https://youtu.be/xv6vWpsEcYo A big Thanks to Chase Weir, from Guam, for all his great work on Photos and video. Liquid Soul
FINAL RESULTS FOR THE WFSC MAY OF 2017
MAY 18-19 OF 2017 THE USA HOSTED ITS FIRST WORLD FRESHWATER SPEARFISHING CHAMPIONSHIP. IN LAKE MEAD, LAS VEGAS, NV
67 competitors completed from 13 different countries.
The event was 2 days, Day 1 saw 145 game fish, striped bass
Day 2 was unlimited carp day. There were 1603 carp taken for a total of 10600 pounds, 4818 kilos.
All the game fish were used for personal food and all the carp processed in to pet food.
The event had 4 divisions: Mens, Masters, Womens, and Mixed Doubles.
MENS: 38 divers, 16 teams, form 13 countries
MASTERS: 13 divers, 5 teams, from 7 countries
WOMENS: 10 divers, 3 teams, from 6 countries
MIXED TEAMS 10, from 7 different countries
JUNIORS: 6 divers, from 3 different countries
2 world records were set by women.
For the Next World Freshwater Spearfishing Championship look under the same web site under New Zealand 2019
Thanks to all our great supporters and sponsors who really made this a super success
Thanks Mike!! Awesome comp you did such a great job, also best over all atmosphere out of any comp I’ve been too – Friendly & relaxed.
Hope this is suitable, pics to follow
I was lucky enough to attend the very first WORLD Freshwater spearfishing championship meet in Nevada 2017. This would be my second time competing in fresh water, the first being the USA Champs so I was looking forward to doing some more freshwater diving. I suffer from chronic seasickness so I am in my element in the freshwater with no current, no swell, no salt, no sharks, I love it!
I have a very busy full time job at a spearfishing shop in New Zealand so finding the time to get in a lake or sea to train before the comp proved difficult. We also don’t have any lake diving quite like it is in the USA so I couldn’t replicate the hunting I’d need to be practising. I made it my priority to at least get my ‘gills wet’ twice a week in the evenings attending freediving training to keep my fitness up and increase my breath hold as from my previous experience deep diving isn’t the key, it’s bottom time in around 20-30ft sitting still and waiting for fish to approach you.
As soon as we landed in Henderson, we headed straight for the lake. We bought a very strong team from New Zealand, specifically targeting each division of the comp. A strong men’s pair, our top NZ junior diver & a very experienced masters diver as well as myself. We wanted to get in as much scouting as we possibly could. Luckily for us, our team mate Scott moved to Missouri a few years back so had a fantastic boat he was able to bring to the comp to take us out in every day. It was big enough for all of us & FAST! We spent 6 days out on the water training, searching for fishy spots & practising techniques.
Scouting days weren’t without incident though, our junior developed equalising issues which restricted his diving, our masters diver had a rash from the heat & dryness of Nevada (or peeing in his suit everyday I think!!) And my partner for the comp/manager of our team/my dad pulled out with a chest infection (or because he’s getting soft in his old age!)
We did manage to cover lots of ground and felt quietly confident come comp day 1.
First day of the comp was striper only. I saw half a dozen striper a day on scouting days so didn’t expect finding 2 or 3 fish to be that difficult. Boy was I wrong. Devastation hit when I finished the day with a big fat zero! I only saw one in the entire 6 hours and that was a flash of silver disappearing in the bad visibility. Back on the boat, I found our two men divers did very well, Ian with the biggest striper of the day & Scott with a few in his bucket too. At the weigh in, I learned that numerous other people had just as bad of a day as I did, so felt I had a chance to make up for the poor performance the next day. Striper were worth 3 points each, the carp the next day worth 1 so with some divers only getting 2 or 3 striper it was definitely achievable to shoot that many more carp to get back up in the ranking.
Day 2 rolled around and I must add the weather for the comp days were exceptional. We had a few cold windy days on the water scouting so was a huge turn around having beautiful calm sunny weather for the comp. It must have made the boat drivers jobs a little more bearable too! As soon as the horn went, we raced to our SPOT X right at the other end of the lake. We only have a couple of boats tailing us which was awesome, we wouldn’t be swimming on top of each other like some of the other competitors may find themselves in the more popular areas.
Although carp are reasonably easy to shoot, you want to be swimming over fresh ground to find them. Once a spearo shoots a few times they all disappear so it’s vital you have some country to yourself.
I hopped into my first spot and started swimming. And swimming, and diving and swimming. Nothing! For the first 30mins I only saw 1 or 2 carp and had the horrible thought that I’d end up the same way as day one. My dad came over to check on me & see if I wanted to move spots, and told me the other guys on the boat were having similar luck. They only had 3 or 4 fish so we made the call to move. We all jumped back in on some different terrain (the first being flat sandy bottoms with some delicious looking grass, the new terrain was more rocky and with big underwater ledges) My first dive, 2 carp swam up to me and I nailed the smaller one. In this comp, the fish are worth the same points no matter what the weigh, so my game plan was that if I have the choice, I’ll choose the smaller fish as it’d be easier to handle and dispatch. Once I shot my first fish, I was away!! I made a mini goal of shooting 15 fish for the comp. Because of the lack of fish for the start of the day, I thought this would be realistic.
It worked out to be an awesome game plan to bring my float boat with me from New Zealand so I could get them out of the water and securely inside the boat. Carp are the most resilient little suckers I have ever hunted & proved incredibly difficult to kill if you didn’t get them in the exact right spot. Their bodies are almost like jelly fish (which makes it VITAL you shoot them in the head area or it’s likely your shaft will rip out) but their heads are as hard as coconuts. Iki-ing the fish to kill them was a very tricky thing to do. The trick was to get your knife in between their big scales and aim forwards into the brain. They were also very good at playing dead so I had a few hairy moments where I pulled them off the shaft to throw in the float boat only for them to spring back into life and try and swim away. The easy part was shooting them, dealing with the aftermath really wore me out. I really give it up to the guys that shoot 50+ fish as that would have been really hard work. As I got more tired, my shots were getting a little lazy so every time I shot a fish, I would let my gun go and race down towards it and grab it in a bear hug to secure it. Every fish was SO important, so by doing this I ensured they weren’t left to thrash around and rip off the shaft.
Near the end of the comp, my hands and arms were so tired from wrestling the fish I would find a rock sticking out of the water to sit on so I could deal with the fish and get them into my float boat.
Every time I emptied my float boat on the big boat, I made a new goal. ‘Just 5 more fish!!’ It blew my mind when I got to 30 fish, to be honest I didn’t think I could do it! The trick for me, was a lot of self encourage and reminding myself that I COULD do it, I just have to keep diving. My dad’s hilarious motto was also ringing in my head, ‘pain is temporary, glory is forever!!’ It felt particularly relevant as my arms were aching from wrestling fish all day!
By the end of the 6 hours I was completely worn out and it was a race back to the weigh in to see how everyone else went. There was talk of 100+ fish being expected by top competitors so I wasn’t confident I’d be any where near the top but felt very proud of myself as it was a huge personal achievement.
Seeing how some of the other divers went, I slowly realised my catch of 36 fish was looking very good! By the end of the weigh in it was confirmed, I had won the women’s division. I even managed 11 more carp than any other women competitor which was amazing. Over all, I even achieved 23rd place out of 67 divers.
This meet included 12 women competing from 6 different countries which is the largest turn out for women in any comp I’ve even been to. It was a very proud moment for women spearfishers. We all made some new awesome friends, and no doubt can not wait for the next competition!
