Kayak Spearfishing... new sub-Forum?

I came to kayaking by way of spearfishing and freediving. I have been a waterman all my life, kayaking is just one more extension of my passion for all things salt water. For the last 12 years, I had a power boat for diving… I decided to sell my boat and get a kayak, my new adventure.

Here is the cool thing… I got the kayak solely as a mode of transport that gave me an upper body workout, but I have found I love paddling. I live way down in Baja Sur, Mexico… no coaches here… I am learning what I can from YouTube and other internet resources including this great Forum!

There is very little information around the internet for kayak spearfishing, and virtually all by spearfisherman who use a kayak. What about kayakers who also enjoy spearfishing and/or freediving? This is a real specialty activity, and it is WILD good fun. I would very much appreciate it if Paddling.com would open a sub-forum for Kayakers who spearfish/freedive. If you do, I will spread the word on all the spearfishing & freediving forums… there is a thirst for information and community in this specialty.

Interesting. You could drift with or tow the kayak with a tether. This would eliminate a longer swim back to an anchored powerboat with dead or wounded prey.

Hey Grayhawk: That works ok if there is no wind. Any wind at all and the kayak becomes a sail on the surface that pulls you around underwater. When hunting, the goal is to be absolutely silent and to move as if you belong in the underwater world so as not to spook the fish… the tried and true floatline is really the only way that is comfortable for me… some guys use a reel instead of a float line, but I have found them to be a distraction when you are fighting a fish to the surface.

Loreto has coaches. https://seakayakbajamexico.com/ is a pretty well known organization with high level coaches. More aimed at sea kayaking, but you could definitely get the skills basics from them for a sit on top.

Spear fishing probably should fall under this message board for now: https://forums.paddling.com/categories/fishing-from-kayaks-and-canoes.

Thanks Peter, I know there is a kayak touring company in Loreto, didn’t know they may do coaching, I’ll give them a call, would really appreciate a good critique of how I can improve my forward stroke… and I’d be interested in a kayak trip just to give it a try. As for where to post, I am interested in talking to Paddlers who want to spear or learn to spear… I am interested to know how much interest there is in the kayak community… thus the General Forum post… I hope that’s ok.

As far as keeping track of your boat, I wonder about combining that trailing line with a good sea anchor. I’m sure a sit-on-top kayak gets blown by the wind less than a canoe, but since I’ve seen that it takes very little wind to cause an unoccupied canoe to blow away at a brisk speed, surely a stronger wind would do the same with a kayak. A sea anchor seems like a good idea to me if you don’t want to be hindered by a tether.

Guideboatguy: Best insurance is to drop a good anchor when leaving the kayak, typical anchoring depth is 20’-30’… I have a buddy who nearly died because his boat blew away, he had to swim a LOT of miles across open Sea of Cortez, not good! Have you ever done any spearfishing? It is a crazy fun sport.

Sounds good. For some reason I assumed the water must be too deep for that, based on your earlier comment about a float line being best.

Where are you going to put the fish that won’t attract sharks?

Overstreet: Kayak is SOT with an open well in back (Cobra Tourer, 15’ x 28")… fish bag specially designed for saltwater kayak spearfishing sits in well, I put a garbage bag inside to act as a liner, keeps most fish slime off the fish bag for ease of cleaning… I mostly spear the dropoffs around reefs, don’t see many sharks.

I have a 12’ sot that I used snorkeling with manatees. I “staked” out. Was in shallow water.

Got bored with the manatees and followed the fish around.

Update on Baja Kayak Spearfishing: I have been out on the kayak 3x per week for the last 5 weeks now. I paddle out 2.5 miles, dive for 45 mins (not spearfishing, just freediving), paddle back. I have been learning continuously to be a better paddler, focusing on my forward stroke and steering (no rudder or skeg)… really getting the feel of leg-driven loose-hip torso-rotation, proper catch and exit, alternating grip and wrist alignment.

