Spearfishing is an ancient fishing method that is still widely used all over the world. Since the practice involves targeting specific fish and, if done correctly, does not disrupt the ocean floor, spearfishing is one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly ways of catching fish.
Beyond the environmental benefits, many free and scuba divers are drawn to the sport because it brings an extra dimension to the diving experience. But, as will other similar activities, spearfishing can be dangerous. So, before you jump in the water, it’s important to learn how to spearfish correctly and safety. To help, we’ve put together this handy guide with the steps you need to take on your way to becoming a new or better spearo.
Steps to take before you start spearfishing
Take spearfishing lessons before putting on a wetsuit
It’s never advisable to just jump into a wetsuit (not that many people can actually ‘jump’ into one), and start spearfishing without any prior experience. Even if you are a veteran free or scuba diver, spearfishing requires a new set of skills. For one thing, you need to understand how to handle and use the spearfishing tools effectively and safely. You should get some preliminary training to help you engage in spearfishing safely.
Most training courses around spearfishing also retrain you on how to dive properly with all that gear and hunting tools, so either way, it is always best to go for preliminary training. There are different options for you wherever you stay. These courses should train you on all aspects of spearfishing, such as safety measures, location safety, the right types of equipment and hunting tools to carry with you, hunting techniques, regulatory compliance, catching and storing your kill, and generally acceptable behaviour.
Get a license
There are always rules and regulations regarding spearfishing. Best to look out for local rules and regulations where you want to train, to be properly guided. Be proactive in getting your license, to avoid fines and bans. Some places may require more than one license, so be mindful of that too. Simply asking around, or speaking to fellow spearo buddies should be enough to get you the information you need.
If you are new and want to go on your spearfishing mission, it is best to ask for the best and safe destinations before venturing into more complex waters. Preferably, places where other spearos are known to frequent and are relatively safe.
Ask other experienced spearos for guidance, so they can brief you on things like navigating the water, the kinds of fish to catch there, the gear and tools to use, the possible dangers, the rules and spearfishing laws, and so on.
Remember that it is best to first of all practice in shallow waters. This makes you more comfortable and acclimated to the various techniques and demands to be an efficient spearo. It is sort of like advanced personal training, just you testing out various things and understanding your strengths and weaknesses in the water with a speargun.
First, it is recommended for you to stay above water, practising a technique known as “stalking”. Here, you hunt for marine life that is above water and it helps you handle a speargun and also understand how to catch fish. Once you have a fairly good skill level with catching fish, you can then wear your wetsuit and hunting gear and dive in the water.
You have a ton of options to choose from regarding techniques. Remember, it is practice, practice, and more practice. Try out different techniques to know what works best for you, with whatever weapon of your choice.
Also, it is important to be clinical to avoid suffering for the fish. Aim for the head, lock in your target, get close, maintain stability and pull the trigger swiftly and precisely. If you have to always land a second blow with your knife, then you become inefficient and won’t catch enough fish, as it involves twice the effort than just simply killing the fish with one swift move.
It is also imperative to know how to store your catch properly. You have to practise and perfect the ability to hook them into the fish carrier in an efficient way so you don’t keep going back and forth. Knowing how to store your catch is also important to avoid attracting sharks and other dangerous creatures that may be drawn to the smell of dead fish. Store them safely away so you can go back to continue hunting. Remember, keep your gloves on at all times so you don’t get injured by sharp teeth and fin when storing the fish away.
Get the right gear
Shopping for the right equipment for spearfishing should feel personal. Being comfortable in your gear is important, so you do not feel limited or discomfort when diving. Some of the essentials include:
- A wetsuit, perfectly your size allows for manoeuvrability. Wetsuits come in different types such as open and closed. You can also get a custom fit for you, especially if you are a beginner. https://neptonics.com/product-category/spearfishing-wetsuits is a good place to start wetsuit hunting.
- A mask that fits your face
- Clean glasses that does not hamper your vision
- A speargun (preferably 120cm). However, it will largely depend on where you plan to go spearfishing. Larger water bodies will require larger spearguns
Join clubs and organisations associated with spearfishing
This will help you assimilate well into the spearfishing community locally and even internationally. You can even find spearo buddies that will join you when you’re out spearfishing. It is always helpful to join a group that shares this interest with you. You will most likely find like-minded people in training in your community. Since spearfishing is not particular to any body of water, you have a plethora of options to join organisations and hunting parties.
Remember, the key to safely complete a spearfishing mission is to follow personal and local safety guidelines. Also, understand your strengths and weaknesses and then set personal boundaries for yourself. Practice makes perfect. You do not need to get it all at once, once you understand what works for you, and the gear and tools you are most comfortable with, then you’re on your way to becoming a top spearo.
Featured image: Cast & Spear/Unsplash