Bahamas National Spearfishing Team competes in the World Freshwater Spearfishing Championship
On the 18th and 19th May, 2017, four members of The Bahamas Freediving and Spearfishing Association competed in the World Freshwater Spearfishing Championship in Lake Mead, Nevada, U.S.A. The four members of the association Luke Maillis, Gregory Maillis, Alexandro Mullings and Adrian Phillips, comprised two teams in the mens division, as well as to compete individually. Team Captain Luke Maillis, along with Gregory Maillis, comprised team one, while Alexandro Mullings and Adrian Phillips comprised team two. To date, this is the first time in history for a Bahamas National Spearfishing team to compete in an international spearfishing competition.
The World Freshwater Spearfishing Championship was hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada where competitors spearfished for two days in Lake Mead. The event was attended by 67 competitors from 13 different countries. For day one of the event the target species was Stripe Bass, a very challenging character of fish to hunt, which demands advanced skills to capture. This species accounted for 3 points per fish of any size, with the largest fish as a tie breaker. The second day target species was common Carp which accounted for 1 point per fish of any size, as well as the largest fish being a tie breaker. Both are invasive species that have overpopulated Lake Mead requiring eradication by local fisherman and wardens. The championship helped to serve an environmental roll towards controlling the populations and all fish were donated towards a good cause.
Team Bahamas traveled to Las Vegas on the 13th of May, where they spent four days before the championship getting organized with gear, scouting for fish, and field testing equipment. They hired a local charter captain and dedicated a day of diving outside of the competition zone. The best option was the Colorado river where they were able to test out the different weapons of choice, being Hawaiian sling and pole spear, as well as the spear gun. They were able to learn the different characters of fish that they would target as well as adapting to the foreign environment of freshwater, altitude, and extreme water temperatures of 57 degrees Fahrenheit. Team member Adrian Phillips was able to shoot and land a large Stripe Bass with his Evolve Pole spear, being one of the Largest Bass taken that week among all of the competitors. (Shame it was not during the competition) The day before the competition, was dedicated to scouting the competition zone of Lake Mead where the team searched for locations that hold fish. While not many fish were sighted, the team had to create a game plan based on their best understanding of the challenging environment. The two teams hired two different boats with some of the most knowledgeable local captains available.
Day one, target species being Stripe Bass, the plan was to seek the advice of their hired local knowledge. With the game plan in mind for both teams to dive in the same location, they departed with a scurrying start at the sound of the committee horn. They raced multiple boats to the favored locations of the local captains. As both teams were in route, one of the boats with Alex and Adrian on board had engine trouble and quickly fell behind the fleet. Luke and Gregory continued on with the game plan and arrived at the recommended location of the local captains. They found a spawning school of Stripe Bass with local fishermen nearby catching numbers of two and three hundred fish. Eagerly excited to jump in the water, Luke and Gregory were courteous to give room to the local fishermen and started spearfishing with ample distance from them. To their disappointment, the conditions were impossible to hunt, as the water visibility at a depth of 30ft was a mere 12 inches. They tried deeper water in hopes of better visibility but found themselves sitting on the bottom in 45 ft of water in almost pitch black darkness. With the sound of hundreds of schooling Stripe bass surrounding them. They were frustrated to have to leave the location in search of better visibility.
At this time, Alex and Adrian were nowhere in sight and were forced to find an alternate diving location. With their quick thinking and intuition, they searched around in bays and reeds where they hoped to find Stripe Bass feeding on baitfish. To their success, Alex was able to come across a good location where he dived to the bottom and lay wait. Eventually, a medium size Stripe Bass approached him. Alex began to ambush him along the bottom and wait for the opportune moment to take the shot. As the fish turned to the side, Alex made a quick clean shot on target and landed his first Bass of the competition with a Rob Allan 80cm speargun. Adrian was braving the cold water while diving with a cold, but was struggling to equalize and found it very challenging to push himself in such conditions. At a huge disadvantage having engine trouble and a dive buddy sick with a cold, they were still able to putt around from spot to spot while Alex continued to shoot three more Stripe Bass throughout the day.
Meanwhile on Luke and Gregory’s boat, they struggled to find adequate areas to dive. With the local guides providing alternate locations, they hunted an area nearby where the visibility was a workable 5 to 6 ft and a depth between 40 to 25 ft. They continued to make repetitive dives to the bottom where they lay in wait for up to 2 minutes at a time, in hopes of ambushing a Stripe Bass. Dive after dive with no success, Gregory spotted a Stripe Bass that he speared with his Evolve pole spear. After a few moments of fighting, the soft fleshy fish ripped from the spear and swam away into the darkness. Luke then spotted a Stripe Bass that approached him on the bottom. As it started swimming away to the side he struggled to track and take aim with his 110cm Rob Allan speargun. He was able to fire a shot at the figure of the fish that swam off into the darkness, when suddenly the shooting line came tight and he fought the fish to the surface landing his first Bass of the competition. After more unsuccessful dives, Luke and Gregory decided to head for clear water nearby the Hoover Dam, where they continued the hunt. With water conditions much better and visibility a good 30 ft, Gregory knew he would have been at a disadvantage with the pole spear and switched to a Rob Allan 110cm Speargun. With his new selection of weapon he was able to take a long shot and land the largest Stripe Bass out of the Bahamas team, weighing in at 2.04lbs . Luke was also able to shoot and land another bass at the end of the day, rounding up a total count of 3 Bass for Luke and Gregory. Alex and Adrian had to cut their diving time short and start slowly putting back into the weigh in, where to their surprise, had the most fish of the day amongst the Bahamas teams.
Day two the target species was Carp. Having seen Carp the day before in certain locations the teams had it in mind to split off with the two boats and race around to the best places before other divers. With an anticipated winning quota of 20 fish per hour, the race against time was everything. Luke and Gregory started diving the deeper ledges of the Hoover Dam where they were shooting a few fish here and there, not 20 fish an hour, but not far behind pace. Alex and Adrian ventured across the lake where they saw fish the day before, but were unfortunate to find themselves as the last to arrive. With so many competitors eagerly racing to the fish, everyone strives to be the ‘’early bird who gets the worm’’. While Luke and Gregory were working the ledge of the dam, a Stripe Bass approached Gregory. Although not a species that would qualify for the day, Gregory’s true Spearo sportsman instincts kicked in and he shot and landed possibly the first ever Stripe Bass with Hawaiian sling. A victorious personal accomplishment that gives all of the team members a feeling of admiration towards Gregory’s skills and sportsmanship. Luke was making good head way with the Carp, consistently averaging a Carp on every other dive. Alex and Adrian had to hustle their catch among a lot of competition as they were among the fleet of other divers. Alex continued using the Rob Allan Speargun while Adrian being a sniper with the pole spear, used his most familiar and challenging weapon. Struggling to equalize, Adrian battled through the conditions and continued to pick off the Carp with his Evolve pole spear.
The final results of both days. Mens team division:
The Bahamas team of Luke and Gregory placed 8th out of 16 teams in the mens division with a total of 85 points. 3 Stripe Bass and 76 Carp
Alex and Adrian placed 15th out of 16 teams in the mens division with a total of 30 points 4 Stripe Bass and 18 Carp
Overall individual world champions:
Luke placed 6th out of 67 with a total of 58 points. 2 Stripe Bass and 52 Carp. Gregory placed 34th out of 67 with a total of 27 points. 1 Strip Bass and 24 Carp. Alex placed 43rd out of 67 with a total of 20 points. 4 Stripe Bass and 8 Carp. Adrian placed 55th out of 67 with a total of 10 points. 0 Strip Bass and 10 Carp
The four Athletes that comprise ‘’Team Bahamas’’, Luke Maillis, Gregory Maillis, Alexandro Mullings, and Adrian Phillips, have a Facebook page “Bahamas National Spearfishing Team” where you can read up on bios for each athlete as well as glance through their albums.
Sponsors: Maillis & Maillis, Harbourside Marine, Rob Allen Dive Factory (Durban, South Africa), Trinox Diving (California, USA). Evolve Diving (Kona, Hawaii) and all supporters of the FundrazR campaign.
