Spearfishing at night used to be frowned upon by the spearfishing community but as the understanding of this technique has grown, so has its acceptance as a challenging and exciting discipline. Nothing in life will make you feel more Chuck Norris than marching past a beach fisherman at midnight in a jet black / camo wetsuit, speargun in hand and swimming off into the darkness. Most people don’t even know what spearfishing is so the odds are they’ll be convinced you’re on a black ops.
Enjoy this feeling while it lasts as it rapidly gets exchanged for pure terror. There is nothing more haunting than being in the ocean in complete darkness except for your torch which only lights up about a meter. Things running through your mind at this moment generally follow the themes of “Wow, this actually really dangerous”, “ Why didn’t I buy better torch” and “This ocean is far too creepy not to hold sharks, giant squid, ghosts and anything else that haunts your darkest nightmares.”
Okay so now you have ridden the emotional roller coaster you can start distracting yourself with spearfishing. Luckily for your sanity and bravado you don’t dive when you night fish, your hunting grounds are the shallows of 1 – 3 meters, plus many opt for short guns, like 50 – 70cm spearguns. Pneumatic are often used by night diving purists as the short version can still pack a punch. We recommend a 60cm twin 16mm band Rob Allen Tuna which is like a sawed off shotgun if you’re worried about power on the big ones.
It’s hard to describe the fish activity at night. They are certainly not asleep yet they are not shoaling like during the day. The best hunting ground is often stretches of shale coastline or rock / sand, night spearos rarely target the kelp areas like they would normally target during the day. Patrol the shallows keeping your torch movements smooth and calm. When you see your target, don’t blast them full on with your torch otherwise they will startle and shoot off. Instead try to keep them just on the edge of your beam while you take your shot. Lobsters can also be found leaving their holes in search of food which is an added bonus.
Gear wise there are many preferences. It’s popular have multiple torches (never just one) tied to a dive vest so you don’t lose them if you drop them. You can also get hand straps that connect torches to the back of your hand which is massively helpful when you’re dispatching your fish. A short float line is ideal as you won’t be diving.
Night spearfishing is not easy by any means and does not guarantee you a big haul. Most people have blanked nearly just as much as they have during the daylight. Although it has to be said that your odds of finding a significantly big bass, and getting bigger hauls do improve a lot with the absence of daylight, it’s just nowhere near as easy as some of the old rumours would have you believe.
Needless to say that this adds plenty of an extra danger points to a sport that is already inherently dangerous. So make sure you use your common sense when you are out there. Make sure someone knows what you are doing, keep your bearings and don’t think about all those unconfirmed white pointer sightings 😉