Spearfishing For Beginners (The Ultimate Guide)

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In this spearfishing for beginners ultimate guide, I will cover EVERYTHING you need to know to be a successful spearo.

Imagine a man who had to hunt to feed his family in ancient times. He faced the unknown, only described by myths and legends.

Guess what?

You can achieve the same exact thrill today with the water sport, spearfishing!

Spearfishing is a very fun sport that can (at the very least) increase your hunting skills, your strength, your speed, your agility, and even things like endurance, courage, and willpower to catch your prize.

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That doesn’t mean you still can’t have a bunch of fun!

Today, you can do spearfishing for the highest quality, freshest catch that you knew you caught.

Additionally, spearfishing has also become a competitive sport, with enthusiasts on the hunt for larger fishes.

So… in this unique guide, I will go through EVERYTHING you need to know and more. 

Let’s dive right in.

What is Spearfishing

what is spearfishing

Spearfishing is undoubtedly one of the oldest sports out there. It was originally used for survival for hunters who understood tools were better than just bare hands.

A sharpened pike could easily kill fish because of its great speed and accuracy.

Now, newer equipment has developed, such as the iron tip harpoons in the 1700s, the harpoon gun in the 1800s, and most other equipment in the 1930-50s.

Today, we still use spearfishing as a sport for hunting and is practiced all over the world. The primary focus is still the mental and physical ability of yourself.

Whether you are doing this for recreational or competitive purposes, you will need to overcome the many obstacles to catch your prize.

Nowadays, there are many tournaments that drive excitement and draw more attention to this sport. Additionally, there are many clubs and organizations for spearfishing!

This leads us to our next section – what gear do you need?

Spearfishing Gear

spearfishing gear man with speargun

Everyone knows that the right spearfishing gear is one of the most important things and is a large part of your experience.

So, here I, an experienced spearo, will cover what spearfishing gear you need and all about it. 

That said, let’s cover all the essential equipment.

Spearguns, Pole Spears, and Hawaiian Slings

There are essentially three kinds of spears used in spearfishing: Hawaiian slings, pole spears, and spearguns

Hawaiian slings and poles are very similar. They both need you to be very close to the fish, which is not usually the spearguns’ case. The biggest difference between the two is that the pole spear leaves your hand entirely while shooting a shark, while the band on the Hawaiian sling won’t usually leave your hand. 

Next, we got the spearguns. Not all of the spearguns are made equal. Not all spearguns are allowed in Mexico. In fact, Mexico specifically forbids the use of air or pneumatic spearguns.

I personally just use a band or a sling-powered speargun. There are two key things to remember when picking a speargun: the clarity of the water you will be fishing and the kind of fish you will hunt. Low visibility needs a shorter speargun to be used. 

Likewise, the smaller fishes you’re chasing, the less power or band thickness you’ll require. In other words, the fish’s visibility and the area will decide the length and strength of the speargun you can use. 

The length of the shaft is another significant factor. A more powerful shaft will add strength to your shot, but it will also reduce the speed.

Finally, on the market, there is a newer form of speargun called roller weapons. These have a few more bands that are usually permanently loaded at the bottom of the rifle, allowing them to reach three times further. 

I often search in shallower waters near the islands and the deep blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. As such, we prefer mid-size, multi-band spearguns that can be used both around the reefs and for larger prey. 

On the other hand, pole spears are a much bigger obstacle for underwater hunters. In general, the use of polespears needs much closer proximity to the fish. That’s because they both have a lower travel range and a lower penetration range than most spearguns. 

I’d recommend learning to hunt with these for experience and more physical and mental benefits.
 

Wetsuit and Rash Guards

spearfishing wetsuit man with neoprene wetsuit

When searching for a suitable wetsuit for spearfishing, the biggest thing you want to take into account is thickness. Especially in warm climates such as the Mexican Caribbean, where the average annual water temperature is between 77 – 82F (25 – 28 C) all year.

As such, we suggest the use of wetsuits with a thickness of not more than 1.5 mm. If you prefer to use your wetsuit in cooler waters, check for the best wetsuit for your specific climate at your spearfishing gear store. 
 
But in the Caribbean, you’re going to sweat a lot more than you’re comfortable with.
In fact, for Caribbean spearfishing, unless you’re going to be underwater for a long time or do deep dives, we just suggest using a rash guard
 
However, make sure you pick a spearfishing rash guard properly equipped with chest padding to help relieve some of the strain from continuously reloading your speargun. 
 
Similarly, most wetsuits and rash guards are cloaked. This is for one important reason: to help you hide from the fish. So, if you really want to get close to your target, try going really stealth.
 
Developed by the Dyung Tec, the Dyung Tec Wetsuit is a top-of-the-line camo wetsuit that gives you the best possible camo for you. This suit has helped me catch countless fishes by enhancing my performance and hiding me with its special Neoprene technology.
 

Mask and Snorkel

spearfishing mask and snorkel bright orange mask and black snorkel
When you’re looking for a good spearfishing mask, it’s important that you don’t just take some snorkel mask and call it a day.
 
You’re going to want to look for a low-volume mask for spearfishing. In other words, the amount of air in the mask must be minimized so that you can have less pressure as you equalize when freediving.
 
The best spearfishing masks offer high visibility and low-volume for the best performance.
 
In comparison, unlike scuba diving or plain snorkeling, the form of the lens is also critical when selecting a spearfishing mask.
 
There are essentially three types: see-through, amber-colored, or mirrored lenses. See-through lenses are ideal in high-visibility waters.
 
However, if you are headed to somewhere where the water visibility is much lower, colored lenses are best as they improve contrasts and allow you to see better. Additionally, they make perfect sunglasses out of the sea.
 
