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The best spearfishing gloves to protect and insulate your hands

When you’re exploring the ocean, you need a decent pair of gloves. Not only do they keep your hands warm, but the best spearfishing gloves will protect you from all sorts of nasties.

Now, on my first couple of spearfishing adventures as a grommet I had very little spearfishing gear. Armed with a pole spear, my fins and a snorkel, I wasn’t even wearing a wetsuit in these early days, as it was the middle of summer and the conditions were perfect.

Getting a pair of the best spearfishing gloves seemed like overkill. Until I came across a cave full of crayfish. Despite being severely underprepared, myself and two friends managed to each pull a crayfish each from under the ledge. This proved far more difficult than I had ever imagined. Of course these suckers didn’t want to let go, as we’d yet to figure out you need a strong grip on the top of their carapace.

Without even a towline we swam back to shore crayfish in hand. It was when I got home that my mom almost had a heart attack, as my palms and fingertips had been slashed to ribbons from the spines on the crayfish.

But that wasn’t even the worst part. I had to stay out of the water for a week while they healed. The very next thing I did was buy a pair of the best spearfishing gloves. At least, the best available from the surf shop in my little coastal town. A pair of U.S. Divers’ Warm Water Gloves.

U.S. Divers Comfo Sport 2mm Diving Gloves (Large)
118 Reviews
U.S. Divers Comfo Sport 2mm Diving Gloves (Large)
  • Comfo Sport Glove
  • 2mm neoprene back warm water glove
  • Reinforced synthetic suede palm
  • Elastic band withhook and loop closeure
  • Two-year limited warranty

 

They were great. Grabbing onto rock ledges as I pulled myself underwater to check out hidden ledges, fighting with crayfish on almost every dive, and also making it a bit less hairy when you’re trying to wrangle a struggling fish off your spear. The only downside was they lasted only about a season, as I put them through the works. Soon the fingertips started tearing through, and I needed to upgrade these again and again.

These days, I’m loving my pair of Strike gloves from Ocean Hunter. They’re a much tighter fit, and the sealed seams helps to cut down on the water washing through which keeps my fingers much warmer. Plus, the fully reinforced palms and fingertips feel a whole lot sturdier and have already lasted two seasons with only a little wear. Being neoprene they’re flexible yet still very strong, as I’d rather strength over flexibility in a pair of spearfishing gloves any day of the week.

Sale
Ocean Hunter Strike Kevlar Glove, L
  • SKU: tri-glohskl
  • Brand: Ocean Hunter

 

Why get the best spearfishing gloves?

Your hands are important, but I found that after spending an hour or two in the water your palms and fingertips soften rather dramatically. What would result in just a small scratch normally is now a deep cut if it happens while you’re spearfishing.

There’s a few reasons to buy a pair of spearfishing gloves

First and foremost is the protection they give. It’s like a safety net. One of the spearfishing techniques I like to use is a slow dive along the bottom, pulling myself along. The added protection on your hands means I can do this without a worry I’m tearing them up.

Plus, you’re able to grip and grab things you normally wouldn’t. Like pulling a crayfish from under a rock, or sticking your fingers into the gill of a fish. The added protection means you can do this without a second’s thought.

It’s also safer. I am a big fan of shallow-water spearfishing in the wash of the waves along a headland, and there’s been many times I’ve gotten just a little too close. Having a decent pair or spearfishing gloves means that any time I need extra support to stop myself smashing into the rocks from the push of a wave, I can simply grab onto whatever is nearby.

Finally, the best spearfishing gloves will keep your hands warm. In summer it’s not as critical, but if you want any hope of a long dive during winter, keeping your hands warm is one of the most important steps. Once your fingers get cold, you’ll struggle to handle and reload your speargun.

These days, a pair of spearfishing gloves are a must-have in my basic setup, and I always have at least one or two pairs as backup in my boat.

What are the best spearfishing gloves?

I’ve tried everything when it comes to spearfishing, and have heard many different opinions when it comes to the best spearfishing gloves to buy.

One friend swears by his work gloves. They’re designed to be puncture resistant, and I’ve watched him use these to pull crayfish after crayfish out of their holes without a second’s thought. I like the protection myself, but I found the lack of insulation to be a big downside, especially if you’re diving deep or in cold water. My fingers get numb far too fast.

The next choice is to get cheap “gardening-style” gloves from the hardware store. They’ve got good rubberized grips and provide some protection for your fingers, but I hate how loose they fit. It might just be me, but I’ve yet to get a good close fit on a pair of cheap gloves. They always balloon up with water and feel like they want to float away when I’m swimming. Plus, they don’t last all that long and provide zero insulation.

My advice is to buy a proper pair of spearfishing gloves.

You want to find a pair of gloves that have a nice snug fit on your hand when you’re putting them on dry. They will stretch when they get wet so snug is perfect, just ensure it’s not too tight that the gloves are cutting off the circulation to your fingers. That’s bad.

