Spear Fishing Tips and Tricks!!



Not everybody is a great spearfisherman, but with a little knowledge and guide from others you can start to increase your skills and catch larger fish. To be a good spearfisherman you need to be a good diver. Improving your diving skills should be your first focus. A good and safe diver can spend more time hunting. Diving skills come with experience. Buoyancy, steady breathing, and other fundamental skills develop with more dives. When you have all of  this down you are ready to take on other tasks underwater, like spearfishing.

Second, you have to know what you are looking for. After a while, you will get an eye for spotting certain fish you could not before. You will learn to spot fish and recognize common patterns of camouflaged fish.  For example the Cabazon. This fish could be two feet from someone and they would never know it. By the time you spot the cabazon he will dart off into the abyss. You will also be able to capitalize off of certain fish instinct and recognize their habitats. There are several common fish such a black or blue rockfish which make great fish tacos but also as an attractive lure to attract larger like fish such as lingcodsheepsheadvermilion rockfish, greenling and cabazon. Always keep an eye on these larger fish in the distance and behind you. The lingcod will sometimes stalk you to investigate your catch. Sheepshead often join to see what commotion is about. I have had both of these fish come right up to the stringer.

The lingcod love to hide out in dens and dark holes. Having a small flashlight, can assist in exploring holes that may hold larger fish. I check every hole I find regardless of size. The biggest fish will often be found here.

Cabazon can be found sitting on top of rocks and rocky bottoms. They are masters of camouflage  but once you get a eye for them they are easy to spot. Most of the larger fish rest in small or large holes and are nocturnal hunter. A small reef gun capable of reaching this fish can often yield a large fish over 10 lbs.

The sheeps head is a very smart fish. Avoiding eye contact will allow the fish to come closer rather than flee. Gain enough distance and you can position for a more better shot. Make sure you can pop him just behind the head as the head is heavily protected by bone. If you hit him in the head, most of the time the spear will bounce off and scare him away.  If it is a large sheepshead make sure the shot is going to penetrate completely.  This means big sheepshead need to be at close range with a small gun. I have taken sheepshead in the 35 pound range on a 32 inch gun. Remember this is a smart fish. The sight of a gun to a sheepshead that has been hunted in the past and lived will often avoid you.

The vermilion cod I often find hanging out in palm kelp or between some large boulders to avoid any surge underwater.  With this in mind, I will sometimes look on the backside of larger rocks where the water is calm.  Most of the time the vermillion hover two or three feet above the bottom and eighty percent of the time they are facing you giving you a small profile to view. Again, I try to avoid eye contact. I always try to get a side profile shot in the side right below the eye area. The largest I have seen are around 12-13 pounds.

The greenling is probably one of the most curios fish in the ocean. They are very good eating. Once you have fish on the stringer you will always find one following you around. Identification of this fish is easy. They have a long slender body and have an often yellow green tint. They rarely hide and move a lot. Do not take too long to take your shot as they are fast.

Most of the other Rock fish found in Morro bay can be found hovering over rock and in the same holes as the fish I mentioned above. Remember this is my strategy when I hunt and you might be told by someone else something totally different. But this works for me, I have shown others the same techniques and it seems to work for them.  Remember to always check out fishing regulations on the California Fish & Game website before going on your next adventure. Be mindful of the fish population and know your fish species. Come join us for a day of spearfishing and share your experience as a hunter under water.