Mirrored lenses are designed to conceal the eyes. However, as in the case of camo wetsuits, how you travel in the water is much more important than how fish view you.
 
If you’ve discovered your choice of quality masks, the next factor to remember is just as important: comfort. It doesn’t matter whether it’s large or small, nor how relaxed you feel when wearing your spearfishing mask.
 
At the end of the day, having the correct snorkel is also critical when selecting your fishing gear—the easier and more versatile, the stronger.
 
This is particularly true when you’re hunting in and around the underwater caves, where you run the risk of having your snorkel trapped. Or maybe even caught in a coral formation.
 
I have tested dozens of masks. The mask I have found the most comfortable and fits all the criteria here perfectly is EXP VISION Panoramic 3(see-through) or the SeaDive Oceanways Superview-HD(amber-colored).
 
The Mares Dual Snorkel has just worked for me from the beginning. It’s the ideal spearfishing snorkel.
 

Knives

A good spearfishing knife is like any good kitchen knife: it stays sharp, strong, and doesn’t rust.
 
A spearfishing knife is definitely something that you would require as a newcomer. It is necessary for all spearfishers.
 
Say you’re spearing a fish at 50 ft. and it’s beginning to swim around you, entangling you in the spearfishing line. You must break the line with a spearfishing knife and make your way back to the surface.
 
Some people believe the primary aim of the knife is to kill the fish. However, this should only be employed to attract minimal attention from potential predators.
 
Quality is also an important part of every effective spearfishing knife. Many of the knives on the market will lose their sharpness and become rusty very easily. This can be a concern if you get trapped and need to break the line or something else.
 
So, make sure to go over the quality of your knife. I would recommend the Cressi Borg Long Blade Knife for its incredible quality.
 

Gloves

For spearfishing gloves, the old saying “the simpler, the better” applies. Gloves are meant to be lightweight and enable you to feel while still covering your hands.

Firstly, spearfishing gloves should make it easier to reload your speargun. 

Additionally, after you capture your fish, it should help you prevent cuts and abrasions. 

Kevlar gloves prove to be the best gloves in my experience.
 
Freediving Fins
Freediving Fins are useful spearfishing gear because they have a serious effect on your overall results.
 
Strong freediving fins will guarantee that you get the right propulsion when you plunge into the depths of your aquatic world.
 
But it’s also a major misconception that big freediving fins would enable you to dive to deeper waters. In the end, you will be able to swim as far as your own boundaries are concerned, with or without the fins.
 
Where they play a factor is when you’re already capable of deep dives, as they can help you conserve your strength. However, freediving fins are not intended for those who lack the knowledge of freediving.
 
As for most spearfishing gear, comfort is also a major factor. In that way, you should know if you’re more relaxed swimming with soft fins, rigid fins, or something in between.
 
There are essentially three types of free-diving fins: plastic, fiberglass, and carbon fins. Plastic fins are priced cheaply and are ideal for beginners.
 
Fiberglass looks good, and they also need much less strength than plastic fins while diving down or rising to the surface.
 
Carbon fins are the most costly, the most durable, and the ones that make the least use of your dive strength.
 
Freediving fins, though, don’t decide whether or not you capture a fish.
 

Float lines, Floats, and Reels

Say, for example, that all the equipment, preparation, and persistence has paid off. You have speared a mighty Mahi-Mahi.
 
Just when you are about to return to the surface, though, the fish has other plans and is going south into the depths of the Caribbean.
 
You don’t have the breath to keep struggling, and you don’t want to risk your big win. So, what are you going to do?
 
There are essentially two options: you use a reel to get the fish to the surface as soon as you hit the surface. You can also tie a float line to your speargun and pull both your fish and your gun as soon as you get the much-needed breath of fresh air.
 
Another choice is the breakaway method, which is a float and a float line attached to the shaft. This system is used in deep blue oceans where there are no reefs.
 
If you fire the fish, you take the speargun back to the surface and start dragging the fish with the float line. Often up to three floats and three lines or bungees are used for a big catch, such as Tuna.
 

Boots

Boots are optional but great to have.
 
For your boots, you’re going to want lightweight boots that are only thick enough to keep your feet warm and have a soft shield between your feet and your freediving fins.
 
I actually didn’t use boots for years because I thought they were unnecessary, but they were great after I tried them. They relieved me of any distractions with my feat and allowed me to focus on what matters.
 
You may want to try out the Argos Spearfishing Stealth Short Boots for this. Crafted for optimum comfort and efficiency, this pair features a range of materials that provide special comfort and safety for various sections of your foot.
 

Dive Computer

Freediving watches are also optional but good to have.

Freediving watches are perfect for hardcore freedivers who want to keep track of their deepest dive times.
 
If you’re serious about spearfishing, then a free-diving watch is a smart investment. It lets you keep track of your training and improvements. When buying a freediving watch, make sure the screen is easy to read and clearly usable, with not too many features taking up precious viewing space.
 
Freediving watches must also be built with sufficient batteries for long days of spearfishing or freediving in the Caribbean Sea.
 
For others, heart rate monitors are also critical, as is the option to download all the key information to your computer so that you can keep track of your dives.
 
Now that you know what gear you need, how do you correctly use them?

How To Correctly Use Spearfishing Gear

How to Use a Speargun

Spearguns are best taught visually, so here is a helpful YouTube video to help you understand how to use spearguns:

How to Use a Pole Spears

A major benefit of a pole spear is that it is lightweight, so it doesn’t need as much energy as a speargun.
 
You’ll need to load your pole spear when you’re ready to fire. To load the spear, you must start by looping the band over your hand while using the thumb and forefinger to anchor the string up the pole.
 
