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Spearfishing on scuba

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New Member
Jan 18, 2005
I am new to spearfishing, and I have just purchased a RA tomahawk speargun.

I live in Perth Western Australia where there have been shark attacks.

I know the risks are low however to minimise them I was wondering what the best approach is with dealing with your catch.

I will be scuba diving for crays however if the oppertunity comes along to spear a table fish ie Dhufish (grow to 20kg) or a yellowtail kingfish, snapper or skippy (trevally) around limestone reef areas.

I know you freedivers use floats with float lines, however these can be a pain when on scuba, Can't do swim thru's and line getting caught up on first stage reg.

Can someone tell me what they do in a simillar situation?
First of all dont listen to the eletist divers that are gonna jump you for this one! I do both, though alot more freediving these days. When hunting on scuba locally we use whats referred to as a "riding rig" If you use the search button I have an entire thread that details its use. Might be a little extreme for your applications but it serves us well on the deep monsters the likes of which most "real" hunters here will never see :D
Roberto...in light of the fact that we cant send negative karma anymore, I will make the note I would have sent to you that way public...

Why even reply to a post asking for help if you cant help? The man asked a question, not asking for your moral stand on scuba hunting. Thanks for the input however....it was very original :hmm
Hey Rigdvr:
I'm sad to see that you misunderstood my post: as snamreh posted

''I know you freedivers use floats with float lines, however these can be a pain when on scuba, Can't do swim thru's and line getting caught up on first stage reg.''

then the situation is like this: no scuba, no problem to use the float with the line.
In order to not to scuba, no tanks.....if you freedive then you can use the float with the line.
And so, this was my help to solve the problem.
Thanks for your karma, good or bad is always accepted :cool:

No moral stand on scuba diving, that's another topic.


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still of no help on the topic...sorry you cant see that.
thank you guys for your help, and for those of you who freedive will wish you were on scuba with full tanks when you read the following story of a recent incident in my backyard with a white pointer!

G'day All,
Here is the story. This was also to send to a couple of overseas and was written shortly after the event. Since everyone seems to want to know more these are the details. If you don't like swearing don't read.
Sunday, 25th April, decided to go on an arvo dive out on the boat with Dad and brother to get some (hadn't dived for a couple of weeks). Weather wasn't perfect so we ended up about 2 miles out of Mindarie on a reefy bottom about 12m deep (Gordons Grotto). The usual suspects were around and I was getting some alright snaps.

After about 30 minutes underwater I was taking a pic of a scorpion cod which was letting me get really close. Then out the corner of my eye I saw something big - I looked to my left and this is what went through my head "holy ***** that's a F-----G MASSIVE WHITE POINTER !!!!".

I pointed over my Dads and bro's shoulder and they turned to see this thing. I swear it was only about 8m away. I hit the deck and Dad and James bailed into a crevice I just lay flat in a little gully. Didn't really panic surprisingly but was just watching this awesome thing. Snapped a couple of crappy with shaking hands to prove we were there, and you can see this shark wasn't small. It was around a 4m long female. It circled around for about 6 minutes and came right over my head (I'm talking around 2 - 3m, got of that too). It wasn't aggressive at any point though. But man the presence and respect it commanded was amazing - I felt very insignificant with her eyeing me out. I think the fact that she had showed herself was comforting because one of could have been snapped up without evening knowing what was going on.

Eventually she headed off and I quickly snuck into the same crack as the other two, as I was feeling a little lonely and unprotected. Next thing dads tapping me and there it was again back for another look. Another couple of minutes and it swam off again - in the direction of the boat god damn it! Grabbed a slate and very shakily wrote 'What Should We Do?' - my response a shrug of the shoulders from both. Thought well I've had the most diving experience (100+ dives in the last 18 months) I'll make the decision - told the other two follow me. We needed to do something soon, already 43 minutes bottom. I was definitely wishing at this point I hadn't taken out a little 63cu ft tank with a 210bar fill.

Once I couldn't see the thing anymore it was a much worse feeling cause I knew it would not have just totally left us alone but she was probably hanging just outside of our vis range (about 10m max). So with the other two following, we bailed through all the caves and gullies I could remember taking, in but didn't really know exactly where the boat was. Lots of surge and heart pounding, I could physically see the pressure needle dropping. Crap 40 bar left - we ended up coming out into the open, and thought fuck it. Grabbed the other two, hung on and headed for the surface (18m/min needless to say I think it was a little faster than that - more like 12m in 20 seconds). My mind was blank here, mid-water I was just sort of meditating to overcome my brain saying - what are you doing that bottom is much safer.

We hit the surface at speed and swimming. The boat was about 35m in front of us - that's gotta be the longest swim of my life. Dragging my brother cause he wasn't keeping up. Man I had a boat wake going out behind me - someone could have skied on it. A guy jumped off to help and apparently she was cruising slowly toward us all about 15m to the right. Out the and into the boat hands shaking, thinking - THANK GOD and THAT HAS TO BE THE BEST THING THAT I'VE EVER SEEN. Can't stop thinking about it, it was that damn good. We must be one of the select few that have seen a White without a cage.

Must say though if I had the opportunity again but didn't know the outcome, I would choose not to be in the situation. If I knew we would all be fine, then I'd do it tomorrow twice!

