Les Gleaves, Sans Souci Dolphin Life Member, NSW State spearfishing representative, UW hockey player, great all-round fisherman and man of the sea, an excellent pool player, and just an all-round gentleman and good guy.
Appearing at the Dolphins in the late 60’s as a gangly, quiet teenager Les quickly made his mark spearfishing amongst his peers.
Growing into phenomenal strength both physically and mentally, and possessing a freakish breath hold and a fantastic fish sense Les had this unerring ability to usually spear the biggest fish of an outing. Les held the World and National Record for Dogtooth Tuna at 55kg, an amazing achievement at this time (speared in 1986 in the Coral Sea) the record lasting a decade.
Selfless and a good listener. he would be that guy who would often take the juniors and beginners on his boat, never worrying much if it affected his day; you could ask Les anything and he would tell you what he knew to help you progress; he would listen to everyone’s tales of woe (typical of all fishermen) yet I could bet after you spilled your misery he would have some quip, or his own experiences of the day to say to brighten your own day. Les continually assisted on committees of his club, Zone and State and held positions as Sports Secretary and Records Officer amongst other roles.
Revered amongst the Spearfishing Association scene as a lovely bloke, who possessed a cracking sense of humour, Les was seldom seen without a beer in hand after a dive usually bare chested wearing his customary wetsuit shorts for all seasons and climes. Les was a fount of knowledge on all things fish, superb at fish identification, and complemented this with knowing where best to find each species of fish.
Les, myself and plenty of others were looking forward to catching up with you at the USFA’s coming 75th anniversary, those that had the good fortune to have met you will miss you, may the waters you dive be clear, the fish abundant, your spear flies true and forever cold is your beer. Thank you for being so kind and patient with me, and for everything you gave to spearfishing, you never asked for anything in return. You were one of my heroes.
As part of the new-look USFA, we recently met with the Director of Strategy for the Deputy Premier of New South Wales, to take our issues directly to Macquarie Street. As part of these positive discussions, the USFA arranged a face-to-face meeting with the NSW Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon Dugald Saunders MP.
The meeting was held in Woopi, at Mick Featherstone’s place (Mick has been the spearfishing rep for Solitary Islands advisory committee for over 12 years). Brian Hackett, the President of the Coffs Harbour Blue Water Freedivers, was also in attendance. Mick and Brian discussed the Government announcement to introduce a slot limit for the Dusky Flathead (and prosecute the USFA’s position on the matter), gauge the Ministers interest in introducing more marine parks while explaining the importance of our spatial needs in the parks.
Thanks for your time @Dugald Saunders @Paul Toole @Gurmesh Singh
We will be continuing our efforts to ensure that spearfishers voices are heard with decision makers here in NSW. Please reach out if you have any queries or comments!
Heat a wok to a high heat with 120mls of veg oil. Mix diced fish with flour and shake excess off, quickly fry in the hot oil in batches until golden and 50% cooked. Remove from wok and let it drain on paper towel. Remove most of the oil from the wok and quickly cook celery, water chestnuts and shallots for a few minutes while tossing on a high heat. You want them to have just started to cook but still be crunchy. Remove from the wok and set aside in a bowl.
Give your abalone a wash and a bit of a scrub/rub to remove any dirt or sand. Put a heavy based pan on the lowest your burner/stovetop can go and add a tiny bit of oil place the whole abalone in flesh side down and let it cook for between 20-30 minutes. It should only lightly colour. Turn the heat off and let the abalone rest and relax. Remove the abalone from the shell and remove the guts. Cut the abalone into 3mm batons.
Heat the wok to a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil, add diced bacon and cook until the fat has rendered, add the ginger and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the Shaoxing wine and reduce by half. Add the fermented chilli paste and cook out for a few minutes add a pinch of white pepper. Then add about 40mls of water to the sauce and stir until combined. add the fish back to the wok, toss the fish to coat with the sauce then add the vegetables and abalone(optional) back in and toss until the sauce coats everything and it is nice and hot. Garnish with coriander and sesame seeds and serve with some steamed jasmine rice.
1 medium sized blue morwong, scaled, filleted skin on, pin boned.
80g butter unsalted
2 heads of fennel
1 small lemon (zested and kept for fennel)
1/2 bunch of chives finely sliced
30ml olive oil
50ml white wine (optional)
30ml veg oil
Tablespoon of flour.
Cut each head of fennel in half length ways and each half into 3 wedges and lay them in a baking dish, add white wine, olive oil, salt, lemon zest and fennel seeds over the top of the fennel. Cover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes on 180c. Remove the foil and continue to bake them until coloured on top and the fennel is tender.
Preheat a heavy based pan or cast iron pan to a high heat. Lightly season your portions of blue morwong with salt and coat the skin with flour, dust off any excess flour and add the veg oil to the pan. Place the morwong skin side down into the pan and apply a light pressure on the back of the fish with a fish flip/spatula. Reduce the heat to a medium heat and continue to cook until the skin becomes golden and the fish is about 70% cooked. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan and the flip the fish and baste with the butter until the skin looks delicious and crisp. Remove the fish from the pan and place on your serving dish or plate.
