Fish for the Future

JESSIE CRIPPS

Hometown: Cronulla, Sydney Australia

Education:

Bachelor of Digital Television Production, Creative Arts

Interests:

Spearfishing, Freediving, Scuba Diving, Photography, Videography, Editing, Camping, Traveling.


What are the 5 most memorable fish you've landed and the experience behind it?

1st Jewfish (Mulloway) – After returning home from a couple of years abroad I really wanted to try chasing the elusive mulloway so for three weekends straight Michael and I scoured headlands for the fish, we went rain hail or shine, rough or smooth seas. Michael pushed me to my limits making me swim up cracks, get smashed by swell into the kelp and copping mouth fulls of water while breathing up. We were heading back in after an afternoon dive when I came across a protected clear patch of water and there was a nice little school of jew fish just sitting there chilling out. I couldn’t believe my eyes,  I took a shallow dive from the surface and shot one broadside. After a short fight I had the fish wrapped up in my arms and a huge escort of carpet sharks hanging around underneath. We swam straight in because I was so worried a shark might try to take the fish from me, I surfed the Jewfish down the waves and proudly walked back to our campsite with my fish over my shoulder and a smile ear to ear.

 20.5kg Wahoo, Ladies Australian Record – After a days diving in some average water a patch of bluewater came through for one drift, we were coming up to the front edge of the reef when I watched two of my mates make a drop in 30m. Seconds after they left the surface a school of Wahoo came in on me. I did a small duck dive and waited until they presented a nice broadside shot for me. I stoned the biggest out of the school and had it my hands before they both returned to the surface empty handed. They didn’t hear the shot or see the fish so when they were both shocked to see me with this big Wahoo in my hands. I later found out it was the new Women’s Australian Record.  

42Kg Yellowfin Tuna - Shot in Panama on one of the funnest spearfishing trips I’ve had. We met up with a few other members of the Riffe Team (Julie Riffe & Brandon Wahlers) in Panama and managed to land a few tuna between us. It was the last day of our trip so we drank local rum late into the night celebrating our success, stuffing our faces full of sashimi with the locals and randomly hiking into the jungle at 3am to find a monkey skull

18Kg Dogtooth Tuna – Where do I start, these fish are probably the toughest fish in the sea to land and one of the most delicious for sashimi. I have had numerous Doggies taken by sharks and break my gear so when I managed to land one it was one of the most rewarding feelings. My entire gear setup changes when I hunt these fish and it has taken years to refine. After living in Samoa and Tonga for 18 months I've let a lot of smaller dogtooth (<30kgs) swim past in hopes for a big model without success/ 

 8kg Dorado – 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 later 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 and 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 up the Dorado 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 thing on video! We took the fillets to a little Mexican diner where they cooked it up for us it was one of the tastiest fish I've ever eaten. 

 

Biggest fish you’ve seen and haven’t been able to land or most impressive fish you’ve seen in the water?


It would be a toss up between a 200kg+  Blue Marlin that swim under me in Mexico or a huge 100kg+ Yellow Fin Tuna I saw in the depths in Panama. 

Favorite fish/location to hunt?

 Mulloway because I am still figuring them out and they are generally found in challenging conditions. 

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!

 

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.

 

Favorite RIFFE go-to-gear setup

My go to setup is the Riffe Euro 130 with horizontal reel. I like the 130 for its versatility, I can simply swap out the spears for a bluewater gun (slip tip & break away) or when hunting in clear water on the reef I swap the shaft out with a double flopper shaft and reel setup. I also love my travel combo of 15 metres of spectra line & 15 metres of bunjee so I can swap it around for pelagic or reef fish in an instance.

 

 

Anything else you'd like to let the world know?

You can learn more about us and follow our adventures at: www.underwaterallyproductions.com