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Alright then....where do I start?

13626 Views 44 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  RedPhoenix
Free diving off my yak is something that I am very interested in but completely new to. I was hoping that someone more experienced than myself could paint a picture of yak free diving and what would be involved e.g.

-What kit is needed?
-what depths and bottom seascape should be targeted?
-How deep is it realistic to dive to in order to target fish and other bottom type stuff (obviously largely based on fitness levels)?
-What sort of safety precautions/kit should one observe/acquire e.g. I would think that having a pony (small emergency breathing apparatus not a little horse) strapped to your leg could be beneficial?
-I understand that spearfishing is illegal with a tank?
-what sort of entry level spear gun/spear features should one go for?
-Techniques, tips and diving secrets of the rich and famous?
-Species to target etc etc?
-Best way to position the whole thing so that the wife buys all the kit for me for christmas :D ?

I reckon this would serve as a general guide to anyone interested who has very little to no experience.

Any input appreciated :D

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Gatesy said:

This means any bities will take the fish and not me :D

would be very keen to come along with you a few times John as i am not too experienced either. I have done ok once or twice with black fish and a nice big fat drummer. Geez they eat well :twisted:

Let me know and we can try and organise something
Nice theory on the bities Michael :roll: :D

There was a fella that was taken by a shark in NZ years ago when he was spear fishing. The conclusion drawn as to how and why was that he was threading the fish just as you advocate but was basically keeping them attached belt style around his waist. Talk about ringing the dinner bell! I reckon the fish dropped into the back of the yak in a leak proof bag or cooler or something would be the way to go.

Very interested in doing some trips with you mate. There are some decent places that spring to mind. One was off Balmoral. As you pass the Navy base and go around the point there is a little tiny beach/bay. The water looked very clear as it was open water and there was plently of rock ledges etc. I was also thinking Lake Macquarie in places like the sand flats.

I used to free dive for Paua (abalone to the non-Kiwis) with a butter knife off Makara in NZ amongst the kelp beds and rocks. You gotta get that butter knife in real fast before they work out whats happening and suck to the rock (it takes them a moment to come to terms with the fact that some idiot is actually using a butter knife to try and pry them from the rock). From the water straight onto the bbq!

Anyway..there is simply nothing like being that close to nature. I am not a religious man but I do think you are closest to God when immersed in the elements. The sea, salt air, sea breeze (listen carefully for the violins) and being down amongst the inhabitants of the sea is what appeals.....oh and also a free feed afterwards :D .

Any further insight by the more experienced is appreciated.

Let's plan a trip Gatesy...again all welcome.

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As always a supurb response Red. Well thought out and well constructed. Thank you very much for taking the time and making the effort!

A question on hand spares. How far do they shoot and are they attached to you? I know they have a rubber but don't they actually shoot a very small distance? More a case of stabbing the fish?

I am thinking about getting something with some distance....if Gatesy has a rail gun down there and it all turns ugly underwater with some sort of altercation over a kingy or crayfish or something I want to be aqually armed :twisted: :D :D

Again...thanks for your great response Red.

Gidday Driftr and welcome to the forum. Have you ever spearfished in Lake Mac and if so where and what species? Gatesy and I spend a bit of time up around the Lake, specifically me at Catherine Hill Bay and Gatesy at Chain Valley Bay. Also Raw Prawn (Greg) lives up that way. We should go for a fish when you get your yak. Now tell us about your spearfishing experiences in the Lake?

Thanks Red. It appears then that stealth is an important ingredient if max range is 5 feet. Behind, sideways or above the fish then as most fish will do a runner if they see you approach to 5 feet I reckon.

Perhaps you might want to hire one sometime in the next 6 weeks. I reckon there will definately be a day that Gatesy, Raw Prawn and I (and anyone else handy) will go for a fish on the lake over the Chrissy period. You would be most welcome to come out. You could even take the old yak for a spin when I am up there next if you like :D

Wow sweet result Red. Thanks for posting.

Did you use the hand spear you were telling us about? Can you also give us an idea of the environment i.e. structure, bottom conditions, swell, how far from the beach or stucture etc?

Also how are you finding the Olympus 725 now that you have used it in anger under water? I too have one and am finding that the shot type setting actually has quite an effect on the outcome of the pic, particularly if you use the wrong one at the wrong time e.g. scenery taken on a protrait setting.

Also how long did it take you to gather the above collection and were you off a yak or boat of some kind?


Squidder said:
I think the rounder of the 2 jackets you speared is a mosaic leatherjacket - they are so pretty underwater, unfortunately we don't see many of that species in Vic.
Are those Leather Jackets good eating or crappy? Also what are the little strippy fish in the photos?

Great reply Deano. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

I have bought a good set of long stiff fins, a good quality mask, good snorkel, some weights and a belt and 2 spears from Annaconda ($9 bucks a piece on members special). I also got some good advice from Ted at Fathom Extreme Spear diving on Pittwater road.

Can't wait to get into it! A question...how far up the spear does one hold when engaging the rubber in oder to get the distance speed? About half way where the join is seems to be the go?

Good stuff. I can smell a spear fishing trip coming up Deano. I know Gatesy is also very keen. I am sure there is a lot that some of you more seasoned guys can teach us beginners. Where would you suggest starting around Sydney Deano? Good structure, not too deep, plenty of fish, good vis and some variety? Oh yea and no biteys either.

The sharks don't worry me a hell of a lot. As long as you have options i.e. retreat wise then it is fine. I have dived with them in lots of places including in a cave in Hawaii and for the most part they bolt as soon as they see you. Particularly if you are in numbers. Obviousoy there are exceptions to this, particularly by species and other factors like burley/deadfish.

Now to my question. Someone mentioned crayfish earlier. Has anyone taken crays and what pointers can be given in terms of finding them and capturing/handling them (the cooking part I can already do). Appreciate any tips! :D


Sorry to be dragging my ass on a reply Deano. I have christined the spear and have photos to prove it. I just haven't had the time to post. Within the next few days and update post will be up. Appreciate the invite to go spearing and will take you up on it.

Soon mate, soon.

Well this has been a long time coming.....almost 4 months in fact.

This was the first dive off Kiama. A couple of options in terms of rocky sides to the bay. The first thing I kinda worked out is that it isn't that wise to go after 3 schooners of VB, a BBQ and against a run out tide. Some of us need to learn the hard way :oops:

Anyway, plenty of fish life at about 3 metres which was about my limit on this dive. Drifting over sand when suddenly I spot the unmistakable signs of a flathead: 2 beedy eyes out and sideways, partially buried in the sand, line above the sand where the tail swept back. Right...here goes. Tally Ho! I'm going in! I drew back the hand spear, took a breath and dived down. I stealthly positioned myself bove the good sized flatty, aimed just behind the eyes and let the spear go. BAM! Suddenly all hell broke loose as this giant underwater sandstorm arose from the bottom. Next I see the beastie rising from the bottom with.....what the hell?!?! it's flying! Oh crap! I've shot a stingray. Next thing I know I am desperately trying to get the ray off the end of my spear by yanking it back and forward. Finally off it sprinted away clearly very unimpressed.

The hunt continued with 2 further potential flatties identified. This time I gave them a gentle prod prior to spearing them to make sure they weren't rays. Sure enought both were and quickly made their exit. Dived for about 40 minutes encountering a good silvery and shadowing school of Bream. Took some snaps with the Olympus 725 and generally got a feel for things. Was shagged when I finally made shore and made a prat of myself infront of some sunbathing hotties by being caught up in the wash with the over sized flippers.

Next time off the yak!



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