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Old 11-07-2016, 10:30   #1
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Spear Fishing - Dangers

I've been watching a lot of sailing videos and one thing my wife and I keep wondering is in regards to sharks when people go spear fishing.

We are narrowing our search down to blue water, BVI, Caribbean type areas.

Are there any good resources for doing a little research into the dangers of spear fishing in different locations around the world?
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Old 11-07-2016, 10:56   #2
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Spear Fishing - Dangers

One thing, when the man in the grey suits shows up, and he will one day ,do NOT allow him to have your fish, fight him off, if your not prepared to do that, your not prepared to spearfish. Theory is you do not want him to associate divers with food, that could be bad.
There is an excellent spear fishing forum I think maybe spear planet or something like that, been awhile since I was an avid spearo


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Old 11-07-2016, 11:13   #3
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Re: Spear Fishing - Dangers

Was fishing with shark experts in Bahamas last winter. They do exactly the opposite and happily surrender the fish to an aggressive shark. They are Australian so they don't shoot at people either.
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:18   #4
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Re: Spear Fishing - Dangers

[QUOTE=a64pilot;2164021]One thing, when the man in the grey suits shows up, and he will one day ,do NOT allow him to have your fish, fight him off, if your not prepared to do that, your not prepared to spearfish. Theory is you do not want him to associate divers with food, that could be bad.

Interesting, there are divers trying to teach Reef sharks to eat Lion fish. I watched a divemaster in Belize spear a lion fish and feed it to a reef shark that has started following him around.
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:18   #5
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Re: Spear Fishing - Dangers

So, any idea how often a person might run into one of these fellows? I know that is a vague question.
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:21   #6
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Re: Spear Fishing - Dangers

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Originally Posted by m2244 View Post
I've been watching a lot of sailing videos and one thing my wife and I keep wondering is in regards to sharks when people go spear fishing.

We are narrowing our search down to blue water, BVI, Caribbean type areas.

Are there any good resources for doing a little research into the dangers of spear fishing in different locations around the world?
I would suggest that you check the local laws regarding spear fishing especially in the BVI/USVI. Don't get caught with a speargun even on the boat in the park areas of St. John BTW. STX is very spear fish friendly, and STT is well.. It depends on where you are and which DPNR officer you meet up with.. BVI is the same way. Check the laws...
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:43   #7
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Re: Spear Fishing - Dangers

Most fish feed at dawn and dusk. I wouldn't spearfish during those times, as you're in the food chain.

I hand fish up to the wife in the dinghy, so I'm not dragging bloody fish around with me.
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:55   #8
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Spear Fishing - Dangers

I also won't shoot fish in poor visibility, and I'll second the low light thing although I have used my cave lights and shot fish very successfully at night, that really isn't fair, blind them with a 50W HID and then shoot them, but I got BIG grouper that way.
Blood obviously is supposed to get a shark going but I believe it's the vibrations of a dieing fish that really does.
Shark shows up or I see one out there at the edge of what you can see, I'm done shooting. Used to run into big Bulls all the time and it's the Bulls that have the reputation but I never had a Bull go after me, it was a Big as in bigger than I am Hammer that did, and made at least three passes with me sticking him with the spear and pushing him away each time that scared me. I had a Powerhead in my vest but couldn't get to it.
That was the longest swim up the anchor line I believe I ever made, I stayed on the wreck as it gave me cover until I went into Deco, I didn't want to do deco with that Hammer around.

They will swim often right at the edge of where you think you see one but can't quite, but they are there.


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Old 11-07-2016, 12:07   #9
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Re: Spear Fishing - Dangers

This is that forum
Spearfishing Planet

Myself I have two Ocean Rhio's, one for free shafting and one not, there are better guns of course, but they are good "consumer grade" guns.
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Old 11-07-2016, 12:14   #10
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Re: Spear Fishing - Dangers

Not really a problem if you keep your wits about you.
They are driven by survival so the theory about fighting them off is questionable, by this I mean that if a spearo has fought off a shark and survived with the prize, I suspect this shark will perhaps change tactics and be more aggressive next time.
If there is a bleeding fish, they will want it, so shoot one fish and stop hunting, no use putting five of them in the freezer, fresh fish is so much better. We always get one for dinner, and stop hunting. We only do this once a week or so. Sunset is my best time.
Learn to recognize species that are known as dangerous, but remember that all can be. A tail whack from a nurse shark can break your arm.
Be aware of the shark's attitude, pectoral fins flat and horizontally opposed is a relaxed shark just cruising for an opportunistic meal. If the fins are pointed more downward it gives them better turning, and this indicates a "ready" mode, if you see one of these, leave the area.
They do not really know mammalian blood, but fish blood will get them alert.
Sharks in my home town and elsewhere, Great Whites, have learned to associate humans with food, because of the cage diving industry. This has taken years.
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Old 11-07-2016, 12:41   #11
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Re: Spear Fishing - Dangers

There are sharks and then there are sharks. The sharks you'll commonly see diving in lagoons and on reefs are usually harmless unless you shoot them. They get irritated when you do that. Have speared fish and had them on a stringer with with more than 10 black tipped reef sharks swimming around. Didn't stay long in the water though as more and more of their fellows showed up.

