Spearfishing is an ancient method of fishing that has been used throughout the world for thousands of years. Spearfishing gear has evolved over the years as technology has developed. Early civilizations were familiar with the custom of spearing fish from rivers and streams using sharpened sticks. Now spearfishing has progressed to become an international sport and become more popular. Today, modern spearfishing makes use of elastic powered spearguns and slings, or compressed gas pneumatic powered spearguns, to strike the hunted fish. Specialized spearfishing techniques and spearfishing equipment have been developed for various types of aquatic environments and fish.
Spearfishing may be done using free-diving, snorkeling, or scuba diving techniques. Pole spears, or hand spears, consist of a long shaft with point at one end and an elastic loop at the other for propulsion. Wetsuits designed specifically for spearfishing are often two-piece (jacket and high waisted pants, or ‘long-john’ style pants with shoulder straps) and have camouflage patterns, blue for open ocean, green or brown for reef hunting. Camouflage will help you get the perfect spearfishing shot. Fins for freedive spearfishing are much longer than those used in SCUBA to aid in fast ascent. Having the right fins can give you the spearfishing edge your looking for. A knife should always be carried as a safety precaution in case of the diver becoming tangled in his spear or float line. Not being able to cut yourself free from an entangled line can be deadly. A buoy is usually tethered to the spearfisher’s speargun or directly to the spear. A buoy helps to subdue large fish. It can also assist in storing fish, but is more importantly used as a safety device to warn boat drivers there is diver in the area.
Spearfishing techniques have also change over the years. Traditional spear fishing is restricted to shallow waters, but the development of the speargun allows fishing in deeper waters. The best free-diving spear fishers can hold their breath for 2 to 4 minutes, and dive to depths of 40 or even 60 meters (130 to 200 feet). However, dives of about one minute and 15 or 20 meters (50 to 70 feet) are more typical for the average spear fisher. With practice, divers are able to hold their breath for up to four minutes and sometimes longer; of course, a diver with underwater breathing equipment can dive for much longer periods.
With education and proper regulations, spearfishing can be an ecologically sustainable form of fishing. Great spearfishing locations can be found all across the world. The use of mechanically powered spearguns is outlawed in some jurisdictions. Finding the right spearfishing guide can make a big difference in your spearfishing experience. An experienced spearfishing guide will take you to the right spearfishing locations and give you the perfect shot.