When it comes to becoming a spearo, the first thing you want to focus on is having the right set of spearfishing gear. The next step is to learn the basic skills. We’ve prepared a list of the essential skills that will help you get started in spearfishing:
6 essential skills to get started in spearfishing
There are quite a few skills that are necessary for successful freediving and spearfishing. Of course, the first one is breath-holding. Without breath-holding, you won't spend much time underwater and you won't be able to approach the fish. Two important lessons in breath-holding are to make good use of your time in the “kill” zone and don’t burn oxygen if you don’t need to. Now let’s look at the basics of how to hold your breath and how to improve your breath-hold:
How to hold your breath underwater step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Practice breathing correctly for several times - Get into a relaxed position before going underwater. Relax your body while sitting or standing in the shallow end of the water or on your boat.
Step 2: Dive slowly below the surface. Take a deep breath through your snorkel before you dive slowly below the surface. Again, stay relaxed.
Step 3: Once you’ve reached your body’s limit, resurface slowly and calmly. Before diving again, take another two or more minutes to do breath cycles and get your body back to its normal oxygen levels. If your dives are too close together you could suffer from a blackout due to lack of oxygen, so always stay relaxed and ensure you maintain high oxygen levels in your blood.
Step 4: Slowly add movements once you feel comfortable and avoid exerting too much effort as it will use up more oxygen.
Equalization of the ears while freediving
Part of diving involves the equalization of the ears. You've got cavities in your head and the inner ear, and they've got to be the same pressure as the outer water. The deeper you go, the higher the pressure. There are a number of very good systems on how to equalize this pressure. Over the course of this spearfishing lesson series, we’ll have a look at some of the basics that, even if it's a struggle at the beginning, will help you to improve.
There are good and bad ways to fin and in this series, we’ll teach you how to fin the right way. Just one basic rule to guide you: the proper finning technique is from the hip with a straight leg, with a mid-sized amplitude and a steady relaxed speed. With a straight leg, we mean don’t bend your knees too much.
There’s a couple of reasons why bending your knees too much could be a bad thing. First, fins work by pushing water at the back of the fin in the opposite direction where you’re travelling. As soon as you bend your legs, you start cycling in the water which is really inefficient and also, you are pushing the water in the wrong direction and wasting more of your energy.
We'll cover the basics of diving. This involves duck diving, streamlining, position in the water, and anything that's going to make it easier for you to get yourself in a position to hunt fish.
The duck dive is the foundation of your entire dive. A proper duck dive will have you at a few meters depth effortlessly. To do this, make each component flow seamlessly into the next so that you use minimal effort to get your body and fins under the surface.
How to duck dive for freediving:
Step 1: After taking your final breath on the surface, remove your snorkel and perform an equalization.
Step 2: Next, put both arms out in front of you and dive forward with your arms leading your upper body, bending at your hips to create a right angle.
Step 3: Then raise one or both of your legs out of the water vertically, making your body straight again. The momentum of your legs, above your right-angled body, will push you under the water without having to make any additional effort.
Step 4: Pull your arms and bring your one hand to your nose to equalize, and then keep it there to continue equalizing.
Step 5: Once you have pulled your arms into you and you have equalized, start finning.
You can also check out Adreno’s Melbourne Freediving Courses for the complete and comprehensive freediving lessons.
Later in this series, we'll look at pelagic fish and reef fish and the different approaches to hunting, to get you putting fish on the table as early as possible! Whilst there are no hard and fast rules in spearfishing, we’ve prepared some tips to help you have much better results when you go hunting. Our top beginner spearfishing tips
Focus on the hunt and prepare the right gear before you get into the water.
Relax and get comfortable in the water. Try to stay “small” and use slow, relaxed movements, so you don’t scare fish away.
Don’t chase the fish, you’ll just scare them and they’re faster swimmers.
Be careful with your speargun. It is a powerful weapon and can cause a catastrophe should it fire into another person, or yourself. Treat every speargun as if it is loaded, even if the safety is on as spearguns can be damaged or faulty.
Never give up, you never know when the right fish is going to appear. Safety and Rescue
Finally, we're going to do a thorough look at safety and rescue. It's no good going out there if you don't know how to look after yourself and your dive buddy. In general, these five spearfishing safety tips will help you stay safe in the water:
Always dive with a buddy, spearfishing is very much of a team sport.
Learn what to do if there's a blackout - a freediving course is best for this
Watch out for boats as they may not be able to see you whilst you’re spearfishing - carry a float and flag at all times.
Get CPR training.
Never attach your fish to your body - put them on your float/float line, or in the boat away from you.
Stay tuned throughout our introduction to spearfishing series where we’ll dive deeper into all of these topics, and more!