If you are reading this, you probably know you should be diving in teams, with your buddy close enough to grab you when you surface. You probably know that most fatalities in our sport occur by not following this basic rule. Since the whole not-dying thing is oddly not enough to convince most spearfishermen to dive in teams, let’s speak in a language we can all understand.
You will put more fish in the cooler hunting in teams. Just think of the not-dying thing as a bonus.
You are diving by yourself. You put a bad shot on a fish and it tears off. Once you hit the surface, you are going to forcefully breathe really fast (hyperventilation is bad) so you can get back down as quick as possibly to put a second shaft in the fish as quickly as possible. Because of the rush, you don’t spend enough time on surface and have very little bottom time.
You are diving in a tight team and the same things happens. When you hit the surface, your buddy, who is close enough to grab you, watches you for 30 seconds and then laughs at your terrible shot placement. This buddy is fully breathed up and ready to go.
Who is more likely to get that fish in the cooler: you or your buddy? Exactly. Then you can argue whose fish it is.
You are diving by yourself. After a long dive, you decide it’s time to head up. Three kicks off the bottom, you see a mutton snapper. Unfortunately, you have to head up. Now when you surface, because it’s a mutton who ain’t gonna be hanging for a long time, you are forced to forcefully breathe really fast so you can get down as quickly as possible. Again, you hyperventilate. Due to this approach, you are looking at very little bottom time. Sprinting at a mutton snapper is not a winning strategy.
You are diving in a team. When you hit the surface, you tell your buddy, “Hey, right where I came up past that coral head there is a mutton. Go grab it.” She is breathed up and has the breath-hold to calmly and slowly approach the mutton or let the mutton come to her.
Who is more likely to land that mutton: you or your buddy? Exactly. You getting it?
This comparison requires that you concern yourself more with having the group get fish than you and your Instagram account get the fish. How cool would it be to dive with a partner who thought this way? A buddy who said, “Hey, you go get that fish instead of me. You have a much better chance of getting it than I do.
So many spearfishers see difficulty in hunting together. I find it very simple. Before I splash, my buddy and I distinguish that one diver is the leader and the other is the follower. The leader goes wherever he or she wants. The follower has no say and simply follows the leader’s fin tips. When the leader makes a drop, he doesn’t have to check if the buddy is following and wonder if he’s safe to drop because they made an agreement that the buddy would follow. Now, when you surface, your buddy is right there. She watches you for 30 seconds to determine you are safe and you switch roles. The other person is the leader and you are follower. There is no discussion needed and this just works back and forth.
Hunting in a 3-person team is ever better because one person dives, one person takes care of safety and the other is breathing up always ready to go at a moment’s notice. This way, one hunter is on the bottom the entire time the team is in the water.
Then again, you could always just dive by yourself, hope you don’t blackout, and always stone every fish you shoot.
I would love to see spearfishing tournaments that are team based! Any takers?