Hunting Big Fish using Reel-Guns by Corry Versluis

Selective Shooting

One thing we as spearos need to stress and implement is the one benefit of spearfishing is that we are selective to the fish that we want to take. To go even further, while hunting big fish we should be selective on when to pull the trigger to prevent the needless dying of an awesome animal. I have twice this year had a chance to shoot a very large Marlin, one of which was over 300kg which could’ve been a National and World Record. I decided not to as I didn’t have a shot that would incapacitate the fish. I knew that to just shoot would mean firstly a lost gun and tragically secondly, the needless death of the animal.

Stealthy Approach

I have made the choice to dive with a reel gun as I like to dive 30m+ and there is no way to do this in current with a floatline. I also believe a reel-gun is stealthier in that there isn’t a line “buzzing” in the current alerting all the fish. I have resigned myself to the fact that there will be the odd occasion when a trophy will not be able to be shot, but to be fair, those two Marlin were big so I doubt even a floatline rig would have helped. We all now dive with belt reels, which would allow the boat more time to bring a float and line. Also helps when you have a reel jam or other catastrophe at depth.

Target Practise

Another thing I have taught myself is to be a better shot. Spearos are lazy and as the spear is attached to the gun we are quite content to plant a spear in the middle of the fish knowing we’ll land it. Often then, a lot of good quality fillet is damaged and thus, I have “forced” myself to take lethal shots as one would in hunting buck. Sure I missed a few but now that my technique is honed I only miss if I try something funny like choking the gun or take a shot on the fly. By taking “lethal” shots, the fish are landed quicker with fewer disturbances and generally you can’t even see where the spear went in. This is also borne out of necessity as diving a place like Protea if a big fish fights, sharks quickly come a begging. Current too, can play havoc. Once reefed, to dive 30m+ is dangerous and more likely to result in a lost spear and fish.

I firmly believe that by spending some time in a tidal pool (needs to be sea water for same density) with a target will improve the accuracy and success of any spearo. Especially when a new spear is used. Every spear is slightly different and those little differences can mean success or failure on a once in a lifetime trophy.

Regards, and good diving,
Corry