Spearfishing as a Way of Life

Spearfishing has been called “snorkeling with a chance for lunch.” This Caribbean spear fisherman explains his passion for the sport.

Spearfisherman in Puerto Rico
Negron spearfishing in Puerto Rico

Some describe spearfishing as snorkeling with a chance of lunch, but for others, spearfishing is breakfast and dinner too. Caribbean spearfishermen such as Antonio Negron subsist on their catch and appreciate the ecosystem that provides their livelihoods.

“Take only what you need,” says Negron, “and know what you can sell or eat.”

The sport is the most environmentally sound way to eat from the sea. There is no cross-species by-catch when spearfishing – you only eat what you aim at – and there’s no habitat damage from nets trolling across the ocean bottom. Like fishing by pole, spearfishing is limited in scale to the individual fisherman (or fisherwoman). That direct connection is a beautiful thing.

Where to go spearfishing
Spearfishing in Puerto Rico. Flickr/dmscvan.

Spearfishing Vacation

The Caribbean might just be the best place in the world for a spearfishing vacation. Dozens of species inhabit the crystal-blue waters not far from shore, and many, like the Lion Fish, are plentiful, gorgeous, and tasty. Spearfishers such as Negron appreciate and respect the biodiversity of this ecosystem.

“A lot of us go to learn and dedicate our time to enjoy the marine environment, to enjoy the species,” says Negron. “We need to be very considerate of the species.”

This type of fishing is not performed standing over the water like in the movies, but rather while diving with the spear. A meter-long, trigger-activated speargun is used, consisting of elastic bands stretched the length of the barrel. An attached cord unreels upon firing to allow the fish and spear to be retrieved.

The romance of spearfishing has given rise to a number of tour companies in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the Caribbean that offer spearfishing. If you like to fish and are aquatically inclined, spearfishing might be a fantastic way to experience your sport in an entirely different way. Spearfishing draws in surfers too. The two disciplines share a kinship in how they embrace the marine ecosystem and derive a lifestyle from the sea.

Regardless of your attraction to spearfishing – the beauty, the beach, or simply lunch – there are tour companies that not only train you to spearfish, but provide equipment as well. They can guide you to the best locations to increase your luck, suggest restaurants that will cook the catch to your liking, and make sure it all happens safely. It is, after all, a gun that fires a spear. Spearfishing Puerto Rico (http://www.spearfishingpuertorico.com/) is one outfitter who calls the sport of spearfishing “snorkeling with a chance of lunch.”

A crowdfunding campaign has been arranged to purchase Antonio Negron a much needed boat. If you’d like to contribute, you can do so here. https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/a-boat-for-antonio-negron