Interview with Jack ‘Strick’ Strickland and Aaron ‘Az’ Gallagher
Getting Back to Basics!
I finally got a chance to hang out with the lads from the North! Strick and Az were invited along for the Bunker Group charter in the Southern Great Barrier Reef along with me and a few others on the Eastern Voyager. This interview was recorded live after a few days diving and I had a ball. In this interview we chat spearing with crocs, blackouts, hunting techniques along with plenty of banter. Listen in!
Finally after more than 100 episodes partnership with Adreno, I interview the Founder, Tim Neilsen! Tim is a former Australian spearfishing champion with tonnes of ideas about everything from his own personal spearing rig to how a spearfishing retail store should serve their customers. Listen in and subscribe on iOS or Android https://link.chtbl.com/Download_This_Episode
Tim Neilsen with Footballer Trout
4:00 Tim Neilsen Introduction
12:00 Winning the Australian National Spearfishing Titles in Tasmania
17:00 Stopping Smoking
20:30 Most Memorable Fish | Yellowfin Tuna 89kg & a Tongan Sailfish
25:00 Reels on Speargun Conversation
41:00 Shaft Overhang | The Neilsen 500
Left Rob Torelli, Right Tim Neilsen with his 89kg Yellowfin Tuna taken spearfishing on Ascension Island
This interview with Taylor Slattery was recorded on Day 1 of a charter to the Southern Great Reef aboard the Eastern Voyager. Taylor has been a part of the Adreno spearfishing team for years and has speared all over Australia. In this interview we get systematic on a single drop. This is a mental blueprint for getting the most out of each dive and maximising your time on the bottom hunting fish. Cool dude, cool chat! Listen in and subscribe on iOS or Android https://link.chtbl.com/Download_This_Episode
02:30 Taylor Slattery Welcome and Introduction
25:00 The Wayne Judge Medical Evacuation Story | RACQ Life Flight Rescue and Knife Safety Conversation
32:00 Spanish Mackerel Hunting Technique’s and Applying the right amount of pressure to the struggling fish
40:00 Speargun Shaft Conversations | Spring Steel and Stainless Steel Shaft Characteristics
45:00 Rob Allen Equipment and Mindset around Spearfishing Equipment
47:55 Mono vs Dyneema Shooting Line Discussion
Taylor Slattery @taylorsagirlzname with Coronation Trout
55:00 Veterans Vault: Getting the Drop Sequence Sorted | Thinking Systematically about each dive!
Tidal breathing and relaxing
Double preferably triple your surface interval (time on surface after a dive should be 3x longer than your last dive time)
Closing your eyes
Three stage full breath
Reach up and equalize
Pull snorkel out of mouth with same hand on descent
Do one big pull with other hand through the water
Smooth duckdive into 10-12 smooth, powerful fin strokes
Focus on streamlining and keep head level
77:00 What do you do when your buddy is spooking fish?
84:00 Funny Moments out Spearfishing
88:00 What are three things people in their few year of spearfishing can do to dramatically improve?
92:00 Spearo Q&A
Who has been the most influential person in your spearfishing?
What does spearfishing mean to you?
What is an exciting product you are working on right now?
Spearfishing Equipment Community Q&A with Jerry Guerra
Massive community generated spearfishing equipment chat with Neptonics Madman Jerry Guerra. GoPro Mounts, Speargun Ballistics, Rigline Management, Innovative Spearfishing Equipment and even an idea there for young spearos wanting to generate cash for themselves. Listen in!
00:00 Big welcome to Neptonics:) 10% off for listeners with the code NOOB10
06:00 GoPro MOUNTS: Bob “Bloody go pro mounts that don’t get in the way. I have a Salvimar 125 carbon gun. And cant mount a GoPro anywhere suitable that doesn’t get in the way.”
JP Freediving “I love it mounted on the gun. I can’t see where the cameras pointing properly when its on my head. I lose good shots of what I’m shooting and with the gun unloaded after shooting a fish its good to hold it like a selfie stick with the catch. Also when swimming up the camera moves on my Hollis goggles. I tighten it up more and it snaps the mounts when I’m swimming.”
Bob “Yeah. But the way the gun is designed is a pain. A good clamp on mounting option near the trigger on the bottom of the handle would be amazing. That way its out of the way of everything.”