The higher you go, the better and quicker your spear will be when you’re hunting. Now, with the same hand, you can fire at the fish and get yourself some dinner.
 
Here is another video:

How to Use a Hawaiian Sling

Pole spears are somewhat similar to Hawaiian slings, and they are often confused with each other.
 
Spearfishers use both for close-distance hunting, although there are a few differences. The Hawaiian sling is a pretty basic weapon, and it acts a lot like a bow and arrow. It requires a spear shaft and a holder of a shaft.
 
The holder of the shaft is used to steady and point the spear and comes with a rubber sling attached to it. Just point your spear with your weak hand and pull the sling with your stronger one to use the Hawaiian sling.
 
Don’t pull too early, as that will wear you out faster. Release the sling when you get the fish locked in.
 

How to Put on a Wetsuit

There are great ways to put on a wetsuit to improve your wetsuit’s lifespan and enhance flexibility, mobility, and overall performance.

Wetsuits are often delicate, and you can easily dig your nails in them and damage them, which will decrease your performance.

Here’s how to put it on correctly for beginners:

  1. Put plastic bags around one foot and slide them through one leg hole and the same with the other foot.
  2. Now, tug your suit over your leg, bit-by-bit (2-inches at a time) up to the hips.
  3. After that, put a plastic bag around your hands and take off your watches and bracelets.
  4. Now, work as much wetsuit material to the shoulder as possible.
  5. Next, bend your chest forward, and you should see a fold that appears. Bring that extra material up.
  6. Then, bend the sides of your hips and work the material up to your armpits.
  7. Finally, zip up your back, attach your zipper cord to your velcro tab, and tightly secure your neck tab.

Here is a video of the whole process:

How to Wear a Mask and Snorkel

First, you have to move the hair away from the front of your face. Then, place the mask on and adjust the mask to be tight but not too tight.
 
After that, properly attach your snorkel to your mask with a silicon snorkel keeper. Here is a quick video for that:

Make sure that your mask is properly attached to your head by either being in a slightly upward inclined position or straight position (depending on your face type).

If you have a beard, the only place you should be concerned about is directly under your nose. Consider trimming that area or, if you must, put some vaseline because that usually helps with a better seal.

Masks can also fog, which is not good. This happens because your face is hot and the water is cooler. So before getting in the water, splash your face with the water a couple of times, or as an alternative, use an antifog spray.

How to Use Spearfishing Knives

A spearfishing knife is typically used to kill fishes while attracting little to no attention. 

Additionally, it can be used as an emergency precaution for all sorts of emergencies.
 
Examples include: Getting tangled in underwater plants, getting tangled in your line, getting stuck in an underwater structure, and more.
 
Now, let’s jump back to killing underwater animals – probably fish. So, what is the most humane way to kill them?
 
The quickest way to kill the fish is to scramble its brain. A fish’s brain is located at a 30-degree angle above the eyes and is about as far from the back as the eyes are apart.
 

How to Use Freediving Fins

A nice tip for putting on freediving fins is to put them on in the water. It makes it much easier and faster.
 
To correctly use freediving fins, you SHOULD NOT BEND YOUR KNEES an excessive amount. This makes spearfishing much easier.
 
You should also do equal fin strokes. That means that your fins should have as much kick as it does backward.
 

How to Use a Float, Line System, and Reel

Float lines are mostly used to allow you to catch bigger fish. If the shot has been placed, you can let go of the speargun, hold it loosely on the float line, and let the fish “run” as he works his way to the surface.
 
When on the shore, you can take a nice breath of air and start dragging up the fish. In the break-out setup, the speargun is absolutely disconnected from the spear, the shooting line, and the float line. In this case, you can hang on to your rifle, but the ascent is the same.
 
Here is a nice video covering this more in-depth:

How to Use a Dive Computer

A dive computer is straightforward. It is used to make sure you are safe and enhances your spearfishing experience.

The standard dive computer has:

  1. The amount of time you’ve been diving for (Timer)
  2. Decompression stop notifier (No Stop Limits)
  3. Dive depth
  4. Previous diving statistics (how long you stay underwater, etc.)
  5. Notify if you are ascending too fast (Ascent Rate)
  6. Signals for an emergency decompression stop when ascending incorrectly (Emergency Decompression)

That is everything about a standard dive computer.

Now that you know how to use spearfishing gear, let’s cover spearfishing techniques.

Spearfishing Techniques

spearfishing techniques

Surface Spearfishing

This technique of spearfishing is where we can all start. Floating on top of the water, armed with a pole spear, Hawaiian sling, or a speargun. It’s the best way for you to aim and shoot easily.
 
All you need to do is float on the top and take your shot as a fish moves by. Once you’ve perfected your weapon, this approach isn’t the best for you. What I’ve noticed is that it’s so hard to spot the prey from above.
 
Many fish have camouflage to protect themselves from predators, and it will be harder to hunt smaller fish. It’s still pretty hard to land the shots from the surface. You’re a lot farther away from the fish you’re targeting, which allows them a better chance of escaping.
 
I can only recommend this spearfishing technique to newcomers who are either learning or fishing in the tidal region.
 

Shallow Water Spearfishing

shallow water spearfishing man fishing in shallow waters
This entails spearfishing from just below the waterline. This is a slightly more advanced way to capture a fish in terms of technique. You can do this from a kayak, a ferry, or even from the beach. This should be practiced after spearfishing from the surface.
 

Ambush Spearfishing

It’s pretty clear what it takes to hunt an ambush. As you spearfish on the surface, keep an eye out for a good place for an ambush. I like to put myself flat on a rock or the edge of a seaweed bed, looking out into the water.
 
