Spearfishing guide for beginners

By Stef Zisovska
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Spearfishing is an old fishing method used by ancient civilizations. This fishing method is affordable, sustainable, and offers loads of fun. Though it’s not an easy sport to start, spearfishing gets super exciting when you learn the basics on how to stay safe.

If you want to bring a lunch back home with just a spear, you’re going to need some top quality gear, useful tips from experienced people, and of course, you need to expand your knowledge about the place you want to start your spearfishing adventure.

Kids spearfishing in shallow water

So, if you were never successful in this sport or you never tried it, you’re in the right place because you’re about to read some of the crucial things you need to know for spearfishing.

Stay safe

There are many dangerous creatures that you need to be aware of, like sharks and eels. Another potential danger is getting tangled in a fishing net which can be very dangerous if you don’t have the right gear and you’re new to this.

But, the worst thing that can happen to you is drowning. It happens to newbies, as well to experienced spearos. That’s why you need to dive with a friend, never alone! If you are freediving with a speargun, be aware of the dangers of shallow water blackout. If you’re alone and lose consciousness underwater, it’s very unlikely that you will survive. Never dive alone!

Use a dive knife

The knife is not only good for finishing off and gutting any fish you catch, but it can also save your life. If you get tangled in a fishing net, use the knife to cut the net or the rope to free yourself or your diving buddy.

Do a research on your diving spots

Find out the safe places and dangers from the locals

Talk to local divers and inform yourself about the place you want to go diving. Strong currents and rough surf spots are a bad choice for a beginner. If you don’t feel safe snorkeling, then it’s not a good idea to dive either. Calm waters are the best to start if you’re a beginner.

Avoid dark holes

Don’t stick your spear or your hand in dark holes underwater. Eels live in these places and if they bite you with their razor teeth, say goodbye to your fingers. Don’t try to play brave because real eels are dangerous, unlike the rubber ones in the low-budget horror movies. Don’t put your hands anywhere you can’t see them, which means dark holes, caves, and between reefs.

Get a pole spear

A pole spear is perfect for beginners to learn how to move underwater with a weapon. You can learn all the basics of spearfishing with a pole spear, and you won’t spend tons of money to get it.

Start small

A common carp shot with a band-powered speargun by a diver using snorkelling gear, Minnesota, US – Author: Yoyo500 – CC BY-SA 3.0

Don’t kill a fish you can’t eat. Do your first dives near reefs where you can hide and sneak up on a fish. Target smaller fish at the beginning as it’s the best way to learn how to do it. Don’t despair if can’t spear a thing, that’s normal when you’re starting.

Buy the right gear

Diving with fins

Is not like you will need loads of gear, but yes you need to purchase a quality one. A wetsuit, a mask, gloves, and fins are items you need to start. The wetsuit is optional, but after spending hours underwater, even in warm seas, your body will get cold.

Improve your breath hold

Experienced divers can hold their breath up to 3 minutes without a problem, but as a beginner, you’d need to practice a lot. Get good fins, stay warm, and move slow. This will help you improve your breath hold, and if you can’t do it just get on the surface quickly. No fish is worth a shallow water blackout. Good luck!

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