Posts Tagged ‘spear fishing’

Spearfishing marbella

November 15, 2009

Marbella’s one of my favourite places to go spear fishing, even though the fish are small. You just have to accept that you’re mostly fishing for fun, and if you catch something big enough to eat that’s a bonus.

If you swim out from the beach about 100 metres, it’s about 20 feet deep and when visibility is good you’ll see lots of bream and wrasses.

I tend to go in august when you don’t need a wetsuit but a tshirt or rashvest stops you burning without realising. There’s a shop in Marbella (like everywhere, closes at 1pm for siesta) that sells guns and spares. I’ll look up the address….

Ideal gun (in my opinion) is a 40cm pneumatic with a multiple-prong tip. Really important to use a diving float as there are lots of other boats and jet skis around.

Most interesting things we’ve got there are octopus and have seen a moray eel but not recovered it. Best way is to dive and chill atthe bottom, look really carefully under rocks, and look for places with a natural shelf where it drops down in depth.

Also there’s more fish at the slightly rougher beaches down toward Gibraltar, and apparently big tuna out of Cadiz although I’ve never tried it.

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Spearfishing in croatia

November 15, 2009

I went to Croatia on a boat trip for a week, which ran from split to dubrovnik and back, visiting a different island evey day (with catarina lines, booked with onthego).

We went at the very start of the summer season in late may, and it was mostly hot enough to sunbathe on deck but I needed a wetsuit to dive for a long time.

Spearfishing was really disappointing, probably the worst place i’ve been for fish. I spent a lot of time in the water in every island we went to (brac, hvar, korkula, makaska), and tried swimming near shore and offshore.

Most of the fish I saw (and I’d go for half hour with nothing at all) were smaller than a mobile phone, and very occasionally I saw one as big as (to stick with lounge comparisons) a sky remote.

It was a shame because I had high hopes after I found a shop a split harbour with racks of spearguns. I’m sure there’s good fishing to be had there, maybe the locals know the best spots. Maybe you have to take a boat way out into the Adriatic.

Still, the visibility was normally really good and the whole coastline is stunning. I’d be interested to hear if anyone’s had more success there.

Spearfishing; for total beginners

November 14, 2009

What is it?

Spearfishing is the art of catching fish by shooting them with a spear gun. So at the very least, you need a gun, and a mask and snorkel.

The gun tends to be powered by rubber bands (like the ones on black widow catapults), and on pulling the trigger they propel the spear (say, a 75cm steel shaft) about 8 feet. The shaft has a string which connects it to the front (muzzle?) of the gun.

So you go snorkeling, and dive down looking for fish, and shoot them. And eat them.

It’s fucking awesome, and if you were beginning to tire of beach holidays it’s an ideal sport to break up the cycle of books and beer.

But as with all hobbies, you soon find yourself needing more stuff, and the types of equipment you need depend on where you go.

What spear gun?

You’re probably male (that’s my stats counter, not sexism) and consequently you want to buy a gun. You don’t really get a gun for all situations, and they’re relatively inexpensive (compared to, say, air rifles) so you don’t need to. As with all hunting sports, my advice is to buy the smallest gun that’ll do the job.

Lets say you are fishing in the mediterranean, in somewhere like andalucia, and are just swimming from the beach. The med is pretty fished out, but that coast is still really fun to fish. Best case scenario, you might get an octopus or a fish a foot long (of course, it’s possible you could get something bigger but unlikely). Most fish there are smaller than a CD (to futureproof it for a few more years, lets say DVD), stuff like bream. So in terms of a gun you could use something as small as it gets, like 40cm long.

Why not get a bigger one?

A gun longer than 65cm might not fit in your suitcase, and £15 extra baggage fee each way is more than it’s worth. Also if you are hunting fish around coral and rocks, too powerful a gun will result in bent spears or getting them stuck. Plus as tempting as it is to buy a huge gun, it’ll be cringe when Rambo returns to the beach with a bream. So I’d advise if you regularly go to the med, get a small pneumatic (like a Cressi SL 40cm or 55cm). More on pneumatics vs banded guns in another post.

Crucially, get a diving float and a string that attaches it to you. This is super important everywhere because it tells jet skiers and boats that there’s a diver down, and people die every year getting hit in the head when they surface. Especially in the med with so many drunk-driven jetskis around, and on that note stay well away from the lanes they buoy off to let them ride up to the beach.

The float I have is inflatable, and has a line attached to it which runs to you. It bobs about on the surface 20ft from you.

On another safety front, you should get a knife too in case your string gets tangled in some rocks while you’re down. Also you need it to kill fish. And if you have a knife and string spool (coonected to the float), you need a belt. Rubber ones are best because they don’t slide loose when you get deeper ( and thinner). Finally you need a fish keeper which is a string with a metal rod, to hang your catch from while you keep fishing.

Snorkel, mask, speargun, belt, string spool, float, knife, fish keeper; that’s about the minimum stuff you need to go spearfishing in the south of Spain, or elsewhere in the mediterranean. Yep, that’s a lot of stuff but you can fit it all in one small rucksack.

More stuff….

You have to dive down to get the fish, and if your as unfit as me, you don’t have long underwater before you return to the surface for air. it’s way quicker to go up and down if you have fins (flippers), and freediving fins (which are narrow, long and flexible) are best.

Even more stuff…

If you go to andalucia in July/august/sept you probably will get away without a wetsuit, but you’d be surprised how cold it gets when you swim out and down. If you can, tough it out without one because it’s bulky to carry. Worse, wetsuits float so you need weights to counteract it, and all of a sudden your travelling with lumps of lead. If that’s the case, call a scuba diving place in your resort and arrange to borrow some for the week. Weights go on your belt.

Spearguns; pneumatic versus banded

November 14, 2009

There are two main types of spear gun; banded and pneumatic.

Banded guns are between 40-140cm long and are powered by one to four rubber bands (perhaps 10mm tubing). They have the advantage of being cheap (you can still get a great sommap 75cm gun on eBay for £36 last time I checked), and simple to fix (or replace rubbers).

Pneumatic guns use compressed air to fire the spear, and are shorter (40-90?cm). They’re not like air guns that use a spring to compress the air (actually I think they are like the ‘gas spring’ airguns that gamo make), or even like pneumatic air rifles that you fill with a pump or scuba tank. there’s a chamber of air (which is already compressed in the factory) that gets compressed even more when you drive the spear down the barrel, literally backing it into the muzzle. That’s the hard part, they can be really difficult to load. When I first got my Cressi 55cm gun I thought it was faulty because it felt impossible to get the spear in. But it’s just hard, and with practice it became second nature.

People say pneumatics are overcomplicated and give troubling breakdowns, and it’s true that you could probably get a banded gun fixed in a far flung village where it might be harder to fix a pneumatic.

Mine never gave me any problems until it was swallowed yesterday by the Indian ocean.

Diving with weights

November 13, 2009

I’m no expert on freediving but know it’s got the potential to get dangerous really quickly, and am always cautious of the sea. My only point on weights is that I’d recommend you do lots of hours of snorkeling and diving down before you use diving weights.

Yes, even with no wetsuit it can be a slight hassle to get down without them. But on the plus side when you get short of air, your buoyancy does a lot of the work to bring you to the surface. When you use weights I sometimes find i’ve gone deep too easily, and when you see the surface is a long way away it can be quite frightening, especially knowing you aren’t naturally floating towards it.

There’s lots of useful info on the web about shallow water blackouts which you should read even before you go ten or twenty feet down.
This is probably the most responsible thing I will ever post. I feel very grown up