Different MOUNTING options – Discussion
14:00 RIGLINE MANAGEMENT | Reducing knots, tangles and crossups
JP Freediving “At the beginning (of my spearfishing) it was the floatlines or reel lines. After some time you read the current etc, but only after turning yourself in a knot bag🤣”
Crossups and getting tangled. Reducing catch points in the water. Materials, lengths, drop weights with reels etc
29:30 How to develop a brand new spearfishing product. From concept to creation.
34:00 INNOVATION IDEA Bob “What id love to see developed are pull cord floats. Same inflation system like life jackets. Attack it to your belt and when you attach it to the gun weather its 1, 2 or 10 when the gun gets ripped away they pull off the belt and auto inflate. You can adjust the amount of floats you think you will need just before shooting by clipping them on or not. Replace the cartridges once used and go again.”
“What diameter/length for the spear, how do you compromise between precision and power?”
“Does the material of the spear impact the flight behavior of the spear?”
“What goes far, what goes through a big fish…?”
“The basics of the Ballistic side of things for beginners.”
“Sorry for my English I hope it was clear enough.”
Chad “We all know that gun length as in band stretch has everything to do with power. That has everything to do with how long the band has to accelerate the shaft and that is why a longer gun even at the same amount of pull on the bands will shoot harder/farther than a shorter gun. On the human side of it we are only so strong. Here’s the point I’m trying to get to. Using the strongest bands I can cock a 16mm will have to be longer than a 14mm. So the 14mm will actually have the longer band stretch and that will give it a longer acceleration time on the shaft. In the real world I don’t believe a multi rubber gun with 14mm rubbers gives up much to the same gun with 16mm rubbers because of the difference in band stretch with the more rubbers the less advantage the bigger rubbers have. Taking into account the maximum force I am capable of or want to be pulling. What do you and your experts think about that?”
@mathieu_daiku “Roller guns shooting low!! Almost all rollers I have used while hunting and tested in the pool shoot low! Many theories have been developed like inertia of the bands flipping up the muzzle but no definite solutions have been found. Please unravel this mystery!!!!💪🤙🌊”
Chad “Consistency! being able to hear with my spearguns some days I can’t miss and some days I cannot hit. It seems the harder I try the worse I get and I understand that I need to just trust my instinct but it still happens.”
@Crisalbi “Straight shaft! Even new one from time to time aren’t straight.”
@Tommy_dozz “Power to weight ratio for rubbers and shafts per gun lengths. Is there any kind of rule to be followed?”
Shorter spear = lighter spear = quicker spear. Without having to reduce diameter and increase flex. HOWEVER overhang is not really a ballistics issue is it? We have the same overhang from a hunter aiming POV don’t we?
@the_spearfactor “The perfect combo of bands to shaft size. Also, wt of gun per # bands and size of shaft.”
Jason Harris mentioned the Coatesman Test Vid in the Rob Allen Dive Factory: Basically they setup a test rig involving a load cell with a digital readout and they ramp up the pressure on a variety of line and know setups. The results were different than I expected.
Stainless 1.8mm line with a crimp failed at 195kg. The line failed not the crimp. Remove the plastic sheath and one crimp is enough
2mm Mono with Crimp failed at 103kg on the crimp
1.8mm dyneema with standard core and outer sheath. Failed 100kg on the knot
1.8mm 100% dyneema unable to be finger trapped. 124kg break at the knot
1.8mm single braid, hollow core, spliced with brummel lock and finger trap. Broke at 290kg
@Tazyarns from Yarns with Az and Taz Podcast says “All the systems to reload are time consuming, as you can tell, I miss a lot 😂”
Jay Galloway “I’d like to hear a convo on mono vs dyneema vs spectra shooting line.”
An analytical fella obsessed with the best parts of spearfishing is how I would describe Evan. We had a great conversation in this interview about thinking about hunting species, being the master of your own spearfishing gear, staying cool in spite of shit happening and a whole lot of other cool stuff. Super cool chat with a super cool fella! Listen in to ‘Evan Leeson the Thinking Spearo!’
Evan Leeson with a monster Cobia taken spearfishing
03:10 Evan Leeson Introduction and Background.
19:30 How do you plan to find and hunt a new target fish species?
23:50 Gear Fanatic: The Obsession to get your gear right
31:00 Most Memorable Fish
Evan Leeson with a solid Mulloway taken spearfishing
37:00 Determining the quality of your shot and how hard to fight the fish
45:00 What is the cleverest fish you have tried to hunt?
51:00 What is your take on spearfishing competitions?
57:30 Scary Story: Grey Reef Shark Attack in Fiji. Takeaways, the event in detail and how he is 9 months later.
Where did you start and how long have you been spearfishing?
