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?”
Big chat with final year, mechanical engineering student Duncan Henderson who has spent way too long geeking out on spearguns – you’ll see what I mean. We chat shaft length, diameter preferences, rubber diameter (the force triangle) along with common speargun issues. Duncan also relives three terrible poo stories and a memorable Yellowtail Kingfish. Enjoy!
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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.
Thats right! Listen into this interview with Grant Laidlaw, a proper kilt wearing, Mcewan’s lager drinking Scottish Spearo
In this episode we make a call to Scotland to learn about Scottish spearfishing and hear about Grant Laidlaw’s personal spearfishing journey. Overcoming different challenges he has faced is a huge theme for the chat.
One highlight of the interview is the story Grant shares about changing from a conventional banded speargun to a pneumatic or air-powered speargun. He was able to walk us through this challenge and how he eventually overcame the learning curve.
Big sections of the interview are like this and follow a useful formula. Generally its challenge, personal story, tips and hard won knowledge and then how you can apply it in your own spearfishing. If your challenge is overcoming cold water, buoyancy, breath hold, hunting, changing spearguns or something like night diving then you will find this interview useful.
Also if you love a broad Scottish accent and listening to spearfishing stories then you’ll thoroughly enjoy this;)
Grant Laidlaw with a wee beastie (Pollock) taken spearfishing off the kayak
Fast Times – Interview Navigation with Grant Laidlaw
3:00 Getting started spearfishing story
6:00 Ebay wetsuits, finding people to go with, freezing water and a host of other issues getting started spearfishing
8:00 Most memorable Fish: Weed line hunting and a big Pollock
10:00 General chat about spearfishing in Scotland. Conditions, species, records and more.
15:00 Lobster hunting in Scotland.
16:00 Spearfishing Hunting Technique: Aspettos. A good tip about weighting correctly for the aspettos technique.
19:00 Night time spearfishing. Benefits and some tips to do it safely.
23:00 Scary Moment. Night Diving and a wee bit ah poo. Bull seal encounter (250kg or 550lb).
31:00 Veterans Vault: Learning about Marine Zones in Scotland and the UK
Grant plays an active part (volunteer) in the management of one of the oldest marine parks in the U.K. Listen into the interview to learn about why and how you might like to get involved in Citizen Science initiatives or your own marine parks.
Learn more about St. Abbs & Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reservehere. This is where Grant serves as a Trustee and Treasurer. In the link above you can find information on the marine reserve and ranger led activities.
SeaSearch (link here) is a project any UK based divers can get involved in. The main aim is to map out the various types of sea bed found in the near-shore zone around the whole of the Britain and Ireland. Divers are also asked to record what lives in each area and note any problems or issues. This helps them to decide which sites need protection. If you have an interest in being part of a proactive activity to sustain and improve your local fishery and the environment then check it out.
Capturing Our Coast (UK) is a project where people can log specific marine life sightings and participate in data collection etc. Volunteers receive training and support and are actively involved in the gathering of information for scientists. Learn more here.
The PickUp3 project (more info here) Pick up 3 Pieces is a really simple idea – just bring 3 pieces of litter back with you every time you visit a beach. Their site has more information but its an easy one to join in on.
Neptune Islands Great White Shark Research Crowdfunding campaign mentioned [learn more here]
Pneumatic Spearguns – Q & A
How do they work?
What are the main components?
What pressure do you charge the speargun to?
Biggest challenge was learning to aim (lots of missed fish when he transitioned to pneumatics)
Aiming tips and tricks
Is there any recoil? Sporasub 1ES
How do you load them? What are the other techniques? How long does it take to reload them?
Are they noisey when you fire them?
How can you minimize the noise? (Dry Barrel kits)
Pay attention to the trigger when you purchase a pneumatic
Do you lose power when you fire the pneumatic spearguns at depth
This is a really good conversation about spearguns in general and learning to adapt to a different style of speargun.
59:00 Funniest Moments. Night diving in a military area with LED torch’s + scaring the crap out of a bloke line fishing at night.
63:00 Whats in your divebag?
Grants Spearfishing Equipment for spearfishing in Scotland
Pathos full carbon dive fins.
