Words by Jacob LambertWhen I first got into spearing a few months back I never figured the biggest danger to myself would be my self and my knife. My dabbling with a pole-spear made full scale spearing out to be a pretty mellow affair. I quickly realised it is not. On the shop floor, I heard countless stories of sharks attacking fish, sharks attacking people even stories about outboard props but nothing about anyone stabbing themselves, let alone twice…
Stabber or Stabee?
Stabbing things is very much a part of spearing, typically the spearo is the stabber and a fish the stabee but it’s not always that simple. For the last 5 months, I’d been poking around with a basic Adreno Poseidon knife and it served the purpose of fish brain fiddling well. Two weeks ago master spearo and Brisbane Shop Manager Taylor took me out for some big boy spearing, not the shore-bashing pole-spear style that I’d been toying with. He lent me a speargun, a float and all the necessities for landing big fish and although I caught next to nothing I most certainly caught the bug.
Taylor's lunch and dinner.
That ain't a knife...
Next work day I fleshed out my kit with a Pathos Laser Open 110, Adreno Hard float, Pelagic Float line and most important of all, at least for the sake of this rant, a Mac Torpedo Knife- the knife of choice amongst the Adreno team. It's a pointed blade with a serrated edge and a rubber handle: great ergonomics for brain fiddling and prying oysters. Needless to say, I was keen to get stuck into some real fish and Taylor answered my prayers with a trip offshore, about 1.5hrs off Brisbane- past the Islands.
How not to dispatch of a Dolphin Fish.
We were chasing Dollies and they were a plenty. On our first drift, they were rallying around us and it wasn’t long before Taylor and I had them on the line. I pegged it about 5m down and hadn’t opted to use my float. It was a quick scramble to the surface because I didn’t really wanna lose my gun after a week. After getting her up I witnessed why they’re called Mahi-Mahi [Mahi means strong in Hawaiian]. In between having my face whipped by her tail, getting tangled in my mono and multiple headbutts to my crutch I was trying to stabilise for dispatch.
"she'll be roit"
I recall the moment I stabbed myself, on my right rib, but it didn’t seem too bad. However, knives are built for stabbing and that’s what they do best. The chance of me not having an open wound was about as good as me stabbing myself again.. well.. That train of thought was interrupted when the Dollie made a run and I sliced my wrist. A perfect slice along my suit with an intriguing red liquid spilling out.. Intriguing in the sense I’ve got a fish going wild while bleeding off-shore in 55m of water. Unlike the rib I could peel back the wetsuit sleeve to scope out the cut. I was greeted by a window to my tendons. That was when it all sunk in and at that point, I knew I had to sort this situation out, took a deep breath, arrested her and dispatched.
It's a long drive to Brisbane from Stradbroke
I got up on the boat, brought the fish on and had a look. I’d certainly stabbed myself.. I wasn’t able to scope the rib so Taylor checked it and said all good for the sake of calm. We applied a tourniquet and a splint before taking the 1.5hr trip back to the mainland. I kept my wetsuit on for compression and warmth: two crucial elements in surviving an open wound.
Maybe not the best way to catch a dolphin fish
I learnt a valuable lesson that day and that is to take my time- let the fish tire! Dolphins are soft and shooting them anywhere with out any structure is risky business. I saw a huge one wriggle free from a tail-shot the week before and didn't want the same fate. I struggled to get a good hold on this Dolphin Fish’s gill plate and should have just let her tire! Dollies have some serious fight and having slipped my shaft and running on mono made it all the more difficult. I scored 6 stitches, 3 in my wrist, 3 in my rib but my knife was brand new, phew... The chance of infection was minimal.. touch wood.Moral of the Story: Keep your knife sheathed until totally necessary…. Additional Morality: Spearfishing is insanely fun and I’m counting the days to get my stitches out. Ohhhh and keep some bandages in your boat.
Thanks for reading- Jacob out!
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