Andy Ruddock , 3rd Place Master Diver from Australia
After hearing about invite from Mike for me (which made me feel great not to have been forgotten as a competive diver as i havent fished comps for a long time) to compete in the first worldfrestwater champs at lake mead from adrian wayne, i was extremely pleased that they were including a masters division and pairs division which gave me a chance to dive with on of my mentors Kevin Ranger in pairs comp, and also gives us older divers a great chance to compete against other divers of same era and a chance to take out a title. Many of these masters i had competed against in major comps 20 years ago. I sat arround the house and moped a lot and made my wife Debs life miserable till se said we could go emphasis on we, planning and arrange ments had to be made , accommodations, flights, visas, boats etc. This was made a lot,easier by the great organision of the comittee, with accommodations organised at the railroad pass cassino for the duration of our stay, and being put into contact with local diver larry Griffith(griff) who brought his boat over from california to help us out with scouting and comp, it all came together so easilly.
Upon arriving at Las vegas picking up hire car driving on wrong side of road we had finally arrived at hotel droped Deb of and went checking out lake mead was a bit dissalusioned with land scape. no trees bit different to living in daintree rainforest, keen for a quick dive got weights and jumped in for swim, woops to many weights never having dived freshwater before this took a lot of getting used to. In water the terrain was exactly same as land, no structure, no trees, no coral, no nothing, just sloping bottom into the never never vis about 5/6 mt. So I lay on the bottom, and slowly slid down, an loose gravel started a landslide, this is deffinately going to take a lot of getting used to, but after 6 days of scouting we were ready for comp, so we thought.
During this scouting period we met a lot of the other competitors, great friendships were made and many pleasentries swaped but it was clear that they were also very competitive not to many secrets were given away this was shaping up to be a great competition.
First day of comp boats lined up for start and when the whistle blew, the boat race was on, it was clear that boat start comps all over the world are not one bit different MANIACAL. Even though the comittee had given everyone a half hour travel time before being able to enter the water, we arrived at our first dive site 10 min to go very frustrated, waiting till dive time, this is a new concept for us, the honesty incorporated into this comp. Stripers only today were few and far between, and very challenging diving. We hoped every one else found it as challenging. We looked forward to belting the carp the next day.
2nd day start same still maniacal, lets go belt these so called dumb fish and clear the lake of pests. These dumb fish wont know what hit them. They soon learned, and so did the divers who thought it would be easy, including me, they didnt exactly make life easy for us sson dissapearing and being hard to find. A great days spearing was still had and heaps of fish caught.
Whilst i was busy scouting and comp area, my wife was enjoying the other side of life, great sites to see Hooters dam, grand canyon, Las vegas itself with all its attractions ,not to mention the shopping. I had to buy extra bags to get gifts home, Deb had a ball, didnt fair to bad at the casino either.
Awards night was a great night with plenty of drinks tales ,tall and short, being told. Congrads to all the winners, I got placing 3rd in masters, I was very happy with, and 25th overall againt some very notable legends.
I was extremely pleased with this position as a Master and (the bundy bear has still got a bit left in him.)
Over all this was one of the best competitions i have competed in, the friendships made and the camaraderie, was the best ever. Representing Australia at this level again was fantastic, and diving against the other countries top competitors was the best. The honesty and friendliness of all involved, the origination of the committee and the fact that we were helping the enviroment by depleting invasive species certainly made this a world class event. This is deffinately the way to go for future competitions .
Many thanks to Mike, the committee and all the sponsers involved it was an absolute honner to get invited and compete at this level again.
Top Womens Team came from the USA
John Girzda, Top Masters Diver in the World, From South Africa
LAKE MEAD 1st WORLD FRESHWATER SPEARFISHING CHAMPIONSHIPS
When I first heard about the championship, I thought, what a novel way to rid the dam of an invasive species. Make a fun comp, Invite the divers and …So The fresh water world championship was born..
Coming from South Africa, It’s a long journey so a lot of planning and preparations had to get into motion. Booking flights Car hire etc. etc. am sure anyone who has travelled knows the story so I won’t bore you with that.
Well finally the day arrives to depart. !st problem (of many). I had left my wallet in my car that was in for service.. Frantic calls to get it to me.. In the nick of time.. Phew.. Then My son does not have a visa to fly.. No problem we can book online.. it only takes 20 min… The computer was down. So Miles had to stay behind and catch up with us 2 days later..
It’s a long flight. Its 8 hours from Durban, (where I live) to Dubai. Then 3 hour stop over followed by the grueling 16 hour flight to Los Angeles.
Bonani and I booked into a hotel while we waited for Miles to arrive, which he did 2 days later. We did little sightseeing (visited Universal City) and then drove to Las Vegas the following day. The Gambling capital of the USA.
Once we settled in we looked for a boat to rent. Eventually we found one. It was however not available for the competition dates.. Panic sets in.
Mike , the comp organizer suggested we go see Ron at Waterworld Scuba in Henderson. Wow what service we got. Ron was so helpful. Put us at ease immediately. Within a few minutes, and I am sure a lot of phone calls, we had a boat organized plus all the lead we needed for the dive. Any spares we needed were all available.
Being from Africa we had to do the safety check.. Are there any crocodiles alligators or man eating snakes in the lake.. Nothing?? Relieved we could start diving.
Tom was the owner of the boat. I must say he went out of his way to help us. Never moaned or complained (even though at times he should have) . Everything seemed to be going smoothly when disaster struck. Tom’s wheel bearing on the trailer collapsed. Once again panic took over. We need not have worried as Tom worked till late that night to make sure that the boat and trailer was ready for us the next day.
So now the scouting started to see where the striped bass were hiding out. Place after place we looked. Deep shallow almost every point we could check. All the while the carp kept coming. I am not sure what they eat but they sure can breed. They are everywhere. You are laying on the bottom when suddenly this shape is next to you . Thought flashes through your mind.. Maybe there are crocodiles after all but no. just another carp. Takes some getting used to I must say. We managed to locate a few spots. So armed with a few marks in the GPS the day finally arrived.
All boats were in the water by 830 am when the start was announced. For once I was on a very fast boat and we sped off to our chosen spot.
Conditions had deteriorated and the viability had dropped and fishes nowhere to be seen. Place after place we tried and ended up with only 5 striped bass. Miles never saw any at all !!
Back to the start after 6 hours of searching.
The weigh in went very smoothly and was well organized. All done in just over an hour. Well done Mike and team.
Next day, same procedure except that its carp day. Time for revenge on these monsters. We started well, carp after carp. Miles soon got sinus problems and had blood streaming from his nose and decided to abort.
About the same time the carp sent out a national warning that they were being hunted. They were nowhere( where we looked) to be found. Eventually returning to our original spot . They thought we had left for the day and were hiding a bit deeper laughing that they had outsmarted us.. To cut a long story short I ended up with 48 and miles managed 6 before he abandoned his dive. Then the race back to the starting line
Again a very smooth and well organized weigh in.. We said our goodbyes to Tom as he had to rush off and headed back to the casino where we were staying. Now it was beer time. Try as hard as we could we could not get Bonani to have a beer. So we had to drink his for him. Well someone had to do it.
Next night was the prize giving. First of all, a very informative talk from the legendary Terry Maas. Then straight into the prizes. South Africa doing very well . !st place South Africa (Dyter). 4th SA(me) then a 9 th Charley) and 10 th place (guy) 50 th Bonani( doing very well for his first ever comp). . One of the prizes was a voucher from Rob Allen Dive Equipment and I saw that divers were eagerly exchanging them for Rob Allen merchandise. I was still busy sampling the beer.
