My First Year Spearfishing | What I Learned
At the start of 2017 a mate of mine took me out for a snorkel. Wielding a $30 hand spear by my side I was determined to come back as a successful fisherman. I had no idea what I was doing, how to hold my breath or even how to equalise. Below me I see a fish, I dive down and release the hand spear underneath a rock and race to the surface to catch my breath. I dive back down to pull the spear out with my first fish on the end. A brightly coloured leather jacket. Little did I know but this moment right here was to trigger the biggest change and addiction my life has ever known.
Before we dive deeper I’ll give you an idea of who’s typing this. My names Sven and I work as a jewellery designer in Melbourne, Australia. I go to the gym 4-5 times a week, and love being active and outdoors. Growing up in New Zealand my dad was a keen line fisherman, so I spent a lot of my time line fishing as a kid. Always intrigued by the water but scared at the same time from my lack of knowledge of the ocean itself.
Back to 2017 and around the corner from my house was Adreno, and that place is massive. I walked in not knowing what to expect or how much I would need to spend to have the appropriate gear to continue this new found hobby. I was greeted by a guy named oscar who took me under his wing, ran me through what I needed and the different levels of equipment, as well as good local locations to jump in the water.
The first piece of advice I could give to anyone wanting to start this sport is do not let your wallet hold you back, as the poor man pays twice.
Luckily I could use some gear that I used on my first outing with my mate, whilst I slowly purchased piece by piece of gear to help me “look and feel the part”.
Being so new to the sport, not having a proper understanding of the ocean and thinking there would be sharks galore because its AUSTRALIA, I was too timid to go out by myself. Here arose one of the greatest problems most new guys starting out come across, Finding a dive buddy.
As Facebook seems to have a page for everything I typed spearfishing Australia to see several spearfishing pages come up, It was here that I was then lead to spearfishing clubs. I picked a club called Club Spearfish and decided to go to the meeting that was luckily enough on that afternoon.
It was here that I met divers with the abilities that you want, landing fish you’ve always dreamed of, who are just normal, regular guys. I joined the club which as my second piece of advice I highly recommend. The community inside a club is amazing. It helped mold me into the diver I am today, learning from more experienced guys and making friends with others just starting out who today are bloody great mates of mine.
After listening to countless hours of the Noob Spearo podcast, a lot of internet research, and just getting as much information out of other spearos I decided it was best to do a Freedive course which is of course is my third piece of advice.
If you really want to be a great spearo, learn to be a great dive buddy. Doing a dive course teaches you how to dive safely yourself, as well as how to look after others in case of incidents like shallow water blackout. I was fortunate enough to do one course over in Hawaii in 40m+ vizability, as well as doing one over here in Melbourne in a not so warm or pleasant 11 degrees water, with 8m viz.
The skills learnt after doing these courses helped me be more confident in myself, whilst still being safe and not pushing my boundaries to the extreme. It also helped me as reach a goal, as the very next weekend I was able to land my first Crayfish.
Now when it comes to hunting fish, and learning where and what to do, my greatest piece of advice is that it all comes down to time in the water. You may meet guys who will show you the ropes, give you a rough idea, maybe even watch a few YouTube clips on how to hunt certain species. But the best way I have found to truly learn and to become consistent is to simply spend your time in the water, exploring new areas and trying new techniques.
A good example would be hunting the sort after, and allusive snapper. In New Zealand you have to move stealthily, and peer over ledges to stalk snapper. Whilst here in Melbourne I personally find that diving and taking cover next to a rock, whilst scratching on the ground is a more effective way of getting snapper to come in and check you out. Otherwise in the winter time I find if you look under ledges and in caves you may just find some sleeping. Everyone has their own strengths at different hunting techniques, so try them all! Find what works best for you. See which ones you find fun, and maybe mix and match techniques together and develop your own. At the end of the day it is all about having fun, taking in the underwater world that the majority of the outsiders don’t see, and if you bring home some awesome fish for a feed then that’s a huge bonus.
So here’s to one of the best years of my life so far, with a big influence from spearfishing. I’m super excited to see what the future holds. What species will I come across, where will It take me traveling to, and what will I see and learn. If you’re new to the sport or just thinking of giving it a go, I welcome you to one of the best kept secrets that I know of. If your unsure where to start then try going into your local Adreno store, they’re always keen to convert people and help new guys out. Listen to podcasts like Noob Spearo and learn a ton of information from spearfisherman all over the world. Or perhaps lookup guys like Adam Stern or Aquatic Rehab Tv on Youtube to learn some amazing freediving and hunting skills.
Till next time, see you in the water! – Sven
A list of resources to get started spearfishing;
- Spearfishing Clubs Guide
- Comprehensive list of spearfishing articles, interviews and blogs
- How To Spearfish Video Series – Use the code noobspearo to save 10%
- Noob Spearo Podcast – Interviews with spearfishing experts and authorities from around the world.