“2008 was the first time I was invited out to go spearfishing while I was visiting family in Sydney, Australia. Upon returning home to California, I started buying equipment and diving regularly after that point.”
When was the first time that you found yourself unable to turn away from the ocean?
“I was always around the ocean growing up near the beach but that first experience spearfishing is what really drew me in. That was when it started becoming a big part of what I was thinking about on a regular basis.”
Tell us about where you live, where do you dive, vis, benthos, common fish species, temp,seasonal variations. I decided to allow myself to get stuck in Bali in the middle of all the virus drama, but my real residence is in Sydney, Australia. I’m still recovering from an injury last year and I was only able to get a couple dives in here before they blocked off access to the ocean for non-locals. Prior to this I spent most of my time diving in between Sydney and Coffs Harbour, NSW. It’s a heavily dove part of the country so I’m sure a lot of listeners are familiar with the region. We normally dive in visibility from 3-30m with temperatures from 16-27C throughout the year. We are fortunate to have a really wide range of species to target. There are a lot of great eating fish and plenty of species that will challenge your equipment and your skills. I always keep my eye for the staple fish and the less commonly speared. Snapper get my attention, but they generally notice me first. I find it difficult to let a mackerel swim by me, but I always do my best to get a mixed bag. I think it’s better for the ocean to spread out the pressure and it’s better in the kitchen. Getting one nice reef fish, a small pelagic and a lobster is always a great catch to come home with.
What was getting started like for you? After being introduced to spearfishing on holidays,I spent my first couple years of my diving in California which was frustrating as it was difficult to find many people to dive with and the conditions did not allow you to get in the water very often. I thought about diving much more than actually diving. My university flat mate, Andy, and closest friend introduced me to scuba diving which was a great way to meet like-minded people and get way more time in the water. He was far more experienced than me, so I joined the university scuba diving class to get my certifications. In between spearfishing and scuba diving together we slowly explored the parts of the California coastline that we could access. It quickly became my top interest and eventually my only hobby. Like most of us, starting out is always a challenge financially. Acquiring gear and saving money for car fuel was always a topic of discussion. We had a lot of fun with the basic gear we had. Diving with scuba fins, surfing wetsuits and hand spears will always have a special place in my memory.
What made you want to get into spearfishing? Being completely honest, for my entire life I wanted nothing to do with spearfishing or any water deeper than waist high. I was petrified of sharks and the unknown. I had irrational fears, I even thought of sharks when I was in swimming pools. The only reason I got into spearfishing was as a result of my cousin, Derrick. He took me out to experience Sydney night life which was more my cup of tea at the time. The following day I was pathetically hungover. He convinced me to go spearfishing with him which I believe he only got me to agree to because I was in between spews, still drunk and I wasn’t exactly thinking straight. Getting into the ocean was exactly what I needed. I was distracted quickly, mesmerized by the size of the fish and amazed by how comfortable I was in the water.
What fish did you target starting out? Initially it was whatever we were legally allowed to catch: surf perch, rockfish, ling cod and cabazon. We quickly learned to skip on the surf perch and focused more on ling cod and cabazon as they were the tastiest fish around, we had a reasonable chance of catching.
What gear did you start out with? A surfing wetsuit from when I was a teenager, small scuba fins, 6ft fiberglass handspear and a positive attitude.
From shore or boat? Shore for the first few years.
Did you have a mentor? I’ve been very fortunate to have multiple mentors who are great teachers and highly accomplished. From my scuba teacher, Frank Degnan, to my cousin, Derrick Cruz, and finally Simon Trippe. I couldn’t imagine or ask for a better three people to guide me through my first years in the water. I can attribute so much of what I’ve done and been fortunate enough to experience to these three.
What was your biggest obstacle starting out spearfishing and how did you overcome it? Time, water access and funds. I overcame these problems with patience and taking a job in my family’s business in Australia which initially gave me more time and water access. I had to wait a while before I could gather the money I needed to dive in the places I wanted with the gear I needed. Trying to spend as much time as possible in the water and keeping your employer happy so they
will pay you more so you can spend more time in the water at all the places you’ve dreamed of diving is tricky to say the least.
