Interview with Vin Rushworth

Today’s interview is with Vin Rushworth! Captaining a research vessel for Fisheries in WA, records keeper for the AUF and an inanely talented spearo, here is a diver with a lot to learn from! He has years of experience in the water on the more scientific side of things, giving him a really good insight into the fish species around him. Shooting massive fish, submitting a record fish, tagging and taxidermy, this one is stocked full of actionable info! A few technical glitches but overall a great chat!

Submit a spearfishing record here

NSP209 fish skull

Important times:

  • 00:13 Intro
  • 05:40 Welcome Vin! Tell us about AUF record keeping!
  • 07:50 What is a species that has surprised you and how do you tell  the age of fish?
  • 09:10 Spearfishing records: how do I submit a record fish?
  • 14:05 Identifying fish
  • 16:50 What do you need to do when you shoot a record fish?
  • 19:00 Rising sea temperatures bringing in different species

NSP209 with Barry

NSP209 holding two fish

  • 22:40 What gear do you use to hunt big fish? Floatlines and reels
  • 24:55 Eating quality of a big Cobia?
  • 26:55 How did you cook your Cobia?
  • 30:10 Preparing for the Inter-Pacific Spearfishing Competition
  • 32:50 Hunting and cooking Baldchin Groper
  • 34:15 Boating fails, anchoring rules of thumb and boat lights

NSP209 with big fish

NSP209 dhufish

  • 38:10 Tagging fish, crays, whales, sharks and etc!
  • 42:40 Dealing with the risks of shark attack: warning signs
  • 49:45 Scary stuff: cave diving for crays
  • 59:10 Buddy diving system and new divers
  • 01:02:10 Funny stories!
  • 01:04:50 Dead battery! Fish taxidermy
  • 01:10:50 What dive gear do you use?
  • 01:12:50 Outro

How to taxidermy a fish skull (by Vin Rushworth):

1. Flesh removal

Over cooking the bones when getting the flesh off seems to lock the yellow of the oil in more. The more you manually clean up or macerate off in water the better the end result seems to be. I prefer a very light boil to baking. Pros use KOH. Take heaps of photos as you pull it apart for reference on reassembly.

2. Degrease

When I originally read up on it everything said to use dawn dishwashing detergent as the degreaser. It is excellent at removing grease and oil but also gentle. It gets used on birds after oil spills etc. You can’t buy Dawn in Australia but apparently it is sold as the brand “Fairy” and is the exact same. I have used the lemon coloured one successfully. I put the cleaned up jaw/skull in a bucket of warm water with a heap of fairy and leave it to soak. I check it once a week and swap the liquid out if it is cloudy or smelly. I gave the last one over a month. Some pros use acetone, MEK or unleaded but these all have their complications for the hobby taxidermist.

3. Whitening

Do not use bleach! I use peroxide to whiten the bones before assembly. You can get it in bulk from large pool stores or chemical suppliers for not too much. Don’t leave it in the concentrate to long as it is harsh on the fine bones. Monitor closely and transfer into water

4. Assembly

I use a combination of superglue and hot glue gun and depending on the join occasionally some hidden wire. To make the posture and angle right place, you can use the hot glue, then after you’re finished easily remove the ugly excess. The photos you took at the start will make your life a lot easier here.

NSP209 Insta
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