Here are 5 reasons I believe anyone with a passion for the water should try spearfishing.
The Physical Benefits
Escape the hustle for tranquility!
Freediving or breath-hold diving has some amazing physical benefits.
For example; you have an inborn dive reflex that becomes activated when you are horizontal and your face is immersed in water, this is an automatic response. Without any conscious effort, your heart rate slows to somewhere between 10-25%. This physical response is awesome (and addictive) for your body and mind as it gives you a rest and a change of pace.
“Find a way to relax that takes you to a joyful level, a level that quiets the nerves and allows thoughts to be calm.” Byron Pulsifer
Connecting with the environment – Real Food!
Our internal signals have become confused and our logic has been absent for too long. We prefer to grab magic products off a supermarket shelf rather than seek out our own food.
It is true that planning, finding, hunting, killing, cleaning and preparing your own food takes effort. It is far simpler to buy seafood from a mall and yet buying seafood that is ethically and sustainably produced seems to take just as much effort, and that effort to me seems far less appealing.
One facet of spearfishing is studying and learning about the marine environment that you harvest food from. Food caught or grown yourself will be superior to anything from a supermarket because you have a personal stake in its life. This stake, in part, comes from the amount of work and effort that went into putting it on the plate.
More than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the US is imported. How this imported seafood is caught or harvested is often unclear. If you eat fish, catching it yourself is the single best way to ensure its ethically harvested from a sustainable population.
Mental Discipline – Self Control
I remember a moment a little while ago while spearfishing.
I finished my breath-up on the surface and began descending towards the bottom. On my way, I spied the torpedo-shaped shadows of some Mackerel. As they emerged from the haze on the outskirts of visibility my heart rate rose with excitement. This is the type of special moment that the ocean presents us with occasionally.
But alas my excitement was clear to the fish and the prospects of my large shape moving towards them triggered a nearly instant response. The Mackerel exited stage left at a rate of knots.
This is a common scenario for people new to the sport.
Body language means far more to creatures who live day to day in the ocean. Their survival depends on recognizing danger and avoiding it. Fortunately, the spearo is able to exploit other ways to effectively hunt fish. Fish possess an innate curiosity and when the spearo understands this, they are presented with many opportunities. This always requires self-discipline and observation skills. Learning and adopting the right body language along with understanding fish behavior yield the hunter with results over time. This facet is very rewarding and unique to spearfishing.
From a deep breath on the surface and descent to putting a plate of fresh fish in front of my family, the spearfishing experience satisfies my soul. This is not hype. It’s more often than not hard work, a long day and exhaustion by the end of a dive day, but it fills me up and makes me feel alive like nothing else.
“Upon my entry into the ocean, it fills my spirit, cleanses my soul and repairs my tattered heart” Carlos Eyles
I’ve asked many experienced spearos to explain to me what the spearfishing experience means to them in one sentence. 98% of them can’t do it. It comes down to their passion for the total spearfishing lifestyle. It’s difficult to explain it to someone who has never experienced spearfishing.
Definition: the way in which a person or group lives.
Spearfishing is a lifestyle, it’s not a sport.
There’s something about getting out into the wild.
Entering a place where things can go wrong. It requires a deep level of responsibility towards yourself and your mates.
A spearfishing situation involves working in a one up, one down buddy system. When your mate is below the surface you keep an eye on him and provide help should he need it.
Sometimes you might be required to help secure a fish. In serious circumstances like a blackout, you could be called upon to get your buddy to the surface swiftly. Thankfully blackouts are rare but you and your buddy must have each other’s backs.
When you have a buddy you can depend on, you relax and enjoy your diving even more. You also share in the dive and the collective adventures become fireside yarns for years to come.
“It’s more fun when you’re not the only one having it. Spearfishing is better with a buddy.” Levi ‘Turbo’ Brown
If you would like to try spearfishing or improve your spearfishing then you’re in the right place! Spearfishing Today has some great locations and guides to help you get started spearfishing. Also, check out our book 99 Tips To Get Better At Spearfishing. Its available on Kickstarter for the next 30 days! What do you love about spearfishing? Tell us in the comments below.
Photography for this article comes from David Ochoa and Ricardo Nascimento the team behind the cool new spearfishing documentary Agua Negra https://www.dock6films.com/