Next day we jetted of to New York where my friend Stratos gave us a royal welcome. He had planned tours for us of New York which left all of us very wide eyed. What a beautiful Country Is the USA. So much to see and do. We were taken to Lefteris gyro restaurant(terry town ). We were given enough food to feed an army and half the navy. even we were surprised at the low prices..
Sadly it all had to come to an end. Back on the plane all the way back
Already we are missing the American atmosphere, Bustling cities and warm friendly people. Can’t wait for the next championship. That will be in New Zealand in 2 years’ time.
I would like to thank Mike for such an excellent competition, all the sponsors and especially Rob Allen Dive equipment for making all of this possible. See you In New Zealand
#1 Master in the World
Taylah & Joe Martindale of Australia
The first ever World Freshwater Spearfishing championships at Lake Mead, Nevada Las Vegas – what an experience and one I will never forget!
When emails started circulating in early January about the event, my dad (Joe) and myself thought it would be a truly amazing opportunity to represent our country, Australia – As a mixed team together along with being categorised as individuals. Both of us had never dived a fresh water competition before and to hear we could comfortably dive in water that at times is 2-3M visibility and not have to worry about sharks and other toothy critters – we were in! Along with the talk of shooting up to 20-30 stripers, 60-100 carp this trip certainly got us hyped up! Teams from all over the world were coming together for this event, so it was one not to miss!
Dad, myself and our two friends from Victoria, Craig and Bree Fox (another farther daughter duo) taking part in the worlds; arrived 3 days ahead of the event to familiarise ourselves with the lakes environment. We shared a 26ft deck boat out of Callville Bay marina which was drama free, easy to get in/out of and did all we needed for this event. We noticed the marina had a healthy population of good sized striper especially. We were soon to find out the reasoning behind the first rule – “You can not dive with in 1/2 a mile of a harbour “ This certainly ruined our game plan for day 1, so scouting it was.
“Warm water, clear and fishy”…lets break this down. Warm? The weather yes but the water, not so much. I found the water varied at different ends of the Lake but thought a full 3mm or even a 5mm wetsuit would have been suitable. I found the temp to be about 17 – 19 degrees varying from places and depth. The Australian team got sponsored 2mm wetsuits for the event from Adreno Spearfishing, excellent however absolutely freezing for the lake water! I was extremely fortunate to have also packed my 3mm wetsuit top that was more comfortable in the conditions. Taking in to consideration we were only scouting, not shooting and constantly re- loading. Although the water was freezing for me, during carp day in spots where I was shooting and loading constantly, body heat was constant.
The visibility did vary, however it didn’t matter too much given there are no harmful predators (as hard as that was to get my head around) it was between 3-7 meters for us.
Fish life during our scouting days were seen in areas that held plenty of carp, even in locations we didn’t expect. They just showed up out of the murk form every angle possible. Not being use to diving comfortably in dirty water, they at times came as a bit of a shock appearing so quickly. There was defiantly no shortage of carp, thats for sure! And the possibility of shooting from 60-100 seemed possible. The stripers on the other-hand seemed like they knew what was up and all migrated to the marina for the week. I dove up and down all day for three consecutive days from depths of 15m right up to 5m searching for a single striper to familiarise myself with but they just didn’t want to play game. I personally didn’t see a single striper before the competition, although Craig and Dad had found a school of them which held up to 6 in various places.
Scouting days were over and May 18th came around, day 1 Striper comp! Given I hadn’t even see a single striper yet and hearing talk of teams seeing up too 30-40 in places I was optimistic if id see a single one, let alone shoot a single fish that day. But I held high hopes that our boat would land a few fish with our goal being 2-3 each. 9AM struck and it was time for us to get in the water and start hunting. Up and down hunting the murky slopes to see nothing but a few carp appearing every now and then playing on the end of my spear like they knew today wasn’t their day. Hopes were risen early in the day when my Dad had shot the first striper about an hour and a half in to the comp, though smiles soon dissipated as 4 hours later no one else had seen another striper. Not knowing if other teams are shooting fish was frustrating and wondering if our technique was wrong or were we just not hunting in the right places. Similar terrain to where dad and Craig had seen them during scouting, they were no where to be seen during the comp. Our last spot for the day and I was committed on at-least seeing ONE stripper! To just see one, to know they exist! I decided to swim away from the group in the last hour and dive a spot to myself. I chose a slope with a single larger rock in the gravely/sandy bottom that I could hold on to and wait. One particular dive, expecting to see nothing but a few carp, a bass appears. As I focus on that, out of no where…a school of 20-30 striper come out of the murk! I couldn’t believe it and out of shock I took a quick shot, and clearly missed. Typical. After loading my gun as quickly as possibly i breath up I do a few more drops in the exact place I had seen them last. To my surprise they came back around, the whole school again. I made sure excitement didn’t get the better of me and took time with my shot and its placement… yes! I had a fish to weigh in and at the time two as a mixed pair between dad and myself. I did the same thing for the next half hour and got lucky to land one more out of a pair that lingered in the murk. Young Bree and her dad Craig also had a few goes at the school but seemed to have been spooked by the time they came around.
Getting back to the ramp and making our way to the weigh-in ring, wasn’t so good to hear everyone had found it a hard, but it was comforting to know it wasn’t just us having a bad day! A lot of “could have, should have” stories were told. The weigh-in process was very quick, easy and the best system I’ve personally seen. Mike and all his helpers did a top job on making sure it was drama free. Dad and myself were proud to have weighed in 3 as a pair and I was over the moon to be 1 of 3 girls to weigh in 2 striper! Some of the top diving men only came in with 3 or 4 . One male diver from Guam had weighed in a total of 7 striper individually and that was the top score for an individual that day – solid effort!
May 19th and it was carp day!! It was time to pull the trigger on some of the cheeky carp that decided to hang around on our dives the previous day. Again, 9am struck which meant its comp time! My first half hour was good, I had a nice bit of tree area to myself which seemed to provide carp after carp for a good 20 minuets. That was until dad made his way over and started hunting the same area. I swam a little wider and picked up a few more carp, the further i swam my luck was improving, landing more fish. The first spot for the day I picked up 10 fish and thought it was a pretty good start for the day, hoping it would continue. However, it didn’t. It seemed the carp and stripers played swaps because all we saw for a good few hours were a couple of odd carp and loads of STRIPERS! I couldn’t believe it. Frustration picked up during the day knowing there were so many carp the days we scouted but only the odd few in out spots on comp day. We had made the decision to head back to our first location thinking teams wouldn’t bother considering it had already been hit, but we thought we would try our luck. Jumping back in, I couldn’t load my gun fast enough, with only an hour to go I made my way through the tight gapes in the trees being quiet and waiting for the carp to appear. Lucky I picked up another 7 just before heading back in. Through out the day I got a total of 20 with a lot missed and lot getting off in the dense trees, all in the mad rush to land as many as possible.
Carp day was a lot more time consuming given the amount of fish being weighed but again, drama free and reasonably quick process for the amount of fish that had been captured. Every country did well and every one had a great time. A huge effort by the New Zeeland lady diver Gemma Shields on landing 36 carp on her own! Thats a lot of loading/reloading in one day and she picked up first place in the Ladies category. Every one had a fun day doing what we all love! And everyone got to get rid of some pesky carp while doing it.
Summed up, this event was well run and truly a great experience to be had by all. I ended up finishing 2nd in the Ladies division and although not doing too well in the mixed division, Dad and myself enjoyed ourselves regardless. Along with our good friends Bree and Craig and the rest of the Australian team, it was a fantastic time. I was also amazed and honoured to have met all the female divers at the event, simply privileged to have competed against so many talented ladies!
I am happy to say I have competed in the first ever Fresh Water Spearfishing Championships and I look forward to the Second take in 2019 in New Zealand!
DYTER BOSIGER, South Africa, #1 top diver in the World.
2017 Fresh Water World Championships
A Freshwater World Championship targeting invasive species, an innovative concept to say the least!