For me, I also use gloves as an insulator, because my fingers go numb fast when I’m spearfishing. I always opt for 2mm spearfishing gloves, which I’ve found to be a good balance. They’re thick enough to keep my hands warm, yet I still have quite a lot of mobility in my fingers when I’m trying to wrangle a crayfish or reload my speargun.

If you can, I’d also recommend looking for gloves with a long wrist cover. That way you can create an overlap between your gloves and your wetsuit sleeve. I tuck my gloves underneath the sleeve of my wetsuit, which forms a nice barrier against any water getting in. But I’m not quite done. On my right wrist goes my dive watch, over the top of it all to hold the seal tight. On my left forearm I strap my dive knife, which I position so the top strap forms a second lock holding the seal tight on this wrist.

Now I’m ready to go spearfishing. My hands are protected from both the cold water and anything I may need to grab on a dive, and I’m able to last much longer in the water than if I wasn’t wearing spearfishing gloves at all. Don’t risk tearing your hands up or needing to cut your dive short. Get a pair of the best spearfishing gloves today, like the Ocean Hunter Strike. It’ll be worth it. Trust me.

Sale
Ocean Hunter Strike Kevlar Glove, L
  • SKU: tri-glohskl
  • Brand: Ocean Hunter

 

Happy spearin’

The correct way to setup a spearfishing weight belt

One of the most important pieces of gear you need is a spearfishing weight belt. When I’m spearfishing, I almost always wear a wetsuit to stay warm, but this can make spearfishing a little tricky.

Because your wetsuit will cause you to float. And if you’re sporting a proper spearfishing wetsuit, you’re going to struggle even getting yourself to the bottom. Let alone staying down there to spearfish. That’s why you need a weight belt for spearfishing.

In short, a spearfishing weight belt works to offset the buoyancy of your wetsuit, so you’re able to dive down to the hunting zone. Because your weight belt is heavy, it counteracts the floatation of your wetsuit.

The trick is to get it right.

But this is harder than it seems. Because there’s just so many variables.

  • The salinity of the water will affect your buoyancy.
  • The thickness of your wetsuit will affect your buoyancy.
  • The depth you’re planning to dive will affect your buoyancy.
  • The composition of your body will affect your buoyancy.

What you want to achieve, is to add the perfect amount of lead to your weight belt. So you can dive down to the hunting zone effectively. I say effectively, because you need to remember that getting back to the surface is rather important too, especially once you need to breathe again.

Putting a huge amount of spearfishing weights on your weight belt would make it easy to hit the bottom, but it’s going to be very difficult swimming back to the surface. If not fatal. The key is to find the balance where it’s relatively easy to get to the bottom, and also to kick back to the surface.

How much lead to use on a weight belt for spearfishing

The first step is to get neutrally buoyant in the water.

This basically just means, you’re able to hang in the water without floating or sinking. The ideal depth you want to be neutrally buoyant at is about 8 meters deep.

There’s a few reasons for this.

Inside your wetsuit are tiny bubbles of gas. As you dive, the pressure from the water around them causes these bubbles to compress, so you become less buoyant. After 8 meters, you want your buoyancy to fall, so it’s simple to drop down to the bottom.

But there’s also safety. We talk about the risk of shallow water blackouts in a number of posts, and there’s a reason we want to be positively buoyant above 8 meters. Just in case you blackout, the buoyancy in your wetsuit will bring you straight up to the surface.

Of course, you’re going to need to adjust the weight you need to use depending on the depth you’re diving. When I’m in close along the reefs in shallow water I have to add more weight to ensure I stay on the bottom.

Just be very careful.

On the surface of the water you want to be positively buoyant. You want to float. If you add too much weight and you’re not able to float comfortably on the surface, this can get deadly very quickly. As soon as you’re tired and not kicking to stay afloat, you’ll sink.

Getting the right amount of lead on your spearfishing weight belt is critical.

Of course, people are different and they’re going to need to adjust this, but to give you an example for me, at 84kg, I use 7kg of weights along with my 5.5mm wetsuit.

As a general rule, to find the amount of weight you need take the thickness of your wetsuit then + 2 to get a starting point. For example:

  • A 3mm wetsuit = 3 + 2 = 5kg of weight
  • A 5mm wetsuit = 5 + 2 = 7kg of weight

Now these are only rough guidelines, and assuming you’re an average of about 80kg. If you’re lighter than this, I’d add on 1.5 kg of weight instead of two, or if you’re heavier add on only 0.5 kg of weight.

Also, if you’re new to the sport of spearfishing I’d recommend keeping your weights a kilogram or two lighter until you’re used to your equipment and starting to get confident diving to the bottom to spearfish. Only once you’ve got it down should you start working to get your neutral buoyancy right. It pays to err on the side of caution with spearfishing, and make sure you’ve got a buddy with you when you’re testing a spearfishing weight belt.

Finally, I want to make one final note about buoyancy. As you dive deeper and deeper the air in your lungs compresses, along with your wetsuit. To the point where you’re no longer buoyant in the water. Here is where you need to be very aware, as past this point you’re not going to have any help getting back to the surface. You won’t float.

