This is a Q&A with veteran spearo Trevor Ketchion focusing on boating reconnaissance for spearfishing. Finding your own unique fishy locations to mark on your GPS is something every spearo with a boat wants to do. Hammering the same old spots is not a smart strategy as you don’t catch as many fish or develop skills to find fish for yourself. If you are ready to learn some new skills then tune in and listen to Trevor lay out some actionable tips:)
28-day Freediving Transformation. Want to increase your bottom time? Want to lower your comfortable operating depth? Want to increase your breath hold? In 4 weeks you can transform your physiology to improve your performance as a freediver. Learn the proven strategies competitive freedivers use to strengthen their performance.
Equalization Masterclass. If you are freediver who struggles to equalize your ears in the 15-30 ft range this course is the answer. 14 videos discuss every equalizing problem and coach you through the difficulty. Say goodbye to Valsalva and hello to Frenzal and make equalizing easy.
Tuesday Ted Talks Freediving. 19 one hour live Instagram episodes where I discuss a variety of freediving topics and answer peoples question live on Instagram.
Free online courses – How to take a 20-30% bigger breath and how to make the mammalian dive reflex work for you. www.FreedivingSafety.com – Free online safety resource.
Looking out for the Boat Owner | Spearfishing on Boats
This is a primer on boating basics for spearo’s. If you want to have a good time out spearfishing on other peoples boats then there are a few tips here about how to be a great guest and maybe even get invited back next time!
Meeting the Boat Owner | Learning your way around the boat
Often I’ve met a boat owner at the ramp very early in the morning. You need to learn a few things to be safe and know what to do in case of emergency and even deal with common situations that occur out on the water. Ideally the boat owner will give you an induction on the ways of her boat. If she doesn’t, here are a few things to ask;
Where are the bungs?
How do you launch and retrieve the vessel at the ramp and what do you want me to do?
Where do you want my gear stowed and do you have room for a bag or a tub?
When should I get in the boat?
How do I start your boat, and where is the bilge pump switch?
Where are the life jackets stored?
Where is the radio, flares, first aid kits?
At the end of the day ask the following – “How much do I owe you for petrol, oil, wear and tear on your car and boat and trailer? Are you sure that’s enough? It costs cash not fresh air to have taken me out today.” REMEMBER TO PAY THE BOAT OWNER ON THE DAY, don’t let him chase you. You may not be asked back again.
Boat License | Marine Radio Use | First Aid
I didn’t grow up on boats and despite spending a hell of a lot time on the water, I knew bugger all about boats when I started spearfishing. One of the best things I did was get a boat license – I learned a shitload and nearly all of it was useful. I also bought an older boating book that Turbo takes the mickey out of me for, but it has given me a few more clues about boats (many of the blokes you go out with seem to be salty seadogs who have spent their lives on boats so it pays to catch up a bit if you can).
Don’t take the kitchen sink with you, space is a premium – be tidy!
Don’t swim too far from the boat, and let the skipper know in what direction you intend to swim.
If the skipper has told you he is only going to be 15 minutes in a spot, don’t swim 15 miles in the opposite direction. Be back in or near the boat in 15.
Don’t throw your float out as soon as you pull up to a spot, wait until the boat is securely at anchor. When you alight from the boat do check that your rig cord is not wrapped around the motor leg.
Don’t jump in with a splash!
Don’t stick your fat finger onto the vessel’s electronics, or declare the last boat you went out on had much better electronics; you may find the repair bill is your monthly wage, and ask yourself why you aren’t out on that last boat today.
Don’t ever pull the gear stick into reverse whilst there are revs on the motor, you can do good damage. From forward thrust – engage into neutral – wait until revs subside – then engage reverse.
Don’t leave your chip packets, barely consumed staminade bottles and other of your rubbish lying in the boat – remove all of your own personal rubbish off the boat.
Don’t ever take bananas on board a boat.
Don’t bring a hand held GPS and ‘borrow’ marks. In fact forget the spots you are taken to.
Spearfishing on Boats | Dos
Do offer to set the anchor and retrieve it. If you don’t know the procedure, ask, you will be shown. Share this duty around the crew!
Do look out for the boat whilst you are in the water, first diver in the water should check that the anchor is set well. If you think the boat has drifted swim after it! DO reset the anchor.
