Jessie Cripps

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Jessie_Crips_

Hometown: Cronulla, Sydney Australia
Education: Bachelor of Digital Television Production, Creative Arts ­­­
Interests: Spearfishing, Freediving, Scuba Diving, Photography, Videography, Editing, Camping, Travelling.

Best fish:
Yellowfin Tuna 42kgs (92lbs)
Yellowfin Tuna 28kgs (61lbs)
Wahoo 17kgs (37lbs)
Greater Amberjack 16kgs (35lbs)
Rooster Fish 11kgs (24lbs)
Dog Snapper 10kgs (22lbs)
Dorado 8kgs (17lbs) – On my Birthday!
8.5kg Yellowfin Grouper (18lbs)
7kg Tiger Grouper (15lbs)
4.5kg Hogfish (10lbs)

Favorite Fish

Yellowfin Tuna
Where do I start? The first time I met a YFT I was armed with a camera and could only watch on as I was schooled by hundreds of 50kgs+ Tuna It was one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen and one of my first introductory dives to Central America. To see the sheer power of these fish when they launch out of the ocean chasing bonita is awesome and to shoot one is amazing. The sheer power as they tow you is unreal, the sashimi and poke an even better reward!

Wahoo
One of my favourite fish to eat and to hunt, there’s something about these guys that I just love! I finally managed to land my first Hoo of seventeen kilos early last year and the feeling of getting my first big fish in my hands was unreal I was shaking with excitement and was on a high for weeks. I have only landed two Hoo’s but they are definitely at the top of my hit list for a bigger model.

Almaco Jack
What can I say, I like big fish, These guys are not the smartest but what they lack in intelligence they make up with brute force. These are the only fish I have ever seen pull a 2ATM Float and torpedo float completely under water multiple times during one fight! I love fighting these guys- getting them to the surface can be one hell of a challenge!

Anything I haven’t already shot, I love the thrill of hunting a new fish, seeing how they react to your body language and figuring them out until you finally manage to land one.

Biggest fish you’ve seen and haven’t been able to land or most impressive fish you’ve seen in the water?
A monster Yellowfin Tuna the size of a small car. I had just turned around from a dive and was heading to the surface when I saw a huge dark shadow under me, at first I thought it was a shark, I followed it with my eyes as it was swimming away from me. It was then that I saw the sickle fins standing two feet tall and realized I had just made one of the biggest mistakes of my spearing life!

My main priority on this trip is to film for the DVD that we will be releasing late 2011. I have found myself within arm’s reach of monster fish armed only with a Camera. The most memorable was being walled by Tuna up to 200lbs+ they were so close I could’ve touched them, absolutely unreal.

I have had so many amazing experiences over the last year. I have swam with Whale Sharks, Manta Rays, a Mola Mola and watched 20-30 sail fish working a bait ball just inches from my face. To have seen all these things is such a dream for me, I can go home a happy traveler now.

 

Favorite Location/Conditions
Anywhere that involves an adventure, usually the bigger the mission the bigger the reward. Central America has been amazing for the variety and innovation I have seen from the local pangeros who make do with what’s available to them. Its been fun  launching panga’s into big surf, going to sea for numerous days in ill-equipped boats, camping out in hammocks and long journeys punching through tropical rain and swell for hours to get to that secret spot. While we have come back with empty coolers plenty of times, we have always had a great story to tell and I wouldn’t trade that for a thing!

Blue Water Hunting – Pure mixed bag, you never know what might turn up. It’s boring as hell when there’s nothing going on but when it’s on fire the reward is well worth it.

Reef Hunting/Caribbean – I find it hard to go past the clear warm waters of the Caribbean, I dive better in the crystal clear water and love to hunt the reef fish, even after a quiet day’s dive you still get to see plenty of life!

Memorable fish/hunts:

The most memorable fish hunt has got to be my Dorado that I speared on my 23rd Birthday.  When I left for Central America in 2010 my goal for the trip was to land a Bull Dorado. I have always had an obsession with these stunning animals. Six months into the trip and a hundred logs laters from Panama to Mexico I was well and truly over it.

