Record fish catch a life-changing experience for Jonathan Cassell

Jonathan Cassells holds his record-breaking fish.

COFFS Harbour Bluewater Freedive club member Jonathan Cassell has broken a 27-year-old club and NSW Underwater Skindivers and Fisherman’s Association (USFA) record set by last year’s 2022 Open Club champion, Glen George.

Mr Cassell speared a 13.02kg Green Jobfish during the club’s February competition.

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“Green Jobfish are an elusive fish to catch and so this is a very special fish to be taken off Coffs Harbour,” Club President Brian Hackett said.

“Jonathan is a strong free diver and regularly attends our training sessions.

“He loves the ocean and he’s been rewarded with a fish of a lifetime,” Mr Hackett said.

Mr Cassell is still coming to terms with the significance of the catch.

“It’s not every day you claim a NSW record as a fisherman and I’d like to thank USFA for their support in this process,” he said.

“I spear fish primarily so I can catch my own food, to keep fit and to shake up my comfort zones.

“A mate compared it to catching a 200kg marlin.

“It’s a very significant animal that has naturally had a profound impact on my life,” Mr Cassell said.

“I feel gifted by the experience.

“Taking the life of any fish, let alone a big one, comes with a deep sense of gratitude and responsibility.”

Mr Cassell said the experience made him want to give back where he can and to preserve the ocean.

“This has been a powerful and intimate experience and would not be possible without a healthy ocean,” he said.

He asks everyone to consider making a personal difference by actions such as writing to State and Federal politicians urging them to protect waterways, reduce plastic packaging and effectively regulate farm chemical run-off.

“I have also donated the fish’s head to the Department of Primary Industries Recreational Angler Program to determine its age and other relevant information important to the management of NSW fish stocks,” Mr Cassell said.

The Underwater Skindivers and Fisherman’s Association has also recognised the achievement.

“I want to congratulate Jonathan on a record fish, a most meritorious species,” Association Chair Simon Trippe said.

“The Solitary Islands group are known as the gateway for tropical species in NSW, and, even still, this fish is a sublime capture for its size anywhere in the country.

“Jonathan’s fish is likely to be the best fish speared in NSW waters this year.”

The Coffs Harbour Bluewater Freedivers is open to new members and is hosting the 2023 Australian Bluewater Freediving Classic on March 18 and 19.

More information can be found at

By Andrew VIVIAN

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