Blue Water Hunting Successfully
Blue water hunting successfully involves every aspect of reef
spear fishing and much more. Items such as chum and flashers can
be used to attract fish while proper gear rigging will secure and
land the fish once speared. The techniques that a blue water hunter
uses are similar to reef diving however there arent any rocks
to hide behind. Successful blue water hunting not only involves attracting
fish, proper equipment, and techniques but also safety, which encompass
the knowledge of shark habits and activities.
Commonly used lures to attract fish are similar to what most
pole fisherman would use. Chum, often referred to as burly is one
of the best fish attracters due to its natural smell and shimmer.
Anchovies, sardines, and squid are most commonly used. It is best
to cut the chum into small pieces that way it will appear less appealing
to a shark. When a blue water fish is spotted approaching the chum
it is best to allow a small portion of the chum to be consumed before
a dive is attempted. This will allow the fish to become distracted
by the taste of the chum as well as the shimmer. One major draw back
to the use of chum or burly is sharks can be drawn from a great distance
due to the smell. Often if a shark arrives on the scene he will appear
agitated, moving quickly and purposefully.
Flashers are made up of a shinny or metallic substances that
include polished metal, reflective tape or plastics. Fake or imitation
squid dangling off of a series of flashers is common to attract a
variety of blue water fish with less likelihood of attracting sharks
than chum. A flashing lure can be submerged at different depths to
attract specific types of blue water fish. While hanging from a boat
platform the up and down motion of the waves will create a constant
movement in the flashers and lures. Reflective tape can be used on
the spear gun itself to attract some blue water fish straight to
the spear gun.
The sound made by strumming the spear
bands can emulate a struggling bait fist. A diver can also create
a variety of sounds in his throat to replicate feeding or breeding
sounds of some blue water game fish. Also a spear fishermans
posture and direction of view can create curiosity or conversely,
fear in a fish. A diver needs to try and position himself in a non-aggressive
position. An opportunity to dive straight down onto a slow moving
fish is best and easiest however a more likely scenario is to dive
parallel or even away from the intended game fish which will cause
curiosity in the fish and comfort in your non-aggressive behavior.
Judging distance of blue water fish due to the lack of background
or reference to surrounding objects cause many spear fisherman to
take long or poorly led shots. Try using the spear
tip as a reference to distance and size by glancing back and
forth from the fish to the spear
tip. Wait until you have a clear shot on a vital area and the
fish appears within a few feet of your spear
gun. DO NOT take a desperate shot. In most cases a desperate
shot will simply wound the fish which will later die, or a clean
miss which will scare the fish and any surrounding fish therefore
making a second shot much more difficult or impossible. A spear fisherman
needs to relax his muscles until the moment just before he pulls
the trigger. A relaxed divers position will in turn relax the
When the fish is speared it is vital to play the tension on
the line as
a reel on a fishing pole. Let your hands create enough drag to slow
the fish down but not too much to tear the fish free. Allow the fish
to run when necessary but apply the appropriate drag to slow it down.
Pull up slacked line.
Ready a kill knife as
the fish is being brought to the surface. Subdue the fish by gently
grabbing its tail and sliding your hand slowly up under the belly
towards the under part of its gills. Once the neck area is gripped
firmly use the kill
knife to dispatch the fish. Remove the fish from the water as
soon as possible to limit the possibility of attracting sharks. Many
injuries occur when a speared fish is not dispatched properly and
is handed to boat personnel. Often a fish will thrash violently when
removed from the water even though it appeared lifeless.
Blue water spear
gun rigging must be impeccable. Any flaw or weakness may cause
the loss of expensive spear fishing gear or even a personal or world
record. In reef diving lost or faulty gear may be retrieved from
the bottom. In blue water diving faulty gear is lost forever. Improper rigging can
also be hazardous to the diver or others around him. Sloppy or poorly
rigged equipment may
become entangled with a diver after a fish is speared. A blue water
fish is extremely powerful and may not give the diver the chance
to cut himself free or for another
diver to come to his aid before its too late. Remember below
a certain depth retrieval of gear or personnel is impossible. A good
diver will always change used or old gear to ensure the safety of
himself and other divers as well as to secure a fish once speared.
