Name: Travis Hogan
Hometown: Gold Coast, QLD Australia
Where you live: Cairns, QLD Australia
How long have you been spearfishing:
I got my first taste of spearfishing about 8 years ago when my friend Lee introduced me to it. After that I was hooked but have only been spearfishing for the past 5½ years after we finished our travels through Canada. From there Cass and I travelled through Central America where I was fortunate enough to get taught by our good friend Jack on how to “hunt” fish. I have been very lucky to dive with so many good spearo’s in this time, which has made me a much better diver.
Top 3 places you have spearfished:
Great Barrier Reef (Cairns/Mission Beach) – So much great diving to be had and so much variety. Nowhere else have I seen so much diversity on a reef system. It is also home to some incredible Bluewater spearfishing if you know when and where to go.
New Caledonia – Super clear water, big reef fish, big pelagics and all in good numbers. Some parts seem completely untouched, it really is a paradise.
Coral Sea – The Coral Sea has to be on the bucket list for every Spearo, especially those who love to target Dogtooth Tuna. Places like the Seamount, Osprey, Shark, Willis Is and the Diamond Islets are stuff dreams are made of, not to mention Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, YFT and every species of reef fish you can imagine.
Was a Yakka I shot with my 1m gun first trip off Seal Rocks with my mate Lee. We burleyed it in the hope of seeing Kingfish but no luck unfortunately. We did see about 25 Grey Nurse sharks schooling on the bottom, which was pretty awesome to see especially on my first dive trip.
Top 3 fish landed:
114.8kg Black Marlin – I have been a part of several Marlin captures in the past few years and to get one myself in my local waters out of my 17ft Haines was a dream come true! Luckily I had a great crew with me that day who helped me secure the fish as quickly as possible before the Massive Bull sharks and Whalers got too stirred up as losing that fish would have been heart breaking….
18.1kg (118cm) Barramundi – This is such an iconic fish in Australia and 95% of the time you are targeting them in dirty water with less than 2-3m vis where things like Box and Irukandji Jellyfish, Bull Sharks, Stingrays and even Crocodiles are found. This fish was extremely special as it was only 2cm from the maximum size limit and I will more than likely never have the privilege of taking a fish this size again. Even better was that it was a pure salty!!
8.29kg Buffalo Emperor – This is probably the best reef fish I have seen/shot. It was in a Competition off Cardwell and I pulled up to a spot that I normally am guaranteed to shoot a nice Jack but found this guy hiding the cave instead. After a quick shot not realising the size of the fish, I found myself in a wrestling match and knew I had to get it out or risk the chance of it tearing off. Finally I got it to the entrance and all of a sudden the shaft came out, I quickly jammed it back through and bear hugged the fish as I swam it to the surface. Once I put it in the boat I was ecstatic at the size and knew it was going on the wall!
What fish to you think about hunting the most:
Hands down Dogtooth Tuna! Such a powerful and ruthless fish. I also love the challenge of hunting elusive reef fish – Squaretail & Coronation Trout, Yellow lip Emperor, Maori Sea Perch, Buffalo Emperor and Rusty Jobfish etc.
Top 3 dream fish not yet landed:
A Tuna over 50kg such as Dogtooth, YFT or SBT. It’s not a Monster by any means as far as these fish go, but it would be a great achievement. Would be great to land the Dogtooth here in Australia.
I really want another species of Billfish now. Striped, Blue Marlin or Sailfish.
Cubera or Pargo Snapper- I think these fish are awesome! Mean looking fish and a dirty fighter, almost like a Mangrove Jack on roids! They really are the ultimate “reefy”!
Biggest and/or most impressive fish/creature you have seen:
The most impressive thing I have seen in the water would be the Ornate Eagle Ray we saw of Cardwell. This Ray is an endangered species and sightings are extremely rare. It was about 5m wide and almost 8m from head to tail with some great markings on it. Biggest thing was the Humpbacks we swam with in New Caledonia.
Best dive trip you have been on:
Impossible to name just one as they are all great and enjoyable when you are diving with good mates. I clearly remember certain highlights from each and every trip and some of the best are;
1. Shooting my first ever Dogtooth on my first ever Bluewater trip in Fiji. Never even heard of the fish before but was lucky enough to be diving with 2 great divers. We all shot Doggies that day.
2. Getting towed through the water with Tim McDonald after he shot a 300lb Marlin! My second shot was terrible, probably pissed it off more than anything but it held for 13 minutes until he was able to put a kill shot into it.
3. The Marlin and Dogtooth trips I have been apart of are just awesome. It really is a massive team effort to land the big ones and the reward at the end is priceless. It also gives me a great opportunity to take some great pictures.
105 Roller. Can shoot just about anything with it!
Scariest thing you’ve seen while diving:
There were four of us diving a Barra wreck on the coast of Far North Queensland. Between Crocs, Bull Sharks, Stingrays, Box Jellyfish and Irukandji jellyfish it hard to understand why we dive these spots sometimes? It was clear on top (about 4m) but below the top of the wreck it was silted up and no visibility. I was at the back waiting for my turn to dive when a 4-5m shadow swam right underneath me in the silt! Let’s just say I wasn’t hanging around to find out what it was….
Plans and goals for the coming year:
Hoping to head south to chase some Jewfish and Snapper with a few of our Team divers and then at the end of the year running some Pelagic trips targeting the annual Tuna Aggregation and Giant Marlin.