Today’s interview is with Brian Fern, aka @Unkolearnuhow from Hawaii! He has a genuine wealth of knowledge on gear and diving from his almost 40 years of spearfishing with a particular mindset towards sustainability and safety. In Hawaii, spearfishing is seen as more of a lifestyle than a sport – that shows in the way he speaks about spearfishing and guides others into it. He is a big advocate for buddy diving and gives us some actionable tips on how to dive safely and more effectively, how to handle Noob Spearos that don’t know much about safety and how to confront experienced spearos that have unsafe dive practices. He even has some advice on avoiding and treating ciguatera poisoning! Have a listen and let us know what you think! We need to get Brian back for a 2nd episode, we didn’t have time to get through everything we wanted to speak about!
01:50 Spencer Allen on 99 Spearo Recipes
04:53 Hello and welcome Brian!
06:24 Spearfishing in Hawaii is more of a lifestyle than a sport
08:08 Hawaiians seem very connected to their environment, is this true or just the tourists view?
10:40 Invasive species
12:25 Ciguatera poisoning
13:34 What was your experience of that and how did you treat it?
16:11 Alcohol and coffee making the symptoms worse
17:11 When did you start spearfishing?
19:12 Pole spears
21:42 There’s no such thing as a shit fish, only a shit cook – do you agree?
22:17 Staple fish species
23:40 You have super clear water which presents it’s own challenges
25:40 How did you develop your freediving to be able to hunt those fish and be safe?
28:50 “I want to dive like Ryan Myers – how long will that take me to learn?”
33:10 Learning to be patient
36:15 Diving with better divers
38:37 What about diving with someone that doesn’t listen to good advice?
40:32 Learning through time and observation – how to not suck at spearfishing
41:30 Diving with bad buddies – have a game plan on the shore
42:54 How do you dive with people who can’t dive as deep as you can?
44:10 How do you confront experienced divers that have bad dive practices? The dangers of experience and ego
47:40 Wrapping up buddy diving – have a partner that’s at or just above your skill level
49:18 Struggling to do one up and one down? Dive with 1 gun!
51:51 Understanding variable conditions – what do spearos need to understand about reading conditions?
54:03 How do people find spearing mentors in Hawaii?
55:59 Spearfishing clubs
57:27 How do you confront people that have decided that they know enough?
58:16 Conditions: you need to learn from local divers – talk to life guards
01:00:03 Online weather resources
01:00:56 How do you know when you are too deep?
01:03:22 The right equipment for the right job
01:05:19 Financial barrier to entry – if you have the wrong gear, you are risking your life
01:08:21 Mannysub – what do you like about his gear? Premium gear that’s been well designed with great customer service
01:14:57 Before hunting with a new gun – DO SOME TARGET PRACTICE – properly powering your gun
01:18:16 Pipe guns vs wood guns
01:20:00 Price is a big influence – rigging and using your speargun is a big thing to learn. Mannysub gives you instruction manuals with their spearguns
01:21:32 Mannysub roller conversion kit – Brian is the US and Hawaii rep
01:23:04 How do people reach out and find you and your gear? Rollerspearguns.com and unkolearnuhow.com
01:23:56 We are out of time – thanks for being on the show!
Today’s interview is with Lisa Ferrier Rafkin, a badass and frothing speara that holds 15 women’s world records! Join us as we chat about her journey in spearfishing, her struggles, memorable fish and some great tips for hunting pelagic fish species and staying safe! She is part of the Sea of Love Foundation where she teaches children to spearfish! She is clearly exceptionally talented at spearfishing and although she hasn’t been doing it for very long, she has a lot that you can learn from when it comes to technique, overcoming challenges and caring for your catch. The species on her list are things like Bluefin Tuna, Roosterfish and big yellow tail to name a few, if you are interested in hunting bigger game fish this is a great episode to listen to!
