Saturday, July 12, 2008

Success in Spearfishing Part 1of 9

This is the first of series of posts I will make on success in spearfishing. If you are not mathematically inclined – like me – do not worry as it is not complicated. There is one thing you will be able to note for sure - it takes a while to master all these aspect of the equation. I have been at it since 1991(17years) and still do not believe I know everything about spearfishing. To believe that would block further progress for me. Spearfishing is like chemistry – though I have a doctorate degree in the subject that does not mean I am clever and also it does not mean I know all about chemistry – it simply means I worked hard and persistently in one field of chemistry (actually a minute aspect of chemistry – effluent treatment to remove arsenic from water). Success in chemistry also involves mastering a certain equation - not unlike the one you will see shortly.

Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success
Henry Ford

Without wasting any more time here is an equation derived by Piet Van Rooyen back in the 1980’s.

S = A + B x C + D + E + F + G

S is success in spearfishing. It is equal to the terms on the right hand side of the = sign. Add those up and we could predict the success of a spearfisherman with fair accuracy.

Success – What is success?
Ordinarily we refer to success as prosperous progress in any field. Success means different things to different people in different positions. I like to consider the context of progress to decide if it is successful.

If I think back on the Euro-Africa Qualifier that Mark Jackson, Guyla Plagyani and I dived last year in Rota, Spain – we were getting very few fish but sufficient to qualify us for getting SA to enter the world championships this year. It felt most unsuccessful to weigh in two fish in six hours!!!! I got a zebra of 2kg and about a 1 kg sargo(blacktail). That felt terrible!
Anyway at the weigh-in it was not too bad as some people came in with nothing.

So don’t feel too bad when you consider how you do relative to others but also consider how you do relative to own past progress.

So success depends on the above six terms – over the next few posts I will define each and discuss them to some extent.

When I first saw this equation back in 1991 it honestly was not that meaningful to me but now it makes sense after a good few years of experience and I am able to criticize it and expand considerably on it especially in certain parts such as the last three terms that were not discussed in detail.

The first term, A, is availability of fish i.e. What, and how much crop is there to reap?

OK, so get to it what determines the availability of fish? Surely if I can know the answers, or at least some answers to this question I will be able to get more and better fish. Absolutely – next post I will present some of my views…

Getting to know the availability of fish in any area you dive is probably going to have the greatest influence on your success as a spearfisherman, fish photographer or just being a nature-loving freediver, or even a "scubie".

On I offer a tool you can download to record your success with South African species on the SA records list. The file you can download is an Excel file where you see the list of SA fishes, the record of each as well as the biggest of each species I have taken and those are expressed as a percentage. I then calculate the overall percentage – what I call the record percentage. If you download it and want to use it you simply enter your biggest fishes weight in place of mine and Excel calculates your record percentage – instruction are on the download. I request your email to get access but do not worry that it will be given to some spam list – I get enough to hate it.

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