• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

shark avoidance?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


New Member
Oct 27, 2003
Hi folks-

I've been hunting reef fish in Hawaii for about three months now, and have been seeing more sharks lately (kind of correlates with my catch, I think.) I see a reef shark about one in three dives, and recently lost a couple of parrotfish off my float. I'm probably not the first to ponder this, so I ask your collective wisdom: any ideas on a system to keep the fish blood out of the water? I'm debating between one of those rigid Rob Allen floats, which wouldn't hold much, or a plastic bag hanging from my float. Another idea might be to make a pouch out of an old wetsuit to put the fish in. Problem is, the fish might get ripe after sitting dry in a float or in a watertight plastic bag for a couple of hours...

I am a lazy shore diver so a kayak isn't an option, and in my quest (desperation) for good dive spots I often punch through some moderate (3 ft) surf so the system would have to be pretty stable.

Any ideas or even failed attempts would be appreciated... or maybe I should retire from diving because I'm a shark magnet...
Hessian Sack

Rooby Racks: Many of the South African Divers put their fish in a Hessian Sack on their float lines, the sharks don't know what the sack is or what to make of it, and generally leave it alone.

Put black plastic dirt bags over your fish in the water. Sharks and seals will ignore your fish. Creates quite a drag in the water when you've shot a couple of fish though, but works like a charm:D

I use this when i'm diving between seals, and have yet to lose a fish to a seal in this way. They soon become wise though and they then steal your fish just after you've shot them, ie you are still pulling the spear line and fish closer to you......then BAM!!!....no more fish on your spear:waterwork

Hope this helps.

Thanks for the tips. Seems like a hassle to bag the fish . Anyone who dives with great whites has my deepest respect, and you probably put some thought into shark avoidance. So does the blood leak into the water, or do you keep it watertight? And what is a Hessian sack, anyway? Some guys keep the fish on their belts, and they swear the fish are safer there than on the float, but I'm not inclined to experiment with that idea...
I guess the question is "your safety" rather than the fish's!!! You dont want to be an aperative dont you?

Yeah, diving with a black bag attached to your float is annoying, but it definitely helps. Simply tie a knot into the closed end of the black bag. Now push your stringer a couple of times through the knot, making sure that the last time you push it through, it exits into the bag. So when you shoot a fish, you simply push the bag up, stringer your fish, then pull the bag down and cover your fish again. The blood still gets into the water, but sharks and seals aren't interested in the fish. Don't know why, but it works!!

Crude picture follows: (hey i'm a spearo, not a artist!!:D :D )


  • plastic bag.jpg
    plastic bag.jpg
    10.8 KB · Views: 486

Looks like a good solution. Just a perhaps cultural clarification: by "black dirt bag" do you mean in say, American terms, a Hefty trash bag (plastic trash can liner)?
Would a lobster bag do the trick (if it's big enough)? Or can they still see and smell too much through the mesh?

I second that: What is a Hessian Sack? (I hope it has nothing to do with the body part of an 18th Century German mercenary!) hehehe

The local harbor seals here seem to actually recognize what spearguns are for (even before I put a fish on my stringer) and they're not law abiding!
Last edited:
hiya Roan

Hefty trash bag is exactly what i was refering too. My buddy actually uses a lobster bag instead of the black bag. Works for him, and the seals aren't interested in his fish. Funny part is that at this one particular spot we dive at, all the fish are located under a local colony of seals!!! Here i thought fish are supposed to be scared of seals!! Go figure :duh

Hessian bags are a cloth/material type of bag. Bulk quantities of animal feed are sometimes packed into these strong bags.

With either options above, just remember that they cause alot of drag in the water. Keep this in mind if you've got a long way to swim home!!! (don't ask me how painfull it is to pull a stringer full of fish covered in a black bag 2kms through a choppy sea with a head on wind................won't forget that in a hurry!!:D )

Thanks for the artistic rendering, Miles. Think I'll try it this weekend. I'll use a blue or white bag to make it even less visible to the sharks. Also, maybe tying the back end tightly around the fish before making the trip back to shore would make it more streamlined, kind of torpedo-like instead of skirt-like... Speaking of which, when you park your bouy in a good spot (as I often do), does the bag float up and reveal the string of fish to the onlookers below? Seems like it might create a commotion, kind of like a Playboy Playmate in a long skirt, jumping up and down on a trampoline...

Sorry for the digression. Anyway, I still like the idea of taking an old wetsuit and making it into some kind of floating pouch, which would be easier to drag in the water... so many ideas, so little time...

... Speaking of which, when you park your bouy in a good spot (as I often do), does the bag float up and reveal the string of fish to the onlookers below? Seems like it might create a commotion, kind of like a Playboy Playmate in a long skirt, jumping up and down on a trampoline...

Well, the water pressure will keep the bag closed. You'll find that out when you try to stringer your fish!!!, can be very frustrating at times:( . Oh, by the way, where do i get a playboy playmate with a long skirt????:D :D Just pm me so the whole world doesn't know!!! lol

Let me know how the weekends dive went.

Partial try

Well, kind of tried it this weekend. A non-diving friend took me on his two man kayak, and it was a comedy of errors: Out of five hours from start to finish, I spent about an hour and a half in the water. He had never tried diving off the kayak, so we had a 15 foot tow line with no anchor, and no place to tie off the paddles, gear, etc... We ended up diving one at a time, while the other guy sat on the kayak...

Anyway, we still had a good time scouting the reef (great way to cover a lot of ground) and I managed to land a few fish. We tied them off to the kayak using my kui (stringer) with a white plastic trash bag, and it was pretty hard to see at the edges of the 30-40 foot vis. It was a sunny day, and I could make out the silhouettes of the fish from close up, which could be a problem. No sharks, but a 40 lb Ulua (jack) came over to check us out... Can't comment on the drag, as we were zipping along in the kayak.
DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing


ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2024 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.