If you notice the dive flag is not up in the boat, swim back and put it up – it may save your life.
When drift diving do show patience as the skipper and crew may need time to get the drift setup.
If stopping only for 10 minutes, do offer to boatie! (especially helpful in a comp)
When you can see the boat and crew are heading in your direction, do wrap your rig cord up, unload your gun and then hand the gun butt first to the crewman.
Do listen to the skipper when he tells you the best way to enter the boat from the water.
Do take your weight belt off and cleanly pass it over the gunwale until you have learnt correct entry procedure and are fluid in the technique – why is this? So you don’t smash the fiberglass to pieces with.
IF you don’t wish to be first in the water Do get out of the way and do help those keener divers to get in. If you do wish to be first in do it quickly and considerately.
Do be very wary of the pointy end of your gun while ‘gearing up’ in the boat.
Watch your flippers and don’t take out someone’s shin, or face when alighting from the boat and watch you don’t scratch the outboard cowling cover.
Do offer fuel money at the end of the day
Do offer to wash the boat, or clean the fish while the skipper washes the boat.
Do immediately wipe the blood and guts off the boat’s surfaces and floors before it dries, a 5 second job becomes a 5 minute one.
Do stow your equipment as the skipper directs. This helps with weight distribution which is crucial for a number of reasons. It also helps you not to lose stuff which is more common than you know!
Bills is a renown Australian boating, fishing and bar crossing teacher with many years of experience in the marine industry. A little known fact about Bill is that he also used to spearfish and play underwater hockey.
These days Bills regularly runs coastal bar crossing courses and the occasional fishing charter. Bills passion is helping guys to get the most out of their boats by teaching them all of the fundamental skills that every boat-going waterman should learn. Managing a bar crossing with all of the variables like swell, tide and wind requires a definite skill set that must be learned.
Diver Down and Alpha Dive Flags (Image borrowed from boat-ed.com)
Bill takes us through run out tides, big swells and even drunken blokes on a fishing charters. We talk about basic mistakes that many of us make and hear a few stories about what can happen in dangerous situations. There is a huge section and discussion about swell speed, using your throttle on the way in and on the way out, positioning the boat appropriately, using angles to soften landings and maintaining your nerve!
Listen into this episode if you use or want to use a boat to go spearfishing!
Bill Corten Contact Details: Phone (07) 3286 3647 or Email: email@example.com
Beau Armstrong’s labor of love. An absolute cracker spearfishing boat – VSEA hull
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(Unfortunately we lost a bit of sound quality with this interview so our apologies!)
Bloody cracker interview with Niall Cameron, a small charter boat operator in South Africa. Niall is a tonne of fun and he’s exactly the type of bloke I love to go spearfishing with. Fresh from an Ascension Island trip chasing and landing Yellowfin Tuna with a bunch of experienced Kiwi and Aussie spearo’s, Niall shares some of the valuable tips and wisdom he has picked up over the years. As a regular listener to the Noob Spearo Podcast himself Niall comes prepared with stories and information to share with you. Listen in to find out about hunting the White Mussel Cracker, the advantages to buying your first boat and a truckload of tips from diving in thermocline to disregarding bad advice!
A bit more about Niall Cameron
Niall has lived on the coast for most of his 52 years of life. Growing up in Northern Ireland he wast first inspired by a treasure hunting Irishmen (listen to the show for more info) before making the move to Cape Town in South Africa. He also spent some time in Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA, the Caribbean islands, before moving back to South Africa where he now lives on the beach in cannon rocks (near Port Elizabeth where there are many 17th and 18th century shipwrecks).
Niall runs a small charter business fishing and spearfishing. His passion is facilitating a good time for clients and finding fish along with telling funny stories.
He loves boats and shares several hilarious stories in the interview about some interesting times out at sea.
If you are ever in Cannon Rocks, South Africa look up Niall Cameron and head out with him on his Big Blue Charter boat!
Niall Cameron (pictured left) with some happy spearo’s
4:00 Niall’s journey getting started spearfishing in South Africa. Irish unorthodox role model Thor Hamilton. Early obstacles include equipment availability/suitability. Riding a motorbike 26kms to the beach!
