Community Spotlight: DeepWaterDreamin

The Spearo's Journey

Hey there, spearos. This is The Stone Shot, your weekly dose of spear content (and maybe some fishing, but we try to keep it below the water line)

It’s the 3rd Thursday of the month! That means it’s time for our monthly Community Spotlight. Here’s what we have for you today:

  • Community Spotlight: Patrick Ryan (aka DeepWaterDreamin)

  • Dentex Hunt: A Year Long Journey

  • Spearing An Oarfish: A Viral Moment

  • 6 Questions: With Patrick

Community Spotlight

Patrick Ryan

If you’re on Instagram, you’ve probably seen the photo above. It went viral in the spearfishing community about four months ago. It’s a photo of Patrick Ryan, aka DeepWaterDreamin, walking out of the water with a freshly speared oarfish. Unreal. I know.

We’ll dive into the story behind this once-in-a-lifetime catch shortly, but I mention it here to highlight how unique Patrick truly is.

After chatting with him for a bit, I understood what kind of spearo he really is.

Patrick is the kind of guy that moves to a new country just for the spearfishing.

He’s the type of guy that doesn’t feel at home unless he’s diving.

He dives AS MUCH as he can and WHEREVER he can.

And due to this obsession, he’s the type of guy that finds himself in situations that not many of us do.

Like being face-to-face with an injured oarfish.

How It All Started

As we always do with our spotlights, lets give some background on how Mr DeepWaterDreamin got into spearfishing:

“I was watching YouTube one day at a mate's house in Perth before we headed for a huge road trip up north. He put on some really low-quality spearfishing videos, and we were just amazed. The next day, we went to a local dive shop and picked up some basic gear: a 55cm single-band speargun, scuba fins, and a surf wetsuit to get the job done. I had no clue about how to hold my breath or even how to equalize; it was a steep learning curve, to say the least!”

“Had no idea what I was doing back then but it's all about the journey. “

Your Favorite Spearfishing Story

The Search For Massive Dentex

I’ve heard people dedicate their lives to this fish. This story from Patrick shows how elusive and rare a big one really is.

“After driving from the UK up through Scotland and back down, I crossed over to France and began making my way eastward through the Mediterranean, finally landing all the way on the southeast corner of Turkey, near the border with Syria.

On this trip I had one goal: I wanted to shoot a proper Dentex.

I dove in over 10 countries and had seen dentex here and there, but I never managed to see anything decent. Finally, after more than a year on the road, I decided to settle in southern Albania. I found a local dive spot right behind my apartment. The spot was extremely small, but because of the way the current hit the corner of this drop-off, it held incredible life by Mediterranean standards! I dove this spot over and over, at sunrise, at sunset, and anytime in between, trying to find what would work well.

Eventually, it happened. A massive dentex swam past my position with its huge tail slowly crossing my path and gently swimming away into the dark murky waters of the afternoon sun. I didn't take the shot because I couldn't guarantee a holding shot, so I returned the next day at the same time and dove down to the exact same spot, hiding between two rocks at 18 meters. I didn't have to wait long, though, because after just a few quick dives, a huge school of sargo scattered, the bait shifted, and out of the corner of my eye, this massive dentex appeared and swam straight into my position. I took a perfect holding shot and immediately started to fight it off the bottom so it wouldn't get tangled or allow the shaft to hit a rock, close the flopper, and lose the fish. A few moments later, the fish was in my hands at the surface, and before I even had it dispatched, I was screaming with joy at the top of my lungs!

As I swam in at sunset, the locals started to gather on the beach. They couldn’t believe such a sizable fish was taken just 5 meters from the shore!”

A Viral Moment

Spearing An Oarfish

You’ve seen the pictures. Here’s the story.

“I was diving quite far offshore past a surf break here in the Dominican Republic when I came across some nice fishy spots about 1km offshore. I managed to line up on a nice mutton snapper, and while I was dispatching that one, another of equal size swam under my fins. I decided to let it go and return to shore. On the way in, I spotted an extremely long, shiny object mid-water. I thought it was possibly a huge piece of plastic dancing in the waves. As I approached through murky water, I realized it was an oarfish.

It had been attacked slightly, with a small bite out of the tail and a bit of tissue damaged on the head, and was sort of swimming towards the shallows. I decided to put it out of its misery and took the shot. It gave almost no fight.

After dragging it past the surf break, I got onshore and was immediately swarmed by people. It was quite large and heavy, so the only way to carry it was over my shoulder. I carried it down the beach and finally took a rest for a bit while the locals took photos and videos.

It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime fish. My only regret was not sending it to the university in the capital so they could document and research the species further, as they are rarely seen by humans.

I didn't end up eating it, as the flesh was similar to almost jellyfish in consistency.”

Check out this video Patrick took of the locals inspecting the oarfish!

5 Questions W/ Patrick

Advice for new spearos?

“Take your time! Take your time swimming out, take your time doing your breathe up, take your time coming up from the bottom, take your time when your aiming. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast!”

What’s your favorite species to target?

“DENTEX, DENTEX, DENTEX... Nothing compares! These fish are extremely elusive, and the larger they are, the deeper they go. They are found in one of the most overfished bodies of water in the world, which makes them even more challenging to hunt. If you want to land a true trophy, you'll have to dedicate years in the water, if not your whole life, in search of a true dinosaur!”

Where’s your favorite place to spearfish?

“It would have to be a toss-up between the North Island of New Zealand and the Tuamotus of French Polynesia! The volume of life in these places is incredible, and the opportunity to land absolute monsters is at your fingertips on a daily basis. Whether it's massive dogtooth tuna, huge jobfish, fat snapper, or giant yellowtail kingfish, you'll be sure to have a hell of a fight and a few close calls with the local taxman!”

How has spearfishing impacted your life?

“I've found that it drastically impacts my decisions when traveling. If it's not near a beach, I don't want anything to do with it! The overall lifestyle and the people you meet are a bonus, and who doesn't like to hunt their own food? It doesn't get much fresher than that!”

Where do you want to see the sport go in the coming years?

“I'd like it to be more widely accepted by the public and would love to see some laws shift in our favor. Recently, there has been a big movement towards creating marine protected areas, not allowing people to access their waters for recreational fishing, while in the waters nearby, huge commercial vessels are absolutely destroying things. I think all people should have the right to hunt and provide food for their families the old-fashioned way and not have to rely on a supermarket.”

Any Scary Stories?

Big jobfish on a deep reef + down current + the most sharks I've ever seen = a recipe for disaster.

I didn't realize I was drifting off my original spot, and when I went for my dive, I drifted into a down current that was pulling me toward the abyss. I ended up shooting a decent-sized jobfish and started battling with the fish, trying to get it into my hands as I was swimming up to avoid it being eaten by the 50-plus surrounding grey reef sharks. As I was doing that, I quickly realized I wasn't going up. No matter how hard I was kicking, I wasn't really making any progress. My thoughts quickly shifted from the fish and the sharks to the surface and air. I managed to swim slightly sideways in the water column and out of the down current, and I made it up just as I started to feel lightheaded. After a few gasps for air, it was back to getting the fish away from the sharks. I definitely thought I wasn't going to make it up from that dive that day!

That’s it for us! We’ll see you back here in two weeks.

PS - Who do you want to see us interview next? Let us know and we’ll

Any stories of your own that you'd be willing to tell? Respond to this email and we’ll send over a short questionnaire!

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