This way, the natural formations and plants in the water hide me, and the fish don’t know that I’m there. To do this, Be as stealthy as you can when you’re swimming.
 
Usually, I take hold of a big rock or seaweed base to help support me in place. If you’ve reached a nice spot, the fish can start swimming and come really close to you.
 
Far closer than you can get to the surface hunt. The only obstacle is if you’re floating at a higher speed than you’re sitting on the bottom. Their silver bellies find it difficult for them to spot colors on the floor.
 
Of course, there’s a risk to this kind of dive because you’re still and will run out of the air. Pay attention to your body, and if you feel like you need to take a short break, do that.
 
There is no point in waiting for the right fish, then blacking out. You’ve got to breathe. Stay frozen in place with your speargun extended. You aim to blend in with your surroundings by using ambush spearfishing techniques.
 
After a while, you’re going to slip into a routine, breathing on the surface before you dive to continue the ambush.
 

Chumming the Water

chumming the water technique spearfishing for beginners
One technique of spearfishing that’s a little riskier but can catch some pretty big fish is chumming.
 
I caught a few baitfish and cut them off so that their flesh and blood produces a feeding zone near my dive spot. Any big fish in the vicinity will come in to investigate.
 
Their sense of scent in the water is much stronger than what you can see, and you can get a shot when you’re close. The downside is that this doesn’t only attract fish because if you have sharks in the nearby area, this will draw them in.
 
Using chumming at your own risk.
 
If I’m getting a really poor dive, one of the tricks I’m using is to slip to the sand and start digging. The silt and sand are mixed up, and the fish will come in and investigate. This could give you a chance to take a shot.
 

Active Spearfishing

You follow a path along the seabed when you’re active in spearfishing. I like to choose a path with a few ambush locations to surprise your target fish.

You don’t have to make this a marathon. Usually, I find a spot with a few good ambush locations that aren’t too far apart, and I start my dive. Again, dive softly, then lie flat on the seabed. From here, with your free hand, you want to pull yourself down the ground.

Try not to let your speargun, your weight belt, or anything else fall into the rocks. Absolute silence is a must with this spearfishing technique if you want to catch a fish by surprise. I would also recommend not to kick.

Your spearfishing fins can also cause a noise that places any surrounding fish on high alert. After you’ve found a target fish, you’re going to mimic the ambush in a very similar manner.

Keep your body still, and then start spreading your gun arm and your speargun so as not to scare the fish. Then, take your shot. Underwater, your motions are meant to be elegant. Anything sharp or abrupt is going to give away your plans and scare off the fish.

Spearfishing the Hidden

Fishes aren’t necessarily out in the open. Especially if you’re hunting in the reefs or if it’s a slower fish. Instead, you will see them hidden in a pit, a cave, or a crevice before they have to go out to find food themselves.

What you’re searching for here are the areas where the fish might be hidden, so you can track them and hunt them. There are, of course, a few things to remember with this method of spearfishing: 

You’re going to need a small gun with a heavy spear (at least 7mm) and a screw on the tip. This is because you’re going to hit rocks. The only way to beat this is to use a less efficient setup and a tougher arm. I’ve got a single 14mm band on my cave rifle, and it’s just 65cm long.

The problem comes when you finally spot the caves. They’re going to be deep, and it’s going to be dark and hard to see the fish swimming beneath. One way to overcome this is to use a torch to make this form of spearfishing much easier.

Be mindful of what you stick in the hole. You can snag your gear or arm and get trapped, and you don’t really know what’s hiding in the depths of the cave. Be mindful of what you stick in the hole. Don’t stick your hand in there because something could bite it.

Spearfishing with Tides

I used to do spearfishing long before I could buy a boat. As a result, spearfishing in the coastal areas was one of the most fruitful areas I was able to enter.
 
Most spearfishers overlook this, but there is plenty of medium-sized and smaller fish in here. You’ll find fish schools that eat in foam, zip in and out of the waves in very shallow water. And with the fish in a panic, there’s a fair risk that you’ll see the big pelagics waiting for their chance to strike.
 
A note, now. This is the riskiest place for you to look for. The waves allow the fish to leap across the water even quicker than normal.
 
You’re going to be bounced all over the place with waves and swells, and the bubbles are going to wreck the view. Not to mention the chances of being washed and hit by rocks if you come too close.
 
I like to believe that I’ve perfected this tidal zone over the years, and I have a few tips if you’re going to fish with this technique.
 
Firstly, make sure you have heavy-duty spearfishing gloves. I can assure you there’s going to be a lone wave that’s going to take you off balance, and you’ve got to cling on for dear life. You can rip your hands up when doing this.
 
It is also advised to wear an aged, thick wetsuit. Since you’re going to get kicked off the rocks, you don’t want to mess up your brand new suit. I have an old 7mm that I still wear when I’m about to go to the tidal areas.
 
I’ve repaired my suit so many times over the years one more rip is barely visible. It’s also critical that you don’t have something that can snag you. Your line is going to be swept over bricks.
 
You’ll get stuck. After getting caught up twice, I now still cutting my float line now. You’re not going to need to clip it to a rock. Most of the fish you’re going to find here won’t be battling like a large pelagic.
 
For me, one of the most important methods of spearfishing in this region is to remain shallow in the first few meters of water.
 
Spearfishing in Dirty Water
spearfishing ambush technique

I would love to have an ideal condition with clear waters any time I decided to fall into the sea, but mother nature also has other ideas. Often you’re faced with poor weather and dirty water.

But that doesn’t have to spoil your preparations for spearfishing. The number one rule today is that protection comes first. Don’t ever get out of the water if it’s too hard or the waters are unsafe.

