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    Spearfishing News Article from 1953!

    October 04, 2016 3 min read

    Spearfishing News Article from 1953!

    An article from Angler's Digest, March 1953 by Jim Ferguson

    Spearmen Versus Anglers - Shortage of Fish 

    Howe Island Report - Dr. HASS Lectures

    The Annual event, SPEARMEN vs. ANGLERS was held at The Entrance, N.S.W., on the Anniversary holiday weekend. At the morning weigh-in (on Sunday) the anglers were jumping with glee to find their score nearly double that the spearmen, but at the final weigh-in the spearmen made a late run and just managed to get their heads in front to carry off the trophy donated by Bill Heffernan.

    When volunteers were called to help Mrs Lance Walker and Mrs Dick Barton to cook the fish for the barbecue, "No answer was the stern reply", so those two were left with the task of preparing fish for the 1,000 who turned up.

    They started to cook at lunch time, were still going at 6pm. Rumour has it that neither want fish for tea again for the next twelve months.

    The programme for the evening went along the lines of speech, RAIN, comedy act, RAIN, speech, LIGHT SHOWER, supper, RAIN, auction of surplus fish, proceeds (about 15 pounds) to the local hospital, RAIN, presentation of Bill Heffernan Trophy, DELUGE - and everyone swam to their tent!

    Shortage of fish is causing spearmen to develop new means of filling the frying pan. Places a year or two ago provided bags of fish are now bare of anything more than 2 inches long and spearmen, unless they go to spots which are out of the way and undisturbed, get nothing more than a swim unless they are prepared to go out 50 yards and dive 25 to 50ft!

    Down the coast at Xmas two well-known spearfishing lads were observed slinking off to sea every morning before dayligh in an 8ft dinghy loaded with lines, stinking prawns, and traitorous ideas. When a few spearmen waited in ambush for them one morning and discovered 93 nice flathead in the bottom of the boat, plus assorted snapper and rock fish, spearguns were hurled into the bush as they made a ild rush for the nearest vendor of fishing lines.


    Other new departures to get fish include a surf ski used by Allan Agnew and his man Friday, William. The ski is fitted with an outrigger on one side, which enables them to climb up the sides of the curly combers, breaking on the local bomboras, and reach the really big fish without being turned over - that is, not often turned over anyhow.

    Another scheme used, which a well known identity in U.S.F.A. would describe as "cunning but caddish", consisted of running a meshing net around an area off the rocks, then diving inside with spearguns. Those fish which dodged the spears finished up in the net mesh to be collected later.

    Bob Rigby also has a system of his own which consists of diving off one coastal headland and striking out for the next one several miles away. When he comes ashore he is trailing a long stringer loaded with fish. The "safety first" rule here is to swim fast enough that the sharks never catch up with the smell of blood and guts trailing behind. Definitely not a method advised for spearmen with weak hearts.

    An interesting new theory is being circulated to account for the diminishing supply of fish off the N.S.W. coast. Every time there is a storm off our coast, hundreds of fish traps are lost. The theory is that these thousands of traps go on killing fish for years. They fill up with fish which die and in turn become bait for more fish. (Article cut off)