Before you enter the water, whether you are freediving, scuba diving, snorkeling or just enjoying a day at the beach, remember that there may be sharks in the area and that you are in their home. You are visiting their territory and with that comes a demand for respect. Sharks are amazing creatures who command our respect, not fear. They keep the oceans in balance and the majority of attacks on humans are a case of mistaken identity, territorial dispute or a diver got in the way of a potential meal. This blog focuses on the reality that while in the water, especially while spearfishing, you must be prepared for an encounter with a shark.
There are times when going into the water are not idea, especially if you are trying to avoid shark encounters. Poor visibility, cloudy weather, areas where rivers dump into the ocean, dawn and dusk are all times that correlate with shark attacks. The main reason is because of poor visibility where they shark sees a large potential food source but cannot see it well enough to determine what it is. If you avoid these times and circumstances, your chances of an encounter are reduced drastically.
When entering the water to spearfish you have to remember that you and the shark have a similar mindset, you are both looking for food. Sharks are looking for the easy meal, they look for fish that are swimming funny, wounded and not at full strength. When you spear a fish, it may begin moving in a way that attracts the attention of a shark along with the fact that it is bleeding. If you’ve spotted sharks in the area, keep the fish at a safe distance or better still out of the water and start heading back to the boat.
Once the fish has been placed in the boat you will usually see the shark break off. However, ALWAYS keep your eye on the shark. This is where having a buddy with you can pay off because they can also keep an eye on the surrounding area in case there is more than one shark around. Remember, it’s ok to lose the fish if you feel you are in danger, but you do not want to invoke a dangerous encounter with a shark unnecessarily. Most times, if a shark begins to get close you can poke or direct them away with the end of your speargun and they will keep their distance. They are testing how close they can get to get the fish, but you never want to spear a shark. It creates a more dangerous situation for us well as for the animal.
Spearfishing is a thrilling sport that is enjoyed throughout the world. Respect for the ocean and its inhabitants are key to having a fun experience. Setting realistic expectations, following the safety tips and having a game plan are the best way to have a fun and safe time.