Words by Noob Spearo's Levi 'Turbo' Brown.
Aimrite has almost a cult-like following in Australia. The branding is aggressive and the gear is simple, tough and in Travis’ words over engineered. Having heard so many good things about Aimrite I thought it was time to talk to Aimrite Australia’s leading man and passionate spearo Travis Hogan.
Though a staunch Queenslander Travis didn’t take to the water in sunny Queensland but had his first spearfishing encounter at Seal Rocks in New South Wales whilst on leave as a combat engineer in the Australian Army. It wasn’t until Travis was traveling throughout Belize in Central America that he found a mentor and truly learned how to hunt fish. Travis attributes many of his basic skills to his days in Belize and to Jack Burnett who taught him how to read currents, use burley and noise to attract fish.
“I met a guy in Belize called Jack Burnett and he pretty much taught me how to hunt fish”
Returning from South America Travis made a stopover in Fiji where he remarkably and unknowingly met two of Australia’s best blue water hunters in Simon Latta and Travis Corken. The two were in the initial stages of the now famous spearfishing charter operation Freedive Fiji. Freedive Fiji has successfully managed to land massive blue water fish for its clients ever since it’s inception at the hands of Jaga Crossingham. Travis not surprisingly managed to shoot his first dogtooth tuna on that trip but admits he had no idea what a dogtooth tuna even was at the point in time.
“I was completely oblivious to who they were because I hadn't been on the Australian spearfishing scene at all. You know, I was pretty lucky to be diving with two guys of that caliber”
Travis returned to Australia and began to dive the warm waters of Cairns but was still only a shallow water diver. In Cairns, Travis began to dive with a spearo and free dive instructor that would push his limits. They would spear in spots that were 25m deep and Travis was forced to improve to reach those depths. He attributes this period of time to his rapid improvement as a diver.
“Having someone who's a free dive instructor was definitely an advantage so I definitely progressed a bit quicker than most”
Since diving in Cairns Travis notes the 250lb marlin that he shot with his good mate Leroy as his most memorable fish. Leroy a long time spearfishing mate was there the first day they took to the water in Seal rocks and was also there to put the stone shot on Travis’ Marlin. What could be better than landing a fish of a lifetime with a long time spearfishing buddy?
“We nearly flooded the boat trying to get this two hundred fifty pound Marlin on the back”
Travis has been a spearfishing guide on the Great Barrier Reef and recalls his toughest situation when a young diver was bitten by a shark on the Achilles whilst at ribbons no.3, 60 miles from Port. They padded the ankle and got the diver airlifted to Cairns where he recovered. He attributes their success in saving the divers life to having cool experienced heads and good prior planning
“He had a bandage pretty much the size of a volleyball on his ankle, so very heavily bandaged and it was like a shower of blood coming out and we had to get him up the stairs”
Travis now focuses on Aimrite International, manufacturing spearfishing equipment. He attributes the success of the Aimrite brand to the perfectionist nature of both himself and Rick Bettua (Aimrite America). Both men come from military backgrounds. Travis believes in over-engineering the Aimrite equipment so that it lasts a lifetime.
“Ask what the gun can actually handle you know because the last thing you want to do is be overloading trigger mechanisms and having guns misfire and you know all of sudden you know you shot your mates.”
There have been plenty of fads come and go in the sport of spearfishing but Travis says that one of the most common mistakes he sees is spearos modifying guns with roller heads. Travis warns that double rollers can put a lot of stress on trigger mechanisms and warns that they can become unpredictable or handle poorly. He recommends talking to the gun manufacturer before modifying your gun.
When speaking with Travis it’s clear he’s a passionate spearo and even more passionate about his gear and many will agree it shows in the quality of the Aimrite range. If you would like to listen to the full interview with Travis Hogan of Aimrite Australia where we dive into depth about the full Aimrite range head to Noob Spearo