Spider 5mm dive socks
LAS made to measure wetsuits
Omer Zero Mask + Dive Torch (Mini Q LED4xAAA batteries)
Selecting the right mask and snorkel for spearfishing
The spearfishing mask gives you the ability to see underwater which is vital for spearfishing but not all spearfishing masks are created equal and what is considered desirable by SCUBA divers is not desirable for the Spearo. When choosing a mask look for a small internal volume, soft black silicone skirt and most importantly a water-tight fit.
Watch the VIDEO guide to selecting the right mask and snorkel for spearfishing below
A spearo’s dive mask has a smaller internal volume than Scuba diving masks. This is because the air in the mask compresses as the spearo descends forcing the mask onto the face. The spearo, therefore must use their precious air resources to equalise it. Therefore it requires less of the spearos air to equalise the mask if the internal volume of the mask is smaller.
A good quality soft black or coloured silicone skirt is important. Clear silicone can let annoying light in around the mask. This is particularly annoying at sunrise making it difficult to see.
To ensure the mask fits your face properly breath in through your nose. If the masks sucks to your face and compresses the nose pocket then it’s a good fit. Also take note of any discomfort around the bridge of the nose.
Fitting a spearfishing mask
The fit of the mask is the most important thing to consider. A spearfishing mask that doesn’t fit your face properly and leaks water is one of the most frustrating problems that can occur on a day’s diving. To get a good fit, put the mask on your face and breath in through your nose. If it sucks to your face and doesn’t let air in then it’s a good fit.
Also be conscious of the bridge across the nose as this can put pressure on your face and be uncomfortable particularly on some of the modern frames that are super low volume.
The final thing to look for is a good field of vision. That is how far you can see in all directions. Don’t be afraid to try on all the masks in the shop because when you get the perfect mask it’s worth it’s weight in gold. Spearos will often by up a spare mask or two when they find the perfect one.
Mask fog is often caused by a layer of silicon found on the inside of the lens left over from the manufacturing process. It is important to burn this layer off with a lighter.
Defogging a spearfishing mask
During the manufacturing process, the lenses in the mask are coated with a thin layer of silicone presumably to help free it from the mould. Whatever the reason is, it causes the mask lens to fog up rendering them useless. What you need to do is carefully burn off this layer with a lighter (see video). Alternatively you can scrub it with your finger and toothpaste. I’ve been using an old electric toothbrush to good effect. Don’t be surprised if you have to do this a few times.
To help defog the mask when diving it’s important to spit in the lenses of the mask. I like to get a nice one in there and rub it in and leave it a couple of minutes before washing it out.
An alternative to burning the silicon layer off is to rub it off with toothpaste. Personally I rub the inside of the lenses with toothpaste after burning out the silicon. Remember to spit in and smear the spit on the inside of the lenses (wash the spit out) before wearing the mask to prevent fogging.
Keeping Your Mask Defogged in the water | 3 Methods
Spit: Good old fashioned spit will help to keep your mask fog-free when spearfishing. To do this effectively simply spit inside the mask directly onto the lens and spread the spit around the lens. When finished rubbing it into the inner lens simply rinse off lightly.
Baby Shampoo (No More Tears). This stuff works more or less the same and it’s a bit more cost effective!
Remember a high price tag doesn’t always represent the right spearfishing mask for you. Personally I use an Ocean Hunter mask that is considered at the lower end of the price scale. I love it, it’s comfortable, never fogs up and is lasting well. Shrek has had plenty of trouble finding the right mask due to his ridiculously large melon but he too has found this mask to be perfect.
Simple, comfortable and robust are characteristics of a good snorkel. Try not to bite the mouth piece too hard.
The snorkel allows you to breath whilst your head is in the water. Unlike SCUBA snorkels Spearfishing snorkels are simpler, more streamlined and generally are a simple rubber or plastic tube with a silicone mouthpiece. Avoid snorkels with too many extra pieces. Some snorkels have a water release valve on the bottom. They make clearing the mask easy but can create noise and scare flighty fish. The key here is again comfort and simplicity.
There are soft fold-able models on the market but as yet I haven’t heard anything positive about them.