But here’s how I’m still catching a fish or two when visibility is low. The first is the charge of strength. Dive to the floor and float at a fast speed. When the fish you’re walking through become aware of your presence, they’re going to shiver and swim away.

When you hear or see this happen, pause and lay helpless to the seafloor. Fish is concerned about this.

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When they think the risk has gone, they’re going to swing around and look at you and give you a chance to get a shot off.

If they don’t double out, you might use a new tactic to attract their attention. Let a grunt sound like that. Imagine the hacking tone that Gollum is producing in the Lord of the Rings.

Using the back of your mouth to make the same noise. This is often enough to get the fish back to look at me and give you a good chance.

Baiting and Flashers

Just a few years ago, I discovered this technique of spearfishing, and it has proved to be a winner time and time again. It’s particularly nice in deep water where you need to get the big fishes. Prepare a separate float and rig it with a set of flashers. I’ll tie it down to the bottom or let it float beside me. Hanging from the float is a 3-meter string with a handful of separate flashers. I made mine out of the surplus gear that I had in my garage. The float is a recycled white milk bottle, so I can still find it at the end of my dive and pick it up before I leave.
 
Tied on the line is the following:
 
  • A couple of old lures with hooks removed.
  • I got a big plastic squid from a boat show.
  • A bunch of metal ribbons that I ripped off from an old Mylar blanket.
  • A few bits of stainless steel to weigh it down.

This is the trick, and I have a pair of flashers attached to my towline as well. They’re just hanging around a foot below, so there’s something exciting for some fish nearby to come and have a look at. But you should make a shot. At first, I was skeptical, but this is one of the most productive methods of spearfishing that I use time and time again.

This leads use to our next section, training to spearfish.

Training to Spearfish

spearfishing training man holding breath exercise

The type of spearfish training I like to do is better than anything else out there.

This five-step process is easy and will enhance your breathing and ability in only one month.

Step #1:

  1. Sit back on a cozy chair or lie down on a mattress.
  2. Breathe calmly and gently for 2 minutes – no deeper or quicker than you usually will.
  3. Take a deep breath, then exhale everything, then breathe deeply… as deeply as you can.
  4. When you catch your breath, relax and concentrate on other things.
  5. When you can’t handle it, take those long inhalations to recover. Still concentrate on your inhales, not your exhales, as you recover!

How Did you do well?

We’re going to use this opportunity to predict what you’ll be able to do in a month.

1 minute or under = 3 minutes

About 1:30 minutes = 4 minutes

Above 2 minutes  = 5 minutes

You might do better. You might do worse. Some people adapt to training better than others. There are no set guidelines that we can use to judge your ability accurately, but after years of teaching me and some friends how to hold their breath, these figures are pretty decent guidelines. But know, it’s going to take preparation… and a lot of it. Your general health can also impact how rapidly you develop. If you’re very unfit, you can find yourself peaking early and unable to get past that point.

Step #2:

The next thing you need to focus on is your breathing strategy itself. This can be broken down into these key segments:

  1. Preparation: There are three main items you need to concentrate on during your training—relaxation of muscles, relaxation of mind, and relaxation of breathing. See the topic? Yeah, Relaxing! Both the muscles need to be inactive. Any muscle that’s stressed can use oxygen. Your mind must be peaceful. If you’re stressed out, worried, or even afraid, you’re not going to do well. Find something that’s going to relax your mind. Your breathing needs to be relaxed, not forced, not deep, not quick. As a word of precaution, you are also stopping hyperventilation by doing this.
  2. Final Breaths: I’m going to keep this easy. Take three breaths. One inhalation of 75% One 100% exhale Maximum potential 100% inhalation (do not pack) Hold it.
  3. Breath Hold: Avoid the air from leaking to the glottis or the back of the mouth, not to the lips. Never release some oxygen before you expect to breathe again, either underwater or on the surface. Your exhales will contain oxygen, so you shouldn’t waste them. While operating inside the third-party law, you’ll get a sense of how good you’re doing. Relax your body and your mind. You shouldn’t care about anything… OR… run a rhythm in your mind.

Step #3:

  1. Frequency of Training: Focus on doing CO2 tables every other day for the initial 2 weeks. Read more here. Then work on the O2 tables every day for the last two weeks. If you don’t know what O2 tables are, read all about them here. Here, the simple principle is that we are trying to reduce the need to breathe through the CO2 tables first (as it’s an increase in CO2 that makes us want to breathe). With our improved CO2 tolerances, we will start focusing on the average time of the O2 tables. Where necessary, set aside an hour a day for these tables.
  2. Your Location: Dry training is 10-20% more challenging than wet training. It’s also a lot safer (you should still hold your breathe with a friend as dry breath-holds can still be dangerous). This rise in complexity is attributed to the fact that the mammalian dive reflex is caused by facial immersion in water, which ensures that we experience a decrease in performance when dry. You can use this in your favor since if you can do good on dry land, you can do well in the sea. I will want to do at least one wet session a week, even though it would educate you on the technique and train the body to work in that environment. If you’re in the water, make sure you have a friend with you.
  3. Quality of Training: As for all physical training, quality can be more significant than quantity. Doing apnea training on a regular basis but hating every minute of it would get you nowhere quickly! Focus on completing the session correctly, get yourself in the right way to do so without having any distractions.

Step #4:

Aerobic and anaerobic preparation is important for maximum effectiveness. Your apnea sessions, as detailed above, are anaerobic training, but they are of a sort, calm, time-focused, and not exercise-focused. We want to add more athletic exercise now!

