Like Shooting Fish In A Barrel?

Well, there’s a gun, but spearfishing is a lot more involved
BY: CAPTAIN NEMO

Everyone knows that Los Cabos is a mecca for sportfishing, with professionals, hardcore hobbyists and even the vacation amateurs able to reel in the big fish. But if you want to take your fishing to the next level (as is, doing more than sitting on a boat while waiting for a bite), then it’s time you try spearfishing.

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Spearfishing is a more active sport. You’re the hunter, spear gun in hand, swimming through the open water and the reef to find your prey.

“It’s more demanding,” says Niko Bolduc. “It’s a lot of problem solving.”

Niko is the owner of Spearfishing Baja. It’s one of the very few companies in Los Cabos that offers spearfishing excursions and, Niko says, the only company that is licensed in Baja to do so.

If you’re not familiar with the sport, a big part of spearfishing is learning the basics of freediving, which means you’re diving underwater without a scuba tank. You’ll use a snorkel mask and tube, but you also have to learn how to control your breathing, and the proper breathing technique for when you’re going to dive. If you’ve never done it before, don’t worry. You don’t need to have any previous freediving experience. The only basic requirement, says Ricardo Ayala, Spearfishing Baja’s general manager, is that you know how to swim and you’re comfortable underwater.

That last one is one of the most important things, and one of the skills the Spearfishing Baja instructors go over with their clients. Other freediving skills you’ll learn are how to equalize the pressure in your ears and how to do a “duck dive” kick, which helps you to dive straight down into the water.

Beginners usually only go down about 15 feet. But, if it turns out that you’re not such a great freediver, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to catch anything. “People think you have to go super deep,” Ricardo says, “but sometimes you’re just on the surface snorkeling and there are fish that come up to the surface.”

And if you’ve never shot a gun before, again, there’s no need to worry. The instructors will go over how to properly use the equipment and gun safety. The guns you use depend on where you’re shooting and what type of fish you’re going to be shooting. There are different guns for fishing the reef and blue water. The guns they use for the reef are between 3.2 and 3.6 feet, and blue water guns are between are 4.3 and 4.6 feet. The staff will help you select the best gun for your adventure because, as Niko says, you don’t want to get in the water over-gunned or it takes away the challenge.

In case you’re wondering how a gun works underwater, Ricardo says that a spearfishing gun is like a crossbow. You have an arrow (in this case, the spear) and a bow string (a band of rubber) that gives the weapon its power. The difference is that the spear is either attached to the gun, or connected directly to a float line and a buoy. This is for when you’re hunting bigger fish; you can shoot them and the buoy will help you locate the fish until you can retrieve it. Just like fishing from a boat, you give the fish some line, then reel it in, then repeat the process over again. You still have to fight for you fish, even with the “advantage” of having a gun.

“This is what makes it a beautiful sport,” Niko says. “It’s very selective.”

Spearfishing Baja offers three packages, with tours departing from both Cabo and San Jose. The first is the semi-private reef charter, which is for the first timers and those wanted to brush up on their spearfishing skills. This half-day tour runs $350 USD for two divers. Then there’s the private charter, which gives divers a more personalized experience. With this five-hour tour, you can target a specific trophy fish and explore reefs further out in the ocean. This runs $600 for two divers.

And then there’s the blue water spearfishing charter, a full-day tour that takes intermediate to advanced spearfishers (or “spearos,” as they’re called in the sport) out into the open water. On this tour you’ll target tuna, marlin, wahoo and dorado. It costs $750 for two divers.

And spearfishing isn’t just for adults – the kids are welcome to try it, too! Although Spearfishing Baja prefers children be at least 10 years old, they have taken kids (who had previous spearfishing experience) as young as eight out on tours. For tours with children, they recommend that you book a private charter, so the team can focus more attention on the little ones.

For more information or to book a tour, visit Spearfishing Baja’s website at www.spearfishingbaja.mx. Or, go visit their shop, located under Tesoro on the marina.