With all the hoopla over kayak fishing it’s easy to forget that the modern sit-on-top kayak was first developed as a dive platform. That’s right, with minimal investment you could be diving and spearfishing from your regular old fishing kayak. These three dive masters offer advice on taking the fight to the fish with kayak spearfishing.
Meet Our Kayak Spearfishing Experts
Spearfishing tournament veteran and Massachusetts Freedivers board member. Located in New England.
California State record holder for monkeyface prickleback, North California Kayak Association Diver of the Year, coordinator NCKA Pay It Forward charity. Located in Monterey Bay, California.
Pro guide for YakfishNZ.com. Located in Coromandel, New Zealand.
Kayak Spearfishing Tips from the Experts
Species to Target
Greg Gadreau: Striped bass, bluefish, tautog, scup, flounder, sea bass.
Jim Russell: Rockfish, cabezon, lingcod, halibut.
Rob Fort: John dory, butterfish, yellowtail kingfish, trevally, snapper, lobster.
Where to Spearfish
GG: Hunt deep rock reefs and shipwrecks that are close to shore. I also look for sand flats and jetties just beyond the surf break.
JR: Rocky shores and kelp beds. Many species can be found in water as shallow as 10 feet deep.
RF: Coromandel Peninsula, Great Barrier, Mercury and North islands.
Best Kayaks for Spearfishing
GG: Ocean Kayak Big Game II allows me to put speargun, mask, fins and weight belt inside the kayak.
JR: Look for a kayak with a clutter-free deck. No cleats, pad-eye, hooks or accessories to snag a wetsuit and gear on the way in or out.
RF: Look for a kayak that paddles fast and efficiently. Save your energy for diving.
How to Survive the Dive
GG: Fly a dive flag from the kayak. I attached a screw-in flagpole base to the bow of my kayak. The dive flag is on a three-foot pole that screws into the base.
JR: Never take a loaded speargun into the kayak. Always load and unload the speargun in the water.
RF: Diving and paddling are physically intense activities. Be sure to stay within your physical abilities. Learn to paddle correctly to improve performance and endurance.
Spearfishing Gear to Grab
GG: Mares Phantom Speargun, 3mm and 5mm open-cell wetsuit.
JR: Speargun: Pathos Laser Open Pro 75 has a short shaft overhang so I can poke around in rocks and crevices. Fins: Bluetec Blades. I’m a big guy so I need a super stiff and super-light carbon fiber fin to push me to the bottom and back to the surface.
RF: Choose a mask with black silicone seal. Clear silicone allows light into the mask making it harder to see and hunt fish swimming below. Wear neoprene socks to prevent chafing in the fin footbed. Gloves with Kevlar will hold up to fish spines and lobster claws.
This article was first published in the Early Summer 2015 issue of Kayak Angler Magazine. Subscribe to Kayak Angler Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.
With minimal investment you could be diving and spearfishing from your kayak. | Feature photo: Brent Keane/Pexels