05:12 Hello and welcome! Tell us about the Sea Of Love Foundation
06:19 You are softhearted in the day and a badass spearfisher at night! You have 15x women’s world records!
08:12 What draws you to the ocean?
08:57 Your work takes a toll on you, is spearfishing a type of therapy for you?
10:28 What’s your earliest spearfishing memory?
12:24 You started a new sport at a late age, how did you find the process of starting new?
14:21 Starting with very competent people can be intimidating
15:56 I got my first blue water gun in 2016 after a lot of diving
17:41 What is a “paddy”? If there’s a bird on it, it’s a good sign!
18:46 What size are we talking?
20:10 How do you approach a paddy?
21:23 Explain the hunting around a paddy
22:23 Undersized yellowtail “rats”
23:17 What does ethical spearfishing mean to you?
24:30 Your awareness of the ethics become nuanced as you develop in your spearfishing
28:05 What was it like learning to freedive at 52?
29:32 Duck dive technique is a huge thing
30:23 What’s the first hunt that stands out in your memory?
32:17 Have you had a problem with shot placement with bigger yellowtail?
33:45 Loading a speargun
35:31 Sometimes you need to struggle
37:44 Dealing with excitement when you find a great fish
39:42 The missed opportunities keep you coming back
40:27 Pulling fish in on your shooting line, it takes practice
42:14 Dorado/mahi mahi really test you and your team
43:14 As a novice hunting Bluefin Tuna, what advice do you have?
46:31 Watch where your line is!
47:08 Are you using a clutch setup? Yes!
48:53 Do Bluefin dive deep when they get scared?
52:42 What tough/scary situations have you had? Getting wrapped in line
59:05 Black Sea Bass
59:57 People wonder how we can love animals so much and still hunt and eat them
01:03:06 Equipment: Riffe speargun and wetsuit
01:04:23 I don’t use a low volume mask, my scuba mask just fits perfectly and I have problems with all the low volume makes I’ve used
01:07:00 Do you do any pool training?
01:08:10 Getting a little extra depth opens up bigger fish and the problem with comparison in spearfishing
01:10:06 Dive within your limits and shallow water blackouts
0:11:24 When I take people to hunt bigger fish I make sure they keep there surface to diving ratio good
01:14:37 Funny stuff!
01:16:53 Lessons learned for drift diving
01:17:41 Shooting a 56lb Roosterfish and almost losing all my gear
01:19:08 What do they taste like?
01:19:53 Bluefin tuna: caring and processing is different than for other fish
01:22:02 Dry aging fish
01:24:49 Treating fish well is an important thing
01:26:37 Spearo Q&A
Single best tip: using pink bands, seriously! It attracts fish!
Who’s been the most influential person in your spearfishing?
If you had to start spearfishing all over again, what would you do differently?
Describe what the spearfishing experience means to you.
01:30:30 Where can people find you on social media?
Today’s interview is with Daniel Semrad of the Oregon Freediving Company! He is a world record holding spearfishing and freediving instructor that is also be an award winning teacher! He now runs the Oregon Freediving Company with his wife Talya who also holds spearfishing world records and is a competitive freediver representing South Africa! They train in some great conditions, we’re talking about dirty and 6-10 degree water! Listen in as we chat about spearfishing in Oregon, running a freediving shop and teaching students, hunting techniques, exercises and dry training to benefit your diving and a whole lot more. Dan is an awesome guy and a great diver, let us know what you think of this episode!
04:03 Hello and welcome Daniel Semrad! Tell us about the freediving/spearfishing community in Oregon
06:08 You’re a freedive instructor, how did you get there?
07:47 You won the Excite Award from MIT for being an exciting teacher
10:30 Water conditions in Oregon
11:38 What suit do you wear in your 6-10 degree water?
13:23 You probably spend a lot of time in the pool with conditions like that. How do you run your courses?
15:14 Buddy protocols in dirty water, what are you teaching your students?
