Fishing by spears is an ancient method, but they've really brought it up to date in the last few years, with the use of guns to propel the spears.
So much so that underwater fishing is now in the organised sport class, with a rapidly growing list of followers and a stiffening opposition from the orthodox rod and line anglers, who regard the practice as unsportsmanlike.
The Underwater Spearfishing Association of N.S.W., formed last summer, now conducts regular outings.
Equipment for the sport varies. The most popular consists of a gun, spear, diving mask, and a weighted belt, at a total cost of about five pounds. Other outfits are more complicated – and expensive.
The most widely used gun has a barrel about nine inches long, to which is attached a strong rubber band in the form of a loop, and a shoulder piece to steady the gun. The spear, of quarter-inch stainless steel, has two moveable barbs. The top barb opens at right-angles after the fish has been speared, to prevent it slipping off the end. The lower barb opens if the fish slips down the spear.
The rubber mask has a glass oval front, and covers the eyes and nose but leaves the mouth free for breathing.
The webbing belt has about 5lb. lead attached to steady the spearfisher against currents and to enable him to get to the bottom quickly.
From: A.M. for January, 1949 Pg. 58