When I’m on the bottom in 20 meters of water, I have to physically swim back to the 8 meter mark before the buoyancy of my wetsuit kicks in and I get a little help floating to the surface.

What’s your spearfishing weight belt made from?

In addition to the lead weights, the two most important parts of your spearfishing weight belt are what it’s made from and the buckle.

Always, always, choose a weight belt for spearfishing with a quick-release buckle. If there’s an emergency, you want to be able to drop the weight belt as quickly as possible so you float right back to the surface. Riffe make one of the best weight belts I’ve seen, and its also rubber.

Riffe Rubber Weight Belt with Buckle for Freediving and Spearfishing
65 Reviews
Riffe Rubber Weight Belt with Buckle for Freediving and Spearfishing
  • Low-cost and efficient rubber weight belt
  • Horizontal ribs to prevent unwated motion
  • Cam-lock buckle constructed from glass-filled nylon
  • 20lb Weight Capacity
  • 54" Long, 2" wide

 

Now, if you’ve done any scuba diving you’ve probably seen the cheap nylon belts that get used instead of rubber. This is fine when you’re diving with a tank, because you’re much more stable in the water, and it’s usually stuck in place below your BCD and wedged between your tanks. Plus, you’re breathing tank air so you’re not getting your torso compressed by the pressure, and you’re not flipping upside down to dive to the bottom.

But when you’re spearfishing, I’ve found that nylon weight belts are just too slippery. They slide from side to side when you’re moving through the water, and when you duck-dive down they slip up from your hips to your stomach and you’ve got to waste time readjusting it on almost every dive. It’s not fun.

My advice is to spent a little bit extra for a rubber spearfishing weight belt. The rubber won’t slip, and you won’t need to wear it that tight either. It’s more expensive yes, but it’s a better piece of gear.

Testing your spearfishing weight belt

Once you’ve got your weight belt setup, it’s relatively easy to test your buoyancy.

Get kitted out in all your spearfishing gear, and allow yourself to float vertically in the water. Be totally relaxed, with your fins pointing down and your arms at your side. If you’ve calculated and got your setup right, the water should be coming about halfway up your face.

  • If your mouth is out of the water, you’ve not got enough weights on your belt.
  • If your being pulled under and the water is above your head, you’ve got too much weight on.

Make any adjustments to your weight belt as you need, then you’re ready for the next step. It’s time to start diving.

From here, I’d do a few test dives to 8 meters. My dive watch shows me how deep I’m going, but you could always mark off the depth on your floatline and follow it down. You should be able to hover in the water at the 8 meter mark without sinking or floating.

If you’re not sure,

  • Kick up to 7 meters and see if you start floating, then,
  • Kick down to 9 meters and see if you start sinking

Make any adjustments to your weights as you need until you’re neutrally buoyant at the 8 meter mark. That’s your ideal weight. Remember this number.

Now, it’s just a matter of adjusting to your conditions.

  1. If you’re going to be diving in shallow, rough water, I’d add weight until you’re able to lie flat on the bottom without floating back to the surface.
  2. If you’re going to be diving deep, I’d remove the weights so you’ve got to work a little harder to push past a deeper “neutrally buoyant” zone, but this will make it far easier to float to the surface when you’re running out of air.

Setting up your spearfishing weight belt is one of the most important fundamentals of the sport to get right. Being able to dive to the bottom is critical for hunting fish, as is your ability to stay down there and maximize your time spearfishing. Just be careful to get it right, do your testing and work out the perfect amount of lead to add. You don’t want to be fighting to return to the surface for every breath.

Happy spearin’

How to hold your breath underwater for spearfishing

When it comes to becoming a better spearo, one of the most popular topics that comes up is how to increase your bottom time. Or, how to hold your breath underwater.

Because once you learn how to hold your breath underwater for longer on a dive, the higher chances you’ll come across the perfect fish to spear.

Right? Well, sort of.

Today, I’m going to teach you a number of techniques that will show you how to hold your breath underwater. But before we get started I need to make one thing very clear. Maximizing your time underwater is a good goal, but it needs to be done safely.

Everything you learn today is highly advanced, and should never be practiced alone. I harp on about the importance of dive buddies, but this is no joke. Pushing your limits will eventually result in you pushing yourself a little too far. Push too far alone, and you’ll black out underwater with no help for miles. This is a recipe for disaster.

When I was just getting started I used to spearfish on my own all the time. But after a close friend lost his life on a shallow dive, I realized how dangerous this sport really is. He blacked out after trying to pull a crayfish out of a cave in just 18 feet of water. Being a lone wolf there was no dive-buddy nearby to get him back to the surface.

These days, it’s very, very rare that I’ll do a solo dive, and if I go alone you can bet I’m not trying to set any records for bottom time. It’s just not worth the risk. Safety comes first.

Right. Now let’s get into it. There’s two key rules with holding your breath underwater for spearfishing.

