrap. It’s always great. When cooled and refrigerated the smoked fish will keep for at least a week so can be used in a multitude of dishes until you can get out to dive again!
2kg (4.4lb) spanish mackerel fillet
1 cup (300g) salt
6 cups water
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 handful hardwood sawdust
Make a brine by mixing the salt and water, making sure all the salt is dissolved.
Cut fish into 20mm (1In) medallions, leaving the skin on.
Soak fish in brine for one hour, make sure it is fully submerged.
Remove the fish from the brine. Pat it dry and then sprinkle on brown sugar and rub it into the medallions.
Place the medallions in a hot smoker and cook for 18 minutes then turn off heat (Consult the how to Hot Smoke fish section for more details)
Leave fish in the smoker, without removing the lid, for another 8 minutes
The smoked fish is then ready to serve, or remove and cool to use later.
James Sakker was the spearo chef behind this creation (and many others). James is Mid-North NSW coast veteran spearo who has a YouTube channel full of his adventures chasing donkey Lobster, shooting class Jewfish and all delivered with class banter and commentary. Subscribe to his channel Catch it Cook it Grow it
Did you know that spearfishing almost became an Olympic sport? Spearfishing came close to being recognized as an Olympic sport in the 1960s, but unfortunately, it never actually happened.
Spears have been used for fishing since the stone age. Like anything else, freediving or spearfishing requires discipline and perseverance to get better at it.
Becoming a proficient spearo requires a great deal of training, practice, and experience. Another thing you need to master as a diver is your breathing. Proper breath hold is essential while remaining underwater.
This article offers tips on holding your breath longer when spearfishing and explains the benefits of proper breathing techniques for a spearo.
Proper breathing techniques are essential when free diving or spearfishing because they can affect your body’s physical performance if done incorrectly AND more importantly can kill you (hyperventilation directly causes shallow water blackout and is one the greatest risks to a spearo). Consistently practicing dry-training exercises can help you hold your breath longer while spearfishing.
If you want to know more about improving your breath-hold, check out freediving questions answered by Adam Stern. You can also read more below to learn tips on holding your breath longer.
Another primary concern for freedivers is dehydration. A freediver can be at risk of dehydration due to overactive sweat glands. These overactive sweat glands can make divers sweat profusely in a wetsuit. As a diver, it is crucial to stay hydrated before going underwater. We recommend Aqualyte, an Australian made product tailored for people who pursue high exertion/high dehydration activities like spearfishing. Noob Spearo are an affiliate for Aqualyte so the GOOD news is;
You get a discount! Use the code: NOOBSPEARO at checkout to save
Tips to Improve Your Breath-Hold
If you want to improve your breath-hold time, do it gradually. Be careful to avoid overdoing it, and proceed at a comfortable pace. Remember to relax and allow your breathing to return to normal (tidal breathing) if you feel dizzy.
Try these tips if you want to hold your breath longer than your usual.
1. Try practicing your breath-hold at home.
You can practice breath-hold dives in your own home by practicing dry training. This training allows you to practice freediving breath-hold from the comfort of your home.
You can practice the three parts of a breath-hold dive while lying in bed or on your sofa. Learn how to practice full breaths, breath-up (cadenced breathing), and recovery (hook) breathing.
2. Exercise regularly to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Remember that the lungs are an air tank and can only hold so much air. Although your lung capacity is determined by genetics (and how flexible your rib cage is), you can increase it through cardiovascular training.
Cardiovascular exercises are the best way to improve your overall fitness. By practicing some exercises while holding your breath (think safety!), you will develop the ability to hold your breath longer and improve efficiency. Prolonged cardio exercise can help you build lung capacity.
3. You can hire a coach or a professional instructor.
If you are interested in freediving, look for a local training center and check out their courses. When you learn freediving, not only will you be able to enjoy the sport yourself, but you’ll also be part of a community of active freedivers.
Freediving is a lifestyle and an enjoyable sport. Investing in an excellent coach is key to becoming the best freediver you can be.
Importance of Proper Breathing Techniques When Diving
Our lungs have an incredible ability to adapt during exercise. When the need for oxygen rises, our lungs expand and take in more.
Breathing training can teach you to take in more and if you practice O2 exercises, you can extend your hypoxic threshold and make your body use oxygen more efficiently.
Blood oxygenation happens when oxygen enters your body during inhalation and is carried by the blood to every part of your vital system.
When oxygen gets into your bloodstream, it travels to cells all over your system to create energy and sustain your body. Proper breathing techniques are not only important for swimming or diving but also for everyday life.
Muscles need oxygen whenever physical activity is involved, so we tend to breathe heavily and rapidly when running or walking. This is caused by increased CO2. Your tolerance to CO2 can also be improved with training and you can learn to understand the urge to breathe in your own body through training.
Another benefit from proper breathing techniques is that it can help you release tension when exhaling while swimming. This release helps you swim more efficiently and conserve energy, making every stroke count. When you resurface after a dive and have finished recovery breathing, allow your body to return to normative breathing – we call this tidal breathing. Your breathing should be easy and relaxed, exhale away any tension and enjoy the benefits on your next dive.
As you can see, breath control and understanding is important and beneficial for spearfishing. It is one of the most basic things you can focus on to improve your proficiency for spearfishing.
However, always remember that mastering your breathing techniques requires time and dedication. Don’t be in a huge rush just to improve your breath-hold, learn to hunt with whatever your capability is now and enjoy the journey.
Be patient and work persistently. It may take you years to master proper breath control and relaxation, but what you learn during your training can make a big difference in your spearfishing journey.
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