17:56 What role do static exercises play in spearfishing?
19:25 When you feel you need to speed up, slow down. How did this become a reality to you?
22:22 My Octopus Teacher – has that impacted the amount of your customers?
24:09 Talya Davidoff is your wife, she is an accomplished spearo (3x world records) and competitive freediver too
25:10 Tell us about your records
28:38 What does your spearfishing consist of these days?
30:08 Walk us through a great day spearfishing for you
32:22 Purple urchins, are they bad over there?
33:48 Are they good eating?
34:50 Fisheries management
37:16 Hunting in Oregon: what species and how do you hunt them?
39:42 What are the telltale signs of the species you look for? Type of rock, seaweed, coral or animals.
42:17 You are covering a lot of ground looking for fish
43:03 I don’t like statics or aspetto spearfishing: hunting in Hawaii and Alaska
45:58 Gear: what do you use? You mentioned using a pole spear
47:19 Do you guys like smoking fish up there?
49:20 Scary stuff: have you had any close calls?
52:08 Spearfishing off a kayak: lessons learned from bad situations
55:22 What obstacles did you find in your spearfishing?
56:46 The delicate balance of doing freediving/spearfishing as a job, how do you balance it?
01:01:04 Understanding weather conditions and making predictions: how to predict visibility
01:03:45 Have you kept a dive log for spearfishing?
01:04:53 You have some back health issues? What do you do in the gym?
01:06:44 What cross training has been relevant for spearfishing and freediving?
01:08:30 Dry training can be hard to maintain, have you found the same?
01:09:22 Training resources for dry training
01:10:35 What yoga do you do?
01:11:34 Hate for spearfishing: what criticisms have you got for spearfishing and how do you respond?
01:13:39 Spearfishing on scuba vs freediving
01:14:44 Funny stuff
01:16:38 What’s in your dive bag? Wetsuit, gloves, fins, dive computer, weights, speargun and pole spear, shooting line, buoys/floats and lines, etc.
01:24:08 Do you teach spearo etiquette?
01:25:19 Spearo Q&A
Single best spearfishing tip: slow down!
What does the spearfishing experience mean to you? Hit the reset button
Who’s been the most influential people in your community? My local community
Where in the world would you like to go spearfishing? South Africa and Australia
01:27:30 Where can people find you and where is your shop?
01:29:23 Are you running courses again?
01:30:15 Outro and last notes that Daniel didn’t mention
Today’s interview is with Lyndsay Lyon from Ocean Guardian, originally and probably better known as Shark Shield! They make a range of products that are designed to make ocean activities safer and to decrease the amount of shark attacks on humans. It works by creating an electrical field that surrounds the diver or surfer that causes a distinct and noticeable reaction in certain types of sharks (namely the ones we humans have trouble with, Great White, Bull Shark, Tiger Shark) and causes them to turn away. Now, making a product that aims to stop shark attacks is a big claim and needs to be backed up by solid evidence and rigorous testing. We had a ton of questions from our community asking the questions that everyone wants to know: Will this stop a Great White from biting me? How close do the sharks need to get for these products to work? Can I trust my life to this?
If you are wondering at all about any of these questions, have a listen to this episode and it will answer all these and more! In the links below are several videos of these products being tested and you can see for yourself just how effective they are.
05:00 Hello Lyndsay! Where did the name change come from?
06:42 How did you get involved with Terra Australis and Andre Rerekura?
07:50 Terra Australis did a test with the surf board product
09:00 Tell us about how sharks sense the world and how Ocean Guardian affects sharks
10:47 Do they see in colour?
12:12 What scientific studies have been done? Many marine animals use electrical fields
15:14 What is the effective range?
17:44 What is the shark’s physiological reaction to the electrical field?
18:35 Has anyone been bitten while wearing one? What guarantee is there?
