Townsville spearfishing weekend

On the weekend we travelled North to Townsville to meet up with some of Ryan’s friends, Drew and Adrienne, to go spearfishing.

We arrived late on Friday night after a delayed flight. On Saturday morning we woke up at 4am to head out to the reef early. When spearfishing there is so much gear so we had to quickly make sure we did not forget anything. At least our stuff was already packed up from having to fly up.

We arrived at the boat ramp shortly before sunrise and lined up to launch. The weather forecast was pretty much perfect, so it was peak hour down at the ramp.

We took off with the sun rising. Here is a photo from after it had come up, as we were going past Magnetic Island:

It took about an hour and a half to get to our destination, one of the reefs offshore:


For us, this was spearfishing heaven. Beautiful clear blue water. Maximum 15 meters depth, and lots of fishies. At first it was a bit quiet, but as we moved around the reef we found some better spots. Usually accompanied by a few reef sharks. I’m definitely more comfortable around those sharks than the ones near Brisbane. They were much smaller too.

Drew and Adrienne are seasoned coral trout hunters. So they started filling the esky. Ryan and I had a fairly slow start. Ryan speared a coral trout and a stripy (not sure of the real name, but it’s related to the Mangrove Jack). I then speared a smaller stripy.

About halfway through the day Drew and Adrienne were having a break in the boat. We had a bit of a look around and started swimming back. All of a sudden I saw Ryan take off. I knew he must have speared something big, so I swam after him. I arrived and saw him battling with a large Spanish Mackerel. This thing was putting up a fight and the sharks were very interest. I did what I could to help him. He then grabbed my spear gun and re-speared the fish to get it to settle down. When he brought it up to kill it, he stuck his hand inside the gills to hold it still, but stuck it in too far. His fingers ended up in the fish’s mouth and now he is missing a chunk out of his right middle finger. There was so much blood in the water. I was surprisingly brave and willing to fight off any interested sharks. We quickly tried to get back to the boat and this was the result:


Comparing that to photos of other Spanish mackerel on the Internet, we estimate Ryan’s to be around the 20Kg mark.

Luckily we had Dr Adrienne and her first aid kit handy. Ryan wanted to keep spearfishing of course, so his hand was patched up and gloved. Happy Ryan:


In the meantime I kept hunting. I was after a large Yellow-spotted Trevally that was hanging around. Unfortunately, a black tip reef shark was just as interested. Drew was in the water with me as I dove after the Trevally. When I came to the surface he told me the shark had followed just behind me and was a little too close. We decided get back into the boat and change location.

At the next location there was another Yellow-spotted Trevally. This time I was determined to get it. My gun is a bit smaller than Ryan’s and I missed on my first shot. The silly thing still hung around, so Ryan quickly gave me his gun. I dove down again and successfully shot it. It took off with a shark after it. Ryan chased the shark away and I waited until the fish tired out. It went a little crazy but eventually settled down. The fight wore me out a lot and I swallowed enough sea water to last me a lifetime. Once I pulled it up to the surface I had to kill it by knifing it through the top of the head. Previously Ryan would do this for me, but he felt it was about time I learned.

Anyway, this was the result:


Looking oh so attractive after getting out of the water. Anyway, it turns out that the female world record for Yellow-spotted Trevally is 4.7Kgs. This one was well above that weight. Unfortunately, I did not know this and did not get to weigh it in for the record. My new challenge is to get one of those records!!!

That pretty much took it out of me. We were all getting a bit tired by this time. Adrienne’s sinuses were hurting during her dives as well. So we only went to a couple of more spots. The boys jumped in at the last spot whilst the girls stayed on board the boat. I admired the beautiful clear blue water. The boys got a few more coral trout. I may or may not have been involved in losing one speared by Ryan. He put it in the back of the boat next to me. I did not know it was still alive and when it jumped, I did too. It fell back into the water and swam off as quickly as it could. Sorry Ryan.



It is safe to say that we were all wrecked by the time we got back to land. Lucky for us, Drew’s dad cooked up a feast and we had a relaxing night.

Sunday was a bit too windy to head back out, and we were still a bit tired. We also had to fillet the 10 fish. Here is what that looked like:



This is how much fish we had when we finished:


The plastic container contained slices of Mackerel sashimi. We then drove an hour out of Townsville to some water falls at Crystal Creek. This place has some great swimming holes with some nice big jumps into the pools. We ate some sashimi with a perfect mix of soya sauce and wasabi created by Adrienne. Washed down with beer and followed by a swim. It made for the perfect weekend.

We can’t wait to have Drew and Adrienne come down for a spearing trip in Brisbane, or even better, to go back up there and do it all again!!

Until next time…

5 responses to “Townsville spearfishing weekend

  1. Pingback: Eating fish | Our journey to the sea·

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