The Path Of The Jedi – The Benthic Boys – Mike Pooler & Joe D’Agostino
The Path Of The Jedi – The Benthic Boys – Mike Pooler & Joe D’Agostino | Mike Pooler is the owner/operator of Benthic Ocean Sports in Destin, Florida; and Joe D’Agostino is his chief Freediving Instructor International (FII) Instructor there. Additionally, Benthic Ocean Sports services all freediving Spearo needs for the Florida Panhandle and South-East US with the highest quality hardware from all over the world. These guys are an FII-accredited institution and are absolute legends! They instruct Levels 1 & 2, a Waterman Survival Course, and a Spearfishing Course, among many others that they do privately for some of the military folks in the FL panhandle.
Mike and Joe are seasoned Spearos and have had some *seriously* impressive Pelagics on the other end of their spearguns! These guys shoot some of the largest and most epic fish available in Gulf of Mexico waters, and his Chief Instructor Joe D’Agostino instructs and travels throughout the freediving and spearfishing community worldwide. We’re sure you’re going to enjoy this conversation!
11:00 Early Obstacles
14:00 What is “Benthic”?
15:00 How did you get involved and put together as a Freediving Shop?
16:00 The Path Of The Jedi
22:00 Favorite species to hunt…tune in for the Panhandle’s most desirable species
27:00 FL Panhandle’s Freedive Spearo Club – Agua Verdes
30:00 Tough situations out in Blue Water
44:00 Veterans Vault: Dyneema vs Mono | Timber vs Pipe | Equipment Discussion
Americans with wood guns and mono…what are you guys doing?
The Benthic Boys think Dyneema is the right stuff – why?
Line memory – what is it?
Critical knots to use and why.
“Game Changer” – what’s a quick-disconnect knot and why’s it important?
Line management and tangles
Reels vs. Floatlines
Reel Gun safety – Tension, tension, tension!
Don’t be married to your equipment – “You can buy a new gun, you can’t buy a new Mike!”
The importance of education and safety within the freedive spearfishing community
Best Buddy Practices – “Finality is Reality”
Minimum safety requirements – One up-One down, learn your buddy’s “dive profile”
Courses offered at Benthic Ocean Sports (FII Levels 1 and 2, Waterman Course, Spearfishing Course
The mental and physical benefits to spearfishing
80:00 Spearo Q&A
What separates you from other spearos?
What is the spearfishing destination you’d most like to visit?
Most influential person in your spearfishing journey?
Connect with Mike Pooler & Joe D’Agostino at Benthic Ocean Sports @
This chat is a panel interview with 4 people passionate and highly educated in Marine Science. We chat about fish fecundity, parasites, equilibrium, threats to the ocean, and best of all, how you can get involved making our oceans healthier. Listen in to a great yarn:)
In this interview with Neptonics madman Jerry Guerra we get right into equipment. We chat speargun components, rigging FO-Pars & points of difference, proprietary Neptonics gear and more. But it’s not limited to equipment. Jerry has a very effective style for explaining core hunting strategies and ideas and I learned a sh#t tonne. This interview is killer. Listen in and Subscribe!
Neptonics is a brand well know for high quality spearfishing equipment. They specialize in high grade speargun components and have their own patented and unique equipment. Jerry Guerra’s journey started with his own shop in 2004 and eventually he joined forces with Neptonics and became an owner of the business. Learn more at neptonics.com
3:00 Jerry Guerra Introduction and Background. The Old Man & the Sea and Boy Scouts of America
9:50 Starting to spearfish deep. How it all started
12:00 Spearfishing equipment preparation
17:00 The spearfishing hunting journey to mastery
The cone of death. Dropping within a 30ft span of your target fish or structure.
Reducing profile. Less intimidation for fish, increased hydrodynamic efficiency
Increasing deeper diving accuracy and economy
The rock bottom hunting technique. Allowing the fish to relax and return
30:00 Boating reconnaissance and building skills for finding new ground
34:00 Memorable Fish | Black Grouper Behemoth
39:00 Blackout Story | How he survived and what he learned
46:30 Geeking out on Spearfishing Equipment
“No one will take care of your gear like you will” – Jerry Guerra
Different style Mechs | pros and cons
Are there some common issues people have with DIY speargun upgrades?
Triggers and handles. Pulling shot issues
Safety | Do or Do not have
Shafts | preferences
Tom asks “A question that I spent a lot of time researching was how to eliminate points of failure, what kind of knots, bungee connected to gun or float, what gauge shark clips, better options for shooting line bungee, basically how do you make connections as fail safe as possible?”
Dyneema vs Mono shaft to speargun line aka shooting line pros and cons
Muffling noise, parts and accessories?
Spectra, dyneema, monofilament, stainless wire. Uses and application
Essential 3-4 knots every spearo should learn. Where to learn and where and when to use them
Floatline material | PVC, Vinyl, (+spectra fusion – Riffe float lines), thermoplastic, poly lines. Application for each
Reels? How and what application should they have?
Breakaway setups | Key adjustments to make and changes to your hunting
Shark Clips vs D-Shackles
What setup did you use to capture a 280+lb fish?