I was fortunate enough to be part of one of the teams South Africa sent to this event and to be honest, it seemed like a gamble for me. The entire team had very limited experience in freshwater, then we were going to add a fish we had never seen and dedicate a full day to hunting it! But freshwater diving, how hard could it possibly be, right? Oh boy did I underestimate how little I actually knew!
So I landed at McCarran Intl airport a week ahead of the event to allow scouting time. The idea was to rest a day but having heard rumors of the top class divers attending and past performances made me anxious to get in the water as soon as possible, to you know, cool off, but I was about to cool off more than I bargained for!
I headed down to meet Mark just a few hours after landing. I was fortunate enough to have booked the best boat and skipper on the lake. Mark Edison was the most attentive skipper I have ever chartered and his knowledge of fish is astounding! On top of this, I then had my father on the boat. I was confident that I had the best surface support I could get!
Come to sunny warm Vegas they said, make sure you drink lots of water and use lots of sunscreen because it’s so hot they said. Great, so my 3mm Polo Sub should do the trick. Ummm… noo, that one was a little off. The average temperature we saw was between 16 and 19 Deg. C. Lucky for me, Mark had a great spot for me to defrost, where I sprawled out like a lizard on the front of his boat in the warm Nevada sun. I am sure at times Mark was unsure if we had booked a fishing trip or tanning cruise.
Lake Mead is very different to anything you might expect as a visitor to the area. The bottom of the lake is over 400ft at some points! The majority of drop offs are so steep that it’s hard finding spots where you could actually lie on the bottom. Most spots when you tried to lie on the floor, you would just slide… deeper… into the endless blackness of deep cold water.
When diving down, I would look to find a little cliff edge I could lie on and look down into the blackness waiting for something to show. Coming from a country with a fair amount of pearly whites that come from such deep dark places, I was nervous to say the least! Mark kept assuring me there were no alligators in the lake and this lead to my most significant discovery while scouting… Nessie. In the deep dark water of Lake Mead, if you lie quietly enough, you can hear his heartbeat. I wonder how he emigrated from Scotland and if President Trump knows he’s there!
Obviously, scouting was not as easy as we originally thought. It’s nothing like we are used to diving. Visibility varied from 0 (and I mean 0!) to around 8m. The term lake like conditions should be rephrased. Although breathtakingly beautiful, when the wind picks up, that lake can get pretty angry!
Bonani and I scouted for a week. The hardest part we learned from scouting was how unpredictable the fish could be. Your hot spots today can be fascinatingly bare tomorrow! After a week of scouting and discussing what we could shoot, it was time! In the words of Captain Mark, the easy part was done, now that we finished talking about it let’s see if we could actually do it!
The start of the comp
As if we had hit the jackpot, the weather for the dive times on the competition days was great.
Day 1 of the comp was striper day. This was going to be a hard day with not many fish having been seen and with me having no idea of how these fish would behave after being shot. Would they hang around? Would they attack me? Would they impale themselves on my spear?
1s t dive of the day and bang, in with a striper, yeow they are still here! Today’s going to be the best day ever… then came the next 2 hours. Without a single fish, the realization of how hard the day would be start to set in. The water was around 18deg C and fish were few and far between. Best part of the day was the hot chocolate Captain Mark had brought to help keep us warm and motivated!
I am quite sure someone sent out a memo warning the fish
about the potential grim outlook for their day if they dare pay a visit. We managed to scratch a fish on every second spot and ended the day with 7
fish between 2 divers. We were expecting top guys to be weighing in 10-15 fish each so were a bit disappointed going into the weigh in. We knew that if our spots had turned to desert, others probably had similar difficulties and so we were just hoping that we had done enough to at least keep us within reach of catching up on day 2.
With day 1 results in, all of the SA divers were still in the game and feeling very optimistic!
Day 2 was Carp day. We were expecting this day to be tough! With tales of another team having shot over 100 fish in 6 hours a few years back, this would be a day of endurance and focus. Then, someone pressed rewind and decided to show us rather a repeat of the day before. After the first drift, I looked at Bonani and we both asked the same question, where are all the
fish! We scouted this spot no less than 4 times and it always had fish… except this morning! We decided the best strategy was going to be to cover large areas and hopefully keep swimming into fish. We picked a big drop off where we had seen fish in the past and swam. After 5 hours disappointing hours, I had 40 fish on the dot, a far cry from the 100 that was the target. And then Mark made the best suggestion of the comp, we went back to the first spot… so that’s where they went! At the end I managed 23 fish in just under an hour taking the day’s tally up to 63. Still far short of the aim but
as it turned out, it was good enough.
The overall sheer quantity of fish weighed in on day 2 made me think the weigh in would go on long into the night, but thanks to exceptional organization, everyone’s catch was counted twice and the whole weigh in lasted only a few hours!
It is rare that I have no improvement points for a comp. The slipways were large enough and moved along well so that everyone could get their boat in within the 30-40min of arriving at the port. Weigh in was very clearly communicated and close to the slipway so it was easy for everyone to attend and record their fish quickly. The scoring system was simple and transparent AND there was food at the weigh in! I have yet to meet a spearo that doesn’t like food after diving!
But most of all it was great to see a competition where everyone was so welcome, a competition that encouraged team spirit , a competition that encouraged greater participation at all levels and ages and lastly a competition that shows the real selectiveness of our sport by targeting invasive species.
I would like to end off by thanking all the organizers for a well-organized event that was fun to dive and the competitors that kept it fun. In South Africa, we call the captain on a spearfishing boat, the top man, a rather appropriate term considering their role. A big thanks to Mark Edison of Adventure Angling for his advice, friendship, hot chocolate and putting up with me for 2 weeks. Big thanks to all my family for coming all that way to support, Chris, Jen, Sara and Theresa. Also a big thanks to Sid Ahmed, Yousuf Alkhaja and the gents from The Free Diver across in Dubai for their help with trainings, support and providing top class equipment that I can rely on, you guys rock.And lastly, a big thanks to my teammates, Bonani, Charlie, Guy and John for an experience of a lifetime.
Hopefully see you all again in New Zealand 2019!
Jandon Llego, of Hawaii, second youngest diver in Juniors, 4th place team in mixed doubles
One of the most memorable moments of my life couldn’t have been done without my great uncle and dive partner Justin Lee. I was super blessed and beyond lucky to have been apart of the very first World Freshwater Spearfishing Championship. The WFSC was hosted in the Las Vegas, Nevada on the 18th and 19th of May. I got to experience a lot of things like the different water, the different fish, the different ways of spearfishing, and the different languages. But the best one was being able to meet a lot of great divers from 13 different countries. There was some really though competition but for me being the second youngest, I was super nervous but fellow divers just told me, “Just have fun,” and fun I had. Every single second I had at the WFSC was a memorable one.
I have a lot to say about how great this WFSC was but I have to keep it short. So we got there three days before the competition so we could scout and mark our spots. As the days went by we got our spots and thought it was going to be a little easier as other divers have not being seeing stripers but we have seen the mother load of stripers. As the first day of competition came my nerves were going nuts but also had high hopes for our chances. When the horn blew it was on and I was ready to shoot some stripers. When we got to our spot we got all of our equipment ready and waited for 9:00 to jump in. As soon as 9:00 came we jumped in at the spot where we saw a lot of stripers and took our drops but in disbelief there was no fish what so ever. We were wondering what happened to the fish and what caused them to just disappear. Now we just had to wing it and dive spots where we thought would have stripers. As we were diving spots we got attached to this one island where it was 30-50 drops. While taking my drops I only saw one striper but it was a little too far for my gun. Then after a while uncle Justin shot three during the first hours of Day 1. We decided to then go back to our spot and when we reached there, we took our drops and still nothing came in. We then went to go dive in a bay where we saw couple stripers on the scout days and still nothing. As the day was going along it was getting harder and harder, as I was making a drop following the edge of the island down, I couldn’t pop my ears and my ears immediately forced me to go back up to the surface. My ears could not handle and as the last hour came uncle Justin shot two more and I not shooting at anything. When we reached the dock we noticed that 5 was the common number others divers were shooting. We headed up to the weigh-in area and scored 15 points which put us in 3rd which wasn’t bad at all.