When going on a trip always carry with you spare straps and snorkel holders. These things tend to break when you least expect them to. It’s also good to carry a back up mask and snorkel as well.
Your spearfishing mask and snorkel should be kept as simple as possible like the rest of your spearfishing kit. Here a few of my favourite masks in three different price brackets but remember it’s all about fit.
A good pair of spearfishing fins need to be tough, reactive and comfortable. Spearo’s don’t do a single P.B dive for the day in a controlled environment and call it quits for the day like freedivers do. They dive all day in amongst the reef and rubble, in the swell and the rocks searching for the next feed of fish. The following article is for those looking to understand what makes a good pair of spearfishing fins and how to choose the best pair for them.
Spearo’s generally use specialised spearfishing fins that are longer and narrower than scuba fins. They are designed to give maximum efficiency from the energy that the diver expends on kicking, thus reducing oxygen consumption and improving the amount of time the diver can be underwater hunting. Though these types of fins can be fast and powerful the emphasis is more on efficiency rather than power.
Spearfishing fins generally come in three main types of material and of course price range. At the top, there is carbon fibre followed by fibreglass and at the bottom end thermoplastic. Each has their pro’s and con’s which we will discuss.
1. Foot Pocket and Fit
There is a lot to consider when choosing a spearfishing fin. The first thing is the fit. The foot pocket should be tight enough that your foot isn’t going to roll around inside the pocket. Rolling inside the foot pocket will cause you to lose power transfer through the blade. The blade will also not run true behind the foot and you will lose efficiency through water spillage as the fin blade twists. The foot pocket must also not be too tight or it will be uncomfortable and can cause cramping in the foot. One thing to consider when sizing up foot pockets is the thickness of the dive sock you will be wearing.
2. The right Stiffness
The second thing to consider is the stiffness of the blade. Getting the right blade stiffness for you is crucial to maximising your efficiency and improving your dive time. There are three general stiffness’ available off the shelf. Hard, medium and soft. Which stiffness you choose depends on your body type. For example my mate Shrek weighs in at over 120kg, he’s a big unit and he requires a stiffer fin to get him moving. I’m only 80 kg on a good day after a rump steak and I have a pair of legs that are made up mostly of hair with a bone centre and something under the skin that resembles a calf muscle. I therefore use a much softer fin than Shrek does. If I was to use a stiff fin I would have to work very hard to move them and burn up my oxygen reserves quickly. Alternatively Shrek kicks like hell in my soft fins and goes nowhere.
3. Material and Price
The third thing to consider is price and material which generally go hand in hand. Carbon fibre and fibreglass are the most expensive but are definitely the clear favourites when it comes to performance. Fibreglass and carbon fibre spearfishing fins are generally a two part system. The blade and the rubber foot pocket. They can be bought separately or as a package so it can pay to shop around. The blade should have a good rail down the sides to help stabilise the fin and channel the water down the full length of the blade. Fin blades are generally made thicker at the base of the toe and become thinner towards the tail of the fin. This gives the fin a hyperbolic curve or J-curve and is considered essential for good efficiency.
The foot pocket base below the foot should be stiff to impart power from the foot to the blade. The foot pocket has a rail on each side and this can have an effect on the stiffness of the blade as well. Most manufacturers will have a preferred foot pocket for their blades.
The Three Materials Explained
Plastic bladed spearfishing fins alongside Carbon Fibre Penetrator spearfishing fins. Note the full length rail on the Penetrator fins.
Plastic fins are generally the cheapest fin and this is where a lot of people like myself started. The blade and the foot pocket are generally moulded all in one piece. They are the least reactive of the three materials and are therefore considered the least efficient. They are by far the cheapest and a good pair can be a very tough piece of equipment and are great for thrashing on the rocks. My Cressi Gara fins lasted me for years and were well worth the investment.
My recommendation for this category is the Cressi Gara blades. These were my first freediving blades and lasted me for years. One of my regular dive partners Benny Harper swears by the Beuchat Mundial Elite fins which also look nice and last well.
