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Surface Hunting

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Originally posted by shaneshac
I must go over there then. Most good Euro spearos fish between 20 and 35 meters in the summer. The water gets really cold and murky in winter so there is no need to go deep then.


Yeah it depends what kinda spearing your into, Im interested in the deep diving side of spearfishing, but LOTS of people dont care how deep they spear at and are more interested to find good fish in shallower water.

Hi ya Fellas!

I have been spearing some few days now at Butleigh Salterton and well I have been amazed.. there actually is fish.. I don't know them very well.. so first I shot couple of fish that the fishermen on the shore told me to throw away.. :|
Anyhow, surface hunting.. at the peak where vaves break on the shallow rocks I almost everytime have found some mullets or Bass..
They are at the very surface, but unfortunately they are difficult to shoot.. I have missed twice.. it is difficult place to shoot as waves fill your snorkel and make aiming very difficult.. But if one wants to do surface hunting that would be the place I would direct them.. Some fairly good sized fish too:)
But it is much easier to shoot at depth..
Good luck fishing!

Hi Pekka,

What size are the Bass and Mullet you are shooting in the surf? I've been struggling to find decent size fish here in Dorset, but have been mainly looking over the reefs and not along the surf line at the rocks, maybe thats where i should be concentrating?

There is a nice rocky cove near me so I'm going to give that ago this weekend, only problem is its about 150ft down a cliff (there are steps but when its this hot its knackering!) small price to pay though for such a nice location......

Hey Ivan,

Sorry about the late reply mate, but it gets real busy at work before the vacation season.

As I mentioned, I had an acident last fall, right after our Nationals and the doctors keep me off the water for now and most probably I'll be dry landed for good.

Yep. For =>20 m dives you don't need more than 2 kilos on your belt. For those hunts at 30 meters I used only the "pendulum" as you call it, which for me was a hook-shaped piece of lead. Now those 30m hunts were not a normal practice for me and I didn't feel very comfortable at such depths. It was more like shoot and run! So I wasn't a 30+ diver. More like 20 - 20 something max working depth... The fact that you can reach certain depth doesn't mean it's already your working depth you know.

I don't know about other 40+ divers. I've heard about a Greek guy who doesn't compete anywhere else but the extreme spearfishing contests, but I am not sure about his name. Had a chance to meet with the French and the 2nd Spanish National team last year, including Pedro Carbonell's brother, Pepe. They are all 30+ divers and unlike me - that's their working depth - they can go there, find the fish, shoot it, and process it... I am sure all they can reach 40 too.


Yeah mate that is too true about working depths cos even if you shoot a fish at a hit and run depth you have to be able to retrive it out of the structure that it may run into, then you run the risk of blackouts.

I like using a little extra wieght and long fins. After a few good kicks on the way down let gravity take over. This allows you to relax and conserve air, float down to the kill zone. Don't make direct eye contact with the fish. Be ready to shoot at the first sign of alarm in the fish.
Works for me.
Originally posted by ruppst
I like using a little extra wieght and long fins. After a few good kicks on the way down let gravity take over.

This works for depths of up to 12-15 meters max! After few good kiks the gravity really takes over and you and your 7-9 kilos weight belt crash like an airplane on the bottom at 25 meters! And with almost similar speed! :D
Then you have to drag all that weight to the surface, which is completely unnecessary. Not ot mention it slows your ascent and you put more effort in it, so you lose even more air and apnea time than the extra kilos saved you...
And something more - when overweighted, the speed of the descend makes you think more about how to land down there while the descend should be normally used for studying the floor for fish and tracking the route to it, caves, appropriate ambush spot, etc.

I use 12 lbs, where a spring suit (3mm), and carry a little extra body fat (Floatation). At the surface I am slightly negitive bouyancy. Yes you can pick up a fare amont of speed to the bottom especially if you are diving striaght down. You can flare your body to angle to or away from the fish and burn off decent speed. You can use your long fins as flaps to create drag without a lot of movement. I agree 12 to 15 meters is probably max depth for this method. I usually hunt 20 ft to 50 ft. I have no problem with comming up, just push off the bottom and use a slow steady kick to the surface. As I said it works for me. I think this thread started by a diver asking about ambushing fish spotted from the surface not diving down and searching for them. Where I hunt 50 ft vis. is usually no problem.
How do you wieght yourself while freediving?

If you have to spread your hands and use your fins as flaps to slow your descent, this means you carry too much weight.. :)
The weighing depends on the depth you're going to hunt at.
For the surface hunt, you'd put some extra weight, so you can lay down on the bottom at 2-5 meters without popping up like a cork cap or flap like underwear on the wash line at the waves... :D
For dives 8-12m I usually did the same thing as you - you must be slightly buoyant at the surface.