In most cases heavier rigging is
required than what is used for reef spear fishing, which includes
a more powerful spear
gun, heavier spear
tips and appropriate floatation for
the largest possible local fish scenario.
The use of camouflage
wetsuits has enabled divers to approach pelagic fish much closer
than in years past. Appropriate fit of a wetsuit is
important but keep in mind some camouflage patterns may work better
than others. Some blotchy patterns have even been known to attract
sharks. With experimentation a tight patterned blue camouflage
seems to break up the outline of a diver and enhance the curiosity
of a pelagic game fish.
Safety is of utmost importance. As a blue water spear fisherman
you only get one chance. Appropriate safety gear should be checked
regularly so that it is working properly and kept in pristine condition.
A sharp knife is
imperative and it should be easily accessible. If diving in pairs
at least one diver should carry a bang
stick/power head. If diving alone or if there is a chance of
separating from your partner then all divers should carry a bang
stick/power head. A bang
stick/power head is your personal insurance policy and may make
the difference between you telling the shark story or your friends
and family reading about it.
Bang sticks can
be used several different ways. Some divers prefer to slip the power
head over their spear tip. This enables a diver greater distance
from an approaching shark and also allows the power head and shaft
to be fired for even greater distance of defense. However this method
requires the spear
shaft to be loaded in the gun.
If a shark appears after the gun is
discharged the tip loading style of power head is nearly useless.
Other divers prefer a handheld
power head. This enables a diver to protect himself regardless
of if his spear gun is
loaded or not. This method requires a longer handle to allow for
a safer distance to discharge the power
head upon the approaching shark.
The mention of the word "shark" brings fear and anxiety
to most people due to the lack of understanding. Keep in mind if
you are diving in the ocean you will sooner or later encounter a
shark situation so dont be surprised. One of the best things
for a diver to do is to inquire with other divers about shark
experiences. Discuss with your dive partner a "plan of action" when
a shark appears. The most important observation a diver should make
once a shark is spotted is to identify what type of shark it is.
Each species of shark has specific characteristics and in many ways
can determine the action that a diver(s) should take. The next most
important observation is to take note of the demeanor of the shark.
Depending on the "situation" a diver needs to either remove
himself from the water as soon as possible or be willing to engage
the shark if necessary.
When a diver decides to remove himself from the water it should
be done quickly and precisely. Abandoning the gun just
before entering the boat will help expedite the removal of the diver.
The float attached
to the gun will
allow safe retrieval of the equipment once all divers are safely
loaded onto the boat. Do not spend time dangling on the side of the
boat explaining the situation. There will be plenty of time later
to talk story.
If the diver(s) are willing to engage the shark than they should
ready any defensive equipment such as a power
head/bang sticks and alert any other divers in the water as well
as the boatman. If a diver is willing to engage a shark it should
be for the purpose of observation and gaining a better understanding
or appreciation for the shark, or to continue spearfishing with a
competent partner to watch your back. A willingness to interact with
a shark should be a slow transition from no interaction, with each
experience adding to the last like a mental log book. However never
assume you fully understand a sharks behavior, because they
may react aggressively "without cause."
Successful blue water hunting involves every aspect from luring
the prey, utilizing the techniques learned from experience
and from talking story with other divers, proper blue water spearfishing
equipment and rigging, and especially safety. A successful hunt is
when everyone comes home uninjured, with all the equipment they left
with and of course fish. Always keep in mind the beauty and bounty
of blue water hunting and what lures us spearfisherman back again
and again. Respect the ocean and all its inhabitants and they
in turn will respect you.
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