John Murphy has been diving since college in the late 80’s, when he and his pals would spend the weekends kayaking off the coast of Rhode Island, spearfishing blackfish with 5-prong spearguns. During the off-season, the dive gang would keep their lungs in shape by playing underwater hockey and kill time helping out at scuba diving classes. Spearfishing tournaments soon became the lure. He was hooked as soon as he won the B-division of the first tournament he entered.
Since then, his diving career has never stopped. His accomplishments include: five-time North Atlantic Champion, two-time Rhode Island Bluewater Champion, and three-time All American Dive Team. He was also on the national winning team two times, and his proudest moment was when he won the individual National Champion title in 2003.
John, better known as Murph, has competed around the country at national competitions. His favorite Nationals location is Malibu, CA because of the species diversity. Comradery, more important to him than the travel and the sport, is what keeps him diving. He still has life-long friends from his fledgling dive years.
Murph is not your typical fisherman. He does not embellish the “fish that got away” tales for entertainment or glory. He has always been known as a trusted source for honest information and is willing to give advice whenever asked. He’s given crucial tips to divers, who have followed his advice during tournaments, and it made a difference in their final score. For example, he has advised green divers to paddle to obscure hot spots at the starting gun, while everyone else paddles to the well-known populated locations, which get spooked right away. His suggestions have often proved helpful. One of the most comical pieces of advice Murph gave to someone right before a tournament in Newport, RI was to paddle to so-and-so rock, “swim about 20 yards north of the rock to be even with the dock, dive straight down, and look for the rusty bicycle on the bottom. That’s where the trigger fish hang out.” There are very few people who know the underwater terrain off Rhode Island as well as Murph.
Since he no longer competes in tournaments, the informal rivalries between divers has evolved into who is a member of the 50-lb striped bass “club”. Because this list of divers is long and growing, the club has morphed to the “60-lb striped bass club”. Murph has speared three bass over 60-lbs, truly some of the most memorable fishing days of his life.
Over the years, Murph has traded in the kayak paddles for a 4-stroke, and land bearings for a GPS. He is still diving every weekend during the May-October dive seasons in RI, and he has recently earned his captain’s license. The off-season now consists of deer hunting with rifle, muzzleloader or crossbow. He lives in eastern Connecticut with his beautiful, hot, sexy, fiancée and two dogs.