Interview with Dr Richard Pillans
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About Richard Pillans
Dr Richard Pillans is a devoted Spanish Mackerel hunting specialist who loves nothing more than seeing his reel emptied by a hard running Spaniard. He is a self confessed “cranky old bastard” that hates to see a school of Mackerel spooked by long shots and bad shooting. When Richard isn’t searching out Spaniards he works as a marine biologist for the CSIRO. Working in and around the ocean is many spearfishermans dream and so it was interesting to learn a bit more about his work. He is currently studying populations of tropical sawfish in Northern Queensland as part of the Marine Biodiversity Hub project ‘Supporting Management of Listed and Rare Species’, a collaboration between Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory Fisheries and CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research. He works with everything from the endangered Sawtooth Sharks to the Lobster fishery in the Torres Strait to Whale-sharks in Ningaloo. In his work he looks at how fish move and utilize their habitat which makes him a very knowledgeable character when it comes to the marine ecosystem.In this episode Richard gives us plenty of his tips for approaching Spanish Mackerel, not spooking them and the setup he recommends for shooting and landing this highly desired spearfishing species.
We are stoked to bring this interview to you in partnership with Adreno
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For fast navigation through Richard Pillan’s interview, here are the major moments…
1:00 South African Origins – the Mackerel Obsession is born
2:00 Tony Heugh from Edge Spearguns helped Richard to get started here in Australia
3:00 Richards Work and involvement in the Australian Marine Biodiversity Hub. A bit about working in the ocean everyday,
7:00 Early Obstacles, reading books and meeting spearos. Early equipment lessons and Boat Diving off Moreton Bay, Brisbane.
11:00 Spanish Mackerel Fishery, size, yields and bumper seasons
12:00 First Memorable Fish – Wahoo! Sharks and his most memorable day spearfishing at that time.
16:00 Spearfishing Sharks advice
20:00 Veterans Vault – Scomberomorus commerson AKA Spanish Mackerel is Richards preference spearfishing target fish. This is an in depth veterans vault with plenty of advice, tips and wisdom on these fish and targeting them while spearfishing. They are known as King Mackerel or Cuta in Africa, Tenggiri in Indonesia, Spanish Mackerel in Australia, Narrow-barred mackerel or Kingfish in USA, konem, vanjaram or anjal in India and shir mahi in the Middle East. Sleek, fast and tasty these fish are a spearo’s dream.
41:00 Funniest moment – Capturing the funny on film and a point about filming! + tips on taking down hard running pelagic’s.
49:00 Clever Reel Gun System and some advice
52:00 Fast Five Facts for Noobs
58:00 Crucial Kits for Noobs – Spearguns
1:02 Final Wisdom and some parting advice
Mentioned in the interview
Terry Maas – Bluewater hunting and Freediving Book here
Piet van Rooyen – Diving and Spearfishing in South Africa here
Check out the World Records for Spanish (King) Mackerel here or for another prolific South African Spearo Interview listen in to Chris Coates