But for anything deeper than 15 meters you gradually reduce the weight, cause the sea may charge any extra luggage! It's dangerous to be overweighed at such depths.
For 20+ m dives I used only 2 kilos...

If you can descent through the school of small fish without scaring them off - that is considered as good descent.
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Ivan I use a 3.5mm Cressi comp suit with 13lbs of lead. However Im still stuffing around trying to work out what is best. I dont like using effort on descent cos it stuffs my heart rate up when I have to kick against bouyancy, however I dont mind kicking up hard on ascent being negative my Omer Mileenium comps fins are fairly stiff and get me up there fast.

Its interesting to see the number of differnet approaches that everyone has. When I started this thread I basically did not know what sort of response I would get, in fact I have been reading with great interest as it seems that there are many ways which can be adopted.

On the subject of weight and good decents/ascents what sort of weight would you guys suggest for a 7mm semi-dry as this is what i'm using in the UK?

At the moment i'm using about 14lbs.........
Hey guys,

Besides being completely confused about how much kilos 13 lbs is I gotta tell you that in my opinion there is no strict formula you can apply, even though I've seen java and flash applets on different sites calculating the "perfect" ballast for you. It depends on too much things and not only the weight (muscules or.. well... fat?), the suit, the depth, the type of hunt, the weather, and whether you had beans for lunch! :D It all depends on the individual preference methinks.
For shallow dives you can put more weight for the reasons I already shared, as long as you can get rid of all the weight with one move. I had an argument before with a Spanish guy I think - he was strongly desagreeing with the ankle weights, while I was saying that 0.5 -1 kilo you can't get rid of immediately but after 2 kicks with the heel is not of too much difference for a shallow hunt. He was saying that he never had a problem or felt any need in using the ankle weights or had a way to avoid the problem. That obviously works for him, but for some reason, without the ankle weights even at depths of ~8 meters I can't keep my legs on the bottom! This is not a problem for most types of hunt besides, of course the most applicable technique for our sea - the ambush. You can hear many solutions but you have to find the perfect one for yourselves without compromizing your safty or accountinf for any risk!
Octopus gave probably the best formula I've heard so far about spearfishing (and deserves a piece of karma for it! :) ): If you can pass by a school of small fish without scaring them - that's a good descent. If you pass too fast - you'd scare everything around - not only the small fish. If you start waving fins and hands to slow down you get the same result. Same sutff happens when you end up on the bottom with a big bang and in a cloud of mud. That's why you need less lead for the deep dives.
And in the shallows you'd scare everyone off, including the mid sized sea eagles :D if you start plucking sea weed and pushing rocks around in attempt to stay on the bottom...

How it works for me for the average depths: You only need the weight to pass the point (depth) of the neutral buoyancy of your body with less effort possible. If you have stiffer fins, that's one of the things they help for, the other is to give you a better start from the bottom to the surface. Other than that I don't think there is any need for speed in spearfishing, which logically leads to the conclusion that you need the stiffest fins only when diving extremely deep. But that's my opinion - somebody may say they need to cover greater area. My answer would be that if you know the behaviour of the fish and the area, and you can link that to the current weather, you don't need to cover big areas. But anyway...
After you pass the neutral point you need to watch for the speed. If you descend too fast, then you have no option but to take off some weight and compensate it with efforts on the surface - otherwise you reduce your chances to get fish... The slow descend allows actually saves you much more bottom time than you think: you can check the bottom and guess the most probable route of the fish and you can pick the best ambush spot; you can look and remember where the caves are so you don't waste time in searching; and you can spot the grouper catching sun at the front porch of his cave.

So you must test it for yourself. It usually steals one day off of every season, but there's nothing you can do...


Hi dudes,

Sunday i will enter my first spearfishing comp. There will be two teams for each club. One for big fishes in deep waters other one is for small fishes in shallow water. I will in shallow water team. The countable catches are groupers bigger that 1.5 kg, dusky groupers bigger than 1.250 kg, spinefoot, sargos, parrotfish, bream, mullet, bass bigger than 250gr.

In my previous dives i didn't use wetsuit or weight belt. I noticed that i scare the fishes when i dive coz i have to fight against water's lift power. It also disturbs me while i was in bottom. The waters push me up so i have to grab the rocks to stay on bottom. This all takes my oxygen. In the competiton i don't want to encounter with these problems so i want to use weight belt but don't know how much weight should i use. I will hunt in less than 8 meter deep, generally will use ambush for spinefoots, or will look under the caves for groupers, will not use and wetsuit. SO how much weight should i use???? Unfortunatelly i will not have opportunity to test and find the correct weight for me, i have to rely on your answers. I only have less than one day to get weight belt and set the correct weight.