  1. Anaerobic Training: Anaerobic simply means ‘without oxygen,’ so you can understand that it can help with your preparation. If you strain your body very hard, your breathing rate can’t keep up because your muscles are deprived of oxygen, so now they’re beginning to burn phosphates and glycogen. This kind of exercise doesn’t have to be long. It’s about high intensity, quick, fast bursts, and running until the lungs want to burst! I do the regular job of interval drills and then apnea walks. You should do this 3 days a week while practicing.
  2. Aerobic Training: This is a little less important than anaerobic preparation when it comes to apnea, but it’s still critical. This is because the body uses more oxygen as a food supply than glycogen. So by exercising aerobically, you teach your body to be more effective with oxygen, which normally helps the early portion of your breathing—dream of long bike trips or long smooth runs to work on it. You should do this twice a week.

Step #5:

Eat healthily. Don’t drink caffeine or any chemical stimulants, including drinking beer. Instead, drink plenty of water. Don’t eat or drink lots right before the apnea session. The stomach lining needs a lot of energy and blood to absorb food.

If you are interested in going further, here is the official Navy Seal physical fitness guide. You can access many more books just like that when you subscribe here.

Spearfishing Tips

spearfishing tips man hunting fish
  1. Don’t ever extend a dive so close to your limits. Must be mindful of the limitations. Give yourself enough time to get to the surface.
  2. Don’t hyperventilate because you won’t be able to hold your breath for as long, and your body won’t send you the correct signals to breathe.
  3. Use just the best tools for the fish you are shooting. If you’re hunting for a little trout, you can use a small spear gun or a pole spear. If you’re aiming for a big catch, you need a larger speargun and a reel or a float line and a float.
  4. Dirtier water probably contains more unpleasant fish.
  5. Leave the bubbles out of your suit as soon as you step into the water.
  6. Approach the fish as smoothly and steadily as possible.
  7. Guide your speargun to a point and let the fish swim there.
  8. Keep away from dark holes. If you’re not careful, some seriously nasty little animals might give you a nice wound out there. One of the greatest threats to the early spearfisher is eels like Moray. Do not stick your hand or arm in the dark spaces.
  9. Don’t ever dive alone. Even if you’re experienced, spearfishing is one thing you don’t want to do on your own. The primary reason is shallow water blackouts. They can appear without warning and occur in individuals around the board when it comes to freediving. The potential risk is a very real one. It’s just a safety precaution, too, whether you get snagged or stuck in open water with something big and ugly.
  10. Notify someone who is responsible for your dive plan just in case you don’t come back because they know what to call for a search and rescue and when to advise them to search.
  11. Always handle your speargun like it’s a loaded weapon! When talking to your buddy on the surface, don’t put your gun under your arm or between your thighs because you’re aiming a loaded gun at your buddy right now – not a good idea.
  12. Make sure you’re hydrated.
  13. Be mindful of the boats and high traffic zones. Make sure you can see a floatline and a float set up to prevent getting run over.

Spearfishing Laws

spearfishing legally

Now, we have to cover the legality of spearfishing. I’m not a lawyer, and I recommend you do your own research because every state has different spearfishing guidelines. 

Firstly, is a spearfishing license required in the United States? The short answer is, in most situations, a standard fishing license is required to spearfish in the United States.

The exact fishing license can vary from state to state, and extra “add-ons” may be required. These “add-on” may be for various fish species or a specific area of the state.

You will need a license for spearfishing because of the gear you’re going to use. Spearguns come with a lot of rules, and you can’t use one without a permit.

Also, by acquiring a license, you can become more familiar with the laws you need to comply with, ensuring that your fishing practices are lawful.

These rules are different from state to state, but I know of some general guidelines.

Maximum size limits

For each state, there will be rules on the size of the fish you can catch. These rules are in effect to ensure that fish are left to reproduce enough before they are captured to reduce the effects on fish stocks and protect their species.

Fishes You Can’t Catch

There will be a fish selection for each state that you are permitted to catch and fish that you are forbidden to catch. This allows states to control the aquatic community and guarantee the sport does not have a huge impact on the environment.

Areas You Can’t Spearfish.

Many states ban spearfishing in areas such as marine protected places or freshwater places. Some also forbid the possession of fishing gear in the vicinity of a certain location. 

This could depend on the type of fish that live in these areas and is meant to minimize the damage to the environment’s natural ecosystem.
 

Purpose of Spearfishing

A couple of states allow spearfishing for commercial purposes. In contrast, others specifically ban spearfishing for non-recreational purposes, so it is advised to verify that the state laws fit your plans before obtaining your license to ensure that any operation you participate in is lawful. 

So basically, spearfishing without a license is considered to be a minor criminal offense in the US, so you would require a license to conduct spearfishing in the US with separate laws for each state.
 

General United State Guidelines

Now, here are a couple of state guidelines where spearfishing is most common.

Hawaii:

In Hawaii, the laws are somewhat different from those of the majority of the States where someone can spearfish without a license. However, whatever the truth is, to market the fish you catch, you’re going to need a permit.

Hawaii has grown to be one of the most popular spearfishing destinations and can give a lot to both locals and tourists who want to learn spearfishing. While regulations are very lenient in Hawaii, you are still not allowed to spearfish near or in Marine Life Conservation Areas.

Florida:

In addition to your standard saltwater fishing license, you’ll need a lobster stamp if you’re going to fish in Florida.

You will also need to obey several laws, including the fish that you are allowed or not allowed to spear. The rules laid down in

Florida is mainly those which restrict spearing in certain areas and restrict the spearing of certain species of fish.

As far as non-residents are concerned, anyone over 65 years of age would not need a license to fish as long as they comply with the regulations laid down by the State and have a valid ID on them at all times.

The places where you are not permitted to practice spearfishing are:

  • Any freshwater environment (you are also forbidden from owning any spear equipment near freshwater)
  • Any protected water zone, either protected by the environment, recreation or parks.
  • Within 100 yards of the public square (including public beaches and commercial or recreational fishing piers)
  • Monroe Country
  • Within 100 yards of a jetty, if any part of it is above ocean level.