With the first day done and us being in 3rd we were ready as Day 2 rolled around. With us having our carp spots we couldn’t wait to jump in the water and shoot a lot of carp. The same with yesterday we waited for the 8:30 horn and 9:00 to jump in the water. When 9:00 came uncle Justin jumped in one bay and I jumped in the next, and as soon as we jumped in we shot some carp. My ears and sinuses were giving me problems so I was held back to how deep I could dive and how many drops I could take. As we were diving we kept adding and adding to our trash cans. When we went to the spot where there was a lot of carp the day before it was super murky and I couldn’t see the end of my shaft. So both days for us was just super unlucky. As the day went on moving from spot to spot more fish was on the boat and more my ear was hurting. When 2:50 came we made our last drops and we were trying to get as much as we could before we had to get out of the water. When 3:00 came we had 50 fish all together which brought us to 65 points putting us in 4th. I was stoking on the place we were in but I knew I could’ve done better.
As the ending of Day 2 came around I was thinking to myself what could I have done better to keep us in 3rd but it was over and done with. The award ceremony day came and we went to the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino where the meetings and ceremony was held. I got to talk to many of the divers about where they dive and where they live, I even got invited to the Bahamas. As the time came the awards got handed out and to our surprise we got 4th place plaques and we only thought the 1st to 3rd got. I was stoking I got to take something home and hang it on the wall. The biggest thing I was stoking on is just how great the WFSC was and how I got to meet some amazing divers. If I get another chance I will say yes in a heart beat. Thanks to my uncle Justing Lee for the invite and thanks to Mike McGuire for the awesome competition and a smooth one.
Top woman diver from the USA with a 3rd place in the WFSC, and a 3rd place in Mixed Teams
I could feel my body reaching its limit, I knew I only had a few more dives left in me. I fought to keep from shivering and tried to stay relaxed as I waited just below the thermocline for a carp to come into view. Despite my efforts to insight curiosity by rustling my fingers on the rocky bottom nothing had appeared out of the green haze, and now my body was signaling that it was time to go up. I slowly pushed myself off the bottom and began to kick for the surface. Nearing halfway up, the unmistakable shape of a lone carp appeared out of the gloom coming straight towards me. Slowing my kicks to hover mid water, I raised my gun, and lined up the shot. My eagerness for both fish and oxygen got the better of me and I took aim too quickly spooking the fish, it turned away from me, I fired. I watched in despair as my shot landed low and towards the tail, the softest part of the fish. I let the line loose as I broke the surface and watched in fear as the carp flipped itself over nearly tearing the shaft loose. My fear became reality, knowing I had mere minutes to spare I gently pulled up on the line and the fish tore off. That fear soon turned to anger and frustration as I watched the fish disappear back towards the bottom. Though I had watched several other fish tear off throughout the day I felt as though this one carried my chances of placing in the tournament away with it. I would learn later that while losing this fish may have cost me second place, the one I would shoot on the next dive was all it took to get me into third.
Three years ago is when it all began for me. I had no idea what spearfishing was, yet now it occupies a huge portion of my life. My intro into spearfishing co-insides in a way with my love story. I met my husband Ryan at the very beginning of 2014. He is the one that opened my eyes to the sport that has changed my life.
When we first began dating I listened to Ryan describe his passion for the sport and I felt pressure to like it as well. Growing up I loved fishing and swimming so putting the two together seemed like a simple task. At first everything was frustrating. From trying to put a wet suit on for the first time, to nose bleeds due to equalization problems in my sinuses. There is one experience I will never forget. It was my first time diving in Fish Lake, Utah, a mountain lake at nearly 9,000 ft. in elevation. It was maybe my second time ever attempting to spearfish. I remember being extremely cold and uncomfortable and I had no idea why anyone would want to put themselves through that. It was shortly after having these thoughts that Ryan swam up to me and pointed out that the zipper on my rented scuba wetsuit had come undone and I had been swimming the entire time with the frigid 50-degree water flowing freely down my back. By the end of the day I had successfully landed two small fish and a few approving looks from my boyfriend, but I wasn’t yet convinced it was all worth it. After all, my first experiences spearfishing were a little short of amazing.
I don’t recall exactly when the sport changed from something I did to impress my boyfriend to something I really enjoyed. I guess it was when I was finally able to hold my breath long enough and dive quietly enough to really start to see and shoot fish. My love for the sport only increased as Ryan and I went to local competitions. Being one of few women in the sport and really one of the only ones in Utah brought out my competitive side. It gave me this huge competitive drive to want to beat the men. This competitive spirit fueled my want to keep practicing and getting better. I participated in many regional competitions put on by the Rocky Mountain Spearfishing Association. Including the 2015 Freshwater National’s at the Key Hole Reservoir in Wyoming. However, the biggest turning point for me was at the USOA National Championships in 2016 held in Beaver Lake, Arkansas.
As before mentioned I had a real difficulty equalizing. I was unable to dive more than 15-20 feet because of it. I tried watching videos on different methods and purchasing vented earplugs to see if anything would help. Most of the time I would have to swallow to equalize and half the time that didn’t work so I would have to go back to the surface mid dive. I don’t know the reason but while competing in the 2016 nationals I made a dive that changed it all. At the bottom of my dive I was having difficulty equalizing as always when I heard a loud pop in both of my ears. I have never been more terrified. I was waiting for some sort of pain because I was sure I had ruptured my eardrums by not equalizing properly. The pain never came. When I came up from that dive I cautiously waited a while before breathing up and diving again. I tried equalizing and it worked! No struggle, no having to try and swallow to relieve the pressure. I could equalize as easily as everyone had described I should be able to. This couldn’t have come at a better time because Ryan and I did well enough in this tournament to be invited to compete in the 2017 World Freshwater Spearfishing Championships. Unfortunately, many of the woman who had planned to dive were unable to so, there was not an official women’s division, but if there were I would have placed 1st. This was a huge confidence booster for me.
As I continued to get into the sport I was able to interact with more women and I realized a lot of women that spearfished were born into it, or are like me and met a man that spear fished. It was after doing so well in the 2016 nationals tournament that I decided this is something I don’t just enjoy. It is something that I want to make my own mark in. To do this I am always keeping up with the spearfishing records in Utah. I currently hold the record for striped bass and channel catfish. I am also looking to get my name on the world record books soon. Until then I have been focused on becoming a better overall free diver and spear fisher women.
From 2016 to 2017 I have gone from diving 15-20 feet to diving as deep as 50 feet. This was a huge benefit for me in the 2017 World Championships. I also felt like I had an advantage going into the tournament because except for a couple of attempts on charters in California I’ve really only dove in freshwater. Although I wanted to be in the best shape I could, and be prepared as much as possible for the tournament, my everyday life seemed to always get in the way. I would try to plan days to get out to the water or to the gym, but my job required me to put in a lot of extra hours. So, when the times came to train I was already exhausted or was called back into work. It is safe to say that I felt extremely unprepared when the tournament came around.
Ryan and I lived only 2 hours away from Lake Mead, but as before mentioned my work made it nearly impossible for us to go scout. My husband was able to go once with other members of the US teams in November and the both of us only once more before tournament week. When we first arrived at the hotel and chatted with divers that had already been there, we found that the wind had been so strong not many people had really been out scouting. This was a little encouraging but also scary because if it continued we wouldn’t be able to scout either. Luckily the first day we went out to scout the winds were calm enough that we could head out.
