D.I.V.E.R. Email - May 2nd, 2024

Destination • Information • Video • Environment • Record

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Keep Diving,


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)

If you’re new around here, every first Thursday of the month I send out the DIVER email. What’s that, you ask? Let me break it down for you:

The D.I.V.E.R. Email

Destination • Interesting • Video • Environment • Record


Vancouver Island, Canada

Three words sum up spearfishing in Vancouver Island - kelp, challenging, Lingcod.


The island is famous for its extensive kelp forests. They are among the most productive and vibrant ecosystems in the marine world. The dense kelp provides cover for a variety of fish, but navigating through the kelp requires skill, as you can get tangled up in the thick fronds.


But with these beautiful ecosystems, you also face challenges such as cold water, poor visibility, and strong currents. Oh, and don’t forget about killer whales.


For most spearos, lingcod is a top target on Vancouver Island. Found both in kelp and around the rocky seabeds, these fish are known for their camouflaging mottled coloration and large mouths.

Other Targets: tuna, halibut, rockfish, kelp greenling, halibut.


NatGeo Lied To You

Imagine being able to hold your breath for up to thirteen minutes while freediving, reaching depths of over 200 feet; all without fins, a weight belt, or a watch. All you have is a wooden homemade speargun and wooden goggles.

Sounds like a superpower, right?

Well, that's the superpower the Bajau people of Southeast Asia have!

At least, that’s what publications like NatGeo and BBC want you to believe…

In reality, the long-told narrative of the Bajau people possessing superhuman powers is simply not true. It may have been true for their ancestors, but today, other spearfishing methods are used.


13 Minutes @ 200 Feet: The claim that Bajau people can dive for 13 minutes and up to 200+ feet without fins or weights is just silly. I’m not sure where this claim came from, but it’s been retold over and over again with no proof.

No Need For Mask: Another claim is that they can see underwater with no goggles or dive mask on. Again, not true. At least, not anymore than you or I can.

Primitive Homemade Gear: The photo above depicts a Bajau spearfisher using only a homemade wooden speargun and wooden goggles. Back in the day, this would be accurate, but today they’ve adopted more advanced gear (which may still be considered basic compared to what most of us use).


Diving W/ Compress Air: Unfortunately, environmental changes and damaged coral reefs have significantly affected where the fish live. It’s forced most Bajau spearfishermen to go deeper and deeper for their food, which in turn forced them to turn to compressed air instead of free diving.

Larger Spleens: For hundreds of years, the Bajau have lived at sea, and natural selection may have made them genetically stronger divers. A recent study found that the median size of a Bajau person's spleen was 50 percent bigger than the same organ found in land-based people living nearby. A larger spleen can store more red blood cells, which are released during a freedive to increase oxygen levels in the blood, allowing the diver to hold their breath longer.

Generations Of Divers: The Bajau people spend up to 8 hours a day spearfishing. This tradition was passed down from generation to generation, with each succeeding generation becoming better at diving. Until about 50 years ago.

Sea = Life: For both young children and old men in a Bajau village, the day revolves around fishing, spearfishing, and foraging from the sea. The Bajau are born, live, and die at sea.

The Full Picture

A lot of what is shown in those documentaries about the Bajau people is false. And maybe, deliberately so. If you watch the video below, you can see one of the Bajau divers that Leonard Logsdail is filming assume he wants him to use the primitive gear instead of the gear they actually use. Most likely this is because that’s what other documentaries asked them to do.

Despite the misconceptions and romanticized narratives, the Bajau people represent a profound connection to the sea, one that is built on resilience, adaptation, and an intimate understanding of their marine environment.

While it’s likely that in the past the Bajau did embody the more extreme aspects of free-diving as depicted in modern documentaries, today their practices have evolved.

I bet that with their natural adaptations, such as enlarged spleens, the Bajau could become world-class spearfishers if they adopted modern gear.


Shoutout the Aquatic Apes for putting together this documentary that accurately depicts how the Bajau people live.

Click play


The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a huge area in the North Pacific Ocean filled with plastics and other trash. This trash collects there because of ocean currents that trap it in one large region. The estimated size of the garbage patch is about twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France…

Obviously it’s a big environmental problem because it harms marine life and spreads microplastics.

So today we’re featuring The Ocean Clean Up. A non-profit organization that is currently cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with it’s “System 03”.

You can learn more about System 03 here.

You can donate to The Ocean Clean Up here.


Black Marlin

Weight: 826.3 lbs / 374.8 kg

Spearo: Albert Prinsloo

Location: South Africa

Date Speared: 11/30/2018


“On the 30th November 2018 I was taking customers out spearfishing at Leven Point, north of Cape Vidal, KZN South Africa. The conditions were very nice with warm clean water and about 15-20m visibility. We didn't have any fish around however, so we decided to go back to the launch site and try for Wahoo off the point drifting towards the lighthouse as there are 2 wrecks located south of the lighthouse which usually attracts gamefish.

The drifts were long going onto the barges (wrecks) as the fish usually hang around well ahead of the wrecks. We ended up finding Wahoo there, but they were hard to target due to the clean water and I missed two completely being out of range. On the last drift I noticed alot of blacktip sharks and decided to swim towards one as it was swimming straight at me. As the shark changed direction, I started swimming up to the surface. Near the surface I noticed the marlin swimming straight towards me from below and the fish broadsided me very close.

I took a shot at his head (1.3m Rob Allen reel gun with drop-barb) as I knew I needed to really hurt this fish if I stood any chance in landing it. My shot placement was almost completely in the brain as the fish just started swimming in circles in a state of stupor downwards. The bottom was only about 24m deep. Some of the sharks then proceeded to dive down towards the marlin but soon changed their mind due to its size (I suppose) and so they aimed their excitement at me instead. I wasn't too fuzzed about the sharks and just started handling my line which was surprisingly easy to handle. Arne Troost owner of Adrenaline charters then swam up to me and dived down to give the fish a second shot (which was not really necessary to hurt it more but spearos are always concerned about the holding spear pulling out resulting in a lost fish) but realized the size of it and swam back up, telling me that I had to take the second shot in case it was a record.

I then took my second gun(1.3m RA reel gun with drop-barb) and dived down about 10m to where the marlin was at this stage not even moving anymore, it was just hanging broadsided mid-waterish. I then took the second shot and this hit the fish mid-body just behind the gill plate. The marlin did not even respond after I hit it with the second shot. I thought the fish was dead at this stage due to no movement at all, and so I started pulling it towards the surface. This wasn't easy but also not as hard as what I would have imagined. I made slow progress but once the fish was at about 3m from the surface I dived down and grabbed the fish on the bill and swam it to the surface. This all from the time of the first shot to me holding the fish on the surface was about 5minutes.

This was truly a once in a life time opportunity and I was just grateful that I landed this fish, little did I know that it would break records. I gave thanks to God, I felt truly blessed.”

A lot of people have issues with shooting billfish. But it’s important to note that with this fish, most of the meat was donated to the African Impact Foundation who work in local communities, Khula, Ezwenelisha and Dukuduku (St Lucia). They estimated that the fish will feed over 500 people.

I hope you enjoyed this months DIVER email!

PS - We’re searching for great spearfishing stories. 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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