ONE THAT DIDN’T GET AWAY
1969 13 July
Spear fisherman Michael Bray, of Johnson Street, Peakhurst, holds a 23in long black bream which he caught in Sydney Harbour off Shark Island.
Michael arrived for the Metropolitan Skin Divers’ Club presentations with the catch last night.
“Now they will have to believe me” he said, nursing the deep-frozen bream weighing 8lb 1oz (3.657kg) and with a girth of 20 inches.
He saw the fish while swimming with a friend, Mr Mervyn Sheehan, of Sans Souci, on Friday.
“We both fired together: my spear hit him in the side – my friend’s spear missed.”
Michael said he used a rubber-powered gun for the catch.
Michael, a sculpture student at the East Sydney Technical College belongs to the St. George Skin Divers’ Club.
He said he would eat all of the fish himself tomorrow. “I’m very fond of fish.” He said.
The publisher of “Anglers Digest” said last night that Mr Bray’s catch was almost certainly a record for a speared fish.
He said an 8lb 4oz black bream had been caught with a line at Swansea in 1967, but previously spearfishermen had not caught one anywhere near that weight.
From: Sun Herald Sun 13 July 1969 pg. 2
RESULTS of an UNBIASED FISHING SURVEY
An article by a very old friend of mine, Bill Barada, is based on the findings of a survey on the “Sport Fish Catch and Effort” made by the Resources Agency of the Department of Fish and Game of California. This comprehensive report by Daniel J. Miller and Daniel Gotshall, took four years to compile and concerned nineteen employees of the Department directly assigned to field duties on the project, apart from scores of persons acting in honorary capacities. This 135 page report, which I have read carefully, completely dispels any theory that skindivers could be held responsible for any overall depletion of fish stocks in the U.S.A. and there is nothing to suggest it would be otherwise in Australia.
Of all sport fishermen, anglers fishing from piers, jetties, etc., captured 1,034,000 fish representing 32.1% of the total sport catch. Shore fishermen, angling from beach, rock and estuary, contributed 31.9% of the total, while anglers operating from charter boats caught 24.9% and from small craft 10.5%. Skindivers or spearfishing, with all its so called efficiency, accounted for 0.7% of the total sports fish taken.
From: Australian Skindivers Magazine September 1966 page 13.
I am the unrepentant hunter of fish, and manufacture equipment to hunt fish. I think most groups of spearfishermen ensure that their catch is eaten, that ecological principles are observed, and their sport is correctly enjoyed. Of prime importance is that the young are maturely guided – there is no generation gap between underwater buddies… (Let’s use the Australian term – mates).
Spearfishing clubs have to be commended for their work in education. Such indoctrination can only be done through clubs, and if over restrictive measures are taken they will not be followed, but broken in a regrettable manner.
The sport of spearfishing has saved many lives. Men have learned to obtain food and in emergency have learned to cope with tempestuous conditions to save their personal lives and the lives of others – in many cases to cooperate with authorities to retrieve bodies. There are quite a number of awards for bravery given to the risk of life.
The sport demands the utmost physical challenge and it has particular appeal to the adventurous young who are willing to be guided in balanced conservation by the leaders of their sport – but without the willing guidance of such sportsmen they would be rebellious!
When one considers the millions of tons of fish taken commercially, and compare this factor to the catch of spearfishermen in the occasional shallows which allows their sport, it seems the conservationists are using the sport of spearfishing as a target for the promotion of that cause, or their personal advocacy – rather than to achieve effective measures of fish preservation.
Undersee Products Pty Ltd
From: Skindiving News from the Metropolitan Zone Vol. 2 No 7 Jan 1976 Pg. 4
SUNDAY 21 ST NOVEMBER, 1948
To be held at
Events for the day Starting at 11.a.m.
No. 1 First Fish.
No. 2 Breath Holding Contest
No. 3 Underwater Target Shoot.