We spent the two days before the tournament scouting tournament waters. The both of us are used to fresh water and the overall tendencies of the common carp, so we decided to focus our attention on finding striped bass. A fish that had got the better of us in past competitions. We did this by trying to find what environments they were typically in and how they acted in this particular lake. Day one scouting was underwhelming. It seemed everywhere we dove there were no fish, not even the famously intrusive carp seemed to be lurking about. Our hopes grew towards the end of the day when Ryan and I both dove on separate schools of striper on a couple of white rocky islands. Right after we found them the winds picked up and we were getting tired so we decided to try similar areas the next day.
Scouting day two started out slowly as well, finding little to no fish anywhere we went. Again, we were lucky enough to find a couple of decent spots towards the end of the day. One spot that was really heavy with carp, and then another that seemed to have a decent amount of striper. That night Ryan and I sat down to write our game plan for the next two tournament days. I will admit and Ryan could attest to it that I was not very helpful. In the few years I have spear fished I have learned that fish are unpredictable. It is true that they tend to stay in the same kind of environments, but that doesn’t mean they will stay in the same spots, and there was a lot of lake we weren’t able to cover. So, I wasn’t exactly optimistic and I didn’t know if others had found as few decent spots as we did.
Before I knew it, it was day one, Striper day. I felt overwhelmed and not as calm as I would have liked to. The realization of the level of competition we were up against really started to hit me that morning. Seeing fellow divers walking through the same halls and talking with them and reading all their amazing bios made me feel like an out of place amateur regardless of whatever confidence I had previously felt. When the horn blew at 8:30 am and all the boats headed out, the adrenaline hit. We headed to the white rocky islands we had found the first scouting day and prayed that the faster boats weren’t headed to the same place. It was so weird to feel relief as boats went certain ways and panic as other boats headed the same direction as us. As we neared our predetermined spot we noticed a couple of boats were already in that same area, but not exactly where we wanted to be. To our dismay one of those boats re-positioned on the spot we wanted right as we pulled up. They made it very clear that they were not going anywhere else and we were too late.
We settled on a similar smaller island nearby that we had seen a couple striper on while scouting, hoping that the larger schools may now miraculously be there. Not getting to our spot first and the un-sportsman’s like conduct of the other competitors got me into an even worse mind set than I had been in earlier that morning. I could not seem to calm down. The last time I had dove this island I saw a striper and a few carp my first dive down. I dove down to about 25 feet the same as I had before, trying my best to relax. I remember hitting bottom and wanting so badly to see any sign of a fish. Hoping that if I wanted it enough a fish would swim up to me. Sadly, that is how the remainder of the day went a lot of wishful thinking and hoping, but no fish. I saw less than 4 glances of striped bass all day, and only one was within shooting range. I took a shot on that one. It was more a shot of desperation then a calm calculated shot, and I knew that as I watched my shaft knock only a couple of silvery scales off the fish and then it swim as fast as it could away from me. When it came time to head back there was only one fish in our cooler, it was the only striper Ryan had seen that day, and I had no fish to show for my efforts.
Pulling up to the docks to go to weigh ins day one, my head was hung low and I was very disappointed in how the day had gone. My spirits were raised a bit after hearing that men and women from all over the world were in the situation as me with no fish. If a diver had gotten as little as 1 to 3 fish they were doing good, any more than that and they were on top. What I enjoyed most that day was standing side by side with my husband listening to other divers tell the stories about their efforts as those that were lucky enough to find fish that day weighed them in.
I was much more optimistic about the second day of the tournament as it was Carp day. I have been seeing and shooting the common carp since the very beginning of my spearfishing journey. We had also found a couple of spots while scouting that I had cleverly named carptopia. The plan was go to so called Carptopia located in a murky cove in Las Vegas bay, and if it was taken by other divers head to Carptopia two, a high spot by some cliffs. When the horn blew on day two I did my best to not get caught up in my thoughts like I had the day before. I told myself that if anyone could shoot a butt load of carp it was me, after all slaying carp is what I have been doing in my spare time for years. As the boats raced off to their destinations I did my best to keep my face straight ahead and not worry about where everyone else was headed. To our surprise after seeing that several boats had come the same direction as us, no one was in our little murky bay. My mindset and my mood were in a completely different place as I made my first dive, and this time I came up with a fish on my shaft. We spent the first half of the day slaughtering carp in that cove. The best visibility the entire time being 5 feet, but that is just like home for us. I left the cove with 21 carp and Ryan with 36 carp. We started off on a high and knew that if we could keep up the pace we were sure to be in a good spot. Our hopes were crushed as we went from place to place. Areas that were just days before heavy with carp were now desolate. Ryan was only able to pick up 9 more and I was only able to get 4. By the end of carp day, I was a whole new level of exhausted. After diving 4 days consecutively for 6 or more hours and not being in shape my body had had enough. It was because of this that weigh ins for day two are a bit of a blur for me. I spent most of it trying to recuperate and rehydrate my body. I do remember however watching as name after name and score after score was written on the score board. I realized first as they put other women’s scores up mine own was very close, and then that other mixed teams were falling below mine and my husbands combined score.
I may not have physically shown it in the moment but when I realized my husband and I had placed third as a mixed double team I was ecstatic. That was followed by even more excitement when I realized I had placed third individually out of all the women. The scores above and below mine being only one point away from my own. It was in that moment when I finally felt that I belonged in this group of divers and that I can make an impact as a female diver in the sport. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to compete in the first ever Fresh Water World Spearfishing Championships, and proud to be the highest scoring woman diver from the United States. I hope that I can continue to make my mark as a woman in the sport and support my fellow woman divers in doing the same. I met so many amazing divers and people and the lessons I learned from them are invaluable. I look forward to so many more experiences to come.
Of Kona Hawaii, took first place in the Mixed division with his partner Eli Lai.
I entered Freshwater Nationals for my first time in Beaver Lake Arkansas, 2016. After that, I could hardly wait to participate in the “World Spearfishing Championships” in Lake Mead. We were told that spearfisher’s from 15 different countries would be participating, WOW!
I am the first to admit that I thought freshwater spearfishing was no big deal. No sharks, no eels, no sea urchins, no jellyfish…how hard could it be? However, with low visibility, cool water temps, and different species of fish it became very challenging. One day you scout and find fish and the next day they’re gone. Carp, or the freshwater version of the Roi, was the fish we were all tying to find. They are an invasive species the locals were more than happy to let us shoot them in abundance. There is something intoxicating about slamming 8-25 lbs. fish all day long. Its really fun “pulling the trigger.” The other fish we scouted for was striped bass. We did see several on scout days, but very few on the tournament day, challenging for sure.
The lake can be as temperamental as the Pacific ocean. 4 out of 5 days we spent scouting had strong winds. We just left our wetsuits on after diving, so the wet winds wouldn’t freeze us.
So tournament day 1 arrives. Everybody is hoping that they have a game plan that will succeed. The first day was all about the striped bass. My partner, Eli Lai, and I chose an island about 6 miles towards the north boundary. Other divers were on it and we only shot 2 bass. after that, we just went from point to point hoping to get lucky. At the end of the day we ended up with 7 pieces. I was thinking we are probably way behind, until we saw other divers with small catches as well. All the striped bass were MIA. And of course on the second day had much more action. In the morning we took a chance and pushed to the far end of the boundary. One thing I felt is to be competitive you should have 15-20 carp in the first 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Unfortunately, I only landed 4 Carp during that time. Eli was able to get about 12. After a quick chat with Courtney Esprecion, our boat helper, we decided to go back to the grass flats. It paid off. We both picked up 20 plus pieces over there. I actually wanted to start at the flats but we changed our minds at the last minute. And that’s tournament diving, sometimes the right call and sometimes not.
