When you start spearfishing, one of the first things you start to think about is where to go!?
Ill keep this post simple, as if i wanted to i could waffle on for pages on the subject. So ill give you a checklist instead of things you want to look out for. Get them all, and its probably going to return some fish!
- Protected from howling gales and massive swell. Although fish often like a bit of turbulence in the water, you probably don’t. If you want a long, safe and relaxed dive, get out of the wind and surf. So find a stretch of coast that is protected or even faces the opposite direction of the dominant forces of nature!
- Undulating and interesting, rocky coast, reef or wrecks. Fish need a habitat to hunt, feed and hide. This is why they congregate in greatest numbers near reefs and underwater structures of all types. It may be a pier or jetty, a rock or coral reef or even an wreck. This is where to look.
- Deep water nearby. Its always good to have some really deep water nearby the spot. This isnt for you to dive but more so for the nutrient levels of the water. Its due to something called upwelling and downwelling, and for this to occur you need to have the capacity and depth for it to happen. So a nearby trench, deep water a mile away or so etc etc is something to look for in the charts.
- Good tidal or current flow. If an area of water does not experience much or any movement due to currents, then the water will again, not have much food in it for the fish to hunt. So, without getting yourself in to trouble, look for areas where the current would at times pass by. This is likely to be obstructive structures like a headland or island. You will find some fish hunt in the current whilst some sit it out waiting for it to stop. Either way, for your own safety and for productive spearfishing, know your currents!
- Local knowledge. This is something you can glean from the web or asking about if you want. Find out where the local anglers fish and what they are fishing for. If its a good spot then you may find it hard to get the info, but that’s the same of anything like this, we keep our good spots to ourselves! A bit of research though will go a long way, just don’t expect to get any answers off forums, unless you want the overfished spots!
- Google maps and navigation charts. The powerhouse that is Google will be your best freind when it comes to researching new dive sites. As the satellite photos are all taken on a sunny day (obviously), you will see reefs and structures quite easily, if the water is clear. This is a great way to plan a dive. Navigational charts normally require a bt of investment but there are free trials out there which will give you a detailed look at the sea bed. The Navionics app is something i use and it gives really detailed charts for the whole planet.
Hope that helps!!!!
Dive safe, Ian.