08 Apr Training Aquatic Hunters
Joshua assists me with a big Spanish Mackerel in Amed.
Josh went from a 20m diver to a 30m diver in 3 days on his PADI Advanced course.
Spearfishing Bali is exciting. I think freediving and spearfishing brought me back to my primal child-like love of nature. I still remember the first ever fish I shot. A nice sized Mullet in Anglesey North Wales in 2013. It was classic beginners luck:
My two experienced friends had been out all day and given up empty handed by the time I went in. I swam out into the kelp forest holding a gun for the first time ever and took my first dive, positioning myself on the bottom as I had been told to.
Behold, a lone mullet emerged from behind a kelp frond within 10 seconds of waiting. It basically stopped at the end of my spear presenting itself as dinner. I thought to myself… “I guess this is spearfishing then” …and pulled the trigger.
Too easy. What I wasn’t ready for was the ensuing fight which lasted 40 minutes and involved me being circled several times and wrapped up in line. I will never forget that first Mullet. I’ve since landed much larger and stronger fish like this Giant Trevally in Amed Bali 2016:
Getting a head or spine shot is more crucial with these guys.
I had never killed an animal with my hands before the Mullet. It was profound for me. These beings really want to live and fight to the death. The experience put me closer to the reality of eating animals. Closer to nature and my own predatory instincts. I respect life. I always did have a uneasy feeling posing for dead fish photos.
Around the time I started to pursue the bigger beasts of spearfishing Bali, I remember reading Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”. My feelings and inner dialogue resonated so much with the story and descriptions:
“You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?”
“Then he began to pity the great fish that he had hooked. He is wonderful and strange and who knows how old he is, he thought.”
“But, thank God, [the fish] are not as intelligent as we who kill them; although they are more noble and more able.”
Fish are extremely fast and strong and do not need to surface for air. Physically they have a huge advantage. We use our freediving skills, brains and technology to get them:
On our Freediving and Spearfishing Course we create aquatic hunters out of complete beginners. When the student has got to grips with the freediving, we introduce spearfishing knowledge, techniques and some target practice.