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Deep Spearfishing

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Jay Styron

New Member
Aug 31, 2001
Hi Everyone,
Anyone out there done any deep spearfishing w/ tech gear. I know some frown on scuba spearfishing but IMHO this is a totally different level. This isn't to start a thread on whether it's right or wrong, just has anyone done it or interested in doing it.
deep halibut

Hi Jay,

I have not hunted deep for halibut, but I hold it out as a possible option for big pacific halibut. The best strategy up here for the average halibut is to hunt river mouths in the fall as they clean up
after the salmon. I will be doing this in the fall.

The big fish are usually quite deep and do not seem to come up much. This is a potentially very dangerous scenario, 200', 200-400 lb fish, and not much hunting time plus the chance of being pulled down or just held down while one gases out. A little on the freaky side.

I have not attempted to cut a dive plan for this, but my thoughts are to use a chase boat and a long float line and to get the f***
out of the way once the halibut is shot even if it looks like a stone shot. These big ones routinely hurt people one the deck, so they are often shot in the water just as a safe measure. I would not rule out the use of a power head.

What are you thinking about?

FD48, if I didn't know what a big cuddly bear you are, you'd scare the #### out of me.
Happy hunting,
Erik Y.:hungover
Deep Hunting

Hi FD48,
We don't have any halibut but we do have some nice grouper and assorted other fish on the deep stuff. I was thinking after the fish was shot and dead or somewhat under control disconnecting my shooting line and attaching a lift bag to it. The fish would embolize on the way up and the swimbladder would also blowup. If it got too crazy down there just attach the gun to the lift bag and all and hope for the best.
I guess for halibut it would be a little different. I would probably opt for a gun w/ a reel and about 300' of line. Shoot the fish then start up immediately. When the line runs out or the fish stops running attach a lift bag and let it do the work and have the chase boat pick it up on the surface. All the while hitting all your deco stops.! A very good idea to have a buddy for this. It might work. The biggest thing besides sharks we would have would be Warsaw grouper which can get to 400#. All this would take some serious prep work. Lets give it a go.
yo quero bazooka?

While I've not been down deep specifically to shoot fish, I've seen some really, REALLY big fish in the lights. Interestingly, some of the more unique occurances happened in fresh water, Lake Tahoe, CA/NV, where I was working on some surveys of the local dams. Big friggin trout!! Then there are the times when leaving the bell where I stepped onto the curious grouper...

The thing that worries me aside from the obvious tech stuff, i.e., decompressing, going to gases, support, etc., is the mindset that these fish get into when they get the shaft. As pointed out, these things take on the persona of pissed-off dinosaurs and if they're not immobilized, act very much, well, exactly like a buddy in distress- he's coming for you! If you're going to go this route, I'd recommend knowing the basic tech stuff and arranging on having at least two support people in the water- one to help you and the third to help both of you. And think really strongly of carrying a bangstick, powerheads or compressed air gun to nuke these things first shot. While riding behind a halibut might seem at the surface, (aww, bad pun!) to be the next wave in bullshit extreme sports, I'd consider myself really lucky to have hit one that didn't take off with me in the shooting line. I hear they like it really deep, and having shot smaller 20#ers and seen what they can can do, I prefer the shallower and smaller stuff.

When do we go?

Last edited by a moderator:
make me twitch


Thanks for the responses, My friends in Brazil guide me here, forget the reel, you better be one bottm gas dude. I do not want to be hooked up to a crazed monster fish, give them a pack of lift bags and hope for the best. I do not want to be thinking about my basement violations on the way up. Yes, support, and support for the support, epribs, trackers. If I were to do this it would be with total comittment to killing the fish immediately, however that shot could be along time coming and require consumate accuracy in the specie. Anybody want to predict gas consumption? The basic profile is 20 minutes at 200' as minimum hunt time for the local big folks.

A boat with a high bridge would help,

I have only done those kind of dive profiles with a camera. The fish don't seem to mind so much when I "shoot" them that way.
George Irvine had a whole thread about this on the Quest list a few months ago.
He uses doubles, stages, buddies, support boat, and power heads to get his catch. I think he said that the idea was to kill it dead to reduce the risk and not to even pretend that it was some kind of a sport when using powerheads.
If my memory serves me right, they were spearing stuff off of Florida in 300' of water.
Not for me, but it was interesting to read about.

Deep Shots

Hi Guys,
We all agree on the safty aspect w/ support and a buddy. The hunting technique though I think would vary w/ the fish. Grouper for the most part will hole up after being shot, so I don't think the problem would be getting tangled as much as getting it out of the hole after being shot. Again I guess it's about how much risk you're willing to take. I've shot fish w/ powerheads before and they're very effective but I also had some duds. I wouldn't want to depend on them for that one possible shot. The big fish I've seen deep weren't that scared so long shots shouldn't be a problem. Accuracy as stated in the other post would be a necesity. I still feel a reel would be better than a long float line. I would like to have enough line for the fish to hole up then I could work on him. Once holed up your buddy could move in for a second shot. Then attach a lift bag to your shooting line, inflate, disconnect your gun and try to work the fish out while the lift bag is pulling. You could also attach one to your buddies line. Strong rigging would also be very important. I would use the heaviest shaft my gun could shoot accuratly, a break away tip, and stainless cable for shooting line. Again this is for fish that will hole up after a shot. Halibut would be a different game I'm sure, but I think it could bre done.
I read Hell Divers Rodeo. I have to say it was unusual. Not my cup of tea, but to each his own.

Hey Sven
Are you out'a yer mind. Do you know those things get over a third of a ton. I visited Campbel River in '52. Missed 'the fish' by two days but they were still showing pictures and I saw the barn. They said it weighed 350 kilo (actually that was before metrication was shoved down their throats).
After hunting halibut (Calif) for a long time, my buddy came up with a plan. If you have 20 foot viz, you just hit them hard and let go of the gun. If you don't stone them, just follow. Never had one go too far to find and the gun would be floating about ten feet off the bottom, pointing at the fish. 3/8" shaft and lots of rubber. Of course those halibut were under 50#.
How about a Swordfish size dart and 100 meters of 100 kilo dacron on a free spool reel. Diver heads for surface, attaches float and waits 30 minutes. Haven't figured out what comes next. If the Bambi kissers find out about this, they'll probably run you down when you finish decompressing anyway.
No charge for the consultation.

float line

Hi Bill,

The float line that I use is 1200lb halibut cord, with a plastic sheath. A 200' dive would require a 300' float line and good terminal tackle. This is all theoretical for me, I do not expect to fish in this manner immediately. Todays dive was cold, safe and lovely. We were spearfishing and counting ling cod eggs masses.
The viz was very good at the first set of islands 1 mile off shore.
The thermocline at 40' was shockingly cold, I'm temped to get a front entry dry suit and an argon bottle.

Free- the water's 53F, viz is 40' off the beach here in Santa Barbara. Dump the cold water gear, unplug the phone so the bill collectors won't know and move on down... the rent's here dictate the necessity of roommates.

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