In addition to compliance with the regulations on recreational saltwater fishing, spearfishers are not be permitted to fish:

  • Blue/White Marlin
  • Sailfish/Swordfish/Spearfish
  • Manta/Spotted Eagle Ray
  • Permit/Tripletail
  • Sturgeon
  • Sharks
  • Bonefish
  • Weakfish
  • Nassau/Goliath Grouper
  • Tarpon
  • Snook
  • Spotted Sea Trout
  • Blue/Stone Crab
  • Red Drum
  • Pompano
  • Ornamental reef fish
  • Caribbean Spiny Lobster

California:

Commercial spearfishing is illegal in California, as only recreational spearfishing is allowed.

You can both fish in salt and fresh water, but you’re going to need separate permits for each of them. Non-residents can register for a short-term license if they wish to travel to California for a spearfishing vacation.

And while most of the fish are legal to spear, some of the fish you’re not allowed to capture out of season:

  • Red Abalone
  • Giant Sea Bass
  • Spiny Lobster
  • California Grunion

You can visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulation/Sport-Fishing for more information about the fish you are permitted to spear and when in the state of California.

Washington:

Washington requires you to fish with a license in both saltwater and freshwater. Additionally, you have to obtain different licenses for fresh and salt waters. Washington provides a wide variety of permits for spearfishing that match many types of spearfishers.

If you are a commercial or recreational spearfisher who plans to use your license for a few days, a year, or a lifetime, the state sells permits for all uses at varying rates to satisfy different people.

Like other states, there are laws and regulations that you have to obey in Washington if you wish to fish.

For example, the rules on weight limits are very vague in contrast to the rules of Florida. 

You are not permitted to capture or kill any of the following:

  • Canary Rockfish
  • Yelloweye Rockfish
  • Sixgill, Sevengill, or Thresher sharks
  • Pygmy Whitefish
  • Margined Sculpin
  • Olympic Mudminnow

Oregon:

In Oregon, you’re going to need a license to fish for saltwater. Freshwater fishing, however, is banned. 

Certain fishes you are forbidden from capturing or killing:

  • Lamprey
  • Chub
  • California Roach
  • Lahontan Redside Shiner
  • Suckers
  • Margined Sculpin
  • Caribe Or Piranha
  • Oregon Chub Of Hutton Spring
  • Millicoma Dace
  • Pit Sculpin
  • Walking Catfish
  • Foskett Springs Speckled Dace
  • Malheur Mottled Sculpin
  • Grass Carp

Texas:

Like Washington, Texas also provides a wide variety of permits for all state citizens and travelers to fish in salt and freshwater.

You will not require a license if you are under 17 years of age or more than 65 years of age.

You will also have to abide by the laws and regulations on size restrictions, regardless of whether you fish in fresh or saltwater.

You would not be able to catch or kill:

  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Cobia
  • Crappie
  • Mackerel
  • Marlin
  • Pickerel
  • Red drum
  • Sailfish
  • Seatrout
  • Sharks
  • Snook
  • Spearfish
  • Swordfish
  • Tarpon
  • Tripletail
  • Trout
  • Wahoo
  • Walleye

North Carolina:

You may also require a license to fish in North Carolina, whether recreational or commercial.

A recreation license requires you to catch all fish for personal use and not to market. The only animal you are not allowed to spear is the Red Abalone. Other than that, you’re free to catch whatever fish you can find.

However, if you want to sell your catch, you can opt for a commercial license that will allow you to trade your catch commercially.

Under both licenses, you are expected to comply with the laws on the catch size and the legislation in the state of North Carolina.

Where Can You Get Your Spearfishing License?

Licenses are typically acquired by state agents, but the quicker and faster way to receive your license is through dive shops.

A license typically costs between $20 and $60 dollars based on the state you get it from. The other way you need to get your license is on the internet.

Many spearfishers are now choosing to get their licenses online from different official outlets. Not only is this a much simpler choice that comes with the ease of getting your license from the safety of your own house, but it would still cost the same as you would if you had it from a dive shop!

You are expected to keep your license with you while you’re out of spearfishing and when you’re shipping fish so that you can show it to the official personnel whenever you’re asked to do so.

Additionally, the minimum age for the use of a speargun is 16 years. Therefore, the typical age to receive a license is 16 years old.

So, where should you spearfish? I’ll quickly answer that here.

 

Best Spearfishing Destinations

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Kailua-Kona Hawaii fishing

One of the very first locations to establish spearfishing, Hawaii seems to be well suited to spectacular aquatic shooting experiences. 

Besides the spectacular beaches, the local has become popular for jaw-dropping experiences with some of the most entertaining fish you can find. It’s still the best location on earth to practice how to use the Hawaiian sling. 

You’re not going to lack the spearfishing experts to teach you the ropes. There are also a lot of spearfishing gear stores in the city, so you’re going to have pretty much everything you need. The lively reefs are where you’re going to spend much of your catch.

Key West, Florida

Spearfishing in Key West has become synonymous with big fish and much greater enthusiasm. In fact, seasoned spearos love hunting in these waters. 

You’re going to capture Hogfish and Snapper as much as soon as you leave the port. A little farther out, Grouper, Snapper, and Lionfish are waiting. 

But if you’re up for a big adventure, travel 20 miles out for a giant quest in the Florida Straits. This is the Mahi, Wahoo, and Tuna highway, and this is a location for seasoned spearos. If you manage to capture a fish, the wandering Shark will sniff you a few miles out. That’s why it’s important to have a buddy with you in the water at all times.