This is where the real difference begins. Fibreglass or composite fins are extremely reactive and efficient. They are closer in quality to carbon fibre than they are to plastic and are tougher than carbon fibre. These are extremely popular with spearo’s due to their good reactivity and tough composition. Many a spearo has an ancient scuffed up pair of composite spearfishing fins which they will swear by.
My recommendation for this category is the Penetrator composites available here for the exclusive Noob Spearo design or here for the rest of the range. Another well-known fin brand is the DiveR available here.
Carbon Fibre is the most reactive and efficient material for spearfishing fins. Here I demonstrate just how reactive it is.
The J-curve produced by a good quality spearfishing fin.
The creme de la creme of spearfishing fins. They are the most expensive in the range and also the most reactive and lightest of all the materials used to produce fins. They are considered to be more fragile than fibreglass/composite fins so may not take your dive partners walking all over them on the deck or being sat on on the rocks. Having said that I have not yet had a problem.
I recommend Penetrator Carbon Fibre blades (Noob Spearo design) or the full range here. To get to know the man behind these fins, listen to our Larry Gray episode here, you’re sure to learn something about freediving fins. I have been using these fins for quite a while now and found them to be excellent. Another option is the Dive R blades which are also popular here.
Last but not least. Not all fins are created equal! This is particularly true of carbon and composite fins. In the past, I have purchased fins with a low price point claiming to be carbon fibre that simply don’t perform like carbon fibre should. Go with a trusted brand and if it seems to good to be true, then it probably is. I use and recommend Penetrator fins. I have used both the composite and carbon fibre models and thoroughly recommend them. If you would like a set of Penetrator fins you can purchase them through our website or the penetrator website. If you choose to purchase another option through spearfishing.com.au remember to use the “noobspearo” code at checkout to save $20.
In this interview with Travis Corken Neptonics Australia owner/operator we do an in depth Q&A to learn more about equipment for bluewater spearfishing. Removing points of failure, keeping equipment simple and building trust with the fish were all themes that come through strong in the interview. If you like learning about innovative spearfishing equipment such as the floatline clutch and weight belt multi adapter for reels, then this is an ideal interview to tune in for. Travis also candidly shares a story about a personal blackout experience while diving in Fiji. After the blackout story we explore some practical takeaways from his experience and its well worth the listen all by itself. Turbo and I were happy to get Travis Corken on the show as we both think he’s one of the most genuine blokes in Australian spearfishing.
Travis Corken has also been an active contributor to many of the best spearfishing magazines over the years, as you will see in the IFSN covers below. Fairly recently Travis became the owner/operator of Neptonics Australia, which is conveniently located right next door to Peter Kesby, creator of Kes Spearguns. Travis started bluewater hunting in 2009 when he and some of his mates wanted to start exploring waters further afield from Australia. 2009 was the year that began a journey traveling the world in search of fish and meeting some of the worlds best divers in the world including guys like Justin Bates and Brandon Whalers & Simon Fairbourne.
Here is a bit of background on Travis.
“My name obviously is Travis Corken, not Travis Hogan, haha so many people get this mixed up! I have been spearfishing now for 15 years. I was born in Melbourne but at 3 months old my parents moved to Port Macquarie and introduced me to the ocean. Ive written several articles for different publications, spearfishing magazine, SDM and IFSN and I was lucky enough to score the cover twice. (blue marlin & dogtooth IFSN). Being part of a TV series called adventure bound for a spearfishing segment for Freedive Fiji with Jaga Crossingham was also pretty special.”
Travis also designed the ROAM speargun which is featured on the Kes website here. The speargun is quite universal, with the ability to be powered up with 5-6 bands and a two piece wing kit to target big fish over 50kg. The Roam speargun can also be broken down to a 2-3 band gun, and with the removal of the wing kit can then be used to shoot smaller reef species and pelagics. If you would like to learn more about the Roam speargun there is a link below.
For an online Spearfishing shopping experience that offers you a comprehensive range of equipment, cheap shipping and competitive prices head over to www.spearfishing.com.au
Use the code NOOBSPEARO to take advantage of an exclusive online deal. Get $20 off every purchase over $200 when you use the NOOBSPEARO discount code at checkout. Just for listeners of the Noob Spearo Podcast!
