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The perfect shot?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Simon Blampied

New Member
Oct 16, 2001
After three years I can say that I'm familiar enough with my equipment and at a stage where 6 times out of ten my spear will hit the exact spot I aim for. For me there is nothing worse than having to kill a fish after having speared it, not to mention the increased risk of losing a thrashing fish before you get it on your stringer. There is a lot of conflicting information on where to place the 'perfect shot'. I've been told just above the eye, just behind the eye, through the gill plate and along the backbone. Is there one spot which is best for instantly killing the fish, or is it dependant on the species??

:confused: Simon :confused:
Only the shot in the brain (not head) kills the fish instantly. However this shot is not heavily recomended because the brain is placed hi at the upper edge of the head and behind the eye and there is a big probabillity of missing the whole fish especially if the fish comes in profile.
Safer shot is in the spine that paralise the fish which is not able to swim and on the other hand offers much greater surface for hitting.
Shot in the aria around the fin behing the gills usualy damages hart but fish is still able to swim for some time.

I agree with Alan

I mostly use the "aspetto" technique and usually try to hit the fish in spine just after the gill plate.

The head it's not a good point in big fish also because its too hard to penetrate.

Marco Bardi told me how he lost the biggest seabass he'd ever seen: the fish was really close to him when he shoot it in the middle of the head. The shaft hit the hardest part of the head and just changed direction.

Anyhow, I guess it's impossible to give one rule.
I wouldn't target the head of a seriola dumerilii (yellow tail ?) but I would if it was a grouper.....

Joe Fox
Kill shot

We all strive for the elusive kill shot. Most of the time its the somewhat dead, partially dead or the barely dead shot. I have been shooting fish for a long time and am still amazed at the ability of fish to take a shaft and swim around w/ it sticking out of there body, even their head. I don't like to torture animals but it's kind of fun to have a large fish pull you around. On the other hand there's a great bit of satisfaction when you hit a fish and it just rolls on its side and flares its fins. I try for a head shot most of the time but the circumstances will dictate the shot usually. If going for the head I mentally draw a line between the eye and the top of the gill plate. The brain will be in that area, you will probably get the brain or spine. You really have a small target area for a true kill shot. As a general rule I've found that you rarely get one, though. This also depends on the size of the fish. A large fish will have a much heavier bone structure guarding the brain. In that case, unless you're shooting a mega-bluewater gun you may want to try for a shot in the gill plate or just behind the plate just above the pectoral fin. The best senerio is for complete penatration w/ the flopper opening on the other side of the fish. Moving fish or fish partially hidden fish in rocks don't always give you the primo head shot opportunity. There you have to make a judgement call if you think you can hit the fish in a solid area w/ a great chance of it not pulling off. I personally like to get as close as possible to the fish. I've shot some that the shaft didn't get all the way out of the mussle. I may have a few fish spook before I get as close as I want but I have fewer pull off. Some guys I go w/ shoot more fish but have more pull off because of rushed shots or long shots. I guess if you insist on only kill shots go for the area behind the eye and get as close as you can. Also get a good freedive knife for those times when things don't go as planned. Use it in the same area you tried to shoot. It's all part of the process. Dive safe.
A Solid Hit is a Perfect Shot

Don't worry about hitting the fish for a kill shot. Concentrate on hitting the lateral line just behind the gillplate. Any shot near the spine, in solid meat, is likely to result in a landed fish. Shots to the head result in lost and badly injured fish. Plus, you need a saw to get your spearpoint out....
best choice

hey simon,

like Jay said, it really depends on the type of fish you are shooting at.

- if you are targeting a species that is not too skiddish, then you owe it to them to put out their lights(one shot, one kill). which means, no rushing and distance should be minimal to the target. a shot to the head/brain is best.

- if you are targeting a more elusive species, you need to determine how many chances you are going to have to get a shot off. if you have the option of being patient and waiting for a better shot, then you should aim for the spine right behind the gill plate. the spine is thickest here and offers a larger target.

- if the more elusive species only gives you one chance, take the advice from our new member from long beach and go for the lateral line in the meatiest part of the body. this also means that you'll have to dispatch the animal manually asap.

a note of advice.... a speartip needs to be as sharp as possible, not only for skin penetration, but for bone traction. the sharper the tip the less chance deflection will occur off the bone/spine.

i'm attatching a picture of a grouper(florida) and the spot i like to go for if situation permits.

safe hunting,
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Cheers guys,
after all that I think I'll start trying for the backbone. There's no worse a feeling than seeing a fish rip off and swim away to die somewhere - this spot seems the best for landing the fish. I do usually come out with less fish than my buddies, but rarely have a fish rip off - which suits me just fine. :)


p.s. cheers for the photo Anderson should help a few would be hunters out there.
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My instinct when shooting is to go for the nuts, but am having trouble locating them on your average fish.
Watch out when you shoot for the nuts. That can make them really mad. Ask Anderson about what happened when he shot a small schoolmaster snapper in the nuts and the events that followed?:D
when i go (when ) i shoot fish behind gills spine and at end always knife in top of head so it doesnt suffer and so it doesnt flop around once on stringer to scare other fish,. hope it helped
I dont know but for me personally just below the eye about half inch right, into gill plate, seems to kill them instantly for me
to me it depends on the fish. to kill a goliath grouper if its lookin towards you, you will see a white spot in the middle of its forehead which is the softest spot on the head and if you hit it, you get an instant kill.
another fish which you can get an instant kill which is by far the hardest and most challenging one is the tarpon. to kill this fish instantly you must shoot it from an angle just behind the fish as to get the spear behind the scales. there is a black dot behind the gill plate that if you hit breaks the spine, but this spot is only approximately an inch in diameter
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