Spearfishing & Underwater Hunting Handbook

The mere mention of Spearfishing outside of this very small but devoted group of divers brings many a slanderous comments and even threats of bodily harm to those who practice it.

I, myself am not a participant of this form of activity. Not that I look down upon it, rather I simply choose not to do it. That was my initial feeling before I read the book. When I was offered the chance to review this book, I thought that I would be offended by it’s content.

I was wrong.

B. Allen Patrick’s book is an unassuming soft cover that comes across as one that you can pick up and start reading without feeling intimidated by the glitz that so often tries to lure readers to buy a book. Rodales Scuba Diving magazine only gave the book marginal approval of this controversial topic in a recent issue. I think the author should be given more credit than was given by them.

The book’s 8 primary chapters and the appendices afterwards give plenty of information in a very understandable format. No high tech jargon that you need a dictionary for. The one bias I do have about this book, that is merely from a personal standpoint, was the coverage of both Scuba and Freediving. I personally don’t think that hunting on scuba is very sporting from an outsiders viewpoint. This is only my opinion, but I think a valid one. Since the book covered both arena’s, I elected to skip over the information that dealt with scuba, and read about the sport as it relates to Freediving.

This book gives detailed information on the various types of guns, as well as the other diving gear needed, letting the reader know the pro’s and con’s of each type, without the author expounding his views of what is best.

Although many of the graphics were basic in their design, they got their point across as to showing what was being explained within the books text.

Safety is stressed throughout the book, both while diving and when handling the gun in detail. Environmental ethics are also discussed in a fair amount of detail, which I felt was a very valuable asset of this book. Stressing it in this day in age of radical environmentalism helps to develop responsible practices on our part in helping preserve our natural resources, as well as building an awareness for wanting to protect it without going to extremes. The book also covers harvesting other game like lobster and abalone.

The photographs give the reader an excellent idea of what to expect in their hunting trips. Although they aren’t extremely well done, they represent an accurate cross section of the various people who participate in this activity. These are real people, who are proudly showing off their catches of the day. I came away after reading this book with more understanding of what it takes to begin underwater hunting. And for anyone wanting to do just that, I whole heartedly recommend this book as a valuable resource in starting this activity.

B. Allen Patrick has provided an excellent book on a topic that is controversial.

In closing, this book has given me, a non-underwater hunter, the interest in pursuing this challenging and what seems, personally fulfilling endeavor.

A definite must have on any freedivers bookshelf.

Cliff Etzel
Cliff is the former Freediving editor of DeeperBlue.com. He is now a freelance journalist and film-maker.

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