Underwater fishing, also known as spearfishing, is a sport that involves hunting fish underwater using a variety of techniques. Unlike traditional fishing, where anglers above the waterline use fishing rods and lines to catch fish, underwater fishing relies on the skill of the diver to hunt and capture fish underwater using a specialized weapon.
There's a competitive aspect to underwater fishing, with tournaments popular in some pacific nations. To be successful in underwater fishing you need to learn a variety of techniques: breathing, searching, finding, approaching the catch and accurate shooting. Like angling competitions, underwater fishing competitions are based on factors such as the size, weight, or species of fish caught. It's important for the fishers to be knowledgeable about the types of fish that can be caught, their sizes, and any legal restrictions.
Spearfishers use a range of specialized equipment. The primary tool is a spear gun or pole spear, also called a harpoon gun, which is used to shoot or impale fish from a distance. Divers also wear a mask, snorkel, and fins for improved visibility and maneuverability underwater. The use of underwater breathing devices is not allowed.
The competitors are allowed in only a specified fishing zone. They then have a limited time to locate, approach, shoot, catch and bring the fish out of the water. Snorkels are used to breathe while at the water's surface, and when a fish is spotted, they dive underwater to get into a better position for a shot. Being able to hold your breath for extended time is advantageous, and requires training and perseverance.
- Underwater Target Shooting — competitors free dive in a swimming pool, using spearguns to fire at targets.
- Sport Fishing — in competition fishing contestants compete for prizes based on the total length or weight of a fish, usually of a pre-determined species, caught within a specified timeframe.
- Underwater Photography — teams of competitors using scuba gear and using a digital underwater camera dive and photograph the same saltwater ocean sites at the same time over a two-day period, with the submitted digital images assessed to find the winner.
- Casting — fishing without fish, the objective is to test the accuracy and distance of a cast.
- Underwater fishing was a sport at the Pacific Games four times, in 1971,1975, 1995, and 1999.
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