21:15 National Geographic has a good video on this with Chris Hemsworth
23:15 Use this as a risk mitigation strategy
24:07 What species are they most effective on? Only 3 main sharks that are a real concern to humans, Great Whites, Bull and Tiger sharks
25:41 Oceanic White Tips and Reef sharks and Mako’s, are they effective against them?
27:04 Installing the device into your fins
28:33 Have you thought about partnering with fin companies? Why a fin isn’t the best option
31:00 Handheld device for spearos
32:14 Problems with the first handheld Sharkshield
33:53 We are in a very small industry
37:06 Version 2.0 of the eSPEAR
38:15 Surfers are the highest risk
38:45 Bubbles also scare sharks
39:24 Shark barrier to replace shark nets
39:56 Does this interfere with other animals?
41:01 Government perspective on drum lines and shark nets
43:00 WA government actually gives you money to buy shark deterrents
43:58 Shark Eyes
46:20 Is there a maximum size shark it will work on?
Image by @sharkyaerials – The Ampullae of Lorenzini
48:00 Does 1 diver wearing this device put the others at a higher risk?
50:26 Hanging the device on your float or stringer
51:32 What are the long term effects on humans at depth?
53:21 Sharks seem to be more aggressive on the surface
54:52 I see more sharks with my shield on than without
56:40 The inverse square law and how far the field can be detected
57:39 Sharks can only sense electrical fields about 50cm away
01:00: Does the device emit a vibration?
01:00:55 Can these devices aggravate the sharks more?
01:02:46 Practicalities of using this in kelp or on coral reefs
01:04:44 Floating the device
01:06:45 How has Covid affected your business?
01:08:33 Adding an interchangeable battery
01:09:47 Shock protection?
01:11:23 Helping shark attack survivors get back into the water: The Bite Club on Facebook
01:15:13 How do you store the device?
01:16:00 How do you check the charge?
01:17:23 Auto-inflating vest for black out protection
01:18:30 What reduces the effectiveness?
01:20:09 How does it attach to you?
01:20:58 When will you have stock again and where can I buy them + servicing
01:25:08 What is the future for Ocean Guardian?
01:26:26 What’s your ultimate vision for Ocean Guardian?
How to upgrade your speargun and miss less fish! Today’s episode is with the Coatesman, Chris Coates! He and Shrek talk about accurizing, it is a word, the process of making your speargun accurate. They go through common speargun problems, shooting line, choice of brand, aiming techniques and much more. We rely heavily on our gear when spearfishing, this episode is all about making sure your hardware is working as best as it can. Roller guns vs traditional spearguns, barbs, bent shafts, mono vs dyneema and everything you need to know to upgrade your speargun, aim better and miss less fish!
Interested in roller guns? He has been the authority on roller’s for a while now and has released a great video series on Youtube and his website called Unrolling The Roller, it’s everything you need to know about roller guns!
What accuracy issues have you experienced? How did you solve them? Let us know in the comments!
00:14 Welcome to the show
05:15 Welcome back Chris Coatesman!
06:09 Spearfishing equipment cannot come back through the door
08:28 Every spearo has accuracy issues
09:53 The difference between weekend warriors and competitive spearos
11:02 First place to look, is your shaft straight?
12:15 I dive with at least 2 guns
14:20 Using the correct shaft
16:39 Why I use Rob Allen gear
19:08 Bro science vs engineering, practicality trumps the science
24:15 When buying a gun, make sure the shaft is aligned
25:11 I don’t make shafts and I don’t have handles
27:10 The downsides of homemade gear, don’t just make things cheaper, make them better
30:57 Next thing to look at is tuning your barb
33:20 There is a reason you work through troubleshooting in a specific order
35:30 Wishbones and shooting line, dyneema vs mono
44:42 Keep your guns the same
46:39 You can’t compare speargun prices to other sports. A speargun will last you 10 years if you do it right
48:27 Remove all doubt, have gear you can rely on. Carry spare parts
53:20 Fail fast and move on. Know where the issue is