San Diego, California

Known as the “America’s Finest City,” San Diego is one of the largest hot spots in the world. This place provides an impressive variety of species to spearfish, and the best part is, there’s plenty to catch a lot of year-round. Spearfishers at all skill levels will find plenty in these waters to test them.

If you’re a novice, Mission Bay Jetty and the inshore reefs can give you great opportunities to catch Sheepshead, Calico Bass, and Spiny Lobster. 

More seasoned spearfishers would be able to try their luck against the iconic Pacific Halibut. Speaking of Halibut, these monsters are becoming bigger when you venture out, and they can grow as large as 200 pounds! 

A few miles off the coast, the kelp forests hide White Seabass and Yellowtail Amberjack. But if you ever feel bold, get a ferry and head out to the Outer Banks. This is where you’re going to meet the real giants. Yellowfin and Bluefin Tuna, as well as Sharks, are walking along these waters, so if you’re feeling up for it, this is the place to be! 

The city has numerous attractions for families and explorers alike. The beaches are home to a range of aquatic sports, ranging from snorkeling, indoor skiing, cycle tours, and whale watching.

Azores, Portugal

For the Portuguese, the Azores have long been a prime location for spearfishing. It wasn’t until around five years ago that the nine volcanic islands finally started making a name for themselves.

 This was when local spear fisherman Paulo Alfonso set a world record, catching a 240 lb Bigeye Tuna monster! Today, spearfishers from every corner of the world explore this amazing fish population. The Azores are providing a wealth of thrilling fishes to capture. 

There are Mahis, Barracudas, the major Amberjacks, as well as the occasional Marlin. What is best known for, though, is Tuna, and a lot of it. Giant Blueye, Yellowfin, and Albacore Tuna are making frequent annual trips to this remote paradise. 

Given their small size, the islands have a multitude of things to do. Historical buildings, scenic lakes, volcanoes, and waterfalls, this location has it all.

Krabi, Thailand

A tropical paradise of its own, Krabi is one of those locations where you can really get lost without thinking about walking on some other tourist’s toes. 

An hour and a half from its best-known neighbor Phuket, Krabi provides breathtaking natural scenery as well as excellent opportunities for spearfishing. Yeah, even if this isn’t enough, you should still hang out with the nearby elephants. 

Much of Thailand’s coastline is up to 130 feet deep in shallow water. That’s why the position is ideal for beginners. One factor you’re going to need to watch out for is if you’re fishing in forbidden waters. Thailand has incredibly spectacular reefs, and the local authorities are passionate about protecting them. 

The turquoise waters are full of all types of coral fish: groupers, Mangrove Jacks, Golden Snapper, and many more. But that’s not the best part of it. If you just want to try spearfishing in Thailand, go on an offshore journey overnight. Catching Kings, Mahi, Queens, or Cudas doesn’t sound too bad, doesn’t it?

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel is ranked one of the top five diving destinations in the world. Why? The short response is – right in the center of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second biggest barrier in the world.

You would have been hard-pressed to locate a local as lively as Cozumel, both in the water and on the ground. The dazzling sights, the bustling sea activity, and more wrecks and caves. Cozumel a convincing argument for a spearfisher’s sky. 

Most spearfishing sites are only a 20-minute boat trip away from Cozumel. This is where you’re going to set your eyes on Triggerfish, Snapper, Grouper, and Pesky Lionfish. A little farther away, the oceans are full of Barracuda, Wahoo, and Mahi Mahi.

Spearfishing FAQ

What is Scuba Spearfishing?

Scuba spearfishing is a bit more expensive than a sport to get into. If you do have some scuba gear lying around, you don’t need to think too much about your initial investment or learning curve.

Having a good experience in scuba diving means that you don’t need to master two skills and can just rely on getting the hang of spearfishing, which is hard enough to learn on your own. Here are a couple of tips to get you started: Be sure you have the right tools for your work.

Is Spearfishing Dangerous?

There are many sorts of dangers out there. But, if you take the right precautions and do your due diligence, spearfishing can be a healthy and enjoyable pastime with very little risk

But you’re still expected to be conscious of your surroundings and keep a close eye on the conditions just to be safe. Look up the local rules and conditions before you swim. This would decrease the possibility of anything shocking to you. 

You’re also likely to hear about the local risks to watch out at your place. Read the manual for your weapons to see how to use it and your scuba or snorkeling gear long before you finally dive into the sea.

Is Spearfishing Hard?

It’s mentally exhausting to snorkel, scuba dive, or free dive. If you incorporate an extra layer of work that comes with the operation of a speargun, you’re certainly in for a demanding activity

But once you get the hang of it, spearfishing is like every other sport. It’s just going to take practice to get going. The longer you do it, the easier you have it. Hardcore fans call this method “getting a feel for your shot.” 

Where you spearfish usually make a difference about how tough your time is. There are four primary types of spearfishing: shore diving, boat diving, blue water shooting, and freshwater fishing. 

Shore diving and freshwater are where most beginners get started and develop their skills since there is usually less chance than blue water (open ocean) and spearfishing. It’s a technique you’ll need to learn, but once you do it, you’ll be able to take part in one of the oldest and most enjoyable hobbies out there.

What Should You Do with the Fish you Catch?

We think it’s part of the fun to eat the fish you catch, so we invite you to take it and share it with family and friends. There are some restaurants along the marina where you can take your fish and prepare it for you. 

Or, if you want to take it to your apartment or pack it back home, you could lead your catch to a cleaning station where it can be loaded and vacuum sealed–or eaten immediately.

Conclusion

Thank you, I hope you liked this comprehensive beginner’s guide on how to spearfish! I hope you become the best spearo!

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