The extreme sport of the angling world, spearfishing is one of the most exciting ways of catching a fish there is. This is underwater hunting in its purest form. Want to give it a go?
What is Spearfishing?
Spearfishing is one of the most ancient ways of harvesting fish there is. People have been doing it for thousands of years. And over that time, the simple concept it started out with has evolved. Now, instead of being restricted to fishing with a trident-type weapon, ‘spearos’ can venture into the deep blue seas, armed with a spear gun, pole, or mechanical sling.
Essentially, most modern spearfishing trips will involve taking a boat ride out to a hot spearfishing destination, getting out, getting wet, and spearing fish. In the water, you will either be scuba diving or you’ll be freediving: going under with no artificial breathing support. While both are common, if you really want to impress an inner-circle spearo, you’re going to want to practice holding your breath under water.
For obvious reasons, the concept of 'catch and release' is not much of a possibility when spearfishing. That said, this form of fishing has a very low environmental impact - providing it is properly regulated. Most areas of the world only allow spearfishing for species that are in healthy supply. There’s no bycatch or damage to the environment. And, because you are underwater, you can spot and remove harmful invasive species, such as the notorious Lionfish.
Spearfishing gear is fairly straightforward. Here are the basics:
- Your weapon of choice: a spear gun, pole spear, or Hawaiian sling
- A snorkel or diving mask
A wetsuit, fins, and scuba diving equipment are all optional extras.
Spearfishing isn't the easiest sport to get into, but it’s worth it. Freediving in the open ocean is not for the faint-hearted: aside from the obvious difficulty of holding your breath, there can be Sharks and rip tides to contend with. But the thrill of hunting the likes of Wahoo, Tuna, and Barracuda with nothing between you but the open ocean can't be matched.
But that’s not to say there is no such thing as spearfishing for beginners. While many spearfishing charters will only allow experienced divers to go blue water spearfishing, most will have a beginner’s option as well. These trips will take place in protected waters, where you will learn how to spear fish around shallow reefs and wrecks. Here, you’ll be able to try shooting species like Hogfish and Lionfish - and you might even be able to hunt for lobsters in season!
You can go spearfishing almost anywhere in the world, depending on the regulations. Australia is a particularly famous destination for blue water spearfishing, with Wahoo, Narrow-barred Spanish Mackerel, and Tuna all being targeted species. South Africa and Mozambique are also famous destinations, as are Mexico, The Bahamas, and New Zealand.
In the United States, California, Florida and many other states have a well-established spearfishing tradition.
What to bring on a spearfishing charter
Most tours will provide the essentials you will need for spearing fish, but it’s likely that you will need to bring:
- A wetsuit
- A snorkeling/diving mask
- A towel