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Prime conditions for spearfishing?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jul 24, 2013
Im a little confused how exactly you are able to tell the conditions are good for spearfishing. How do you know when the visibility is going to be good? Does there have to be minimal wind and swell? Can you tell by simply looking at a website like Surfline, or are there other forecast tools that work better?


Nov 6, 2012
There are so many factors to consider and they may change across venus. Wind from one direction may not affect things compared to it's opposite direction. Generally speaking minimal wind and swell is aimed for but you may find venues which are sheltered from this. Down here on the central south coast a northerly wind can flatten the sea off (but push the divers float offshore too!). On the Isle of Portland there are often areas you can seek shelter from in stronger wind.

Even just fishing on the opposite side of a breakwater may make a venue fishable. For visibility as a general guide check what the sea state has been like for some days leading up to your planned trip. However, there is nothing like the 'mark one eyeball' so if convenient just drive to the venue and have a look. Some spearos will get suited up and drive along the coast looking for suitable conditions.

To add further confusion the vis can vary a lot at a given venue... I know of one place where the viz within a cove is generally poorer compared to just outside it. Also the viz in the top part of the water column may be poor but improves nearer the bottom.

The state of tide can play a part too, high and low air pressure, time of year (may water/algae bloom) are other factors.

So.. to answer your question, I do not think you can look at one site and get the answer, you need to factor in a number of things.

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
A heavy rain can wash silt & mud into rivers & streams, sometimes reducing visibility for days afterwards. In spring, we often get a bloom (plankton?) that turns the water milky for days or weeks at a time. You don't need or necessarily want perfect visibility to spearfish though - but you do need to be able to see beyond the end of your spear. In gin-clear conditions, the fish will be able to see you better too ;)

Big low frequency swells make me sea sick but there is often some swell in the sea. I prefer it to be flat as a mill pond but that is fairly rare (but had a great evening spearing in Devon under such conditions). A little higher frequency chop is tolerable & normal too but I'd rather not have it as it too can make me sea sick.

Calm weather for several days beforehand and in the forecast for the day is usually a good sign. Many bays have their own little micro-climates though. Swearing at rubbish BBC weather forecasts has become part of spearfishing for me - didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I heard that (1) the BBC weather forecasters recently won some prize for accuracy (like the day I had 4" of snow last year & their forecast continued to show none even after it had fallen and while more was still falling), they are [email protected] - the American forecasters are FAR more accurate and consistently so - and (2) the BBC weather forecaster just been given big bonuses for their accuracy! :D :waterwork :D :waterwork Windmap & ITV are generally more accurate (& far less tedious).
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Nov 6, 2012
For weather forecasts, I find the Metoffice local forecast quite good. I would stay clear of Metcheck though, I often find their predicted wind speeds to be way off.


Baron of Breathold
Oct 17, 2001
Some good suggestions but this is the real world. There is only one way to see if the conditions are good and that is to go and look.
You have a strange situation on the best coast. The weather forecast comes from the least coast and nobody in Washington works on Friday afternoon, so the forecast for the weekend is set in concrete at 9 AM on Friday and real weather has no effect until Monday.
The best example of this was about thirty years ago. A mean cold front was forecast to hit at noon on Sunday in S Calif. All the weekend warriors that could, re-scheduled for Saturday. When the storm sped up and hit early Saturday afternoon there were over eighty boats wrecked. We left the Ventura harbor at eight on Sunday in perfect bluebird weather, for a great day of diving. The Harbor Master called us and forbid us from leaving the harbor with storm warning flags flying. Fortunately the radio switch wasn't on.
Besides if conditions are lousy on Sat, you can still go look on Sunday.
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