Add the remaining butter to the pan and cook until the butter is foaming and just starting to colour. Squeeze the lemon juice into the butter and remove from the heat. Add the chives and about 30-50mls of water to the pan and swirl the pan until the sauce thickens slightly.
Spoon the sauce onto the plate with the fish but not over the skin as it will make it less crisp.
Serve with the roasted fennel and a light salad. Rocket would go nicely.
4 medium sized leatherjackets cut into strips and put onto skewers
1 tablespoon Sunflower Oil
1 Garlic Clove (crushed)
1 Long Red Chillies (chopped)
1 tsp White Pepper (ground)
1 tablespoon Ground Coriander Seeds
1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 tsp Shrimp Paste or fish sauce
1 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Kecap Manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1 tablespoon Peanut Oil
1 Garlic Clove (crushed)
1 Asian Eschalot (red, finely chopped)
2 Small Red Chillies (thinly sliced)
¼ cup Smooth Peanut Butter
½ cup Light Coconut Milk
2 tablespoons Kecap Manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Light Soy Sauce
50g Unsalted Roasted Peanuts (crushed)½ Lime
Heat all ingredients in the marinade list, in a wok or small pot for about 5-8 minutes on a medium heat until fragrant and slightly thick, remove from the wok or pot. Let cool and coat the leatherjacket skewers with marinade.
Spicy peanut sauce-
for the spicy peanut dipping sauce, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, eschalot and chilli, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add peanut butter, coconut milk, kecap manis, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until the ingredients are combined. Add crushed peanuts, lime juice and 1/4 cup (125ml) water, then return to a simmer and cook for a further 2 minutes until reduced slightly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Grill skewers of leatherjacket, serve with spicy peanut sauce over the top or as a dipping sauce, serve with steamed jasmine rice and Asian greens.
100g mayonnaise (kewpie brand is good, or make it yourself)
1 gherkin or pickled cucumber, finely diced
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
100ml veg oil
Cracked black pepper
Mix the bread crumbs, parmesan, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1 tablespoon of dill, pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk the egg and milk together in a bowl and place the flour in another bowl.
Lightly season the fish with salt, dip into the flour, dust the excess off. Dip into the egg mix, then remove and place into the crumbs. Gently coat the fish.
Heat the oil in a cast iron or heavy based pan to a moderate heat. Place the fish in skin side down and cook until the crumbs are golden then turn and cook golden again and remove from the pan. Place on some paper towel to remove excess oil and lightly sprinkle some salt and cracked black pepper over the fish.
Serve with chips and salad.
Add chopped gherkin or pickles, capers, 1 tablespoon of chopped dill, 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley, 1 pinch cracked black pepper, squeeze of lemon juice to taste. To the mayonnaise of your choice.
1 medium sized black drummer (filleted skin on)( bones and head cleaned)
4 medium Desiree/red skin potatoes
1 tablespoon capers (rinsed and drained)
1 bunch of parsley
1 stick of celery (cut into chunks)
1 onion (cut into chunks)
1 carrot (peeled and cut into chunks)
1 sprig rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 sprig of thyme
200mls of drummer stock
30ml of veg oil
Stock- take the head and frame from the black drummer and rinse in cold water until all the blood is gone, remove the eyes and gills from the head. Add to pot with 1.5l water, carrot, onion, and celery. Bring to boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Skim the fat and scum regularly. Take off the heat and let it rest and then strain.
Boulangère potatoes-thinly slice potatoes, using a mandolin helps, layer them like fish scales in a baking dish, add a pinch of butter, very small amount of salt and pepper and a few pieces of thyme, rosemary and bay leaf on each layer. Repeat until all the potatoes have been used up. Top the final layer with olive oil, salt pepper and herbs. Add 200mls of drummer stock and wrap with foil. Bake for around 30 minutes, remove foil and bake until slightly golden on top.
Crispy skin fish-portion the drummer fillets into manageable sized portions usually 2-3 portions per fillet. Score the portions. Leave the portions skin side up with paper towel on the skin until dry.
Preheat a heavy based or cast iron pan to a high heat, add the veg oil and heat until shimmering. Sprinkle salt over the fish skin and gently place it skin side down in the pan.
Press down on the fish slightly and let it relax in the pan so the skin lies flat. Turn the pan down to medium and continue cooking until the skin is crisp and golden and the fish is about 70% cooked. Add 30g of butter and flip the fish over and spoon the foaming butter over the skin for about 20 seconds. Remove the fish from the pan and put it onto the serving plates. Quickly add the remaining butter to the pan and add the capers and parsley and cook until crisp and the butter starts to brown. Squeeze some lemon juice in and take off the heat. Spoon the capers, parsley and brown butter over the fish. Serve with the boulangère potatoes and enjoy.