No. 4 Two hour Fishing Contest, for the greatest weight of Fish (other than Sharks and Sting Rays).
1. For the Best Fish of the Day.
2. Largest Fish.
3. Best Bream.
4. Best Black Fish.
5. Best Groper.
1959 1st December
SUMMARY OF FISHING LAWS FOR THE INFORMATION OF SPEARGUN FISHERMEN OPERATING ON OCEAN BEACHES AND SALTWATER STREAMS OF NEW SOUTH WALES
The following is a digest of the provisions of the New South Wales Fisheries laws as they apply to speargun fishermen operating in the tidal waters of New South Wales. Tidal waters are all streams affected by tidal influence and also include ocean beaches, coastal saltwater lakes, lagoons and ponds. The use of spears, spearguns and similar devices for the capture of fish is totally prohibited in inland waters.
Persons taking fish by means of spears, spearguns or similar devices are not required to hold a licence.
There is no bag limit in respect of fish taken in saltwater except bass and all species of groper, but speargun fishermen are requested to avoid waste by ceasing to fish when they have obtained sufficient fish to satisfy their own requirements.
With bass, there is a bag limit of ten (10) fish per person per day but, as their capture is limited to a rod and line or handline with not more than two hooks attached, they cannot be legally captured by a speargun. The bag limit with groper of any species is not more than two (2) fish per person per day.
Sale of Fish:
Speargun fishermen are permitted to take fish for their own consumption and under no circumstances are they permitted to sell their catch. Continue reading Summary of fishing laws for the information of speargun fishermen operating on ocean beaches and saltwater streams of New South Wales
1948 9th October
Yesterday’s piece about the feud between Manly’s rod fishermen and fish – spearers reveals much more than a mere ruffle on the angling waters. The feud shows signs of developing into a major marine disturbance.
The Amateur Fishermen’s Association has already hooked spearmen out of Tuggerah Lakes, Port Hacking and Wallis Lake, near Forster; now seeks to cast a wide and fine – meshed net to drag them out of metropolitan waters.
Neither side has much hope that a compromise plan – no spearing within 50 yards of an angler – will work out.
The anglers reckon that even at 50 yards the spearmen will scare the fish off. And that doesn’t take into account the apoplexy that the mere sight of a spearman tends to engender in their normally placid bloodstreams.
Each force has closed its ranks. Spearmen are busy organising themselves to stave off threats to their freedom; lobbyists from both camps are already employed trying to manoeuvre the political machinery their way. Trouble is there’s no provision for or against spearing in the Acts governing methods of fish capture.
Hasn’t been so much tension in Izaak Walton’s business since the introduction of the barbed hook.
From: The Sun 9/10/1948
1946 1st July
SPEARING FISH IS WINTER SPORT FOR SURF MEN
Fish – spearing is the latest craze among Coogee Surf Club members.
Even these cold mornings young Don Millar is in and under the water at daybreak, spearing fish for breakfast.
Millar yesterday was proclaimed champion of Coogee Surf club when he speared three fish (two morwong and a sergeant baker) in almost as many minutes.
Armed with spear gun, goggles and a lead belt that takes him to the sea bed, Millar always gets a catch.
He lies on the bottom to catch flathead and sergeant baker, and swims about to spear morwong and blackfish.
He dives from the rocks and swims out to about 25 feet of water.
He is not worried about sharks as he thinks they go to warmer water in the winter.
KNEW HIS FISH
Millar is getting to know his fish.
Every morning a 40 lb. drummer watches him at work.
Millar never takes a shot at him, as he is too strong and might swim off with his spear.
“Morwong and blackfish are the most curious fish”, said Millar.
“They will sit and take a look and will often swim up to me to see what is going on”.
Millar says under – water swimming gives him wonderful breath – control which he thinks will improve his swimming next season.
The spear gun is made of wood with brass fittings. It carries a long stainless unattached steel spear.
The spear is launched by a thick elastic band fired by a trigger.
From: Sydney Sun 6/7/46