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Underwater Hunting

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On: Tue, May 8, 2012 at 2:06PM | By: Sara Decker


Finally dispatching a particularly wily 50lb Black Grouper may be her most memorable day of spearfishing, but searching the Middle Grounds for Cobia isn’t a bad way to spend a day either. Cobia, also known as black kingfish, can reach 78 inches and weigh up to 150lbs. They are prized for their texture and flavor. Iron Chef – Cobia! Who knew? 

Long time Dive Instructor and Boat Captain, Captain Joyce French-Hannaseck was not always an avid underwater hunter. She purchased her first speargun to “get out of” stringer duty. All that changed after shooting her first grouper - she was hooked for life.  

Despite rumors to the contrary, divers do not need to be “crack shots” or “world class fisherman” to enjoy – and become good at - spearfishing. As with most things, the keys are solid technique and practice; of course good buoyancy helps, too.

Divers new to the sport should consider calling Captain Joyce aboutUnderwater Hunter– a class she pioneered and teaches monthly atNarcosis Scubain Tarpon Springs. Students rave about its practical tips, techniques, and personal attention. In addition to class time, Narcosis offers small group spearfishing trips for all levels of experience.

Some divers shy away from spearfishing because they believe it is too expensive. In truth, a long list of new equipment is unnecessary; experienced divers have most items “in inventory” already - including the most important item, a compass. These items include:

  • Kevlar gloves
  • Whistle
  • Jump float
  • See Me Tube
  • Knife
  • Wetsuit

True, sport-specific gear is needed as well. If you are a beginner, you may want to consider renting or borrowing until you determine whether spearfishing is for you the type of gear best suited to your needs. These items include:

  • Stringer
  • Speargun
  • Line
  • Reel

Avid underwater hunters encourage “rookies” to experiment with different types of spearfishing and different type of gear. You may be an avid shore diver, but find you prefer the Middle Grounds for spearfishing. A shiny new metal speargun may catch your eye, but you may regret buying it after experiencing the neutral buoyancy of wooden speargun. Time will tell.

If you are looking for like-minded underwater hunters to enjoy an adventure with, Narcosis offers small group trips to outstanding locations. In addition, if you would like more information about or are considering participating in spearfishing tournaments, Captain Joyce is a sponsor of the St. Pete Open, FSDA, and others. She loves to help new people get involved. She can be reached at (727) 934-6474.

Happy Hunting!

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