What is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done and what did you learn from it? I had only drove a boat a few times in rivers and lakes in California. My confidence and experience did not do me any favours the first time I was allowed to drive a boat in the ocean. I think I had the steering wheel for only 60 seconds before I cut around a headland a bit too close. I quickly found myself in shallow water with a wave cresting much higher than the boat itself to the left. I knew if I kept going, we would get overturned by the wave and I couldn’t exactly turn around. My instincts told me to turn into the wave and add a little throttle for fun, I guess? To this day I’ve never been so high in the air in a boat and I hope I never am again. The fact that no one was injured when we all slammed against the deck of the boat as we landed back in the water or I didn’t sink the boat is a miracle. It was a good story for the boys and the story traveled far enough that I wasn’t allowed to drive anyone’s boat for a few years.
What is the best day you’ve ever had out spearfishing? It’s tough to say what was the best day out as I’ve been really fortunate and had some great experiences in the water. I’d have to say that best day out for me was with Al Lewis and Shane Fitzmaurice launching out of 1770 in Queensland. They’re two of the happiest easy-going people I know and that carries over into their spearfishing. They’re extremely talented divers who know how to have a good time as well. I always learn a lot with them. We had absolutely zero marks and found every spot that day with a bit of guesswork. We found a lot of bare sand, but we found one reef that was just alive with quality fish, great water, trickle of current and a very friendly dwarf minky whale. We were able to anchor up and slowly swim around together finding all the fishy spots. We saw huge schools of giant GTs moving in and out of caves pushing jacks and tuskfish out of the way as they moved. There was a big school of 20-30kg cobia keeping a close tail on the school. All around the edges of this particular spot was filled with leopard and barcheek trout of 3-5kg. After we picked up one of the big cobias, a couple tuskfish, some jacks, a few mackerel and some trout we swam around with the minky whale for nearly an hour. It loved playing around with the throw flasher. As we ate lunch on the spot, it stuck around coming up to have a look at what were doing every few minutes. That night we ate really well back at the house, listened to music, had a few beers and still had a week of diving to go before we had to drive back to Sydney.
What about the one that got away? There are two fish that got away from me that I spent a long time thinking about. They were both big mulloway, both in important competitions. The first was in NSW State Titles in 2014. I was having a good day and started diving a deeper sand line with large boulders everywhere. I was looking for both drummer species and spotted a few from the surface. I dove down and found a bunch of high scoring silver drummer in a cave. I found the biggest and just as the spear hit the fish a large mulloway swam out of another cave across the gutter. I think it was watching me the whole time. I got enjoy to watching it swim away as I got my hands on the drummer. That haunted me for a while. The other mulloway that got away from me was a really good fish around 25kg that I found in shallow water in the Blue Water Classic in 2016 I think. It was an awesome comp, nearly everyone had a good bag of fish, lots of wahoo, mackerel, cobia shot and big fish too. There was a bit of current and I could see the mulloway sleeping in bowl maybe 3m deep which was a little awkward so I decided I would not move and drift over it to see if I could shoot it from above or maybe dive past it and swim up to it on the bottom into the current. I spotted it a bit too late to dive before it. It switched on pretty quick and ended up having to swim after it into the current. It just kept moving. Needless to say it was a really close competition between a lot of great divers and that fish would of made a big difference for my score.
MEMORABLE FISH STORY
Could you share with us the story of the first memorable fish that you speared? What species was it, weather, vis, who were you diving with, time of year, where were you? The first memorable fish I speared was a kingfish in Sydney. It was the first fish I was proud to take a photo of. It was a fish we talked about often but never speared. We launched out of Botany Bay on the boat I almost sank. I think it was my second or third boat dive which was excited on its own. I think it was in September or October, 2011. It was a really nice day and we had 10-15m viz. I was diving with my cousin Derrick, who was always by my side in the water for the first few years of diving in Australia, and Ben Bayfield. Those two were my only diving friends at the time and they always looked after me despite being an annoying yank who nearly sank their boat and didn’t know much at all about diving or the ocean. They were babysitting me essentially. We checked most of the headlands in the Eastern Suburbs without much luck. We eventually found a big school of kingfish which completely caught me off guard, I think I was in between panic and staring at the school. Derrick was not one to waste time and quickly secured a fish. This was my first time seeing a reasonable size pelagic speared and landed. I was amazed. I thought I’ll get my chance one day. We pulled anchor and went to the next headland South. I stuck by Derrick and watched what he was doing. It didn’t take much time in the water before I had a school of king fish swimming towards me. I dove down erratically, and I’m amazed they didn’t spook but I was able to shoot the fish closest to me with ordinary shot placement. Pulling that fish in and landing in was exhilarating and the whole time I was fighting the fish up Derrick had shot another kingfish. We fought and landed them at nearly the same time. Something we ended up repeating quite a few times over the years that followed but nothing was quite like the first.