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Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Mud Puddle Diver
May 20, 2002
Hey in about two weeks I'm going to place to do some diving and spearing. My landlord and his wife have a beach house there for about 30 years now fish all over the place where I'm going! He told me there is a good chance I will run into sharks in 3 to 4 foot range! I've never run into sharks before and need some advice on how to handle things to keep them from showing up and once one shows up! I thought sharks this size would be to scaried to get close to a diver? am I wrong?:confused:
Little ones like that will often flee if you appear aggresive. Charge the shark, yell at it underwater, blow bubbles, jab it, not shoot, with your gun, if you can get close enough. If you get a bunch of them around you it's better to just move. The bigger the shark, over around 7-8' or so, the less likely it is that these tactics will work.
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SS1 has a point that small sharks will do a runner if you apear aggresive but if they still persist, try using your spear tip to jab near their eyes (before the urge to shoot creeps in), that can do the trick, they're very protective of their eyes. Chances are they wil be curious rather than aggresive :)
Yes even a small shark can bite and a few of them can be dangerous but then so can an out of control spaceship on the Kings Road London. Just enjoy your trip, I'm sure you'll have no problems
make sure you know what kind of shark you will be dealing with. if it is a 5 ft. blacktip i wouldnt be worried, but if it was a 5ft. tiger or bull i wouldn't stick around and there are bulls and tiger in georgia so make sure you know what you are dealing with

best of luck, and if you do have a shakr encounter i hope it is a peacefull one and play it safe
near St. joseph bay, Florida! Well not in the bay but out side of the bay in the Gulf at some articial reefs. Most I get to with my paddle board between 1 to 2 miles. some I'm going to rent a boat to get to!

thank you everyone for your replies
blade, dont stress, 3-4 ft sharks are pretty cute. like scaled down minatures of the real thing. also if they are around, then you know theres probably no big ones around either. my experience is that if you are on the surface, they come in close, but if you dive down to get a better look, they keep their distance.
if you have a fish on the float, and it isnt close to you, it will be gone. if you catch a shark with its fin in the cookie jar, then you need to get more aggro, like spearslinger describes. just remember, even if they are small, these things still have damn sharp teeth. be dominant, but dont be silly.
i should edit that. 2-3ft sharks are cute. 4ft is getting a bit bigger than cute
when I'm coming back up do I need to get in the habit of scanning below me so I don't get any surprises on the way with a fish?
yes! like also the occasional glance over your shoulder, also pause once oyu get to the bottom and take a good look around and on the surface. and also before you ascend take a good look around if you are very woried about sharks.
In the Bahamas, I do 360s as a standard practice when coming up with a fish , for good reason. Never worried about it in the Gulf, nor had any problems that an occasional look back would have helped. However, if you are paddling out a mile or so, shooting fish, then paddling in, the blood trail will be much longer than what is in my experiance. That is a concern. I would be much more worried about the bull who has followed your blood trail for half a mile and has gotten so excited in the process that he will try to eat you and your board as you paddle in. It would be a lot better to get the fish into something that leaves no trail. If you can do that, shark problems should be nonexistant.

Have a good trip, St Joe is one of God's special places.

good idea davis, I think I might need to think about taking along drybag with me to put the fish in after spearing them. I just need to make sure I cut the spiky dorsal fins off the sheepshead or other fish before throwing them in the bag!!!
Probably not, but it probably won't be used either. It seems to me that most people that pack heat underwater like their PHs chambered in .223 for the larger powder capacity. If it helps any, the one that gets you will be the one you didn't see coming, kind of like the box jellyfish I almost had a run-in with today. Actually, after the near miss in yielding right-of-way with the second one was when I decided I was better off standing on my porch washing gear.:)
Bladerunner, the comments from griff and davis are sensible. However, I should tell you that the danger point for spearfishing is the moment that the fish is speared. Sometimes, big sharks will appear out of nowhere. Pull in the fish quickly and get it out of the water. Look around frequently. Trailing a dead fish is not a good idea, bull sharks will home in from time to time. For example, a shark fisherman can cast a dead fish overboard and the average time for sharks (reef sharks) to home in is about 15 minutes. I lost half of my right fin to a bull shark while trailing a stringer close to my belt. It approached from behind and bit the first thing that moved. It might be different in open water over a sandy bottom but still, put the fish carcasses in a dry bag as he said.

On an average day of spearfishing you might not even see a shark but they are there. The most dangerous time is after 4 pm.
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so what about with NO fish coming up...or diving w/out having fired a shot yet?...Do sharks not hone in on something traveling up from the bottom in a "prey-like" manner?

Just wonderin because we'll be getting alot more open water trips here very soon. And most of the time its only 1 of us in the water at a time (other driving the boat) so there is no one looking out from the surface.

Get a third guy and keep two in the water!!!! The sharks you see aren't the ones you need to worry about. Treat them all aggressively regardless of size, the more you flee the more they chase. When I shore dive, I use a small raft designed for very small children and I have a 50 qt coolers that fits in it. I tie that to the back of the bouy with my flag. As soon as I stick a fish, Its into the cooler. Out of sigth out of mind.... One thing, be alert If the reef fish suddenly get nervous, or you see a huge remmora, check your 6. If diving from a boat get the fish on ice ASAP. Hope for the best, if he gets you its your time:p . I have been considering trying to get quickclot on the boat for a worst case scenario....
Ive seen a few that made me feel very small......but it was one hell of a rush..
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There are 3 freedivers in Sc...one of them drives the boat (she's scurred of sharks:) I guess the buddy system will be needed when we hit deeper water...dammit.

and yes I have powerheads...just havn't started carrying them yet.

I look at it this way (as taken from Defofthecrown) With as many spearos that post on this site...very VERY few have stories of a real shark attack...

I guess I'll mount some side view mirrors to my mask and watch my back on the way up.
There are 3 freedivers in Sc...one of them drives the boat (she's scurred of sharks:)

Guess that just leaves Ashley and me diving, huh?
Stretch, that is unusual. The only shark that does that is the Great White. The common grey sharks and black tips will not follow an ascending diver if no fish are present. They will follow a fish but break off when they see the boat. Occasionally, a diver who has been cleaning fish will be harrassed while going about some innocent business underwater. I had to kill a black tip that charged me while I was SCUBA diving. It surprised me a bit because I had no fish in hand but later considered the fact that i probably smelled of fish. A bull shark harrassed me while free diving. It came to the surface but I wouldn't have it and put the KA-bosh on him with a big Biller gun. Those things act like dogs, they're that smart. It was using every trick of angle and motion to get inside the gun. Lost my lucky arrow when the brute broke the line. I was spearfishing but no fish in the water at the time. I had put a couple of kings in the boat, though.
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