There are two very different types of pastimes that fall under the name “spearfishing.” But lets be clear on some of the differences so we don’t get them confused.
Spearfishing with SCUBA consists of strapping on a tank and a whole bunch of other gear, going down under the water for an hour, and slowly moving around looking for unsuspecting fish to come in your range. SCUBA is largely about being able to aim your gun when you happen to cross paths with the right fish.
Free-diving is a battle of will power, physical fitness, and Mother Ocean. You get one breath. This is a whole separate sport. Lets look at some of the components:
Try holding your breath right now, see how you do. Take a few breaths in-between and go again, and again. In order to be most effective in free-diving, you need to be able to make consecutive dives, while keeping your heart rate down. The ability to have effective consecutive dives is crucial to scouting the spot, and following the movements of the fish. Becoming proficient at breath-holding requires practice, training, and focus. Check out some tips HERE
With SCUBA, you have at least 30 minutes to look around (depending on the depth). With free-diving, you have 1-3 minutes (depending on your breath). This means when free-diving, you have to know the spot, be prudent with your choice of swimming location, and find the fish in a much shorter time-span.
Fish to the Boat
Don’t think because you shoot something it means you get to eat it. There are many other predators out there looking to take your fish too! Goliath grouper and Barracuda are common thieves.
With SCUBA, you are much bigger, scarier (with the bubbles) and able to take your time to retrieve your fish and fend off competitors. In free-diving, often you must leave your kill under a rock or chase it down. Depending on the situation, you may need to take a few consecutive dives before you can wrestle up the fish. This leaves more opportunities for predators to get between you and your kill.
So in the heat of all this commotion, you must continue to remain calm and focused to preserve your breath and ability to function underwater. Otherwise, all you will do is lay out the buffet for other fishy friends.
SCUBA vs. Free-diving is like the difference between a powerboat race and a sailing race.
In racing powerboats, you rely on your gear and just try to keep the wheel straight. In racing sailboats, everything matters, from physical fitness, to reading the wind, and trimming the sails.
With SCUBA, you rely on your gear and shoot the gun straight. In free-diving, everything matters, from physical fitness, to breath-holding, and getting your fish to the boat.
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