Spearfishing for Beginners
Spearfishing for Beginners
If you love adventure, spending time in nature, the thrill of the hunt and the reward of eating your catch then spearfishing is the sport for you. You can enjoy it alone or with friends and family. It's visually stimulating, exciting, calming and challenging all at the same time. Get your gear, get in the water and give it a go. Here's some basic info on how:
Focus on the hunt. You need to be prepared before you even get into the water.
You need the right tools to ensure your success, and strategy that’s going to work for the area you’re spearfishing.
You will catch a good fish today. Have a positive mindset.
Never give up. All spearfishermen miss a prize-winning fish. It happens a lot. It’s not as easy as it looks on social media reels and videos. As soon as you let your attention drop, you stop being a hunter. Maybe you’re cold, tired or hungry, and you’ve “given up” to head back to the boat or shore. Only to get surprised by one of the biggest fish of the day. Of course you miss it. When you’re in the water with your speargun, never give up. You never know when the right fish is going to choose to appear.
Get comfortable in the water. If you’re flapping around or in “pure predator” mode, the fish will pick up on it. Being aggressive will scare fish away. Take a breath, calm down and move through the water like you belong there.
Learn as much as you can. Never stop learning. Every diver will have different experiences and different advice. Pay attention and don’t be afraid to learn from your peers.
Research dive sites and record dives. This way you learn the right tides and conditions for regular spots.
Don’t chase the fish. You’re a predator in the water but you’re out of your element. All you’ll do is scare your target away, and broadcast to every other fish in the area that you’re on the hunt. You may even scare away prized game fish that are watching your every move.
The only time you chase a fish is when they’ve torn off your spear and you’re pursuing them for the kill.
Be careful with your gun. A speargun is a deadly weapon, and can do a whole host of damage should it fire into another person. When you’re not actively hunting the safety needs to be on, and never, ever point it at another person. Treat your speargun the same as a firearm. If you’re ever out spearfishing with another diver who doesn’t follow this rule, do not hunt with them. It’s not worth your life.
Spearfishing from the Surface
This spearfishing technique is where we all start. Floating on the top of the water armed with a pole spear or a speargun. It’s the easiest way for you to get comfortable shooting. All you need to do is float on the top, and as a fish passes by take your shot.
This method isn’t the most productive. It’s too difficult to spot your prey from above. Most fish are tough to see from above by design to stop predator's employing this specific tactic.
It’s also quite difficult to land your shots from the surface. You’re much further from the fish you're targeting which gives them time to escape. This spearfishing technique is recommended for beginners who are still learning, or hunting in a tidal zone.
Once you’re proficient with loading and shooting your speargun move on to ambush.
Spearfishing from Ambush
Hunting from an ambush entails swimming down and hiding behind a reef structure, pylons, anything that will reduce the fish identifying you as a predator. As you’re spearfishing on the surface keep an eye out for a good location for an ambush. Position yourself flat on a rock, or on the edge of a bed of seaweed facing out into the sand. This way the natural formations and vegetation in the water break up my outline, and the fish don’t know your there.
Be as stealthy as you can while you dive. Take 4 deep breaths to flood your bloodstream with oxygen, then dive to the bottom. Then stay frozen in place with your speargun extended. Your goal is to blend in with your surroundings when using ambush spearfishing techniques.
Grab hold of a large rock or the base of some seaweed to help yourself in position.
If you’ve found a good spot, the fish will start swimming by, and get very close to you. Much closer than you’d get on a surface hunt. The only challenge is if they’re swimming at a higher level than you laying on the bottom. Their silver bellies will make them harder to spot against the colors on the surface.
Of course, there’s a danger to this type of dive, as you’re laying still and will run out of air. Pay attention to your body, and if you feel like you need to take a breath, surface and do so. There’s no point waiting for the perfect fish then blacking out. You need to breath. After a while you’ll fall into a rhythm, taking a breath on the surface before diving down to resume the ambush.
Spearfishing Tips and Tricks
When active spearfishing follow a path along the seabed. Choose a path that has a couple of ambush locations, so you can surprise your target fish.
You don’t need to make this a marathon. Find a spot with a couple of good ambush locations that aren’t too far apart, and start your dive.
Dive quietly, then lie flat on the seabed. From here, you want to pull yourself along the ground using your free hand. Try not to let your speargun, weight belt or anything else bang into the rocks. Absolute silence is a must with this spearfishing technique if you want to catch a fish by surprise. Try not to kick. Your spearfishing fins will create a disturbance that put any nearby fish on high alert.
After spotting a target fish, keep your body still, then start extending your gun arm and your speargun as not to alarm the fish. Fire once your ready. Underwater movements should be graceful. Anything sharp or sudden will give away your intentions, and scare off the fish.
Spearfishing Hidden Fish
Fish aren’t always out in the open. Especially if you’re hunting on a reefs or if they’re a slower species. Instead, you’ll find them hiding in a hole, cave or crevice until they need to go out in search of food themselves. What you’re looking for here is the places where fish may be hiding, so you can find them and hunt them.
You’ll need a short gun, with a heavy spear (at least 7mm) and a screw on tip. Because you will hit rocks. The only way to counter this is to use a less powerful setup, and a tougher gun. Maybe a single 14mm band on a 65cm long gun.
Spotting caves can be trouble. They may be deep, and it’s going to be dark and hard to see the fish hiding underneath. One way to combat this is to use a flashlight, which will make this type of hunting far easier.
Be careful what you’re sticking into the hole. You can snag your gear or arm and get stuck, and you also don’t always know what’s hiding in there in the depths of the cave. Don’t stick your hand in there unless you want to risk something biting it.
Caves are dangerous. Before trying these advanced spearfishing techniques, you should be confident in your abilities and have proper training. Getting snagged or stuck underwater can lead to death. Don’t swim into any funnels or areas which could trap you, and be wary of the surges underwater. It’s not worth risking your life for a fish.
Canyon dives are exactly what they sound like. An ambush technique, position yourself near to the entrance of a canyon or a gulley at a spot where you think fish may be passing through. Then wait. Keep focused on a specific section, and take your shot when your target fish swims through.
Hole dives are similar, but the fish will usually lead you to these. Then it’s just a matter of approaching from a different angle, so you can ambush them from the side. Always check potential caves, ledges or any little cranny where fish may be hiding. Often, there's no escape, and you can take a perfect shot. Just don’t give up too soon. The key to making spearfishing techniques like this work – is patience. You may need to return to the same hole again and again to scan every inch of the interior for the fish you’re hunting.