Spearfishing is one sport that ranks high on the thrill scale. But if you didn’t think that spearfishing was an extreme sport, you obviously haven’t tried bluewater spearfishing. This is where things get hard and heavy pretty quickly. As for the thrill level? It’s off the charts.
Bluewater spearfishing is the kind of adventure that hardcore spearos go for when they’ve built up enough skill and self-confidence underwater. This is not your average few feet of depth where your chances of losing your bearings or meeting a marine predator are limited. Bluewater diving is the real deal where you need more patience, stamina, and experience to land a prize worthy of your time and effort in the murky depths.
As you can imagine, bluewater spearfishing is no picnic. It’s a challenge unlike any other as far as underwater sports are concerned. So how do you get there? How do you hone your skills and find your courage to go after the big swimmers? This article introduces you to the concept, explains what’s at stake, and helps you tiptoe your way to bluewater spearfishing greatness.
What Is Bluewater Spearfishing?
Since time immemorial, humans have been fascinated with the wealth hidden under the water surface. Back when man was at the top of the food chain and everything below was on the menu, fish featured prominently on the dinner table. But it wasn’t easy to catch those slippery critters and fishing nets were too complicated to weave.
That’s when spearfishing took off. All you need is a slender branch with a tapered end and some skill and patience. Spearfishing to some extent has helped us survive when other types of food were not readily available. And to this day islanders in the Pacific Ocean rely on it to make a living. Bluewater spearfishing is a little different though.
The first difference is you’re not diving in the shallows or near the shore. As the name implies, bluewater spearfishing takes you to the deep parts of the ocean, sea, or lake where only the bold dare go. The shore is far off or totally hidden behind the horizon and the bottom is non-existent and at times the ocean feels bottomless.
You’re in the middle of this blue world with nothing but your wits and skills to save you. You also have a speargun or a pole spear in your hand, but against a vicious predator like a dogtooth tuna or a shark, you know you’re practically defenseless. And that’s exactly what makes bluewater spearfishing exciting and perilous at the same time.
The ocean is limitless, the fish are larger and definitely more dangerous, and the fight is raw and primal. So what’s there not to like about bluewater spearfishing? The question now is where to go to find these blue heavens of adventure?
Best Bluewater Spearfishing Spots
Your best option to find the best places to go bluewater spearfishing is the ocean. Luckily for us, oceans make up most of the planet, so it’s not difficult to find a pit where the bottom is invisible and large fish swim free and content. Here are some of the best hotspots.
We start off far and remote. Because nothing describes bluewater spearfishing like an island that forever practices social distancing from the continent of Africa. Madagascar offers the ultimate experience here. The Indian Ocean is known for its moody currents and unfathomable depths. The fish that roam these parts are large and as you can expect not very friendly or easy prey either.
The top places to head to in Madagascar are Serpent, Castor, and Leven Banks. They’re all in or near Nosy Be. The reefs here are home to a plethora of fish species that will make your head spin. These include Dogtooth Tuna, Giant Trevally, Yellowfin Tuna, Sailfish, Marlin, Wahoo, Spanish Mackerel, and many others.
Keep in mind that both the dogtooth tuna and yellowfin tuna you’ll find here are nowhere near the monstrous size that you can find in the waters of Bali, Indonesia. But you get the idea. What makes Nosy Be stand out though is the extreme depths and the untamed currents. One a scale from 0 to 10, Nosy Be probably scores 11 on the thrill scale.
Cabo San Lucas is a coast unlike any other. This is where you start your adventure. Take a private charter and head out to the sea. Spearfishing here is seasonal. That means that depending on the time of year the fish on the menu vary. But overall you won’t be disappointed.
Baja offers a good and accommodating experience where the highly skilled as well as the intermediate levels will find something to satisfy their hunger for big fish, thrilling chase, and a taste of the deep blue all rolled into one.
Yellowtail tuna is usually available from May till the end of the year while the wahoo is only around from July to January. Other fish like the dorado and leopard grouper visit these waters in the first half of the year and disappear during late summer and winter.