How to hold your breath underwater:

  1. Don’t burn oxygen if you don’t need to.
  2. Make good use of your time in the “kill” zone

All of the following tips for how to hold your breath underwater are geared around serving these two rules. Get the fundamentals right, and you’ll maximize the time you can spend in the killing zone.

 

Find a way to relax your breathing

When you’re tense or pushing yourself, your heartrate escalates. Which burns more oxygen, and will cut the amount of time you can hold your breath underwater considerably. I like to do a few warm-up stretches to loosen up before I even get in the water, along with a series of deep breathing exercises.

Here’s my favorite.

  1. Place your right hand on your chest, and your left on the top of your stomach
  2. Inhale for 5 to 7 seconds, imagining the air is filling your stomach first
  3. You should notice your left hand is moving while your right is not
  4. Once your lower lungs are full, shift and start filling the top part of your lungs
  5. You should notice your right hand has started moving and your left is stable
  6. When you’re almost done, look straight up and gasp in one more mouthful of air
  7. Hold this for 10 seconds, before you start a controlled exhale for 15 seconds
  8. You want to release the air from the top of your lungs first
  9. Once this is clear, push your abdominal muscles and release the rest of the air
  10. Repeat 5 times

Once I’m in the water, I try to follow a regular pattern with my breaths and keep my muscles as loose and relaxed as possible. I’ve usually only got a light grip on my gun, and I tend to let the boat and the currents pull me where I need to dive, instead of fighting the ocean I roll with it. This sometimes means getting dropped off up-current from where I want to dive, but that’s not an issue. It’s just a matter of planning accordingly.

Equalize before you start to hold your breath

I didn’t realize I did this until I took a freediving course, but it helps a lot and many novice spearos don’t follow this advice. Before even diving down, you want to “pre-equalize.” Basically, before you break the surface and start to dive to the bottom, equalize first. It’s a neat little trick that means you don’t have to start worrying about equalizing again till you’re a good 5 to 7 feet deeper, you can concentrate solely on making a clean duck-dive.

Don’t try to do too much while underwater

Swimming around underwater may seem like the best way to explore and hunt your fish, but it’s the wrong strategy. Moving around burns oxygen faster, and you’re more likely to scare the fish away. I’ve found that fish rarely like to be chased, instead the best plan of action is to simply settle down and wait. Of course, you need a good spot where there’s plenty of fish activity, but by staying still you’ll last much longer on the bottom so any interested fish have more time to come and check you out.

Personally, I find that once I’m on the bottom I rarely use my fins to propel me around. Instead, I grip a rock with my hand, and use my arms to pull me around. This technique burns less oxygen than kicking, and is also less likely to spook any fish hanging about.

Make calm and controlled movements

Again, if you’re causing a huge ruckus underwater you’re going to scare the fish away, and there’s no point pushing yourself to stay underwater so long that you’ve got to make a frantic dash for the surface at the end of your dive. I’ve had much more success by staying calm and in control, and leaving a fish on the bottom when my dive is timing out, so I can resurface, prep again, and dive down with a fresh breath and make the shot on my second dive.

Position your body as flat as possible

The best position I’ve found when spearfishing is to lie flat on the bottom. It cuts your profile down so you’re less affected by the swell and any current, and makes you look like less of a threat to any fish in the area, so they’re more likely to come closer. I also find that when I’m laying flat I’m more relaxed, as I’m not trying to balance on my knees while fighting off the movement in the water, which means I’m able to hold my breath underwater for longer.

Get your spearfishing weight belt right

One of the biggest problems I had when I first started spearfishing was an incorrect amount of weight. I was using far too little lead on my weight belt, which meant I was always fighting. Fighting to push myself to the bottom. Fighting to stay on the bottom. Fighting off the swell of the waves that was always trying to tear me from my position.

All of this struggling meant my average bottom time was around 15 to 20 seconds. Instead, you’ve got to get your weights right, so you’re able to lie calmly on the ocean bottom. Remember, staying calm is key. That’s how to hold your breath underwater the right way.

How to hold your breath underwater (and stay safe)

hold your breath underwater spearfishing

As you start learning how to hold your breath underwater for longer, it’s going to be easier and easier to start pushing your dives out to a minute, then a minute and a half, or even two, depending on your fitness levels and overall diving abilities.

But just because you can push yourself to have a long bottom time, it doesn’t always mean you should hold your breath underwater for this long.

Remember how I mentioned safety?

The longer you hold your breath underwater, the higher chances you’ll experience a black out.

It’s just your body’s way of saying, “Right mate, you’ve had enough.”

For me, the first time I blacked out underwater I was lucky. I was doing a freediving course, and was under the careful watch of both two close friends, as well as the instructor, at a deep-water pool in a proper training facility. They had me back on the surface in seconds, and there was no long-term damage.

But this could have gone terribly wrong out in the ocean. Or if I was by myself.

These days, I track all of my dives with a simple little freediving watch. The Oceanic F10 V3 Freedive Watch. It’s captured all of my dives over the last three years (since I bought it), and I use these to work out exactly how long I can dive in specific circumstances. Then I program in the alarms, and dive to my watch. This way, I’m not pushing myself to stay down any longer than I ought to, because I’m waiting out a particular fish or simply not aware of the time.

