It was a beautiful morning and my friend Brandon and I decided to go to our local spot at casino beach to see what we can get. As always we go past Splash Rock first to check out the water conditions and it was looking very good. It was not that calm but visibility seems to be great. We then headed of to our spot and stayed there for about two hours or so, it was dead and we decided to go home.
I said to him hey why don’t we check out the main beach one more time and if its calm then we jump in. See Brandon has this fear of open water and he feels comfortable where there’s shallow reefs and the pools are protected by rocks and the Casino Beach is perfect for him, but I want to go open ocean and I want him to experience it the way I do. It does get scary out there sometimes and I understand his fear but he’ll never get over the fear if he doesn’t push himself. That is how I learned and I also suffered from anxiety just like he does but to get over that fear you have to get into the water and learn the ocean and how to handle it in certain situations.
So upon arrival at splash rock in Port Edward I see the water is looking beautiful and its flat, I started getting very excited. But as always without fail the moment we stop at the beach and watch the water the argument starts. When it comes to an open water dive I first have to convince him that this is good conditions and he will be fine, I’ll be there right behind him when a shark comes tehe.
This is how it usually goes.
I’ll say come lets jump in, he’s like no its too rough
“come man just jump in its not so bad once your out there then you’ll see its fine”
“no Mannie its too rough look at those sets coming in, remember what happened last time”
he said he almost died last time because he couldn’t get back in to shore. He looked fine to me, just a bit tired 😉
“last time the sets were even bigger than this and be honest you enjoyed it, we just got caught in a rip and we chose the wrong place to come out but today is much flatter and there’s no current, look”
“that’s what you say every time you want me to go open water, and then when I go in things go bad and I start to panic, you know my heart is not right and my anxiety kicks in quick, it gets heavy Mannie trust me, its bad”
“man your heart will be fine you just have to relax a little, you have jumped in here once before and you got out fine and the conditions were not nearly as good as this, you always say that if its flat you’ll go in again, and today is perfect for you, trust me
“its always flat to you, it can be 2 meter swell and you be like ‘come its flat lets go’ ”
ha ha ha we both start laughing. But its true whenever we go diving the ocean always looks flat to me, I’ll practically say anything to get him in the water. So I finally convince him to go in with me. It really was flat I’m not lying, yes there was a few sets coming in every ten minutes or so but they were not big, really. He’s also scared of sharks so I kind of understand. I’m also scared of sharks because I’ve never seen one but if we are two then there’s one in two chances of getting eaten hehe.
We geared up and off we went. Next to the famous Splash Rock is another section called suicide rock, on a low tide its so easy to enter from there and kind of easy to get back too, you just have to time it right. Its a small inlet that is protected by a big rock so waves crash against the rock and the inlet stays relatively untouched by the force. We slipped in and the water was cool and the viz was great. I had my 1.1m cressi sub speargun without a buoy line or stringer. I guess I didn’t expect big fish to roll through and the best thing I could hope for was either bronze bream or spotted grunter or some other small reef fish.
Garrick season was almost over and the water is so perfect, in my experience when conditions are too perfect then there’s no fish around. As I paddled in I look back and see Brandon hovering in the little bay area behind suicide and I motion for him to come, the water’s good and viz is sharp. But no he stayed there and eventually got out. I thought ai ok well its just me now so lets cruize on and see what fishes the sea will present me with today.
I swam around close to shore and went to a place called lucky dip, when I didn’t find anything I went back. I came upon a section where green sea grass was growing and the sun was behind me and then out of the shallow’s a small school of about five garrick just slowly swam past me, I couldn’t believe my luck, it was amazing, they don’t seem to care that I’m there and lazily just drift past me.
Now I have been wanting to shoot a garrick for a long time and every time I jump in at suicide I find nothing. This is garrick alley and other spearo’s constantly get them here. I have seen them come out here with my own two eyes but no when I jump in nothing. I’m like a garrick repellent. But here they were, finally, right in front of me and withing range. I didn’t think twice and didn’t even look for the biggest one, I just set my sites on the one closest to me, tilted my gun slightly in the direction he’s going and pulled the trigger.
One of the best feelings in the world is when you hear the soft thud of hitting your target fish and then feeling the strength as it pulls against your spear and you know he’s on. It taps straight into man’s natural hunting instinct and it really is something to experience. Surprisingly it didn’t put up such a huge fight but it was strong and when I come close to the fish to grab it, it will take off. Again my spear pulled right into the fish and the flap opened inside, If I lose this fish because my barb did not hold it properly I literaly will have a fit and never spear fish again.
I eventually came close enough and grabbed it, held on tight because I’ve been wanting this for so long and I don’t want to lose this fish, I pulled my knife and drove it into the fish’s brain to kill it. It sounds hectic I know but it has to be done otherwise there’s a chance your fish will slip out of your hands and you lose it and you also don’t want it to suffer. So without a stringer I just held onto this huge fish and swam it out, but first I had to lift my prize catch out of the water and show my mate and the whole world that I finally shot my garrick. I was the man.
I struggled a bit against the current but it was ok, Brandon came to meet me at the waters edge and I gave him the fish. I could see in his eyes that he was just as happy as I was because both of us has been waiting for this moment for long time. One of us had to shoot a garrick at some point and today was that day. He took the fish from me and I went back in to see if I can get another one but they were gone. I came out on the main beach, got in the car and went home. We went to his house, filleted the fish and made the best fish and chips I ever had. Oh we first went past the tackle shop to weigh it so via body mass index the fish weighed 6.3kg’s. Not bad at all. Fresh fish with chips and bread, man it was delicious. It truly was a perfect day and if Brandon was there in the water with me he definitely would have shot one too. But he will get his garrick, soon.