UNITED STATES—Spearfishing was one of the main techniques for acquiring food in the former age. In the modern era, it has evolved into an exciting sport and remains a means of sustainable fishing. The ancient methods persist to this day, albeit with more improved technology. These advancements make spearfishing much easier now, and more interested individuals can pick up a speargun and start looking for fish.
But as with any new activity, beginners need to follow several tips to ensure a safe, fun, and worthwhile experience. So, before you put on your wetsuit, check out this brief guide to aid you once you dive underneath the waves:
- Use The Right Gear
Back then, people used long, sharpened sticks for spearfishing. While using a literal handmade spear is still viable today, you would be better off with weapons aptly designed for more effortless shots. Among the modern types of spearfishing weapons include:
- Hawaiian sling
- Pole spear
Each has its technique which you can begin practicing on land first. That way, your body will get used to the movements required, and you could rely more on muscle memory once underwater. It’s essential to use high-quality tools to avoid accidentally hurting yourself or others and easily catch more fish. For some of the best spearfishing weapons and accessories, you can ask veterans for shop recommendations, like the Neptonics store.
Aside from having a proper spearfishing weapon, it’s wise to have a dive knife on hand. It’s one of the most valuable tools for any adventurer, including divers. A sharp-enough knife on the ready can get you out of dangerous predicaments in the water, such as obstructions and entanglements. Additionally, using a knife can quickly and humanely end the life of a suffering fish and lessen their pain after a botched shot.
- Learn Proper Spearfishing Techniques
Beginners of any activity are expected to make a lot of mistakes. But spearfishing can be dangerous if you don’t know how to handle your weapon correctly. Hence, before you jump in the water, make it a point to practice proper techniques on land under your mentor’s supervision.
One common mistake many spearfishing novices make is holding their speargun like a rifle. Spearguns also have a kickback once fired. Though being underwater can soften the blow, it can still be pretty painful, especially if you hold it in front of your face. To curtail this habit, imagine your speargun as a pistol, which is how it’s supposed to be used.
In addition, remember to turn off the safety before firing and load your speargun before descending. You’ll have more difficulty catching fish if they swim away before you fire or while loading your weapon underwater.
- Dress Appropriately
Any professional diver understands the importance of wearing the proper attire. As a basic guide, you should wear the following:
- A spearfishing wetsuit of appropriate thickness, depending on the temperature of the water
- Fins for more maneuverability while conversing energy
- A mask for better visibility and a J-shaped snorkel
- A weight belt to counter the buoyancy of your wetsuit
Avoid bringing too much gear underwater, or you may get pulled down by the extra weight and drown.
- Bring A Diving Buddy
Bringing a buddy is always necessary, regardless of your familiarity with certain dive spots. It isn’t advisable to dive alone, even in shallow depths. Many divers of any experience level suffer the common threat of hypoxia or a lack of oxygen. Hypoxia is deadly, and you need someone swimming nearby to watch out for its signs before they worsen. A buddy is also helpful when you accidentally get stuck or tangled somewhere.
- Look For Small Targets
Many first-time spearfishers often get excited and search for the biggest fish possible. However, beginners should start small. Smaller fish are perfect practice targets and are most likely to be eaten once caught.
To catch smaller targets, aim behind and above the fish’s gill. You’ll reduce the risk of error when you aim here, and you may kill the fish in one shot this way. It’s the most humane way to kill it. Furthermore, the spot above the gill is also the ideal target when using a pole spear or a Hawaiian sling.
Don’t feel discouraged if you miss the first few times. It always happens, and with more practice, you’ll eventually improve.
- Practice Holding Your Breath Longer
It’s crucial to hold your breath for extended periods while spearfishing. On average, your breath hold should be up to 3 minutes to allow yourself time to hide well and wait for a fish to pass by. It’s an ability that takes time to develop and improve; you may practice it while wearing more layers, having good fins, and moving slowly.
Even if you’ve mastered longer breath holds, don’t risk chasing after fish when you’re almost out of breath. It’s better to miss a catch than to experience a shallow water blackout.
- Research Fishing Spots
Not every dive spot allows spearfishing. In the same vein, not every area will enable people to hunt wild animals without a permit. You can start searching for beginner-friendly fishing spots by asking experienced divers. Your local dive shop may provide you with more suggestions and tips.
Ideally, you’d want a spot with a 20-foot depth or less. Some places like California offer several safe locations for reel fishing and spearfishing novices. You could also check out a possible area yourself and verify if it’s alright to fish in. If you have doubts, it’s best to follow your gut and avoid the location.
Spearfishing is a worthwhile and sustainable activity that can teach you to appreciate the environment more. It can be daunting at first, but as you continue, you’ll learn to enjoy every dive.