Oceanic F-10 Free-Diving Watch V3
9 Reviews
Oceanic F-10 Free-Diving Watch V3
  • Freedive Mode Main displays Depth and Elapsed Dive Time with access to either a pre-set countdown timer or lap timer
  • User defined surface recovery timer, repeating elapsed dive time alarm, repeating depth interval alarm and 3 max depth alarms

 

Even with a buddy, if you blackout on a dive you’ve still got to rely on them to get you back on dry land (which could be a problem if you’re a few hundred meters offshore), to get help.

But there’s also a smart reason to not push yourself. Spend too long underwater and you’ll need to spend longer on the surface recovering. Which when you add it all up at the end of the day, means you spend far less time spearfishing in the actual “kill zone.”

It works like this.

  • I usually dive a 1:30 surface to surface. In 20 – 30 feet of water, I then need to spend about 2 minutes resting and preparing for the next dive on the surface. Over the course of an hour, (assuming I take 15 seconds to dive and surface) that’s about 17 minutes of bottom time, with 34 minutes of rest on the surface, and 17 dives per hour.

Now let’s imagine a different scenario. I push myself to stay on the bottom for 2 minutes.

  • In 20 – 30 feet of water, I run a 2:30 surface to surface dive. This is almost my limit for holding my breath underwater, and I’m buggered when I resurface. It takes me about 5 minutes to recover enough to even attempt the next dive. Over the course of an hour (assuming again I take 15 seconds to dive and surface), that’s only 16 minutes of bottom time. Assuming I am able to continue pushing these long bottom times of course, this means I only get 8 dives per hour.

So to recap. If you hold your breath underwater for as long as possible, you will not only need longer to recover on the surface, you will get far fewer dives in, which may mean you miss out on a potentially great spot because you’re staying in one place for far too long. On my home reef this technique wouldn’t work, as you’ve got to actually dive to find the fish first.

The real key to spearfishing is to master techniques like how to hold your breath underwater, so you can become the most effective hunter possible. Just remember, that staying deeper for longer doesn’t necessarily make you a better hunter. You also need a keen awareness of what’s going on around you, and to make the most of every dive you make. A long dive may be necessary if you’re hiding out in a compression point awaiting some big game fish, but generally I bring home far more fish when I’m simply following my watch. The more good dives you get in, the better your chances of a good catch.

Happy spearin’

Avoiding danger when you’re spearfishing from the shore

Without access to a boat, most of your early adventures are going to involve spearfishing from the shore. It’s how I got started, and for the most part it was fine.

At least, that’s what I tell my mum.

But after a few hairy encounters of my own and a variety of different scars from getting washed over rocks I was a little too close to, I thought I’d share this piece today to help any other beginner spearo’s from making the same mistakes.

Think of these like a set of rules to avoid disaster when you’re spearfishing from the shore.

Have a plan of attack for spearfishing from the shore

Spearfishing from the shore involves a huge amount of swimming, as you first need to make it out through the currents and the breakers, before getting to the spot where you actually want to go spearfishing. The first thing you need to do is have a plan.

Know where you’re headed, what gear you’re going to need, and ensure your dive buddy is on the same page and happy to follow your intended route. It’s so easy to start following a reef or a school of fish, only to look up and realize you’re now a couple of hundred yards from your buddy as they opted to swim in another direction.

Respect the weather and the tide

It may seem obvious, but when you actually make it down to a location only to find the conditions are a little sub-par, it doesn’t make sense to push it. Spearfishing is a dangerous sport, and when the surf’s a little big, or the wind has blown out your spot, my advice is to find something else to do.

Diving in dirty water isn’t fun as you won’t see anything, and what’s worse is the risk that you’ll get into trouble. Maybe the wind and tides are churning up a current that threatens to suck you out into the bay, or the waves are too strong and they’re pushing you too close to the rocks on the reef. If the weather and conditions don’t look good for spearfishing, don’t push it.

Have the right safety gear

This one I neglected for years as a grommet, because I was a little too cavalier. I didn’t want to spend my hard-earned money on dive floats and fancy equipment, it all went to my spearguns. But after nearly losing my whole setup to a Wahoo because my gun wasn’t clipped to my float-line, I realized just how silly that mindset was.

There is a right way to do things, and basic safety gear is a must. Get gloves for your hands so you don’t shred these on the rocks. Get a flag for your towline so any boaters actually know that you’re diving below. And buy a decent float. I had a small orange one that did little else except tell me where my floatline was. After almost blacking out on a deep dive on an island offshore and having to rest for a couple of minutes on a friend’s full-sized float, I bought a new one for myself that afternoon.

