Spearfishing: The 4 Keys to Taking Your Trophy Home | SlideMoor Blog

Spearfishing: The 4 Keys to Taking Your Trophy Home

You’re forty feet underwater, and starting to run out of air. You take one last kick with your fins, just in case there’s something out of your view. As you’re about to turn towards the surface, the giant grouper you’re waiting for materializes in the distance. You’re short on oxygen, and your heart is racing with the huge fish in your sights. A smaller fish flashes by and you turn towards it momentarily. You swing back to center, trying to refocus. You raise the speargun towards the dream fish, as it cruses in front of you, and quickly fire off a shot. The spear goes wide, and the fish darts off, disappearing once again into the gloom.

Anyone who has spent time hunting underwater knows this situation well. Spearfishing has the capability to go from relaxing to intense in moments, as you never know when the trophy fish will appear. In the ocean, you’re surrounded by a thousand distractions. You’re thinking about your breath hold, the temperature, your dive buddies, or maybe your anchor placement. The problem is that when that fish finally shows up, you need to ensure you make the shot.

I’ve been spearfishing more times than I can count, and yet I still have to remember how to focus each time. Losing amazing fish because you weren’t paying attention will force you to re-evaluate your methods, and there’s never been a novice spearfisherman who hasn’t discovered this the hard way. In hopes that you can prevent this from happening, here are some key tips to take home the fish of your dreams.

1. Be prepared
Any time you’re diving with a spear, you have to assume you could see your trophy fish. Keep your tip sharp, and your bands back if you are making a dive. Any dive could be the one that matters, so get your dive buddy onboard with making significant dives instead of rapid dives without adequate preparation. Keep your mindset goal oriented so that when the fish appears, you’re expecting it.

2. Stay calm
Taking the quick shot may land you a few fish, but when the time comes to shoot something special, you don’t want to regret a rash decision for days to come. Everything should be slow, just like the rest of the dive, and the fish has a much lower chance of spooking before you ever get a shot.

3. Line up the shot
Big fish tend to be smart fish, and won’t always give you that instant target you want. More importantly, many fish can tear through a poorly placed shot and vanish before you can get another spear in them. Taking a moment to hit a good holding or kill shot will improve your chances dramatically. This may mean dropping to the depth of the fish and following it before pulling the trigger.

4. Stick to the plan. 
Once you’ve hit the fish, do your due diligence to keep it. If you can easily get to the fish, do so, and get your hands on it without pulling hard on the spear. If you’re using a reel, consider heading up and asking for help from your buddy. If the fish is stuck, remember you can always make another dive. Once you have the fish, it’s always safer to get it to the boat. Remember, until the fish is in the boat, it’s not yours. Taking the fish off the spear before it’s dead is a gamble, and not worth risking. For big fish, pass the entire fish/spear combo off to someone in the boat to eliminate last-second errors.

Austin Perlmutter

Austin Perlmutter

I am a medical student with a lifelong passion for the the outdoors. Since childhood, I've spent as much time as possible on the Gulf of Mexico. My college research centered on marine biology, and my specific interests include spearfishing, fishing, and the study of marine ecosystems.
Austin Perlmutter

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One thought on “Spearfishing: The 4 Keys to Taking Your Trophy Home

  1. John D'Orazio

    We’ve all been there and unfortunately had excitement take over when you finally see the trophy fish. Even when you’re on your last dive with 7′ of visibility, you have to be prepared for the nice 20″+ hog fish that will pass your way.

    Stay calm and shoot straight, or you’ll be talking about the dream fish you just let slip away for quite some time.

    Great tips and post Austin!


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