Per advice above, I did sign up for a 7 day kayak trip with a Loreto kayaking company, out around Islas Carmen and Danzante. The guides are apparently very good coaches so I will have lots of opportunity to improve my stroke. I’m also looking forward to learning the finer points of Baja beach camping from a kayak, packing a kayak for load balance & tracking, cross wind steering, and many other things I have not even considered yet. This should really turbo charge my overall kayaking learning curve.

I’ve done a few dives from kayaks and here are a few things I’ve learned.

In a kelp forest (which is where the best diving and fishing is), the boat can be anchored by tying a line around several strands of kelp. The boat stays put and is pretty easy to find as long as you avoid currents and using surge for progress along the bottom.

Re-entry could be an issue and you may wish to add an outrigger system to the boat (I used two paddlefloats holding the paddle with cinches going under the boat and around both paddles to secure the paddle. Quite secure. The outrigger system greatly improves whatever method of re-entry you use and keeps everything stable until you have secured the skirt (I used both open and closed cockpit boats and aside from re-entry, there was little performance difference).


Thanks Rick, all tips appreciated. I haven’t been out to a kelp forest yet, none here on Sea of Cortez… but I grew up near Santa Barbara where the coast is lined with excellent kelp forest. I am dying to get out there, now that I am kayak diving it is an imperative.

I’m doing fine with re-entry, even though I am fat and out of shape and 61 years old… I have great water skills. I’ve even figured how to make the re-entry maneuver with all my weights on (chest harness + belt + ankles), and not tip over the yak! The trick is to dive from SOT kayaks… 1,000x easier than with a sit-in.

Kayak Spearfish Update, 17Jun: If you read my previous post, you will see in February I was “fat and out of shape”. Since then I’ve lost 60# so less fat (still have 30# to go) and in better shape. My first 6-day trip went great, though I ended up not doing much spearfishing… I didn’t bring a wetsuit and the water was COLD when I dove thru the thermocline, too cold for me to get comfortable. Water temps are now back up to 75F on the surface so I’m ready to start diving again.

Anyone out there who is primarily a paddler, who has started spearfishing from a kayak? It’s worth reading the thread above, a few key topics discussed.

I just bought my very first kayak. I’m an ex scuba certified diver and would like to spear fish off my kayak as well. I’m in Los Angeles, Ca. so I’ll be hitting the kelp beds soon. I’m old as well, 56, and want to thank you for giving me the idea.

@Johnny Bravo said:
I just bought my very first kayak. I’m an ex scuba certified diver and would like to spear fish off my kayak as well. I’m in Los Angeles, Ca. so I’ll be hitting the kelp beds soon. I’m old as well, 56, and want to thank you for giving me the idea.

You aren’t even close to old.

Checking in after a long absence from this thread… maybe a “bump” to the top will find some new kayak-spearfishing enthusiasts.

Johnny: Have you tried kayak-spearfishing yet? Lot’s of gear to manage, quite a wrestling match when you start… but it all comes together quickly if you have good water skills. Getting older, suggest: 100 pushups and 100 squats per day… flexibility, and you need to be able to “popup” out of the water onto the kayak smoothly without flipping over.
String: How old are you? Doing any spearfishing? I’m 64, really regaining my fitness… lost nearly 100#, that’s made a huge difference in my life. I have 2 buddies I dive with who are 78 & 81, but off powerboats, not kayaks. I want to be them when I grow up.

Very happy to see this post. I started with kayaking and have migrated to ( a desire to) spearfishing. I am just getting started. Got my PADI Freediving certificate recently and have the gear, but haven’t yet bagged a fish. Where I live, I just don’t have the opportunity and don’t have connections in better areas for a dive buddy.

I have also thought about bringing out the kayak for dives.

Kayaking and spearfishing go together better than chocolate chip cookies and beer (think I’m kidding? try it). From your username, I’m guessing you are way inland? Most lakes and rivers forbid spearfishing, but check around, you never know. It is a wild fun sport… not easy, but so very worth the effort. What kind of gear do you have for spearing? Your kayak?