Riffe Torpedo 2 Divers Float w/ Dive Flag for Spearfishing and Freediving
1 Reviews
Riffe Torpedo 2 Divers Float w/ Dive Flag for Spearfishing and Freediving
  • Increased pressure limit to 7 PSI Rated 7 PSI with 95 lbs of lift from surface to 15 feet. Depths below 15 feet will reduce lift capacity Optional pressure gauge plus adaptor for filling with either a bicycle pump, compressor, or scuba tank
  • Top entry zipper for placing ballast weight (isolated in pocket) or servicing bladder Spring loaded value (2) side handles and (1) rear handle Heavy Duty outer cover Sandwich material with nylon in the middle. Non-staining material 3 lb. lead shot bag - recommended when using flag assembly Flare and flag holder while transporting

 

Get your gear organized

There’s quite a bit of force in a wave, and one of the surest ways to lose your gear is to waddle out through the breakers or to stumble on the rocks and drop it all. I know. I’ve done this more than a few times myself. Instead, you need to get as ready as you possibly can before you enter the water, or start climbing over the rocks.

For me this means, wetsuit and weightbelt on, along with my gloves and neoprene socks. I’ve learned to live with the fact my socks get torn up a little when I’m rock hopping, but I’d rather replace these than slice my foot open and have to spend a few days out of the water. My snorkel gets a couple of drops of shampoo to stop it fogging up and I position this on my forehead, and my dive knife clips onto my arm along with my dive watch. I loop my towline around my float, and carry both this and my speargun (unloaded of course) in my right hand, so my left is free to hold my fins.

It’s all a bit awkward till you’re in the water where the first step is to slip on your fins, slide your mask down, then grab hold of your gun and swim out and away from any wash.

If I’m swimming off the beach I’ll put my fins on when I’m in about waist-deep water, but often on the rocks it’s just as easy to put these on before jumping in, and doing a step-out with one hand on your mask like you do when you’re scuba diving. Just make sure it’s deep enough!

Keep a wary eye on the breakers

When you’re spearfishing from the shore you’re going to find the majority of the smaller reef fish in along the rocks of the headland or the reef you’re spearfishing on. What I quickly found, was that there were some rather large schools of fish feeding in the 1 to 2 feet of water the waves were pushing over the rocks.

If you decide to chase these schools and are spearfishing in close to the rocks on a headland, you need to keep a warry eye on the breakers. Sets of waves will come through, and if you’re unprepared or they catch you off-guard, you’re going to get washed over the rocks. Often, you’ll feel the swell pulling you back as the waves form, which can give you a second’s notice to duck dive and avoid the main push of the wave, but you’ve got to be quick. Getting washed over the rocks isn’t fun, and I’m still missing one of my favorite fins because I misjudged just how wrecked I would get in a particular wave. 45 minutes looking for it, and it was simply gone. I’m just lucky that I didn’t hit my head on the rocks as I was tumbling over them.

Know where you’re getting out of the water

This one is especially critical if the weather’s a bit rough, or you’re spearing at a new location. From the water, it can be hard to spot the right place to exit, especially if you’re planning to get in close to the rocks and clamber back up them (following the way you went in). My advice is to map out a path before you attempt it, or to simply swim all the way in.

I’ve found that entering the water with your gear is much easier than trying to get out again at the end of a dive when you’re exhausted and carrying a bunch of fish, so I’ll often drop my bags on the sand instead of trying to climb out over the rocks.

Otherwise, make sure you’ve got your bag and something bright identifying where you need to exit from the water, and wait for a lull in the waves before you go anywhere near any shallow water to try and climb out.

Spearfishing from the shore is where most of us start out, but if you want to do it safely you’ve got to follow these spearfishing rules. It may seem silly when you’ve got perfect conditions and you’re confident in your abilities, but one mistake or even just the decision to head out when it’s too rough can bring you back to reality fast. Be careful out there. The ocean is a wild place, and you’ve got to respect it.

Happy spearin’

How to prevent sea sickness when you’re spearfishing

Getting seasick can ruin a perfectly good day on the water, not to mention the laughs your friends will be having over your inability to keep your lunch down. It’s important then that every spearo knows how to prevent sea sickness before it happens. Especially once you start venturing into deeper and deeper water, chasing bigger and bigger fish.

Because who wants to lose a day on the water?

Along with the nausea, getting sea sick can lead you to vomit, give you headaches and I’ve even seen my friends break out in cold sweats. It’s not fatal, but it sure isn’t fun.

It works like this.

  • Your feet think they’re on solid ground (the boat).
  • Your eyes think they’re on solid ground (the boat).

But your inner ear feels the movement. The rocking on the high seas from the waves and the motion confuses your brain. It just doesn’t add up. So your body has a natural reaction.

It starts to freak out. You get sea sick.

Now there’s a bunch of studies on sea sickness. In short, pretty much everyone on the planet is susceptible to sea sickness to a degree. That is, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. In the right conditions, everyone will feel the effects.

But some people have a higher sensitivity to it.

It’s just the way it is.

The good news however, is that you can do things to regain control of your body when you’re feeling sea sick. I’ll say this again. You can prevent sea sickness. Keep reading and I’ll spill the beans on how I’ve managed to spend hundreds of hours on the water without falling victim to the terror of motion sickness. Though I have had a few close calls.

