There’s nothing quite like the freedom of getting out on the water and catching some fish. If you are a spearfisherman, you know the value of getting out to the best spots. Spots that are sometimes unreachable by wading out. That’s where spearfishing from a kayak becomes a useful strategy.
A kayak gives you the option to safely get yourself out to all the best reefs that would have otherwise been impossible to get to. This means that you have the ability to find all new fish and have the seclusion you need.
Whether you’re only a beginner at spearfishing or a seasoned vet, getting into deepwater spearfishing with a kayak can level up your game.
Being successful with spearfishing from a kayak is not as simple as jumping in your boat and going. There are a few things that you should know before you get out and start kayak diving. Let’s take a look at five things you should know about spearfishing from a kayak.
1. Always Let Someone Know Before You Go
There are always risks associated with taking any sort of floating apparatus out into the ocean. You should always let someone know where you are going to be and for how long before you go out spearfishing. This could mean the difference between life and death.
It’s a good idea to also have an emergency contact list on you when you go out in the case of an incident. Be sure to include information about your vehicle, any medications you need, and who you are.
Of course, it’s always safer (and more fun) to have someone to hunt with. If possible, try and find a dive partner so that you have the security of knowing that someone is there to help you in the case of an accident or emergency. Most divers will recommend that you avoid diving alone at all costs.
The bigger the group, the more opportunity for good times and the less likely for something bad to happen out on the water.
2. Make Sure Your Gear is in Check
There are a lot of gear and supplies that go along with the sport of spearfishing, and it is important that the gear you use is in tip-top shape. Unlike spearfishing from shallow waters near the shore, you aren’t going to be in close access to your vehicle. Before you head out with your kayak on the open ocean, double-check and make sure that you have everything that you need. Take some extras in case you need them, and make sure all the gear you have is in good working order.
Check out your speargun and look for any parts that have any wear and tear. Are there any cracks or inconsistencies that could cause you problems later on? Are the rubbers in good condition, or do they look old?
You should make sure that your points are in good shape, as dull points will make it difficult to have a successful spearfishing trip. Make sure that you bring a few extra, especially if you are going to be in an area that has a lot of rocks on the seafloor.
Shafts should be solid and unscathed. If you are using a shaft that has cracks or chips, it’s likely that your trip could end early due to a snap. Another way to avoid this issue is that have an extra on hand with you.
An important piece of gear that you wouldn’t normally bring out on a shallow water spearfishing trip that you will need is an anchor. Now that you’ll be further out in deeper waters, you are going to want to secure your kayak and ensure that all your stuff stays afloat right where you left it. A simple lightweight anchor attached to 100 or so feet of rope should do the trick. Make sure you keep it light, but heavy enough to work!
Watch What You Bring
It’s also important to make sure that you aren’t bringing too much gear with you. Remember, you have to lug all this stuff out on the water via kayak. Not to mention your own weight and gear that you are wearing.
Kayaks are small, so overpacking could result in disaster. The last thing you want to do is flip your kayak and lose your stuff. Pack enough to get you through, the necessary extras, and that’s it.
If you’re planning on kayaking out to an island or spot where you can camp, make sure that you have everything with you to stay the night. Remember, the lighter the gear, the easier it will be to get around.
3. Pick the Perfect Kayak for You
Maybe you’ve been spearfishing plenty before, but you are only toggling with the idea of spearfishing from a kayak. Or, maybe you’ve tried it before and you’re ready to get your own kayak and do it more often. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important that you pick the right kayak for you.
You’re going to want to find the best ocean kayak that is going to get you and all your gear out to those secluded spots that you couldn’t get to otherwise. Remember, there’s a big difference between a kayak designed for rivers and excursions and a fishing kayak.
There are a few different factors to consider when you are looking for a great fishing kayak:
- What kind of water will you be fishing in? Will there be a potential for larger waves and heavy wind?
- What is the temperature of the water you will be fishing in?
- What is more important to you, maneuverability or stability?
- What is your target spending limit?
- How tall are you and how much do you weigh?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a better time figuring out which of the hundreds of kayaks on the market are going to work best for you and your spearfishing.