Support the Noob Spearo Podcast by shopping with our major Sponsor. Check out Australia’s largest spearfishing range at Adreno Spearfishing Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney or shop online.
Helpful Times for Travis’s Interview
We start of the episode with some long overdue shoutouts to the Noob Spearo community. Thank you for reaching out to us!
Turbo lists of some of Travis’s Personal Best fish and spearfishing travel experiences before we get into the meat and potatoes of the interview.
5:00 Travis’s experiences getting started spearfishing. Meeting mentors and mates and learning his local species. He also talks about his early spearfishing gear that many of us will relate to. Mentioned were Andre Ruakura, Simon Latta and Toddy Degraph (excuse my spelling errors).
10:00 Early obstacles, overcoming breath hold issues and learning the ropes by watching the experienced guys.
12:00 First Memorable Fish – Wahoo with a mask half full of water.
15:00 Travis’s Favorite spearfishing hunting technique. Getting to the bottom and letting the fish come to you. He introduces a theme for the episode about ‘building trust with the fish’.
21:00 2 Scary Moments. Aggressive Tiger shark experience and a personal blackout tale. This is an in-depth and honest look at a significant spearfishing blackout event with several key takeaways.
33:00 Spearfishing Bluewater Equipment deep dive. We start off chatting quickly about a 220kg (nearly 500lb) Marlin that Travis speared a while ago and the full mount he had made up. Mentioned was Glenn Stuart a renown marine taxidermist based on the East Coast of Australia.
We talk about hard running fish and some of the essential equipment changes to make when taking on larger fish.
Here are a few of the other items we discuss.
Float line/ Hard line setup along with the innovative floatline clutch. If you would like to learn more about the floatline clutch go here
Removing points of failure.
Roamgun – a winged spearfishing weapon that can be powered up using an 8-10mm shaft and 5-6 rubbers or bands. Check it out here
Stainless cable as shooting line, do the double crimp and buy coated because it holds its memory.
Bungee and its application in deeper water.
Double Roller Speargun under development
Stay onto your gear maintenance
Use D-Shackles instead of shark clips.
Jaga Crossingham from Freedive Fiji was mentioned. We interviewed Jaga a while ago and some of the fish that they have taken over there are phenomenal. listen into some Fiji Spearfishing adventures here or checkout this facebook post with a recent 57kg Wahopo capture by Jaga.
55:00 Funniest moment. Cobia story
59:00 Whats in your Divebag?
Kez gun with a reel and belt reel (Aussie Reels).
Travis jumper back on with us recently to talk about his personal experience with the new HECS wetsuits, unfortunately due to some audio complications we weren’t able to include it but if you would like to know more about them then give him a call (his details are below).
Bluewater Themed Fast 5 Tips with Travis Corken Neptonics Australia
Travel as much as you can > You learn more
Teamwork is crucial. 3 divers for bluewater spearfishing is perfect
Have good Floatline awareness. You need to know exactly where it is
Removing points of failure.
Dont chase Fish > Relax and build trust with the fish.
“Dont chase Fish > Relax and build trust with the fish.” – Travis Corken
“Travel as much as you can > You learn more” – Travis Corken
67:00 Get in touch with Travis here. Call him up and chat about the latest in bluewater spearfishing equipment, his personal experience with the new HECS wetsuit technology and take advantage of a limited time discount hes offering to Noob Spearo Podcast listeners. Travis said;
“I wanna be able to have somewhere where people can come and view our spearfishing gear before they purchase. In the warehouse we will have on display a 220kg blue marlin plus Jaga Crossingham’s 94kg Fiji record dogtooth tuna. The warehouse can be open at anytime as I live next door so after hours appointments are fine.
I can offer a %10 off discount to the first 20 NSP listeners across our range. They can enter code #neptonicsaus at checkout to receive this discount.
I appreciate all the support from taking over the business in the last 12 months and hope to offer my advice as a spear fisherman and build relationships with fellow spearos around Australia.”
You can get hold of Travis on 0422 309 405, he is based in Frederickton, NSW 2440 which is the gateway to south west rocks, hat head and crescent head.