Dale Brisbane

Hometown: Shellhabour.

Where do you live: Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia.

How long have you been spearfishing:
I first started spearfishing 10 years ago with my oldest brother Darrell on the South Coast of NSW, Australia. I fell in love with the sport right away because of how physically challenging it is and how rewarding it can be seeing marine life that most people will never experience, not to mention the fresh fish spearfishing allows you to share with family and friends.

Top 3 places you have spearfished:

South East Asia – Some of the biggest tuna I have ever seen were in South East Asia, often in places so remote you really feel like it is the end of the earth. Trips here are always great experiences with inspiring local people who make me smile.

Coral Sea – The Coral Sea provides visibility I have never seen elsewhere; often up to 40-50 meters. This makes for great photos and film. Everything is big in The Coral Sea including the sharks which makes it hard to land those big pelagics, but thats all part of The Coral Sea experience.

South Coast NSW – This is where I call home. Chasing fish in my home waters is very challenging as we don’t get the numbers of the more sort after species like Mulloway (Jewfish), trophy Dolphin Fish and Snapper, which makes it so rewarding when you put good captures of these tasty fish on the dinner table.

First fish:
My first fish was a Leather Jacket shot with a handspear in my home waters snooping the kelp humorously thinking I was invisible. We later wrapped it in foil and cooked it over an open fire and spoke about what else we could try and spear on our next trips.

Top 3 fish landed:

85kg Southern Bluefin Tuna – This fish was shot after many many trips beyond the Continental Shelf some 40-50 nm offshore over a 4 year period of fish-less trips. These fish show up in the middle of winter in my home waters with water temperature around 16-19 degrees Celsius and air temp well below 10. Three guys dragged this fish onboard and laying next to a fish like this made it the happiest day of my life. I later found out it was the biggest Tuna ever speared and landed in Australia.

Dogtooth Tuna – This particular fish was not weighed as I was super remote in East Indonesia but I estimate it at somewhere close to 40kg. These fish in my opinion are the hardest fish to land. I have traveled to many locations around the world losing fish up to 75kg. Sometimes these losses were to sharks, other times having the doggies pull two large floats down before reefing me in crazy depths of water. I once had to dive down and tie a rope to my submerged floats so that I could pull my gear out of the reef with a local dug-out boat.

6kg Snapper – Growing up I remember seeing how happy these fish made my Dad and his brothers when they caught nice ones on line. I always wanted to spear one but I soon learnt how elusive and challenging these fish are to spear … I have managed 2 fish exactly 6kg and both felt as rewarding as each other.

What fish to you think about hunting the most:
I think about hunting Big Dogtooth Tuna the most as I’m yet to crack a really big one, but Mulloway (Jewfish) and Snapper in my home waters also tend to make my mind wander thinking about new spots and trying to keep the ones I have already discovered a secret haha.

Top 3 dream fish not yet landed:

Monster Dogtooth Tuna (70-100kg). I have lost 2 or 3 around this size which has motivated me to travel and do what needs to be done to achieve this goal.

Big Yellowfin Tuna. I have shot YFT to around 30kg in Western Australia but only landed small fish to 8kg as they are hard to get close to, and with the fish I have encountered so far I have been using reel guns intended for more inquisitive pelagic species and much smaller reef fish. I would like to spear one out of a small trailer boat on the Continental Shelf in home waters, just as I did with my Bluefin Tuna.

30kg Mulloway (Jewfish). Growing up my Dad showed me photos of his Dad with 70 pound Mulloway caught off the beach. my Dad also spent a lot of cold nights on the beaches but could never manage one of that size. It will be a dream come true for me if I land a fish in the 30kg range on spear.

Biggest and/or most impressive fish/creature you have seen:
The most impressive thing I have seen in the water would be a Whale Shark that gracefully swam in on me and two of my best mates whilst hunting Spanish Mackerel off the back of Dirk Hartog Island in Western Australia. The 6m Whale Shark hung around for 30 minutes in crystal blue water. It was truly amazing!

Best dive trip you have been on:
Impossible to name just one as there are too many, each for so many different reasons…

1. Definitely shooting my big Southern Bluefin Tuna was the hardest I have ever worked for a fish. After all the days off work, fuel money and cold disappointing trips to finally have that massive tuna in the boat is something ill never forget… I also won’t forget my brother Darrell’s efforts to get me out there every chance he had. It’s a shame he wasn’t in the boat the day I finally got it.

2. Seeing one of my best mates Antony Sercombe shoot a 40kg Dogtooth Tuna. We had been diving deep and hard in strong current for 4 days and he actually had a really bad samba on the surface after shooting the fish. I was so thankful I was there to stop him blacking out. We always dive as safe as possible but we definitely learnt from this experience in so many ways. I’m just glad we came home safe; the fish was really just a bonus.

3. Just recently I saw one of my best mates Kieren Corbyn and my nephew Jake Brisbane shoot some great South Coast Dolphin Fish off local fish traps. It was a new species for Jake, and a personal best for Kieren. We all managed to land nice fish that trip so it made for a great day.

Favourite Gun:
115 Super Venom Roller. It’s a new gun and I have only taken 4 shots with it …. 18kg and 10kg Mulloway, and then 10kg and 9kg Dolphin Fish.

Scariest thing you’ve seen while diving:
Seeing someone close to blackout during samba.

Plans and goals for the coming year:
I have been looking over maps in places I don’t even know how I’m going to get to, but when I do the big Dogtooth Tuna lurking there best keep a good lookout.