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Tips for spearfishing with low visibility

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SpearTheGulf

New Member
Sep 28, 2020
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Hey everyone. I live in the Gulf of Mexico and can't get offshore very far so I usually spearfish in the Texas Intracoastal Waterway but the visibility is almost never more than 5'. I have a JBL Woody Custom which is 36" long. Spearfishing with proper technique is not really possible since if I hold my gun with an extended arm I cannot see the end of the gun let alone the fish. Because I have to hold my gun oddly I end up missing a significant number of shots. Does anyone have any suggestions for the best way to hold the gun to minimize the distance away from my body the end of the spear is. Also any advice for approaching fish in extremely low visibility would be appreciated!

Thanks.
 
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SpearTheGulf

New Member
Sep 28, 2020
6
2
3
23
Hey everyone. I live in the Gulf of Mexico and can't get offshore very far so I usually spearfish in the Texas Intracoastal Waterway but the visibility is almost never more than 5'. I have a JBL Woody Custom which is 36" long. Spearfishing with proper technique is not really possible since if I hold my gun with an extended arm I cannot see the end of the gun let alone the fish. Because I have to hold my gun oddly I end up missing a significant number of shots. Does anyone have any suggestions for the best way to hold the gun to minimize the distance away from my body the end of the spear is. Also any advice for approaching fish in extremely low visibility would be appreciated!

Thanks.
Also for more information I largely hunt sheepshead and mangrove snappers. I do not have much trouble with sheepshead as they aren't very skittish and pretty large but mangroves I have a more difficulty time with
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
8,079
1,620
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You should probably get yourself a shorter speargun.

I often spear in poor visibility. For GB we generally recommend euro/pipe, band- powered spearguns 75-90cm - that's the length of the barrel pipe. As a rule of thumb, the shorter lengths are more appropriate/necessary the further east you go (e.g. shorter for Sussex, longer for Cornwall).

I started spearing with a 90 but for Dorset it was usually too long and heavy for the limited visibility and fast moving fish I often encountered. Switching to a lightweight 75 helped a lot.

75 is a pretty good general purpose size for the UK (as is 80/85/90) but sometimes 75cm is still too long for the visibility available. It could be argued that it is not worth spearing in such poor conditions but, if you're there, with your gear, might as well try! I recently bought a 60cm speargun for such conditions.

Even the 60 may be too long for some conditions. In which case something very short, like a 50cm band-gun or pneumatic (a 50cm pneumatic is usually significantly shorter than a 50cm band-gun) might be the way to go. Small rollerguns are now more common. There is very nice looking Greek 55cm inverted roller speargun, also the Turkish company Apnea produce a wide range of sizes, including 35cm and 45 cm Whaler roller spearguns. I had the opportunity to see and hold one of 35 or 45 roller spearguns recently and was reassured to see that it looks and feels like a good, real, proper speargun. An alternative to a short pneumatic perhaps?

I believe RA will make spearguns down to 50cm to order. I know of several spearos using 70cm railguns in the UK in poor viz and on wrecks. And I recall a US spearo using a 50cm railgun to hunt ling. No doubt a 60cm speargun could be ordered if required. RA railguns are heavy duty and can handle the biggest fish if necessary. The 1x16mm Sparid (or cheaper rail-less Scorpia) is a good option but, as an American you will likely prefer the 2x16mm Tuna model - more power! :D There is also a carbon barrel version and, I think, now a 2-band rail-less model (possibly 2x14mm). For such short guns a rail is unnecessary mass ( inertia) and causes extra lateral drag IMHO.
 
Last edited:

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
8,079
1,620
418
Usually best to let the fish come to you. Or dive quietly nearby and feign interest in a nearby rock or root around the sandy bottom as if looking for food. In poor visibility, hiding from fish is usually not as big a problem as it is in better viz. But, sure, hide behind a rock, in a gulley or in or behind weed if you can.
 

