Interview with John Pengelly


Dual spearfishing world record holder John Pengelly joins us and shares the tales of these two special fish taken from the waters of French Polysnesia. On his second day in the Austral Islands John took the opportunity to shoot a 137 lb or 62.6 kg Wahoo that beat out the former record by more than 12lbs. As if the Wahoo wasn’t enough John went out again and shot a 240 lb or 109 kg Dogtooth Tuna smashing the former 91kg, 200.4 lb model taken by former guest on the show Cameron Kirkconnell in Indonesia.  This interview is packed full of practical information and ideas to improve your spearfishing. Listen in!


Listen and subscribe to the Noob Spearo Podcast on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Podbean

John Pengelly Spearfishing Dogooth World Record 240 lb or 109 kg

John Pengelly Spearfishing Dogooth World Record

John Pengelly Spearfishing Dogtooth Tuna World Record. 109kg or 240 lbs

Key takeaways for me from this interview

  1. Opportunity (good and bad) comes when you least expect it
  2. Body positioning for pelagics + shot placement is crucial (listen for further detail)
  3. Stay calm in tough situations by doing the best you can with what you’ve got + keep a good first aid kit
  4. Taking a world record. Using certified scales and taking the second shot with a speargun you loaded yourself
  5. Prepare your gear a week in advance of a big trip


As if this bloke wasn’t cool enough with two impressive world record fish he then had to go and get himself a girlfriend that loves spearfishing as well (I’m glad she gave him some encouragement to come on the show:)Thanks for giving him a push Hilary!

Down to earth, relaxed and insightful. That was my impression of John after an hour chatting with him on this interview. Listen in for some awesome tips and insights from John Pengelly!


John Pengelly Wahoo Spearfishing World Record 62.6kg or 137 lbs

John Pengelly Wahoo Spearfishing World Record 62.6kg or 137 lbs


Episode Time Stamps

5:00 How John started spearfishing

7:00 First memorable fish and learning how to start regularly spearfishing Coral Trout. We have a good discussion about learning early hunting techniques

11:00 French Polynesia – a trip straight off the back of an (unsuccessful) trip to Norfolk Island. John was working at Ocean Hunter in New Zealand at the time when he was given the opportunity to head over and hunt with well regarded spearfishing Gerard Grave aka “G” in the Austral Islands G’s French Polynesian backyard. This is one hell of a story about one hell of a trip. Two very special fish taken over several days.

38:00 What were your major struggles when you started spearfishing?

  • Inadequate information
  • Freediving and pushing breath-hold with mates

What helped with your spearfishing?

  • Freedive pool training, USFA safety video (link below), mentors and experienced spearos

41:00 What are your current spearfishing challenges?

45:00 What is your favorite spearfishing hunting technique and how do you apply it effectively?

  • Be relaxed and keep your body language calm. Slow movements
  • Take in your surroundings and get out of the ‘seek and destroy’ mentality
  • Learn fish body language. Watch and observe before pulling the trigger
  • Coral Trout – approach them from the top in free fall. Especially for the cagey big ones!
  • Adopt the attitude that going home empty handed is ok

50:00 What has been your toughest situation in the ocean? (we get 3!)

    1. A mate blacking out in Johns early days and timely rescue
    2. John’s been attacked by a Bull Shark off Lamont Reef
    3. A mate falling 7 meters from a rock and landed on his head

66:00 Veterans Vault – Understanding the Oceans Cycles

  • Don’t believe everything you hear
  • Keep a Dive Log
  • Develop your own forecasting methods
  • Learn to enjoy the whole spearfishing process

75:00 Whats the funniest moment you’ve had out spearfishing?

79:00 What is in your spearfishing divebag?

82:00 Spearo Q&A

  1. What is the single best piece of advice you’ve been given spearfishing?
  2. Who has been the most influential person in your spearfishing?
  3. During your 11 years spearfishing what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
  4. What does the spearfishing experience mean to you in one sentence?
  5. Who is the best person to go spearfishing with and why?

Mentioned in the show

Connect with John on Instagram here

As mentioned our Kickstarter campaign is live and more than 50% funded! Buy your fully illustrated copy of 99 Tips To Get Better At Spearfishing here

Noob Spearo on Kickstarter. Spearfishing Crowdfunding project

Noob Spearo Partners + some spearfishing discounts

Sign up for ‘The Floater’ – Shrek and Turbo’s email newsletter here

  • Exclusive spearfishing equipment deals
  • The latest blog posts and interviews delivered to your inbox
  • 10 Tips To Become A Better Spearo PDF
  • Access to our Private Facebook group

Sign Me Up Boys!


Subscribe To The Floater

Join the Floater email list to receive the latest updates from Noob Spearo + FREE pdf diveday checklist, exclusive discount codes and more

You have Successfully Subscribed!