If you’re on a budget and don’t fancy traveling halfway around the world to find a decent bluewater spearfishing spot, the Florida Keys are the right answer for your adventure needs. But it’s not just the affordability of the place that attracts spearos to the Keys.
The water is generally calmer and clearer compared to other hotspots out in the ocean. And while there are many rules and regulations, you will generally enjoy the bounties of the sea that include pompano, cobia, wahoo, hogfish, tuna, groupers, and snappers. Many of these fish species are also seasonal although coming across a billfish or a tuna out of season is not unheard of.
We covered Costa Rica in an article of its own recently. But we’ll never get tired of chanting the praises of that place. With a geographic advantage overlooking the best views of the Caribbean, Costa Rica blends culture, history, and breathtaking landscapes in one unforgettable experience.
Spearos come to Costa Rica mainly for its famous cubera. These snappers are unique to these waters and worth the trouble you go through to catch one. Just remember that this fish is not an easy prey. It will give you a run for your money and is as fast a swimmer as they come.
What Can I Expect to Catch?
We already mentioned some of the big fish you will find in the deep waters of the ocean. Let’s face it, you’re not taking a trip out to the open oceans to give chase to a scrawny fish that you can easily find near the shore. Here’s a quick rundown of the best fish to go after in the murky waters of the ocean.
The wahoo combines speed, looks, size, and delicious meat in one fast fish that challenges you to catch it. Wahoos are not large enough or aggressive enough to pose a threat to the spearo although you’d always need to watch out for its sharp teeth. This fish abounds in warm waters and prefers deep water so they’re not easy to find near the shore.
The dogtooth tuna lives up to its name both in ferocity and size. It’s one of the most dangerous and largest games a spearo can go after. You’ll find a small variety near the shores of Madagascar, but these don’t compare to the giants that swim the waters of Indonesia. It’s better you don’t face this monster alone because the odds of a one on one confrontation isn’t in your favor. A powerful speargun is the ideal weapon of choice to go after the dogtooth tuna.
The mahi-mahi prefers tropical and subtropical waters. You’ll find it around the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Hawaii among other places. This is a beautiful fish with its striking green and yellow colors. It’s easy to identify and since it’s not really that fast of a swimmer, you can spear it with relative ease. Its meat is a delicacy and nothing tastes better than the fish you caught yourself.
The adult cobia weighs 70 pounds on a good day so while not exactly a giant, this fish is not easy to catch. It’s fast and has a slender body that doesn’t give you a large target area. Its meat is flaky and not very oily making it a favorite for many people.
Basic Bluewater Spearfishing Gear
Spearfishing in the deep is different from going after fish in the shallows or near the shore. For one thing, you’ll be meeting some large and threatening fish that need you to be armed to the teeth. Besides having lots of guts and experience, you’ll also need
That’s the only thing that works for bluewater spearfishing. A Hawaiian sling or a pole spear just won’t cut it. You need a powerful weapon to make a clean kill and finish the job as quickly as possible. The last thing you’d want is a wounded dogtooth tuna coming after you. Go for a strong speargun and sturdy shaft for extra power.
You’ll need the wetsuit no matter how warm the water is. It protects you from whatever you find floating down there and also keeps your body temperature stable. The deeper you dive away from the sunlight the colder it gets.
Mask and Weight Belt
These two are part of your gear and you can’t go diving without them. The weight belt will help you stay underwater for as long as you like while the mask keeps your eyes open in the salty water.
Bluewater Spearfishing Techniques
Here are a few tips to take into consideration as you make your way from a novice to an experienced spearo.
- Float near the surface quietly and calmly as you look for your target.
- Watch for your preferred fish and pick the one to go after.
- Make your way to the target underwater as noiselessly as you can not to spook it.
- To steer yourself learn your head and upper part of the body underwater.
- Before you aim, get as close as you can to the fish for better results.
Bluewater spearfishing is a challenge that you shouldn’t take lightly.