Get a good sleep the night before you go spearfishing

Getting out on the water usually revolves around getting up at the crack of dawn, and if you’re planning a day’s spearfishing my first piece of advice is to be well rested. That means no hangover, and getting at least a few hours of sleep. Being tired stresses your body out, and makes you more susceptible to feeling unwell on the water. This is my favorite way to prevent sea sickness, as who can really enjoy a day on the water when you’re not at 100 percent. Plus, spearfishing while hungover or tired is a recipe for disaster. Don’t do this.

Take your sea sickness meds before you hit the water

There’s a whole bunch of different medication you can take to prevent sea sickness, from over the counter medicine to prescription meds you need to see a doctor to get. The trick though is to ensure you take the pill before you get on the boat, 12 to 24 hours before is usually best, so the medicine is in your system. Just follow the instructions provided by your doctor. I use Dramamine, which basically works by blocking sensory-nerve transmission. Or in plain English, stops your inner ear from being able to tell your brain you’re moving. So no sea sickness. Bonine is another med you can try, and I’ve even got a friend who swears by Benadryl (the antihistamine). Just make sure you speak to your doctor before taking anything.

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Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals with Natural Ginger, 18 Count
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Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals with Natural Ginger, 18 Count
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Bonine TRAVEL PACKET DISPENSER 12 Chewable Raspberyy Tablets Traveling Packet (1)
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If you’re not a fan of taking a pill, there’s another way to take your sea sickness medication, via a patch. There’s a number of sea sickness patches on the market, working much like the pills it reduces the level of activity of the nervers in your inner ear, so they’re less able to convince your brain something is wrong. Again, please consult your doctor before taking any medication for sea sickness. Safety first please.\

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Keep your head up and eyes on the horizon

The simplest trick is to help your eyes and brain balance out. Get yourself up on deck, and looking out over the side of the boat towards the horizon. This way, your peripheral vision will notice the swell of the waves coming, and start to match up the feelings with what you’re able to see. I also like the cold wind blowing in my face, it helps to freshen me up and gives me something else to focus on apart from the rocking motion of the boat.

Start nibbling and drinking to prevent sea sickness

An empty stomach isn’t going to fly when you’re feeling nauseous, so find something light to eat. Think plain food. Like crackers or pretzels, and remember that I said nibble here. You’re not stuffing your face here. You just want to be biting on a few crackers to have something in your stomach, and also give you something else to think about. For drinks, grab either a ginger ale or a coke. Ginger is known for calming the stomach, while the high sugar levels and phosphoric acid in a coke are present also in Emetrol, an over-the-counter nausea drug.

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22 Reviews
Emetrol Nausea and Upset Stomach Relief Liquid Medication, Cherry - 4 oz Bottle
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Use an acupuncture wristband to prevent sea sickness

Now I was a little skeptical the first time I was convinced to try this technique, but I have to say it was quite good at keeping my mind off the rising nausea you feel when sea sickness is creeping on you. It’s essentially just an elastic bracelet that sits where your watch does on your wrist, with a bead that presses into the underside of your wrist. Much like a sweat band. The most popular is the Sea-Band, which could prove helpful if you’re prone to getting sea sick. The studies on its actual usefulness are rather thin, but there’s plenty of anecdotal stories with clients who said it’s helped. I leave this one up to you. For me, I liked the distraction, and it tucked in nicely under my wetsuit.

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Sea-band the Original Wristband Adults - 1 Pair, colors may vary
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Sea-band the Original Wristband Adults - 1 Pair, colors may vary
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Don’t make yourself sicker

It goes without saying that if you’re at all susceptible to sea sickness, you’re also going to want to avoid any triggers.

Personally, I’d recommend staying away from all of these:

  • Petrol/diesel fumes from the boat’s exhaust, and keep a wide berth of anyone else who is currently sea sick on the boat.
  • Any foods likely to upset your stomach, especially anything particularly greasy, spicy or acidic. This includes fruit juice, and remember to go easy on the portions of food too.
  • It’s a diuretic and speeds up dehydration, which can also lower your body’s natural resistance to motion sickness.
  • Distracting yourself with your smartphone or a book. Focusing your eyes on a target that appears “stationary” will only amplify the feeling of sea sickness.

Of course, most of this also comes down to the feelings in your own head. Many people I’ve talked to believe that they can prevent sea sickness by sheer force of will, and you know what, in many cases they’re right. Believing you’re able to overcome the feelings of nausea is a powerful weapon to cure sea sickness, so relax. Tell yourself that you’re stronger than the motion sickness, and focus on enjoying your day on the water. To me, just keeping your mind on something else is one of the best ways to prevent sea sickness.

I’m still seasick. Now what?

If all else fails, the best thing you can do with seasickness is to get it all out. You’ll feel much better almost immediately. My only advice is to not try to do it in the boat. It will get messy, and no one want’s to be around that smell. So if you feel like you’re about to lose your lunch, head to the side (or back) of the boat where the wind is at your back. Don’t be too embarrassed, it’s happened to many people before you. And after an hour or two, you’re probably going to start to feel better. At worst, you may not feel 100 percent for the next couple of days, but there won’t be any long-term effects.

