Blue Water Hunting and Freediving - Digital Version 1 - Page 15

picking out objects in the distance — small bait , jelly fish or flotsam .
Your scan should be fairly rapid . Pause only slightly to identify objects in the distance . You will not see a complete fish . Initially , all you will see of the white seabass are its fins . Tuna frequently swim straight at you , presenting a circular , bulletlike profile .
Many times , a subtle change in the hue of the water color provides the first visual clue of approaching fish . Most fish appear dark , but some are light . In low-visibility water , the yellow finlets of a larger tuna ’ s tail may be the first thing you see . Modify your scan when you dive against a current . Confine your scan to the 220-degree window in front of you , keeping the bait fish just behind you . Approximately every ten to 20 seconds , scan the 140 degrees behind you where the bait is concentrated .
Manage your speargun . Hold the gun in your hand with your trigger finger resting against and outside the trigger guard , or behind the trigger . The best technique is to hold the gun close and slightly elevated in front of you . Estimate the fish ’ s path . Slowly turn the gun toward that direction . Now slowly extend the gun and wait . Sometimes a fish will come from behind or from your side . In this case , slowly retract the gun to your chest using the “ soldier-at-arms ” position with the handle at your hips and the muzzle near your face . Turn yourself ahead of the fish ’ s path and reextend the gun . This is how South Africans handle their guns in dirty water ; otherwise they would lose sight of their spear tips . This technique works equally well in clear water because turning a fully extended gun will frighten your fish . The initially high angle of the gun can be adjusted as the gun sinks slowly because the muzzle end of most guns is heavy .
Cameron suggests another effective way to manage your gun that he considers the most relaxing and lowest profile position . Hold the front muzzle with the shooting hand about 2 / 3 of the way up the length of the gun . The gun arm is then allowed to hang relaxed at arms length so that it remains parallel to the hunter ’ s body and is , in essence , being dragged along very streamlined beneath the body . In both positions , the gun is below or beside the shooter . It can be quickly reached and maneuvered with both hands to provide more leverage to turn and position it at the desired target . With this technique , a hunter can swim a full day with this reduced , well-balanced profile and can quickly reach the firing position in an arc of 360 degrees . When a target is sighted , the shooting hand slides back to the handle and the other guides the muzzle in the direction of the fish while fluidly extending to take aim .
Anticipate the fish ’ s path . Is he going to continue in this direction or turn and rejoin the school ? Which piece of bait is he going to head toward , and where do I need to be aiming to intercept ? Time your dive to intercept the fish . Create a parallel course for more cautious or schooling fish , which will often close the gap or swirl around a diver .
Most fish will dive beneath you when they pass . The ideal shooting range is 10 to 15 feet for horizontal shots . Gravity has a remarkable effect on your spear . Shooting downward will add five feet to your range . Gravity will also increase the
Bluewater diver Gerald Lim demonstrates “ the soldier-at-arms ” position .
Photo by Terry Maas