13:00 Boat diving and starting to find regular fish in much better conditions + early boating adventures and mishaps (Mush and the case of the missing chest hair).
[Tweet “The whole (spearfishing) world opened up to me when I bought a boat” – Niall Cameron]
23:00 Memorable fish story
31:00 Spearfishing Hunting Technique. Planning and preparing because the hunt starts at home when you are watching the weather. Thermocline spearfishing tips and info.
39:00 Toughest situation Niall has faced in the ocean and what he learned from his experiences.
46:00 Ascension Island Trip with some Australian and Kiwi characters.
Niall Cameron with 98kg left of tuna fro m Ascension Island
54:00 Veterans Vault – the white mussle cracker! Tips, cooking, curry and more.
67:00 Funniest Moment
78:00 Spearo Q&A
This Noob Spearo Podcast episode is proudly brought to you in partnership with …
A North Queensland spearo got into an altercation between his speargun and boat propeller. This was the result.
Before exiting the water to get onto his boat he clipped his speargun to the ladder (makings it easier to take off his fins etc before climbing in the boat). Many spearo’s would pass their gun up to the boatie (hopefully handle first and unloaded) or slip their gun over the side or back of the boat before attempting to clamber over however clipping your gun off to the ladder is not uncommon.
After he clipped the speargun to the ladder, removed his gear and climbed aboard, he started chatting to his dive buddies and began eating some food. Distracted they started the boat and began to move off before quickly realizing the gun was stuck in the prop! After shutting the motor down, he went to free the speargun from the prop. Then as he has pulled the rubbers free, the tension in the rubbers has spun the prop and caused it to strike his knuckle which did the damage that you can see to his hand (photos above and below).
He said later “As soon as I put (the boat) into gear I knew exactly what had happened and was upset that the days diving was over.”
Sadly the barrel is more like a bow now and he needed 5 stitches to his hand in a ‘real prick of a spot to heal’.
After chatting briefly with the bloke over Facebook I was pleased that he agreed to let me share this story here on Noob Spearo. For a guy who sounds like he has some pretty good safe spearfishing practices this is a hard earned lesson. He told me after,
“When I go diving its safety first, treat your gun like it’s always loaded, never bring a speargun in the boat loaded, always make sure you keep an eye on the boat (position) and check on your mates and then I ended up doing this. At least I didn’t get shot, I cant imagine how that would go down, it was hard enough trying to stop the bleeding and it was only an inch size cut”
If you have your own hard earned story like this Speargun, Prop and Ladder Lesson please share it with us in the comments.
Boat Diving Near Miss – “…it’ still in fu*k@ng reverse” – by Woody Falls
I love it when I see a fellow spearo share a story about a near miss where they not only survived and learned something, but decided to share their story with the rest of the spearfishing community. This tale from Woody is one of those times. His story could have ended up with a completely different result which makes this boat diving near miss an engaging read. I also encourage people to be respectful of those that do share as they have the stone’s to tell their stories which can save others lives.
This is not a hard mistake to make. Many divers have a similar story. Without further comments here is…
…Woody’s Story about his boat diving near miss
“Up until yesterday I thought boat safety was just a part of diving that just happened. I was a very carefree diver.
As I dropped off the back of my own boat for the start of a drift and loaded my gun, I didn’t realise that the boat was accidentally still in reverse. My arm got sucked into the propeller of the starboard motor and at this point I didn’t realise what was happening. I turned and tried to pull my arm out as my leg got pulled into the port prop, I started screaming as I was being ragdolled. The poor guys on the boat thought a shark had me until I managed to yell (kindly)”it’s still in fu*ki@g reverse!”
Someone pushed the controls into neutral and they dragged me into the boat where I lay in the back bleeding and choking. The few seconds I was caught in the propellers seemed like a lifetime and in that moment I thought there was no way I was gonna survive. Somehow I did without a single stitch or broken bone.
You can never afford to be complacent as a boaty and although it was an innocent mistake it could’ve cost me my life and it’s a huge sober up. I was extremely lucky to go through a 500hp blender and emerge with only bruising and minor cuts with the wetsuit surprisingly taking most of the punishment, and I really shouldn’t be writing this… (im bloody lucky to be alive)
So stay safe and stay alert because accidents do happen and it can be over in seconds.”