Getting sea sick is rather common, but managing it is rather easy too. The key is to plan ahead, take the right meds and to avoid pushing yourself while you’re on the water, especially if you’re susceptible to motion sickness. That way, you can focus on enjoying your day on the water, and catching some truly awesome fish.

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What’s with the spearfishing wetsuit hood? Learn why it’s a game changer.

Until I actually tried a proper spearfishing wetsuit hood, I was a little perplexed as to why they’d be good. Ever since, I’ve been a big fan. I’ll admit, the first time I saw another guy spearfishing with a wetsuit hood I wondered why on earth he’d need that much protection.

I had gotten used to using a surfer-style wetsuit, as that’s just what I had in the garage, and it provided just enough protection from the water temperature. But I did get cold during winter.

The first time getting into a spearfishing wetsuit, it was rather difficult to squeeze into, as they’re designed to be skin-tight. You will need soap to lubricate up the neoprene. And getting it off again at the end of the dive can be a challenge, but it took my spearfishing game to a whole new level.

I was comfortable in the water. The cold never even came close to affecting me, and the hood actually made me feel a little more protected when I was sticking my head into caves and exploring the underwater wonderland.

In fact, if I had been wearing a hood when I swam into the tentacles of that bluebottle jellyfish, I’d probably have not been stung at all. Instead, I had a lovely track pattern that went from my hairline, over my ear, and down the back of my neck, that itched for days. A spearfishing wetsuit hood would have saved me from that lovely experience.

These days, I’m sporting a Salvimar N.A.T. two-piece spearfishing wetsuit. It’s an open cell wetsuit and while many people tell me its too thick, I love being toasty warm when I dive.

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SalviMar N.A.T. 5.5mm Wetsuit, Large
1 Reviews
SalviMar N.A.T. 5.5mm Wetsuit, Large
  • Two piece wetsuit
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The benefits of a spearfishing wetsuit hood

You’ll stay warmer when you’re spearfishing which makes for a much more comfortable dive. When your head is exposed it speeds up the loss of body heat you get in the water. If you’re in a tropical climate, this isn’t a big issue, unless you’re diving deep where the water cools down dramatically.

A spearfishing wetsuit hood helps you stay aerodynamic in the water, by cutting down drag and also keeping any loose hair from getting up in your face when you’re spearing. My wife always ties her hair back, but the hood is just an additional layer to keep it out of the way.

The downsides of a spearfishing wetsuit hood

I’ve heard complaints from a couple of people in my spearing club that their wetsuit hoods have made equalizing rather difficult, as the tightness of the hood forms a seal over their ears. I can’t say I’ve experience this myself, I actually like having the tight hood as it cuts down the amount of water constantly rushing past my ears when I’m diving down. What they’ve had to do is take a hot needle, and burn a few tiny holes in the neoprene above where their ears sit to ensure the water pressure can equalize. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’ve no other option.

What I have noticed, is how hot you can get when you’re spearfishing with a wetsuit hood on. Especially during summer. The hood works a little too well, and it can actually feel like you’re working up a sweat while you’re spearfishing.

Stupidly, and on the advice of a close friend, I took a knife to my first hooded wetsuit and removed the hood altogether one particularly hot summer. I was sick of pulling the hood off when I heated up, and having it bunched up on the back of my neck was uncomfortable. Especially as it felt tighter on my throat when I wore it like this.

It was a silly mistake though. The cut weakened the structure around the neck, and a few dives later I tore the suit when I was taking it off. An expensive lesson learned.

These days I’ve trained myself to get used to the wetsuit hood. And I actually prefer it. I love the covered feeling of protection, and that the back of my neck no longer gets burnt to a crisp when I dive. During summer, I’ve found that pulling my chin down to flush fresh water into my wetsuit is a good compromise, and once the water gets too hot to spear in a full wetsuit, I’ve been using a neoprene jacket only, like this one from Mako. It’s more than enough to keep me warm for a couple of hours in the water.

Wetsuit Shirt Spearfishing Green Camouflage Lycra Long Sleeve - 1.5mm (Large)
15 Reviews
Wetsuit Shirt Spearfishing Green Camouflage Lycra Long Sleeve - 1.5mm (Large)
  • The MAKO Spearguns Green Camo Wetsuit shirt is perfect for warm water diving.
  • The shirt is made of stretchy Lycra material with a layer of 1.5mm neoprene in the torso for added warmth and has an integrated chest loading pad for extreme comfort while loading and unloading.
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The only thing to remember once you start changing out your wetsuit for either thinner versions or only using a vest, is that you’ll need to adjust your weights.

All up, I’m rather font of spearfishing wetsuits with hoods. They protect me better, keep the sun off, and make my dives comfortable and warm, so I’m able to stay in the water for longer chasing the next biggest fish. And that’s what it’s all about.

Happy spearin’