Floatline Clutch | Utility
90:00 Planning and preparing for international spearfishing trips
Spearfishing Equipment checklist for trips by Jerry Guerra from Neptonics
Warm water plumes and Wahoo behaviour
Wahoo hunting technique | racing the fish to mimic the competition drive for bait
99:30 Funniest Moment out Spearfishing | Hunting MahiMahi naked
101:20 Spearo Q&A
What is the single biggest lesson youve learned
Who is your fav person to go diving with and why?
What is something you do a little different than everyone else?
NSP:124 Valentine Thomas Making a Living Spearfishing | Part 2
Second Interview with Valentine Thomas! This episode we cover what’s happened to her in the last 5 years including guesting on the Joe Rogan Podcast, attending international fishing symposiums, moving to Florida, shooting a huge Marlin and her very own cookbook. You know pretty much just your average person’s last 5 year story:) In addition, we review some safety issues, sustainability, and so much more. Listen in!
Valentine Thomas with the Black Marlin mentioned in the interview
Important Interview Times
06:00 How her perspective and life has changed since our last podcast
What has changed? Events, discoveries along the way
International Symposium of Fisheries Sustainability, organized by the FAO of the United Nations in Rome.
New life in Florida | French Fish and Seafood Cookbook
How has that been reflected in her life, choices, and habits
Confronting attitudes and dealing with BS
Freediving and spearfishing progress. Marlin in Cabo, Baja
Fish handling | reducing fresh water to clean the fish before bagging or vacuum packing
19:00 Her work in fighting against certain commercial practices
RECENT INSTA POST: Markets and fishing | making better choices and influencing others. Perceived value
Seafood labeling and carbon monoxide
WASTE: Valentine POST on INSTA: Fisheries are discarding and wasting around 10 BILLIONS pounds every year (conservative estimate!). Why is that?
1 – To comply with regulations. If they fish over their quotas or if they accidentally caught species they aren’t supposed to (by-catch)
2 – The market value of the fish caught is too low
This is why varying our diet and why the variety of species we consume is so important. We create the demand, consequently the market
Nefarious practices | impinging on National waters, people smuggling
Inequality of fishing laws, fishing law enforcement and some countries inability to police their own waters
Traceability and Seafood Labeling | Ecolabels
Lionfish – Invasive Problem | Creating consumer demand, incentivizing restaurants and changing public perceptions
Also countries with very well managed fisheries now importing a huge percentage of their national seafood intake from poorer countries with less well managed fisheries
Aquaculture. Seems to be an amazing idea with lots of problems. Enclosed waterway nets of species like Yellowtail Kingfish cause damage with the volume of fecal matter and also seem to attract disease whereas open ocean fish farming seems to mean large nets can be broken off in storms and become ghost nets and lose their capital investment in the equipment.
Reduced Transport Footprints | Additionally, why do people in Australia demand fish from 1000’s of km away when they have amazing fish on their doorstep. Very short shelf life
Different forms of fishing and how they impact the environment. Harvesters (Oysters), purse seine, long-lining, trawling
Helping bleeding hearts understand the place and utility of commercial fishing and using quota to ensure stocks are maintained.
Using the whole fish | sharing the good stuff with others and promoting good practice
03:30 Ed Martin from Killshot Spearguns Introduction and all about the Florida Keys (his store is in Islamorada).
Depths and bottom structure
16:00 The rationale behind this Wooden Speargun DIY build episode + Ed Martins spearfishing background and the Killshot Speargun story
23:25 Errol “What are the pros/cons of Wood VS Pipe speargun in your mind?
Duncan Henderson also asks “Why do you choose to work with wooden guns? whats the advantages in your opinion?”
27:50 CONCEPTING AND PLANNING | Making your first speargun advice!
What are the crucial decisions to make before you start?
SearchingForTheEdge on the spearfishing Subreddit advised prospective gun builders that the number one key is to build your gun around your spear. Don’t try to build a gun and then later try to find a spear for it. It’s much easier and faster to buy the spear and use it for all the measurements. Is this good advice?
Sven Franklin “what is the ideal shaft overhang length as this varies from company to company and personal opinion among spearos?”
Joe Pedro “Enclosed track vs open track, how to decide which is best for certain fish targeting setups?”
Can we borrow or steal some ideas from the best manufacturers?
48:20 SPEARGUN MATERIALS
Composite vs Solid one piece?
Wood types? Mahogany, Sepo, Teak etc
Glue? Resin? Sealant? Epoxy? What is the difference?
Making a test gun
What components should I buy rather than make myself? How do you make these choices? Where is a good place for buying components?
To safety or not to safety?
What tools do I require? What tools do I desire? Clamps, jigsaw, dropsaw, mitresaw, cordless drill, gloves, plastic, straight edge, file, masking tape, rubber for relieving clamping pressure, tape measure, belt sander, verniers, small chisel, router, drill press
66:15 How much time does it take to make a speargun?
69:00 Buoyancy and ballast | How do we work this out?
74:40 Daniel Mann “Why is oil a terrible choice to finish a timber speargun?”
79:00 Care and maintenance
80:30 Duncan also asks “What are the common problems with people’s homemade wooden guns?”