Most of the spearfishermen I know predominately do it freediving and save the scuba for photography, salvage, and other purposes. Scuba is good for spearfishng the offshore wrecks off New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland, though, where the water is colder and the visibility is less than further south.
You really don't need scuba to spearfish and you may find it detracts from the sport once you develop as a freediver. Freediving helps your scuba skills immensely and does not require a certification, plus it's a LOT more economical. I know lots of guys who can hunt freediving as deep as most recreational scuba divers will ever go (in clear water), but the fact is you really don't need to go deeper than about 30' max to spearfish most of the time. I know a local spot whre you can get plenty of fish in 10 feet of water or less. I primarily freedive/spearfish and seldom put on a tank any more, but I used to do a whole lot of scuba diving. I keep things more simple now and like not having to deal with so much heavy gear.
Having said all that, I've been scuba diving since 1967. It's a great sport. We have some of the best wreck diving in the world off the east coast. By all means get scuba certified. Go NAUI, stay away from divers with patches all over their jackets, dive with the guys using the most well-used gear, and always dive safe.
Thanks for the info, it's very helpful. I still intend to go NAUI for my Open Water cert, and any cert thereafter with them. I like the way they organize things, and the fact that it was created and implemented by former SEALs is a plus in my book - no B.S.
I'd like to try freedive spearfishing sometime, and you mentioned a spot to do it in 10 feet of water somewhere - ? If you and your dive buddy here in Alexandria ever want to hit such a spot I'd be interested. I have some experience, although it's been years - catching turtles in the lakes where I grew up, and I'm a strong swimmer, having grown up near Long Beach Island, New Jersey. I guess that's where I'd put on the Scuba gear to spearfish.
Well, drop me a line for some spearfishing when you guys go. Thanks again.
We usually start the season in May, Mako. You are welcome to join us. You will need a wetsuit. I know there are other spearfishermen on this forum whom I have not yet met but seem receptive to new guys, too. I'm free every other Friday now. Can you make Friday trips? Otherwise, Saturdays and Sundays work for me around family commitments. Ever been on a sit-on-top kayak?
Thanks for the invite. No, Fridays aren't good for me, because I work from 12-9PM, but if you guys go around here in the early AM I could probably do that. Otherwise, Saturday or Sundays are good with me.
Guess I'll need to get a wetsuit - is there particular brand of wetsuit that you recommend over others? I've got a mask and fins already, I think, but not a speargun.
For freediving I like OMER. Picasso, Elios, Diveskin, and several other manufacturers all make good suits as well, but I have had good luck with OMER and they have a distributorship in Virginia Beach, VA. OMER also makes quality spearguns. If you need contact information let me know.
For scuba I'd recommend a custom suit from any of the quality manufacturers. The makers of my old scuba suits are no longer in the wetsuit business and I started diving drysuits for cold water many years ago so I'm sort of out of the scuba wetsuit loop.
Scuba suits tend to be stiffer than freedive suits and less warm because they have zippers. Freedive suits are more flexible, soft and warm but will compress more under pressure because of that softness.
JBL makes an OK gun. Take a look at the OMER or the Rob Allen 90 cm guns. When you've got the cash and a clear water trip consider the Wong Hybrid. 55" to 60" is good for NC. I use a Riffe Island down there as well but find the 140cm Rob Allen to be a better freedive gun. Daryl Wong is now making a 63" Magnum Hybrid, which should be truly outstanding for spearfishing in clear water. Start with a 90 cm for up here and you should be fine for a good all-around gun. There are many times when a 75cm would be better locally and that's what I use most often at the DE breakwater. Matt dives there frequently.
Cool, good info. I'll check out the 90cm gun and maybe pick one up as an all around the Mid-Atlantic, and when I start diving offshore NC and other places I'll get something else more suitable. Like rifles or shotguns - can't ever have just one, I guess.
Matt did mention that there was also a spearfishing club up there in the Breakwater area. I'd like to dive up that way. I've heard the striper action can be good, among other things.
The shallow end of the breakwater is about 8 feet deep. That's the spot I had in mind when I said you could spearfish shallow. Have you ever been on a sit-on-top kayak before? That is one way to get there. The outer breaskwater is about a mile from Cape Henelopen State Park. We go by boat sometimes too.
We normally see tautog and stripers. I have also taken sea trout. There are flounder at the shallow end and usually plenty of current. The shallow end is further offshore, oddly enough. The deeper parts are where I hunt most often and you can shoot fish there at quite shallow depths, sometimes even from the surface. I taught my two oldest to spearfish there. Spearfishing on scuba is illegal at the breakwater, BTW.
I'll check out "Blues". I'm reading "On the Run" now.
Yes, spearguns ARE like rifles, shotguns and fishing rods in that you can't have too many and they are all for a slight different application.
There is a whole art to gun running past the wife but that should be a whole other thread. [grin]
Cape Henelopen has camping and consequently cooking space. Bring a Coleman stove or one of those charcoal one use deals and you are set. I usually clean the fish on the breakwater and ice the fillets for the trip back but heck, you could bring a little hiking stove in a dry bag and frizzle them up right there if you wanted.
Still single, huh? Nows the best time to build your equipment collection! [excited]