Spearfishing has quite a history behind it. We can trace the earliest stages of the sport to the late 19th century, but it began as a real sport in the early 20th. However, things didn’t start picking up until later in the early parts of the century, especially in the 1940s.
Nevertheless, we have to state that there is no linear history or story that tells the evolution of the spearfishing industry at this time, or in fact, at any other time. Events that form the history of this period did not follow a specific pattern or system. What happened is that a series of events took place. These events were completely uncoordinated and, in fact, happened independently of each other. All of these independent events contributed to creating the sport that is known as spearfishing today.
Feature by Cairns Post
By the early 1940s, spearfishing was catching on as a rising sport. This caught the Cairns Post’s attention, which did a big feature story on it and published it in its piece on May 13th, 1940. Cairns Post noted that spearfishing was already emerging as a “leading sport,” especially amongst the people of Innisfail, Queensland, Australia.
Cairns noted the type of equipment used to carry out the spot. It was a spear which is not the like usual four-pointed object that many were used to. This type of spear had a handle of iron, and then there was a piercing Barb at its top.
What the spearfishers do is that they get into the water and then wait for fish. If the fish comes within attacking range, they make a move to catch the fish.
This feature is quite significant as it gave attention to a sport that was still largely and comparatively in its infancy. The Cairns Post was a big media organisation with wide followership and readership.
First Major Spearfishing Competition
Towards the end of the 1940s decade, it was quite clear that spearfishing as a sport had come to stay. This time, it was no longer the subject of mere recreational value. It was becoming a real sport.
Thus, Competitions were springing up. The first major one to be held was the President Dick Charles Trophy at the La Perouse Beach. It was organised by the Underwater Fisherman’s Association of New South Wales. It is part of this association that formed the USFA as we know it today. Back then, it was still in its nascent stages.
The President Charles Trophy was won by Jach Egan, an underwater fisherman from Potts Point. He caught a tiger shark that measured a whopping 6 feet at a depth of 10 feet in the water. Twenty members of the association participated in the competition. The competition did well to herald the beginning of the relevance of spearfishing in popular sports.
The Aquacades 1949
The Aquacades was a Major public display and outing for the Spearfishing industry at that time. On January 12th, 1949, at the Olympic Pool located in the North of Sydney, the Aquacades allowed the public to see the various gears used in spearfishing. These ranged from spears to guns and also the outfits.