The ones you need to worry about typically don't give much warning before they take a bite. The ones with stripes on the sides (tiger), strange heads (hammer head) and the big guy in the grey suit (great white) and a few other varieties are typically ambush attackers. Man-eaters have been known to circle and bump a diver to see if they might be tasty before striking but that's not how most attacks occur. They are all also quite large compared to the typical reef shark. Not a good idea to hang around in the water, whether you have fish or not, as you are an all you can eat opportunity rather than a little fish. A lesson in shark identification is a good idea if you plan on spear fishing.

Regularly dove at night for Lobster and never saw a shark. Doesn't mean they weren't out there just that I never saw one and was blissful in my ignorance. Fortunately sharks, with some exceptions don't seem to prefer 'long pig' over fish. A lot of shark attacks occur in murky waters where they probably couldn't properly identify what they were trying to snack on. Shark attacks also seem to occur more often at dusk, probably because they are hungry and go for availability over their gourmet first choice sashimi.

As JstaRebel says, check the local fishing regulations. Just having a spear gun can be cause for big trouble. Believe the Bahamas allow a Hawaiian Sling but get upset over spear guns. Some places may require a license. Last but not least, do some research on ciguatera. Some areas like the Marquesas are infested with it. Almost a guarantee that you'll get it if you spear reef fish. Stay away from top of the food chain predators as they are usually infected if ciguatera is present.
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Old 11-07-2016, 17:56   #12
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Re: Spear Fishing - Dangers

Like a local Fijian told me when I got out of the water because a large black tip reef shark cruised by me just 15 minutes after I entered to go spearfishing, dead serious he says "no problems, you can tell when they're hungry".
Now after a lot more experience around fish, I know he was right, but at that time.. I was still learning.
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:15   #13
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Re: Spear Fishing - Dangers

Just remember never to tuck your catch under one arm........

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Originally Posted by m2244 View Post
I've been watching a lot of sailing videos and one thing my wife and I keep wondering is in regards to sharks when people go spear fishing.

We are narrowing our search down to blue water, BVI, Caribbean type areas.

Are there any good resources for doing a little research into the dangers of spear fishing in different locations around the world?
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:21   #14
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Re: Spear Fishing - Dangers

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So, any idea how often a person might run into one of these fellows? I know that is a vague question.
You are bound to have many many more dives not seeing sharks than seeing them. Maybe 10 or 15 in a 100 dives if that.
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:42   #15
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Re: Spear Fishing - Dangers

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Just remember never to tuck your catch under one arm........

That used to concern me, and I planned on 10' or so of line and my stringer on that, but got talked into wearing it on my belt by local Spearfishermen, and I never, ever had a shark show any interest in the dead fish, but one you didn't "stone" on the end of the line thrashing about? That one is VERY interesting to a shark if one is nearby, very interesting, it gets them worked up.

Couple of years ago the family was diving a "wreck" off of Panama City beach and when we got down there was a BIG Hammerhead down there, that left pretty quick. Now Hammers don't seem to hang around one spot like a Bull will, but seem to cruise around, usually you see them cruise by and they leave, they seem to travel.
Well we dove the site for 20 min or so and I sent the family up the line I tied us in with, I would do that, give them 10 min or so, untie us and ascend myself. Well I saw a big red snapper and decided to take him, I shot him and he swam over the side of the wreck and about that time this Hammer shows up, he swam from behind me, over my head and I thought he's going to get my fish darnit.
Well he got a few feet in front of me and turned and went for me, and did a few repeat passes. He could have had me from behind as I never saw him coming, but instead swam just over my head, maybe 6" or so going for the fish.
Many years ago I read that no diver ever saw the shark that attacked them before they were hit, I don't know if that's true or not.
My gun, an Ocean Rhino has a "kill spike" on the end of it and I was using this kill spike to fend off the Hammer.
I theorize he heard the fish and went for it, but the fish went on the other side of the wreck and he then thought I was making the dieing fish sounds and went for me instead, a case of mistaken identity.
Work on "stoning" a fish, if you hit them right, they die immediately, stone dead.

A ticked off shark will display a posture of being stiff, back arched and pectoral fins down, think of the classic comic strongman with his arms down and bowed, they swim jerky and seem stiff, not the slow lazy fluid swimming you usually see.
You see one doing that keep an eye on him, he's dangerous
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