TEXASFIVEGUN

Active Member
Jul 15, 2011
11
3
43
I sometimes hunt the same intercoastal and the surrounding flats near Port Aransas and Rockport. For mangroves I use a 70cm pneumatic with a inline 4 prong tip. It works very well in five foot viz. Sheepshead are killed with a 38" Koah midhandle. The midhandle gives full 38" length power and handles like a 28" gun. You should join the "Port Aransas Area Spearfishing" Facebook group to get frequent visibility reports and area hunting tips. https://www.facebook.com/groups/530505267838757
 

SpearTheGulf

New Member
Sep 28, 2020
6
2
3
23
You should probably get yourself a shorter speargun.

I often spear in poor visibility. For GB we generally recommend euro/pipe, band- powered spearguns 75-90cm - that's the length of the barrel pipe. As a rule of thumb, the shorter lengths are more appropriate/necessary the further east you go (e.g. shorter for Sussex, longer for Cornwall).

I started spearing with a 90 but for Dorset it was usually too long and heavy for the limited visibility and fast moving fish I often encountered. Switching to a lightweight 75 helped a lot.

75 is a pretty good general purpose size for the UK (as is 80/85/90) but sometimes 75cm is still too long for the visibility available. It could be argued that it is not worth spearing in such poor conditions but, if you're there, with your gear, might as well try! I recently bought a 60cm speargun for such conditions.

Even the 60 may be too long for some conditions. In which case something very short, like a 50cm band-gun or pneumatic (a 50cm pneumatic is usually significantly shorter than a 50cm band-gun) might be the way to go. Small rollerguns are now more common. There is very nice looking Greek 55cm inverted roller speargun, also the Turkish company Apnea produce a wide range of sizes, including 35cm and 45 cm Whaler roller spearguns. I had the opportunity to see and hold one of 35 or 45 roller spearguns recently and was reassured to see that it looks and feels like a good, real, proper speargun. An alternative to a short pneumatic perhaps?

I believe RA will make spearguns down to 50cm to order. I know of several spearos using 70cm railguns in the UK in poor viz and on wrecks. And I recall a US spearo using a 50cm railgun to hunt ling. No doubt a 60cm speargun could be ordered if required. RA railguns are heavy duty and can handle the biggest fish if necessary. The 1x16mm Sparid (or cheaper rail-less Scorpia) is a good option but, as an American you will likely prefer the 2x16mm Tuna model - more power! :D There is also a carbon barrel version and, I think, now a 2-band rail-less model (possibly 2x14mm). For such short guns a rail is unnecessary mass ( inertia) and causes extra lateral drag IMHO.
I went ahead and ordered a small speargun. I'll try it out and let you know how it works. Thanks!
 
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Reactions: Mr. X

SpearTheGulf

New Member
Sep 28, 2020
6
2
3
23
I sometimes hunt the same intercoastal and the surrounding flats near Port Aransas and Rockport. For mangroves I use a 70cm pneumatic with a inline 4 prong tip. It works very well in five foot viz. Sheepshead are killed with a 38" Koah midhandle. The midhandle gives full 38" length power and handles like a 28" gun. You should join the "Port Aransas Area Spearfishing" Facebook group to get frequent visibility reports and area hunting tips. https://www.facebook.com/groups/530505267838757
Thanks for the advice. I use my 36" on sheepshead and don't really have an issue. I just ordered a smaller one similar to yours for mangroves and will see how it goes!
 

TEXASFIVEGUN

Active Member
Jul 15, 2011
11
3
43
Thanks for the advice. I use my 36" on sheepshead and don't really have an issue. I just ordered a smaller one similar to yours for mangroves and will see how it goes!
Where are you hurting? If you ever get down around Port A give me a shout.
 

SpearTheGulf

New Member
Sep 28, 2020
6
2
3
23
Where are you hurting? If you ever get down around Port A give me a shout.
I live on the water (canals) on padre islands so honestly most days I spearfish there. I swim around the docks that people have behind their houses.

I've been really wanting to go to the jetties at Port A but visibility has just been so bad. That is honestly what got me started going in the canals. I would go to Packery Channel or the Port A jetties and vis is like 2 feet. It is miserable. But once the visibility gets better I'm definitely going to be going there again.
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,006
779
218
71
Short pole spear works great in poor vis. ScubaPro used to make a 5 ft fiberglass model that was bullet proof. My buddy switched to it and I thought he was nuts until he outshoot me about 3 to one.
 
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