Finally the day came while we were drifting offshore on the Pacific side of Mexico. Our captain spotted a big log, we sped over to check it out. Everything was perfect, the sun was shining, the log was old, the ocean was crystal clear and calm as a lake.

I was armed with my gun and Michael with the camera. There it was a big Bull Dorado dancing on the surface next to the log, my heart was pounding and I had completely forgot everything that Michael had told me about hunting these fish. He tells me ‘just swim up calmly and let it come to you” I slowly swam up, gun tucked against my body and waited as the Dorado got curious and gave me the perfect shot. I lined the Dorado up just behind the eye and let the shaft fly, the fish sunk instantly… stoned! I burst the surface cheering and realized everyone else was also cheering, what a feeling! I had finally got the monkey off my back and on top of that it was my birthday! I couldn’t have asked for a better present and we got the whole sequence on video! They taste even better than they look!

Best Dive trip:  
The last fourteen months of my life have been one big dive trip with Michael & I traveled through Central America with friends from the US and Australia meeting us along the way. We have had some unbelievable adventures, it’s too hard to name a particular trip…

Worst Dive Trip: There’s no such thing…
There have been some close calls but it has only ever added to the excitement of the trip. However a eight day trip in the Gulf of Mexico stands out due to the fact that I was sure the boat was going to sink every night as we headed across the ocean for the next archipelago. We all slept with our GPS & EPIRBS under our pillows those rocky nights. The shallow hulled river boat we were on only had the basic Mexican safety equipment- NADA. We probably shouldn’t have been at sea in three meter swells…I would wake up in walls of water when a big wave would hit the door I was sleeping next to, not the best nights sleep but it definitely made it feel like an adventure. Boarded by the Navy and having a translator who couldn’t speak English made for an interesting experience and I wouldn’t change it for anything!

Diving Background: I grew up around the water and took my first steps on our family boat. I could always be found on the back of the boat fishing. Unfortunately for my mums side of the family they are horrified of the ocean thanks to my Grandfather who was in the Navy and would tell horror stories of the sharks he would see at sea. Luckily for me these horror stories only made the ocean seem even more intriguing.  When I turned sixteen my dad paid for my SCUBA Ticket and I loved it. Dad use to spear and I was always fascinated by the odd style of gun under the house, finally I pulled it out and went to get it repaired but instead bought a new one for half the price. Armed with my undersea, knife strapped to my calf, milk bottle for floats and my poka dot bikini I would parade down to Shelley Beach and ‘rock hop’ one of the most speared spots in Sydney, it was the best combination for me, I could fish & dive at the same time. PERFECT. I just needed a few lessons on how to spear fish now…. Then came along Michael who has taught me pretty much everything I know about spearing over the last four years.

Equipment
Speargun – I haven’t had much experience with guns as I have always struggled to load them until I finally got a Riffe Standard Series II that I could load and had the power I needed to land big fish. Within a month of having my first powerful gun I landed my first Pelagic fish and they fell like dominoes after. I like the mid handle guns better as they are easier to maneuver and you can stabilize them with your second arm providing an accurate shot every time.

Knife – Terminator knife stubby mounted on the inside of my arm, it doesn’t get caught on anything

Wetsuit – My Riffe stinger suit has taken a beating on our fourteen month backpacking adventure through central America and is still going, I love it!

Mask & Snorkel – The Amber lens Nadia is by far the most comfortable mask I have ever worn, it has a wide field of vision and has a perfect seal on my. Accompanied with a stable “Darth Vader” snorkel I couldn’t ask for a better fit or more comfort!

Travel Gear – Our Riffe gun bag has been with us during our Journey through Central America, it has lived on the bottom of every panga deck,  been covered in blood and salt countless times, it was even run over by a crazy Costa Rican 4×4 and it still works like new after fourteen months of wear and tear Central American style.