There are many fun and exciting outdoor activities both on land and in the water. If you’re like me and love being out on the water, you’ve probably tried boating, fishing, and snorkeling. But have you ever tried spearfishing?
Spearfishing is one of those activities that combine several water activities in one. It’s an enjoyable and easy sport that’s rapidly growing in popularity.
Regardless, there’s a dispute among those who practice spearfishing about the dos and don’t of powerhead spearfishing. Some feel that there’s nothing wrong with using these underwater firearms. Others believe powerheads should only be used for protection against deadly underwater predators.
To get a clear perspective, let’s start at the beginning. What’s powerhead spearfishing, anyway? In brief, this is a type of spearfishing that uses a certain type of firearm to hunt and bring down fish or used as protection against sharks.
Keep reading to find out more.
What is Spearfishing?
Spearfishing is an exhilarating sport. It’s also considered an art form that’s been around for thousands of years. Back then, people relied on basic tools and gear to catch their food.
It’s safe to say that spearfishing is becoming more and more popular among fish hunters all over the world. Still, it requires a great deal of composure and persistence. You also need the right know-how to approach and catch your prey.
Attached to the spear via metal rings is a cord with a spike-like tip, known as a stringer. It prevents the fish from escaping and allows you to pull it in.
Those who spearfish, also known as spearos, are finding it easier to find more and more places to practice their sport. Yet, with each new place, there are different rules and guidelines to adhere to. Not only that, but certain areas also stipulate practicing certain diving methods and using special equipment.
What Are Powerheads?
Powerheads are a specialized type of firearm that can be used to shoot underwater. They’re also called ‘bang sticks’ or ‘shark sticks,’ and are mainly used for hunting alligators and sharks.
Basically, a powerhead is a piece of spearfishing gear that attaches to the end of the spear. There’s a long metal tubing or chamber where you slide in the round of ammunition. Once armed and loaded, you can fire a powerhead underwater just as you would any standard handgun.
How Do Powerheads Work On Spearguns?
Powerheads consist of a casing that covers the ammunition round. This is what allows them to function as regular firearms in the water. There’s also a safety pin, or latch, that prevents the gun from accidentally going off. Before arming the weapon, you have to take out this safety pin.
Once you’ve fired, a shaft will act as a firing hammer. It triggers the round and shoots it out of its metal chamber. The bullet can travel up to a meter underwater. That should be enough to discourage whatever predator is coming toward you.
Getting Bullets to Work Underwater
Bullets are designed to travel through the air, which is a low-density medium. Water, on the other hand, is 800 times denser than air. This high density affects the trajectory of the bullet, as well as how far it can travel.
So how do spearos work around this law of nature? They use nail polish or varnish.
Nailpolish has the ability to make ammunition completely watertight. So, before your next spearfishing dive, get some clear nail polish. Then, use it to cover the case mouth and primer of each bullet. This should protect against moisture. Otherwise, the bullet won’t fire. Once you’re finished with your dive, make sure you safely dispose of your unused bullets.
Are There Different Types of Powerheads?
There are various options of powerheads to accommodate different-sized ammunition. The most common type fits standard handgun cartridges. A couple of examples are the .375 and the .44 Magnum.
If you prefer larger ammunition, you can find powerheads that can fit up to a 12-gauge shotgun shell. Yet, that may be too extreme when you’re underwater. Based on my personal experience, I believe the .357 Magnum is a reliable choice. It’s more than capable of frightening off any type of underwater predator.
Powerhead Spearfishing Laws
You’ll encounter a lot of laws on the use of powerheads because they’re such powerful weapons. There are also many safety precautions you have to be aware of.
In Australia, for example, powerheads fall into the Category A firearm. This stipulates that you have a permit to use it, as well as a justifiable reason for needing it in the first place.
They’re also considered firearms in the United States. However, the laws governing permits and usage authorization vary from state to state.
Where is Spearfishing Practiced?
Spearfishing is a versatile sport. For one, you can do it in both fresh and saltwater.
Many countries allow spearfishing, providing you adhere to their local fishing laws. Before plunging in, you have to familiarize yourself with the rules and laws of the area.
For example, in the Bahamas, spearfishers use pole spears and slings. While in other parts of the world, they rely more on spearguns.
Another example is in California where certain fish species can only be captured using certain equipment. One example is the Spiny Lobster, which can be only be caught using gloved hands.
What Do You Need Before Going Spearfishing?
The best thing about spearfishing is that it doesn’t require a lot of equipment. There are only a few essential basics you’ll need on your dive.
Diving and Spearfishing Training
Getting the right training is a must before going spearfishing. Certified divers will teach you how to improve your technique through safer and more prudent methods.
Spearfishing training is becoming widely available in different areas worldwide. Having completed your diving training, you can move on to spearfishing training. This is when you get to learn various methods. Your guide will also instruct you on the way to maneuver yourself and your equipment under the water.
Get to know which types of equipment you need when you go on your next spearfishing expedition.
- Fishing LIcense
- Diving Buddy
- Spearfishing Open Cell Suit
- Spearfishing Knife
- Low-volume Mask
- Water gloves
- Freediving Fins
Tips for a Successful Spearfishing Expedition
Spearfishing can be a lot of fun! It’s an exciting rush of adrenaline like no other. However, that shouldn’t make you neglect safety precautions and protocols.
Here are a few tips you have to take into consideration when you go spearfishing.
- Start slow and take shallow drops first before moving onto deeper plunges
- Focus on hunting smaller, more manageable fish in the beginning
- Buy proper safety gear and high-quality diving gear
- Keep the speargun always pointed downward in the water
- Always load your speargun under the water
- Make sure you use the right type of spearfishing gear
- Always adhere to the rules and guidelines of the local conditions
- Always use a buddy system when spearfishing
- Maintain a safe distance between you and your fellow spearos
- Always keep an keep on your diving companions
A Final Note
That pretty much covers all the basics of spearfishing and answers the question on everyone’s mind, “What’s powerhead spearfishing?” With the advent of powerheads as a spearfishing accessory, this sport of hunting fish has taken on a whole new feel. However, it’s still very much a controversial subject.
It’s essential to bear in mind that experts recommend you use powerheads only for safety purposes. Having that powerful firearm with you underwater is the best way to protect yourself against bigger, fiercer fish that may attack you thinking you’re lunch!