Spearfishing is one of the most honest and physically demanding forms of hunting, one that requires you to face your prey on its terms. In a modern world that values comfort and convenience, the sport is rigorously archaic, a way to tap into the eons-old struggle between man and nature - and an excuse to wield a sharp stick. Its just you, the air in your lungs, and a glorified rubber-band gun in your hand. Come spring, when the water clears up, the waves calm down, and the fish get comfortable, thirteen-time spearfishing world record holder Cameron Kirkconnell has blood on his hands, mask, and fins.
We asked him where to get our hunt on this year.
"Grouper season begins May 1, which coincides with the MahiMahi run so you’ll get a lot of Black and Red Groupers that run offshore. Look for telltale signs such as frigate birds, Cuban Rafts (or other debris) and Sargasso weeds, all of which hold bait the Mahi are sure to be crashing. Landing a 50 pound Black Grouper or 50-pound Dolphin would make you the man, but any fish over 20 pounds is a trophy."
"Ten pound Lobster and twenty-pound Hogfish are a staple out here, but there’s a big chance to grab pelagic fish like Cobia, African Pompano, and Amberjacks. This is where I caught a record 21 pound Hogfish, but there’s a chance to spear 40 pound African, 100 pound Amberjack, and 50 pound Cobia are all in the same day."
Palm Beach Florida
"Florida offers a lot of spearing, but the biggest thrill is shooting the cobia that trail Bull Sharks. It’s one of the scariest endeavors in all the sport. One-hundred pound Cobia is the holy grail, but seventy pound specimens will also make you a man. That is, if the sharks don’t take them first."
"An unprecedented El Nino last year brought tropical game fish like MahiMahi, Bluefin Tuna, and even Wahoo as far north as the Waters off LA, adding to the already spectacular diving for Yellowtail and WSB (White Seabass) found in the Kelp Forests."
New York-Rhode Island-Block Island
"As the water warms and the Striped Bass start to congregate, divers brave enough to venture into the fast moving waters of the NE are rewarded with one of the best eating fish just a short ride from the Big Apple. It’s going to take a 50 pound Striper to turn heads here, as 40 pound ones are regularly taken by divers in the know each season."