The weigh in was really close with top three in our mixed division. After the first day the Sergio & Svetlana team was in first place, our team second, and the McGuire’s team third. However, after the second day we managed to end up slipping onto first, McGuire’s second, and Peterson’s third. Justin Lee and his partner, Jandon, received 4th!
It was a terrific experience entering the mixed Division. I really enjoyed sharing knowledge and seeing that infectious smile of my young partner, Eli. 17 years old. They never get tired and their ability to keep up and go is amazing!
Our other team from Kona, Hannalei Adric and Clavin Lai, also did very well. They finished 3rd in the open Men’s Division. I am always cheering for my Hawaiian bruddahs. I owe them a lot for all their knowledge and support in the freshwater.
The 2017 Freshwater World Championships in Lake Mead were awesome! The fellow competitors were great to hang with, “Uncle Gary,” Wesley Ritchie, Shane, Courtney, Mike, McGuire’s, Harolof, and the list goes on and on. Mike McGuire deserves a huge applause for putting on such an enjoyable event. That undertaking is a huge task but he some how pulled all together to create a wonderful experience. I mean, we even had Jay Riffe, present us with awards and Terry Mass talk about safety. Insane!
A huge “mahalo” to “Pop” Lai for all of his support and organizing skills. And to Uncle Mike Matthews of “Nzkoa Kona” for his generous kokua 2nd never ending support. I really enjoyed this particular spearfishing competition. For all of the fun I had, the big stringers, but mostly seeing the family support from the McGuire’s, Life’s, Lai’s, etc., it reminded me of the times I spent with my dad.
If you have never competed in or dive in the Fresh waters, I highly recommend it! There are lots of fish and the people involved are truly some of the best!
Rocks the WFSC, 2nd place team in the WORLD, MICHAEL GENEREUX & MYLES DIRSCOLL
I’ve always wanted to visit Las Vegas, but never thought it would be to compete in a spearfishing contest. Thanks to Mike McGuire I was able to visit Vegas and experience some fresh water spearfishing. The trip for team Guam was about as last minute as you can get. We missed most of the deals because we were not sure we could put a team together in time. But we did manage to reserve the last rental boat for the comp. Our plan B was to rent out a house boat for the competition. We wouldn’t have gotten very far very fast but at least we could have eaten breakfast on the way out and nap between dives 🙂 We Arrived in Vegas on May 16th so we had a day and a half to scout and we thought we had a good game plan for the first day’s competition which was only shooting striped bass. From our scouting days we thought we were going to catch 15 to 20 stripers easily and that some would be good size. We hadn’t had the chance to get outside the zone to try and shoot any of the fish yet so we found out quickly those striped base look a lot bigger than the actually were. Not to mention They must have gotten the memo about the competition because we were not finding them anywhere. At the end of the first day we were all pretty nervous thinking we will have to catch up on carp day because there was no way the other competitors were having such a hard time finding the Bass. To our surprise everyone had trouble finding the elusive little guys and we were not doing too bad. *YEA FIRST PLACE BY 20% WAS NOT TO BAD—MIKE
Day 2 was like ground hogs day for the bass. It was an hour into the competition before I shot or even saw my first carp. The night before our team was discussing how we were going to unload all our fish from the boat to the truck and now here we are 2 hours in with 4 hours left and myself and my partner had about 5 or 6 carp. It was hard not to panic with visions of us only having to unload a stringer of 15 to 20 fish, because that was the math at this rate. With all the spots we scouted turning up empty we just kept swimming and diving and progressively the fish started showing up more and more. We were nowhere near our expected 100 fish quota that we all heard we needed to compete, but with any luck just maybe the other teams were having the same struggles. While unloading the fish we saw that “the struggle was real” for all the teams and even heard everyone saying today the bass were everywhere but the carp were hiding. There was no way to tell how we did because even though it wasn’t what we were hoping to catch there was still a lot of Carp being hauled off the boats. We were not worried about the results because we had already came out ahead with a great experience and an awesome trip. Not every day do you get the chance to compete with such talented divers and shoot such high numbers of fish. We all had a blast and look forward to the next one.
My hat goes off to Mike McGuire for hosting the event and my friends, team and family for organizing the trip.
TOP MENS TEAM IN THE 2017 WFSC
IAN WARNOCK & SCOTT MACKERTH OF NEW ZEALAND
World Freshwater Spearfishing Champs.
The journey to Las Vegas and the First World Spearfishing Champs started for the New Zealand team in 2014. Darren Shields and myself
returned home from the CMAS World Spearfishing Champs in Peru, we were Co Managers for the NZ Team.
We have both competed in numerous World Champs and International Comps around the world for more years than we both want to remember.
Once home from Peru we discussed organising a Competitive Spearfishing trip somewhere different to challenge us in a completely different environment.
About this time we heard about the USA Freshwater Championships to be held in Wyoming 2015. It only took us about two seconds to decide to put together a team and compete,
so six months later we where at Keyhole Reservoir with a eight member strong team. We competed very well at that comp and where hooked on the Lake diving as well as had a fantastic trip
meeting plenty of great people. So the seed was planted and as soon as we where home planning was underway to organise a team for the next years Championships in Arkanas.
This time we turned up with a ten strong team to dive in the International Competition on Beaver Lake. We achieved what we had travel for with Scotty and John winning the comp and two more teams in the top five.
So bring on Las Vegas and the first Worlds, we selected a smaller team this time to compete in as many devisions as possible. We had learnt a lot of valuable information about competing in freshwater on the
last two trips and this proved invaluable. Scotty Mackerth towed his boat 20 hours from Missouri so we had a great boat to compete out off. We all dived from Scotts boat scouting the competition area, it did not take
to long to workout the couple of good areas we would target on the days of the comp giving us more time for site seeing and checking out the Las Vegas region. Unfortunately Darren was having problems getting over
dose of the flue so was unable to dive so Scott, myself and Gemma ended up with a very experienced boat driver. The three of us dived from Scotts boat while Paul and Jordie hired a boat. We always new that day one
Stripey day would be difficult, we had seen plenty of them during scouting days but when the guns start going off they get very scarce. At the end of the day Scott weighted in 5 fish and myself 4, while Gemma was very dejected
with no fish after a hard days diving. I managed to land the biggest Striper for the day diving a very dirty area. Day Two Carp day Scott and myself came up with a plan for the day, we where pretty sure most of the competitors
would dive the area of the lake close to the boat ramp, we decided to start at the far end of the area. Five minutes into the boat race from the start we where very pleased with our plan as there where only three boats heading
to the far end of the lake. This made Darrens job a lot easier as he was able to keep a eye on where the other boats were diving, so we could dive fresh ground all day. The first spot that Scotty, Gemma and myself dived produced
very few Carp, we started thinking maybe the master plan was not so good after all. But after that every move we made that day produced fish, so we all managed to accumulate a decent total. It is so much fun to be able to spear unlimited
Carp knowing they are a pest and there numbers need to be reduced, this is so different from Saltwater Competitions where most fish species are under real pressure from over fishing. After the weight in Scotty and myself had a combined
total of 96 Carp giving us the overall Team Title, and Gemma 36 Carp cleaning up the Womens Title, and myself the 3rd Individual. It was great teaming up with Scott even if he is nearly half my age we worked really well together which made our
strategies for the two days very easy. Thanks to Mike and his team who made the event possible and run like clockwork. The scoring system was simple meaning the person who shot the most fish won, and it made the weight in very quick.
To anyone who has not tried Freshwater Spearfishing give it a go it is so much fun and you get to dive places you would never imagine diving. So for the New Zealand team it was a great outcome with Two World Champion titles, Gemma
Womens Champ, Scott and myself Teams Champs, Jordie Wilson 3rd Junior, and myself 3rd Individual. See you all in New Zealand 2019. Ian Warnock.