What's the best way to progress in spearfishing? How can one be safer, deeper & more accurate? How can you find out where your trophy fish are and how to hunt them? A couple of weeks ago the guys from Kona Freedivers answered all the above questions, with the help of Ryan Myers and their very own Conor Halligan.



Gear




First way and probably the most important is your gear. You are  not going to be out there shooting much fish without the right gear. First and foremost, you're gonna have to see the fish and with that comes a mask that fits. It's got to be comfortable for freediving so it's best to be a low volume one. Another thing that you may need is a snorkel. As long as it is working and you can breathe air out of the top of it, it should be pretty good for freediving. Other than the comfy snorkel, one of the things that you're going to need, because you're not going to get too far without, is going to be a good set of fins. The best money i've ever spent in freediving or spearfishing has been on two things; one is a class, the other one is a good pair of fins. As far as gear that really matters, a wetsuit does, because if you get cold you're not going to end up being able to dive very well, you're going to get shivery, you're not going to be able to hold your breath as long. The next thing is you're going to need is some gloves. The reason i like Dyneema is because it's really cut resistant. One of the most important things as well is going to be a float setup. A dive knife would probably be the second most important outside of a float with the flag, and that is because if you get caught in shooting line you need something to quickly and cleanly cut your way out of. Last but certainly not least, you need a weapon of some sort, you're not going to go out there and poke fish with dirty looks! So you can have two things, one is a polespear, the other is a gun.



Freediving Knowledge


One of the five ways to dominate spearfishing is going to be your knowledge and understanding of freediving. The reason why freediving is so important when you're spearfishing, especially here in Hawaii, is because it is actually illegal to spearfish on scuba or with an air assisted device. So this is really important because if you want to be able to hang out down there with the fish or to get your fish, you're going to need to be good at holding your breath and getting down there. What we recommend is you take a freediving course. What you're going to learn in the level one course, first and foremost, is going to be safety. The number one most important thing is how to save to your buddy and how to handle emergency situations, because nobody wants to get into a bad situation when you're just out there trying to have fun. Secondly you're going to become a more confident spearo, because the course is going to really teach you how to use your gear properly, how to use the correct techniques and when you do get uncomfortable underwater, it's going to teach you how to deal with emergency scenarios. Lastly, what we're going to learn from our freediving course is going to give us increased skill when we're spearfishing, because once we have our techniques dialed in and we're really comfortable in the water with good habits and techniques, now we can really focus on actually hunting the fish, staying down there and using our speargun the most effective way instead of having to focus on all the other aspects.



Know Your Prey



The third thing that's going to make you an effective and efficient spearfisherman is going to be understanding your prey; knowing what you're going after, where it's found, what species you want to shoot, what species you don't want to shoot, there's some out there that might poison you, there's some out there that taste super good. One of the ways is just getting a simple book, which basically teaches you which is which. It's really good, this helped me out immensely when it came to learning what fish to go for. Another way to do that is your dive partners; you know go with somebody that knows what they're going for.



Water Time



There's nothing better you can do for your diving than water time. There's definitely no right or wrong time to be in the water, as long as you're out there and you're comfortable and you're warm. I like to spend as long as possible, an average session is probably four to six hours but can definitely be longer, if you're on a boat and you're staying out there and can definitely be shorter if you just jump in and the conditions aren't great. The better you feel in the water, the longer you can stay in there. I  think spending time with water is probably the number one way to improve your spearfishing. There's a lot of different facets of spearfishing and ways to get better but they all happen in the water, while you're out there practicing trial and error, you're learning, you're spending time with other people that are also good and learning from them.



Mentors & Peers



The most important part about having both mentors and peers - hopefully you have mentors that are peers  - you can go with them and they can teach you. That's the best way to do it. Number one is safety, you got to have somebody with you. My dive partners were great, they took the classes, they knew safety, so that's a huge part of diving, that's one of the ways that you can really maximize your potential and end up dominating the sport.




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