One of the biggest factors here is the price. You don’t have to sacrifice your life savings to get a good quality kayak for spearfishing, but you do have to invest a bit. Remember, this is your navigation vessel, and it needs to be something strong, safe, and reliable.
Be prepared to spend between $500 to $1000 at least on a good kayak. If you’re planning on buying one used, make sure that you ask the right kinds of questions from the seller. And, if possible, try and bring someone along with you who knows a thing or two about kayaking. They will be able to spot damage that may have otherwise gone unnoticed by you.
Size and Shape
If you are going out into deeper and rough waters, you might want to sacrifice a bit of your maneuverability in the kayak for some much-needed stability. If you are going to be out in more shallow reef breaks, you might fare better with something smaller and more aggressive.
Remember that you are going to need to be able to leave some of your gear in the kayak when you jump out to dive. So, not only does it need to be strong and stable enough to hold your stuff when you’re outside of it, it needs to be stable enough to stay afloat when you are getting in and out of it. If you’re not too worried about speed, you might want to go with a shorter and wider kayak.
If you pick a kayak that is too small, you may have trouble getting yourself and all your gear out to your spot. On the other hand, picking a kayak that is too large makes it more difficult to paddle, harder to get from your home to the ocean, and troublesome to get into more secluded and technical spots.
Remember that you are the one who is going to be getting around in this thing. If you’re over six feet or a heavier set person, picking a kayak that is too small is going to give you a much harder time than necessary.
4. You’re Going to Get Cold
Getting out into deeper waters means that you need to prepare for cooler temperatures. Sure, your current wetsuit may keep you plenty warm in shallow reef dives, but it might not cut it after some time offshore.
Picking the right suit could make the difference between a couple of hours of spearfishing, or a full successful day. Depending on where you do your spearfishing from a kayak, you may already have a wetsuit capable of handling the colder waters for long periods of time.
If you are unsure whether you will get cold or not, consider bringing more than one wetsuit. Maybe it is warmer than you expected and you’re overheating in your suit. You can always head back to shore for a quick change into something a bit lighter, and vice-versa of course.
There are a few other things that you can do as well to keep yourself warm when you’re spending the day kayak diving. Try packing a good quality thermos full of your choice of hot liquid. When you get cold after spending some time in the water, you can always jump back into your kayak for a bit and sip on some hot liquid. This should make it easier for you to spend more time out on the water.
You should also make sure that you have a good pair of neoprene gloves. Not just to keep your hands warm and functioning in the water, but to give you some much-needed grip on your speargun and the fish.
5. Take a Freediving Course Before Spearfishing From a Kayak
Even if you’ve gone spearfishing before in shallow waters, you will benefit from taking a freediving course before you go. Spearfishing is no easy task. You have to swim down to the floor with your gun in hand while adjusting to the depth fast enough to keep from running out of breath.
If you can get yourself really comfortable with freediving before you go out, you are going to have a much easier time maneuvering yourself and your speargun around on the ocean floor.
Remember, freediving and scuba diving are not one and the same, and in most places, you aren’t allowed to spearfish while scuba diving anyways. Make sure that when you’re signing up that you know what you are getting into and that it’s going to be the right kind of training for you.
If at all possible, try and find a dive instructor who knows how to spearfish. They can help you learn the techniques within diving that will bring you greater success when you go out to hunt. They might also be able to give you some general spearfishing tips as well.
Pro Tip: A great tip to improve your time in the water when diving is to practice certain breathing exercises. This could allow you to hold your breath for longer so that you can optimize your time under the water. It also can keep you calm and focused when swimming beneath the surface.
One breathing exercise in particular known as the Wim Hof Method increases your time without air after the first try. Some people who use this technique have actually been able to hold their breath for as long as four minutes. Imagine having four uninterrupted minutes under the water and how much possibility that brings!
You’re Ready to Start Diving!
Now that you’ve got all this information under your belt, you’re ready to get yourself out on the water and start spearfishing from a kayak. Remember to plan ahead, share your plans, bring the right gear, and use the right techniques to ensure success.
Be sure to check out our blog for more how-to guides, product reviews, destinations, and more! We’re your one-stop shop for all things spearfishing. Now, get out there and go find those fish!