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How to Spear a Fish

Updated on April 30, 2013

Preparing To Spear Fish

Gearing up to go for a dive and spear fish
Gearing up to go for a dive and spear fish | Source

Spearfishing Basics

Fishing with a spear while diving has been a fishing tactic used by fisherman for ages and is most popular for pursuing saltwater fish species. The sport can be done with both a scuba gear or without, and spear fisherman tend to either be free divers or scuba guys. Depending on the location it may not be legal to use scuba gear since it gives the spear fisher a significant advantage due to the ability to stay at the bottom for long periods of time without needing to surface for a breath of air. The tools necessary for this activity are actually very limited, a spear fishing gun, a pair of diving fins and goggles or mask are the bare minimum, however for most a wet or dry suit is critical due to the cold water temperatures of most saltwater locations along with a weight belt.

Like any type of fishing there is a wide range of specific gear that is perfect for the type of species you are pursuing. Using the wrong guns or not being prepared for the types of fish you are pursuing will result in lost fish and missed opportunities. Targeting larger species of fish require using floats to keep the fish from diving deep while smaller fish will not require this type of equipment. Some spear fisherman will use a small bait bag to chum the water to bring fish to them while certain spots like rock jetties and kelp beds only require the fisherman to dive and swim around the location to find the fish hiding in the rocks or in the vegetation.

Remember to never go diving alone. When diving in areas with lots of boaters running around it s best to use a dive flag so that they know you are in the water and can be alert and avoid where you are hunting the fish.

An Introduction to Spear Fishing

Big Fish Speared

3 fisherman with their catch
3 fisherman with their catch | Source

Equipment for Spearfishing

This is a short list of the most popular pieces of equipment that spear fisherman use.

  • The Spear Gun also called a sling which is made up an elastic band that shoots the spear in the water towards its target when the trigger is released.
  • Fins - divers that are not using scuba gear will want longer free diving fins so that they can move quickly from the surface back down to depth, while the other variety worn with neoprene socks with an open foot designs for using with boots are best when using scuba gear.
  • Wet suits - most spear fisherman prefer a two piece suit that comes in a camouflage pattern which consists of different hues of blue for deep ocean spear fishing. Inshore spear fisherman may prefer earth color tones to blend in with the vegetation that is found near shore where fish tend to hide out.
  • Mask and Snorkle - will allow you to breathe while still looking down in the water and make sure your vision is clear so you can aim easily when you have found your target.
  • Weight belt - used for counteracting the buoyancy of the wet suit
  • Knife - All spear fisherman should have a knife at the ready for cutting tangles in the line or to quickly dispatch a wild fish.
  • Fish Stringer - to keep your catch after you get each fish.

There is a lot more gear that can be used and contact your local dive shop to help you get outfitted and educated on all of the safety issues revolving around this sport.

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Spear Fishing a Spanish Mackerel


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