I AM 1.84 meter and 80kg.
For the benefit of the Americans and older Ausies I have converted your weight and height to 176 pounds and 6 feet and half an inch or 72.44 inches to be more exact on height weight is approximate - I used 2.2pounds for 1kg to convert not exact but close enough for this excersize.
Anyway I would suggest you put about 3lbs or 1.5kg on your belt for use without a wetsuit and carry a couple of extra 1.5 lb or .75kg weights with you on the boat to adjust up or down after you try it out.
You dont want to be too heavy at the surface for most diving it is better to be slightly bouyant from surface to 5m or even 10m depending on your working depth - for safety you want to be light enough that if you black out -SWB around half way up you will float to the top. and dont have to struggle to get off the bottom.
Regards Peter
Hey Murat,

Good luck on your first competition!
You say you gonna dive without wetsuit? The duration of a competition day during the summer is at least five hours around Europe. Are you sure you can stay in the water that long withot freezing your arse?
The water here at this time of year is 24 - 25 C. Several years ago I I tore my wetsuit bad around the 3rd hour of the competition so I had to take the top off and leave it at the boat. I survived but I had a very peculiar blueish color when I got back on the boat after the end of the comp.!

Don't leave the wetsuit home, man!

Don't worry mate. I will be fine. The water is pretty hot here. It will be even hotter coz i will hunt in shallow. I dunno about the duration of the comp. but if its 5 hours i will need to give a break for lunch:D

Murat your crazy mate to dive for 5hours even in what you call hot water. In summer here I still use a 3mm suit and the water temp then is between 29-33C, I dont see how you could be comfortable in 24C water without a suit.

As for weighting, using Poachers conversions im 143lbs or 65kgs. With no suit I use 4-6lbs, with my 3.5mm suit I use 13lbs, and for my crappy 5mm suit with no hood I use 15lbs.

My favourite set up is probably the 5mm with 15lbs. Once the suit compresses you sink like a rock which I prefer. I much rather an easier descent and hard ascent than vice versa


Last night my older sister had an engagement party. It helped her so the day was so tiring. I went bed at 2 am and woke at 5 am. The comp. duration was 5 hours. I grabed my gear and head to road. At the meeting point all speros wait for destination. I also met with Tylerz. He is posting in deeper blue sometimes. Good guy and freediver. After that we went diving spot. I paired with experianced spero, probably local club tought that he will take care of me in the sahllow water. Other deep water team went away. But anyway after crusing at the shallow about 5-6 meter we see there is no fish. So we headed bit deeper my diving buddy don't minded to stop in shallow water so we broke up. I look around and see there is no one in the shallow water. I felt so bad, i feel like i am only crap around. Then i ming my business and decide to test my limits first time. I cruise at the surface until the find Sargos (BREAM). They seems not deep to me, so i decide to dive. I dived down but after i realized something stops me to deeper, i looked up the surface and see that i used all of my float line. I have 10 meter line on my float. I guess that i am 7-8 meter diver but it seems i am not. Anyway that damn float line stoped me to shoot Sargos. But i dived down and made a long shoot. I missed it. I guess its because of my shaft. It was slightly bent at he front. I load it and shoot again, i was at 10 meter deep. The wishgone cut my line and my spear stab at the rock on the bottom. I surfaced and wait 1-2 minutes and took a huge breath and dived. I dived approximatelly 13-14 meteri, secured the shaft looked under the cave and surfaced. When i was surfaced i also have some more air in my lungs.:cool: My personal best at first try without weight belt. BTW the water temp was 31 centigrate degree. The water was too hot for me even without suit. But all other divers weared a wetsuit. Probably 30+ meter waters are more colder. Anyway i ended up with insufficient float line front bent shaft and no shooting line. I agreed to end my first try with no fish but teachfull experiance. But my team get the first place with overall points, personal points and biggest fish. The guy that agreed to teach me some stuff when he has time took the first place in both biggest fish and personal catch. He cought 13.7 kg grouper in 33-34 meter of water.

This teach me that i should be reliable on my equipments before the comp. But since i sold my previous gun and this gears are barely new to me. Its seems normal to me. But anyway i feel that i put my steps on the begining of the road, now i have to walk/run on that road...

Ps. sorry for if there is and mistake in spelling or nonsense words. I am too sleepy now and i want to sleppp ! ! ! !.....

Mate having a 10m float line would be a killer, is that what you always use. Most use a float line of between 20-40m. Sorry about your comp maybe next time eh :cool:

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