1948 5th April
Spearmen Went In After the Fish
Spear fishermen formed an association yesterday to educate the public in the sport and then gave a demonstration at Long Reef to show how they caught fish.
Mr. Dick Charles, of Hurstville, who is president of the new body – the Underwater Spear Fishermen’s Association of New South Wales – told the meeting the public did not understand spear fishing.
He told members they were in danger of having it banned. For this reason the association was being formed.
About 50 enthusiasts expressed willingness to join.
Mr. Andy Armstrong of Neilsen Park, last week annoyed an orthodox fisherman by his success with the spear and received a blow on the head from the butt of the rod. He agreed that the interests of spearmen must be protected.
About 40 members gave the demonstration. Conditions were cold and overcast, but the spearmen caught about 30 fish up to 4 ib. in weight. They included red carp, black-fish, morwong and one big stingray, almost three feet across, which was earlier thought to be a shark.
The spearmen, watched by hundreds of spectators, were not deterred. “See you later if a shark doesn’t see me first,” was one characteristic comment as the took to the water.
All types of spears were used from a simple barbed rod with bamboo handle, with which Mr. Don Linklater, of Bondi, landed a fish within a few minutes, to elaborate spring guns like that of Mr. Charles.
Most of the fishermen wore face masks and held their breath while submerging for short periods.
Others had more elaborate apparatus, including small rubber floats to which tubes were attached, carrying air down to spearmen below the surface.
One man wore a “frogman’s suit” of rubber, with a diving helmet and air tube which enabled him to stay below indefinitely.
Mr. Jack Egan of Potts Point speared the stingray, using a rubber-powered sprin-gun.
From: Sydney Morning Herald Mon. 5th April 1948