Whether you’re new to spearfishing or a seasoned veteran, chasing new fish in new locations brings an entirely new set of challenges. From bream to dogtooth tuna, each species has unique behaviours you can exploit to become a better hunter. Here are a few tips for chasing new species.
Observation is the best tool for hunting. As soon as I dive in, I’m on the lookout for fish behaviour — is it snoozing or cruising? If it’s feeding, I study the food source, the structure and the current. I’m building a picture of the fish’s bistro, but it’s my main course.
Terrain is everything on the fishing highway. Sand, weed and rock are all signposts to a feeding fish. Taking a mental picture of where I’ve seen a particular fish allows me to identify similar environments. If I recall a picture, I automatically think OK, that particular fish might be around here. Structure is a great place to hide and eat — sometimes both. When current meets structure, it creates an upwelling, a nutrient-rich spot that’s a good place for the food chain to develop. The fish will generally be hanging at the front edge of a structure, swimming into the current. So burleying upcurrent from a steep drop-off is a great way to get those fishy appetites aroused. Be sure to check behind large structures.
MARINE & AUTOMOTIVE
There’s usually an eddy where fish can hide out of the current and pick off a meal as it gets swept off the reef. And study the coral and kelp in the area. Note the fish that feed there and what feeds on them. Ditto the sand and gravelly bottom.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Some prior research goes a long way when you’re trying to subdue a new species. A quick internet search will reveal the main food source and help profile your quarry. Examining the stomach contents of your catch will also unlock a whole lot of useful information.
Nobody knows the fishing seasons better than the locals — so ask them. Quiz them on the moon phases, tides and feeding times. Compile a logbook with as much information about your observations as you can scrape together. Patterns will start to emerge.
Diving is all about hunting technique. It’s no secret that depth and bottom time will increase your chances, but in my experience, nothing beats having good fish sense.