Words by noob Spearo's Levi 'Turbo' Brown.
Recently, I was lucky enough to make the most of some magic winter weather here in Qld. Larry Gray from Penetrator fins invited me up to Turkey beach to dive the accessible reefs in the area. These included Lamont, Bolt and Fitzroy. Larry Gray and Dave Keith are both experienced local divers that know how to get the most out of a short reef trip. The goal for us was to make the most out of the “weather window” and fill our quota of high quality table fish that we don’t experience in any great number here in South East QLD. That means that the hunting can be at times fast paced and your systems need to be streamlined to make the most out of the limited time available; something a competition diver would do quite well. Here’s what I did wrong and what I think I can do better.
The more guns the merrier!
When we picked up Dave he came trudging out of his garage with an arm full of guns going everywhere. I wondered why he needed so many. They were all pretty much identical Rob Allen Sparid 1.2m guns and a 1.3m the same just 100mm longer. He had a bunch of identical spears to go with them as well. I just had my 1.1m Roller with spare shafts. I’ve never had an issue with it and changing spears is easy. I also carried spare pre made rubber as well. So why is Dave’s system more efficient than mine? Dave’s system of having several identical guns means that if anything goes wrong like a bent shaft or a worn shooting line he can simply call the boat over, ask for another gun and throw the old one in the boat. The new gun is the same as the last and away he goes. There’s no need to readjust for the gun, just plug it into the rig line and play. He doesn’t need to sit in the boat and re rig, change a spear or a rubber. He doesn’t miss any of the action when the fish are on. It’s simply the most efficient way to keep hunting when there’s a problem with your gun and you’re onto a fishy spot.
Floats are the way to go
I love the freedom of a reel gun but at the reef it has it’s disadvantages. Mainly there’s nowhere to store your catch. That means you either have to hold onto your catch or swim it back to the boat. Once again it’s just inefficient use of your time and energy. Swimming back to the boat when you’ve stumbled onto productive ground is just painful and holding onto your catch whilst diving increases the risk of sharks and is just plain annoying. Both Larry and Dave use home made body board type floats with crayfish bags attached to the top. This keeps the fish up out of the water and cool in the wet bag. It’s simple, cheap and the bag is a convenient place to store drugs on international trips if you want a free hotel for life.
It’s time for a new roller or two.
My Roller is 1.1m with 18mm bands and 7.5mm shaft. I use it as an all-rounder and it’s fantastic. The only drawback is just how much power it has. Quite frankly it packs too much power for shooting around the reef for Coral Trout. Larry uses a 1m or 90cm Roller with 16mm rubbers and has no problem at all. He quite easily shot an 18kg mackerel with no issues The smaller rubbers are easier to load and there is less chance of damaging gear in the reef. To be fair, Manny Bova from Manny Sub did tell me this when I made the gun but I was trying to do everything with the one gun that it will do. The 16mm rubbers are easier to load and I’m less worried about what’s behind the fish if I miss.
So what will I be doing for the next trip? I’ll be building a couple of 90cm rollers with 16mm rubbers to compliment my 1.1m. I will also make a body board float. I think I will also pre rig all my shooting lines on the spears to save time.
Hopefully these few steps will give you something to think about next time you make it to the reef. There’s nothing worse than sitting in the boat rigging up when everyone else is bagging fish.