Catch and cook competitions are generally outdoor cook-offs following a half day (or more) of spearfishing. The concept is not only about catching quality fish but about being able to utilize as much of the fish as possible and present unique dishes that judges (and your friends and family) can sample and enjoy.
This means that divers take a smaller number of fish (5 or fewer) than traditional spearfishing competitions. Then they must, gut, clean and prepare the fish within a given time frame.
Divers are not only scored on the quality of their dish but can also be awarded for best, biggest or most unusual catch and use of fish. Organizers can determine and assign suitable awards for spearo cooks who perform best on the day of the event.
Why are Catch and Cook a good idea for spearfishing?
These competitions are phenomenal for attracting a wider audience to witness the lifestyle of spearfishing. These competitions can also be a great mechanism for endorsing consideration of our marine environment, meeting new people, building community and promoting healthy attitudes towards spearfishing from both spearos and the public. It's also a really cool way to learn new recipes and develop an appreciation for utilizing as much of the fish as possible when cooking which means less waste!
How do they work?
Generally a leadership group within a spearfishing club or community can:
- Organize and plan a suitable date (and backup date in case of bad weather).
- Approach people who would make great judges and send them some information about the competition and how it will be judged.
- Organize a venue near where the divers will dive from and that has access to suitable amenities.
- Approaching spearfishing retailers and brands for prizes and sponsorship;
- Check with local government about permits and legal issues.
As you can see, catch and cook competitions are a more community oriented and lifestyle focused version of traditional spearfishing competitions. As usual, I learned about this concept from a guest I interviewed on the Noob Spearo Podcast. If you would like to know more about catch and cook competitions, listen to the interview on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Castbox | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Podbean or reach out to Eric Keener at EricLKeener@gmail.com.