Will camouflage improve your hunting and how does it work? There is nothing like a camo wetsuit to set you aside from the scuba divers and free diving community but are they used with good reason? There was a big debate on their effectiveness for the job in hand with views swinging like a pendulum. Do they work or don’t they?
The problem comes from various fish behaviours that seems to switch from dive to dive, species to species. Some fish are incredibly inquisitive while others avoid you like the plague, so do you want to be noticed or invisible. Regardless the vast majority of spear fishermen now use camouflage wetsuits including the best hunters around the world so the argument has largely answered itself by the public’s actions. Let’s take a look at the different types of camo wetsuit and their intended purposes of use
Camouflage wetsuit for spearfishing
The main purpose of camo is to break up your profile against your background, the terrain you normally hunt in. This is the number one consideration you need to have when choosing your pattern.
Do you hunt in the kelp like the UK, sandy bottom rock reefs like Hawaii or out in the big blue chasing pelagic fish like tuna and wahoo.
Reef camo wetsuit:
If you hunt at the bottom of the seabed then you will need a reef style camo wetsuit. These are the typical military looking styles and are designed to match the foliage behind you. In the UK we often cover ourselves deep in the kelp, hiding as much of our body as possible while being mindful not to wave our fins about behind us. A lot of reef spearfishing is almost like setting up an ambush, hiding like a sniper waiting for our target to wonder into range. Using the element of surprise is often the difference between landing the fish and it getting away.
The fact remains that even for the more inquisitive fish, the more you can confuse them into making a mistake the better your chances are.
A block black wetsuit will never break up your profile, you will always be a big black shape to them when exposed, ie a potential predator. If camo didn’t work then why do we all hide ourselves in the kelp and sea weed?
It’s not to say you can’t be successful in a black wetsuit, far from it. However the odds of landing a fish that doesn’t know you’re there, or can’t quite figure out what you are / how big you are, are increased greatly.
Remember that as you are on the seabed, the fish see you from above (or side on), so your body shape needs to be dispersed and confused with the vegetation you lying on.
When choosing your camo wetsuit you want to have an integral understanding of what your hunting terrain looks like, and find a camo that has a mix of matching and alternate colours. For the UK you need a mix of browns, greens with some alternate shades best break up your profile. Remember that you don’t want the whole suit to be an exact match, you need variation to break up your silhouette, ie sensible contrasting colours with dark and light variations.
The picture to the right is a perfect example of a reef camo suitable for the UK among other places and is available in our spearfishing gear shop
Blue camo wetsuit:
These are used exclusively for open water spearfishing or hunting from the surface where you traditionally drop down on a fish that is either attacking your flasher or visible on the reef, but most commonly for hunting pelagic fish in the open ocean. So you are hunting from above the fish and the fish sees you from below.
Firstly it’s worth pointing out that the general conscious (rare as it may be), is that you are far more likely to be intriguing or miss-identified by a shark in a black wetsuit. If diving in shark waters this is obviously a prime consideration.
The problem is that a black wetsuit can make your silhouette look like something on the sharks normal food menu, and misidentification is often the main cause of shark attacks. It thinks you are something else and only realises its mistake once it has ‘tasted’ you. That’s why most shark attacks only consist of one or two bites.
Again when choosing your camo wetsuit avoid any block blue colour schemes and look for something that breaks up your shape with a combination of light and dark shades. The most popular versions tend to be a lighter blue as that helps take the darkness out of your silhouette as the fish looks up at you with sun above.
You can learn more about this particular HECS wetsuit here:
Red camo wetsuit:
Red camo is the latest colour scheme to hit the markets and if you don’t understand why then it can seem ridiculous on first consideration but there is most certainly a method to the madness. The colour red turns to a very dark brown after about 5 – 7m, the deeper you go the darker the brown gets. The idea with the red wetsuits is that you can hunt reefs effectively while being highly visible on the surface. They look wild but we like them.
This suit is made by a company called Yazbeck and can learn more here:
HECS Wetsuits and stealth technology:
By far the biggest innovation to hit the camo wetsuit market for the past 20 years and we absolutely love it!
Stealth technology is designed on the principles we know about how fish detect their prey and predators. Fish generally have a mix of sensory input to help them target their food while avoid being eaten and HECS have developed a technology which exploits this.
Specifically ‘Electroreception’ is the biological ability to perceive natural electrical stimuli. It has been observed almost exclusively in aquatic or amphibious animals, since salt-water is a much better conductor than air and many fish use electric fields to detect buried prey etc.
The HECS suit technology has a micro wire mesh built into the neoprene that blocks your body’s electrical field meaning you are effective radar invisible to the fish around you. As fish tend to have poor eyesight this gives you a massive edge when hunting as it allows you to get closer than ever before.
On the flip side and most importantly to many people, it works on sharks as well. Sharks massively use electroreception to detect their prey and this cuts right through their main system for hunting. Nothing is 100% off course but it’s a huge step in the right direction for a non-lethal defence against the toothy critters we share the ocean with.
You can click here to learn more about HECS wetsuits
If you need help or advice choosing the right wetsuit for you then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. As always we stock the brands and products that we do simple because in our experience they are the most effective and durable offerings on the ‘global’ market.
If any of these brands are new to you, then you are not alone as its mostly the European names that you see in the dive shops. We urge you to do your own research and check the online reviews available to everyone. Its the best way to be sure you’re making a non-bias and well informed decision : )