• Short Summary

    The Australian Pacific Coast spearfishing championships were held at School Bay, north of Newcastle recently.


  • Description

    The Australian Pacific Coast spearfishing championships were held at School Bay, north of Newcastle recently.

    Hundreds of spearfishermen had gathered here and were setting off in an assortment of boats to fishing grounds as far as sixty miles away. In this group were a husband and wife team, Mr. and Mrs. Holz of Dee Why. Mrs. Holz had abandoned the women event to fish with the men.

    Once the fishing grounds were reached, the spearmen wasted no time and the first competitors were in the water only minutes later. And in this case only a few seconds later one fisherman's enthusiasm was rewarded. He'd literally landed on top of a Blue Groper and probably recorded the fastest catch of the championships. It's weight - a prime twenty pounds.

    All dived without aqualungs, many with simple hand spears, and in depths of up to 50 feet. Here, miles off shore, its previously been the exclusive preserve of line fishermen. Silently the hunter glides down and in a wavering cloud near the bottom, his prey. The fish quickly scattered but the spearman has picked his quarry... a direct hit.

    But every hit is not always a catch. Despite the barbed prongs of the spear, some, like this, manage to wriggle off and dart for the shelter of a rock crevice... the spearman tries to follow but his breath runs out and he pushes for the surface. But other and more sinister catches have been made. Here is one of fifteen sharks sighted only a few hundred yards from the fishing grounds.

    A grey nurse, its mouth bristling with needle shaped teeth, took four high powered spears to despatch it - spears fastened to the end of incredibly strong nylon line. The grey nurse was ten feet long and still dangerous in its dying convulsions.

    Under water spearmen are apparently indifferent to sharks because they fished on... seemingly unconcerned about the possibility of being hunted themselves. The fishing while not spectacular was good and during the competition some two and a half tons of fish was taken.

    Out here they seemed to be well among the smaller fish, and in any case hand spears make anything bigger than ten pounds hard to manage. For much more spectacular results a conventional spear gun is needed. A king fish, one of the biggest fish taken, weighed 60 pounds. It was speared by Norm Smith, a member of the winning team. A more unusual catch this freakish looking specimen rather appropriately called a flute fish.

    The champion team. Host club president Fred Richards congratulates Dave Owlings and Ed Lois (pro. Louis ) and Norm Smith of St. George Club. Later the fish were auctioned for charity.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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    Available on request
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