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Aaron’s A Gun Fisherman

By Duncan Horscroft on March 29, 2012 in News

Spearfishing is not everyone’s choice of sport but, in reality, it is one of the fairest way to pursue a piscatorial challenge.

It is man against fish in the fish’s own environment and it requires a lot of talent to actually chase and spear one with a narrow rubber-powered ‘gun’.

Bondi 15 year-old Aaron Puckeridge is a real water baby. He plays water polo for his school, is a member of the Bondi Surf Club, swims with the Bondi Ice Cubes and regularly surfs the local break.

But it is spearfishing that is his passion and with father Ian an eight-time Australian Open Champion it’s no wonder there is salt water running through the Year 10 student’s bloodstream.

Aaron and Ian competed in the 60th Australian Spearfishing Championships in WA in December with Ian taking out the open section and Aaron winning the junior division and catching the largest fish ever at the national tournament – a 38kg trevally.

And the battle with the big fish on the end of the spear was not only challenge – keeping it from the jaws of the ocean’s top predators also posed a potential problem.

“The challenging factor in Exmouth was the number of sharks,” Ian said. “Two of the competitors had their catch eaten by tiger sharks.”

One of Aaron’s scariest experiences with sharks was a lot closer to home when he spotted a large bull shark while diving at South Bondi.

“I saw a three-metre long bull shark beside the Icebergs while diving,” Aaron said.

“It swam up near me while I was on the bottom and after that I got out of the water and Dad informed the lifeguards.”

But according to Aaron, despite the scary moments there are many more that are memorable for other reasons.

“When I was on the Great Barrier Reef three humpback whales swam up to me, which was an experience that many people would enjoy if given the opportunity.

“Another exciting time was when I speared a junior Australian record southern blue fin tuna 50km East of Eden. I had over 100 large tuna swimming around me in the middle of the ocean.”

As well as winning the junior section in WA, Aaron also came fourth in the open event, which earned him a start in the recent Inter Pacific Spearfishing Competition in Hawaii where he partnered his father.