Hope everyone enjoyed the read. I put a few more up at scubaboard, see them and the rest of my recent pics in my gallery here:


PS. If your looking for someone to do any shore diving with me but you must own a shark shield :) - just kidding.
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I'm not very familiar with scuba spearing, but logically, you won't need a floatline. A reel on your gun is a good idea if you're going to be hunting anything over 20kg's. Fish smaller than that would not be able to pull your around. Well, not much anyways!! :D

The fish would then be kept on a body stringer or a stringer attached to your gun. Both aren't very good methods, especially considering you dive is sharky waters.

Regarding the Scuba vs Freediving issue, just make sure that spearfishing is allowed on Scuba in your country. I'm pretty sure that it's illegal to spearfish on Scuba in Australia. Please double check this, as the confiscation of all your equipment AND a hefty fine is definitely NOT fun!!!

Oh, and don't forget to have fun!!!

Spearfishing on scuba is legal in australia, and so is crayfishing, I heard both are illegal in South Africa
Hi snamreh
I'm from Perth as well.
At the end of last summer I bought myself a diveyak, an infalatable kayak that carries you and your equipment out into deep water.
Before that I only did shore dives and dive boat dives.
I have been experimenting this summer and continually changing things.
When I have sorted all the problems out I was thinking of putting the details of what I have done on a web site.
So far I have found towing the Diveyak around with me is no problem although when I first did it I found it kept wrapping around my legs. After attaching a float about 2 metres along the rope, this kept it almost verticle and away from my body.
The rope I use is water ski rope because it floats and I use 30 metres so that any rise and fall in swell moves the Diveyak in an arc behind me and doesn't add any lift which would be like a sudden gain in boyancy. Although sometimes it can add a slight tug which is hardly noticable.
You may like to take a look at one.

SORRY!!! You're quite correct that both are illegal in South Africa.
I've also now learnt that it is Legal in Western Australia.

The only real problem i'd be worried about is where to put the speared fish!! We used black garbage bags to cover our stringers and that did discourage any interest from sharks or seals. Its a real pain though, as the more fish you shoot, the more drag you have. Let us know how it goes!!!!:D

Snamreh! By white pointer do you mean great white?Have you thought about using a float bag attached attached to your anchor line to send your fish to the surface.If you take out someone that doesn't dive they can stay aboard and retreive the fish for you ,just a thought. I know I wouldn't want to keep the fish near me if there are sharks around.stay safe
Almost forgot .Whats the link to your gallery?
I got my scuba certification about 4 years ago but haven't gone since... but from what I know you can use LIFTBAGS, and get air from your tank into the bags, and it will bring your fish/lobster/whatever to the surface!!


If you want to see photos of the shark encounter go to


Yes white pointer in OZ means great white

After reading some posts and doing a bit of research I think towing a boogie board with a catchbag strapped to the top of it to keep the blood out of the water is worth a try. I think the float 2 meters away is also the go, keep the line away from your legs.
also attaching the spear gun to the line will stop you loosing the gun when you drop it and get drawn away catching crays when the viz is poor.
Having a board to put gear on makes getting back to the boat a lot easier especially when the 20 knot sea breeze kicks in and you have no air left to swim below the surface.

Hi I live in Perth to and also spear on scuba, ( and free dive ) if your catching crays on scuba you may as well take a gun you never know what might swim by.
As I see it you have 2 choices 1 = kill the fish in the water and put it in your catch bag and hope for the best 2= take it back to the boat.
Choice No 1 I have dived in perth for 20 years and never seen a shark bigger than an 8 foot grey nurse, the big ones are out there but you would be very unlucky to have a problem.
Choice No 2 At Rotto you will seldom go below 25 meters for crays so i quick trip to the surface to get rid of your catch shouldnt be a problem, just dump it in your boat.
Or buy a shark sheild I purchased one for a Hunting trip down south where there are lots of big sharks ( white pointers ) just for piece of mind and to lower the risk of attack got one for 500.00 so haggle you dealer.
W.A is the only state you can hunt on scuba but you have to be a certain distance from shore depending where your are at Rotto so be carefull
Happy hunting
Thanks Crusty

What is the biggest fish you would come accross and target with your set up?

Have you ever lost your gun when chasing crays in low viz?

I think just swimming back to the boat and dumping your catch there is probably the go

Regards Michael
Snamreh! I tried to look at your pics but your site is doing some cleanup and the gallery is down.Since your going the boogiboard way ,I post some pics of one I made for inshore hunting.Your need may vary but you can rig it up any way you need to.
[ame="http://forums.deeperblue.net/showthread.php?t=54004"]bodyboard float[/ame]
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If someone can tell me how to post pics on this site I will put them on

Regards Snamreh
Hi Michael
Had a nice 10kg queenie last week but good fish are rare at Rotto
Would love a 25 kg Due though.
Had a mate loose a cheep gun of mine last month at Rotto he put it in some weed but when he went to get it the weed was 5 foot tall .I have never lost one but been close . I have a heavy clip on my weight belt and use it to hang my noose when im spearing cound do the same for the gun i suppose.
I useually take my catch back to the boat but if its late in the dive and the air is getting low i will just leave it in the bag, also depends how big the fish is small ones just stay in the bag.
Regards Crusty
A mate of mine ties a small float in his bag with 2m thin line so the bag just floats above him and out of the way.
Seems like a simple option,
A diver down south got his leg taken by a shark and bled to death recently, whats the bet thats the side his catch bag was on!
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