Technical Spearfishing: In – Shoot – Out

by: Capt. Chad Carney

A quote I wrote years ago: “Keep your gas in your tank and out of your body, unless fish are going on your stringer!”

Here’s some dive methods to achieve spearfishing success:

Hang high, like altitude for pilots, shallow water is your friend, and fish don’t notice you much up there. If you’re on a drop off, hit the deepest parts first and save the crest to prevent heavy gas loading.

Dive like you’re in molasses. Slow everything down, your breathing will follow, and your fluid motions won’t scare fish. The only time to bolt is to pounce on prey you just shot.

Use high performance regulators and keep them tuned up. I like dual control 2nd stages because I can de-tune the cracking effort and venturi when not in use, then open them up when I breathe them.

Get fins with overdrive. I found long freedive fins have high cruising speed without much effort. I use carbon fiber for freediving and plastic for scuba. I’ve tried everything since and to me nothing compares.

Streamline your gear. “Everything you need, nothing you don’t.” (Thanks Nissan!) Spares are great unless they’re too big and in the way.

Get the lead out. Do a buoyancy observation at the end of each dive, especially if you change wet or drysuits. Any excess weight makes you a larger submarine, requiring more power to move through the water, and makes keeping perfect trim difficult. You should be able to drop slowly by quietly exhaling and rise back up easily by taking a large inhalation, and much less use for noisy inflator adjustment. Push off the bottom with your speargun butt before kicking, which clouds your view. If possible, do your gun loading, fish stringing and knifing, high up off the bottom.

Often I save enough gas for another shorter and shallower dive. In rare times I’ve dropped 3 times on a tank.

Freeshafting is the safest shooting method when deep. It really takes away huge entanglement problems. Sure, you can’t do it everywhere or on all kinds of fish, but you might be surprised how good you can get at it and how big fish it can drop!

Get in shape and stick to it. If you can’t go diving as often as you’d like, find another swim exercise. I use a legs only scissor kick to build muscles and stamina. A small pool or short distance works for this stroke and it’s great to rescue somebody too!

Captain Chad Carney

Call or Text my cell 727-423-7775 or e-mail

Spearfishing Instruction & Charters on Wrecks Reefs & Towers in SW FL

Captain Chad Carney – Diving Instructor & Journalist
mobile: 727-423-7775