1. What are spearguns?
Spearguns provide a very effective weapon that can be used to hunt underwater. They are designed to provide fire power at depth and in different water pressure conditions and are made from durable, non-rusting materials such as hardwoods and carbon fibre. Speargun hunting can be a rewarding sport and allows divers to arm themselves against any of the more dangerous underwater predators such as sharks and barracudas. There are several types of spearguns available including multiple band wooden guns and pneumatic spearguns.
2. Can I use a speargun to protect against sharks?
Spearguns do offer some protection against sharks and other underwater predators. However you should not enter the water expecting to have to use your speargun against sharks. These creatures do not typically attack divers without some provocation so it is more effective for you to learn how to read body language and avoid confrontation whenever possible. Sharks can sense blood in the water from a long distance away so if you do use your speargun against an underwater threat this can just attract more predators to your vicinity. It is best that you understand how to read potentially dangerous situations so you can get out of the way and avoid any confrontations. If a shark approaches you, a poke in the nose will often deter it from any further confrontation.
3. Is spearfishing restricted in any areas?
There are a number of important spearfishing restrictions throughout the world and you will need to check these before you enter the water with your speargun. For example in many countries such as Australia spearfishing is completely prohibited in Marine Protected Areas and there are serious penalties if you are caught spearfishing in these sites. There are also a number of bag and equipment limitations in areas that are known habitats for protected species and in most cases you will need to apply for a local fishing license. In some waters such as around Mexico speargun fishing with electro-mechanical equipment is not allowed at all, although you may be able to use multiple band spearguns in some areas. Always check the restrictions before you go spearfishing and make sure you understand what fish you can and cannot hunt.
4. How do I carry my catch?
There are special catch bags which are designed for divers to carry items underwater. There are many different designs available and it is a good idea to avoid those that are worn close to the body. These can inhibit your movement as you dive underwater and can also be dangerous as the scent from catch bags could encourage sharks to approach you closely. It is safer in shark-inhabited waters to use catch bags that are secured independently to a float line. This will keep your movements free and you can store you catch away from sharks and other underwater predators. Alternatively, having a speed spike attached to the end of your gun will make it easy for you to thread the fish onto the float line where it will drift away from you as you swim. Some divers, however, prefer to have a short rope attached to the butt of their gun to put their fish on as sharks in the areas they dive are timid and less likely to take fish close to the person.
5. How do I secure my speargun when I am in the water?
It can be easy to drop things when you are diving underwater as you will not have the same eye-to-hand coordination as you do on land. This is particularly true if you are wearing diving gloves and the water is cooler. Therefore to secure your speargun and prevent it from getting lost you should attach your gun to a float line using a shark clip. Whether you have shot a larger fish and are unable to hold on, or your spear has been lodged in a cave, having your speargun attached to a float means your speargun will be easy to recover, especially in poor visibility conditions or strong current, as your float will act as a marker.
6. Can I use spearguns from a pier or boat?
Spearguns are not designed for use out of the water and fatalities have occurred from loading, unloading, or using spearguns in such situations. Adreno does not recommend any speargun to be used in this way. Additionally, you should note that it is not usually possible to accurately aim at objects in the water when you are on the surface.
7. How do you load a speargun?
You should only load a speargun once you are safely in the water. Loading it on land and then entering the water can be dangerous and should be avoided. Different types of speargun will load in different ways so you will need to check the manufacturer's instructions before you get in the water. If you are loading a multiple-band speargun then you can simply take the shaft and place it in the barrel, pulling back the bands until they are under the right tension. You may need to rest the butt against your chest whilst you do this and an additional padded chest guard can be useful to prevent rubbing. A good method to use is to hold the speargun as if it is a pool cue, with your open palm resting on the butt of the gun, and your fist holding the rubber closest to the dynema or bridle. As you pull the rubber towards yourself push the butt of the speargun into your chest. Once the butt of the speargun is nestled comfortably there you can reach up with your spare hand to grab the other side of the rubber, pulling them both back.
8. Are there any special wetsuits for spear fishing?
You can wear any wetsuit when you are spear fishing but it is a good idea to choose a flexible option as you will need to be able to move around freely to hunt your prey. Many spear fishermen also prefer camouflage wetsuits. These are widely available and are ideal for hunting in reefs and wrecks as they blur the outline of the diver and help them to blend in with their surroundings. It is a good idea to wear special gloves with additional grip on the palms and fingers as these help you to hold your gun and your catch more easily underwater. They will also protect your hands against any abrasive rocks or underwater debris. They will also protect your hands against any abrasive rocks, underwater debris or spikey, and sometimes poisonous, parts of fish.
9. How do I dispatch prey cleanly?
In most cases the strike from the speargun will not kill the prey immediately. You will need a sharp dive knife such as a kill spike to finish the job quickly and cleanly so it is important to carry one of these at all times when you are spearfishing. If prey is hit it will thrash around and this will attract underwater predators so dispatching prey quickly is essential when you are in shark-inhabited waters. A method used by many divers is to spike the fish with your knife in the fishes head. A helpful guide used to know where to spike your catch is to make an equilateral triangle between the fishes eyes and the back of its head.
10. Is it better to freedive or use scuba equipment when spearfishing?
This will very much be a personal preference. Scuba equipment will allow you to stay underwater for much longer periods of time and this means you can explore and hunt over larger areas. However the bubbles released from breathing apparatus can scare away prey. If you are diving in areas where there are reefs then there are often good hunting grounds just a few meters down from the surface. You could freedive without using any scuba equipment and hunt for a few minutes at a time. Freediving for longer periods is a skill and it is a good idea to get some instruction in this activity so that you understand how to stay safe. Always keep in mind that in some states it is illegal to spearfish using scuba tanks, so make sure you are familiar with the fisheries rules and regulations before you head out.