Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Spearfishing/Underwater Hunting Technique Part 3

In prior related posts we saw that that fish are very curious indeed, and like cats, they insist on learning more about strange arrivals in their domain.

Their curiosity is what we manipulate.

Now I have a slight advantage - through my life there have been many cats - probably about 30 that I have come to know in the places I have lived. Take a lesson from the feline, even if you do not like them - they have much to offer the spearo in approaching prey. I quite often pretend my cat is to be hunted and see how I can lure them in close, then give them a fright! Some cat's, like the odd fish (e.g. poenskop) are simply not able to be manipulated, unless the enviroment offers teh advantage.

Imagine sitting at your desk and as you look out through the window: some large airborne device moves across the sky and lands in your backyard. The chance that you will remain at your desk doing what you were doing before is rather remote.
Similarly a fish will not stay back and laze away on the other side of the pinnacle or rock if it sees a diver come down – either it spooks off like hell or comes nearer to inspect the weird thing that glided down into it's domain.

During breeding season I believe there is territorial behaviour where a fish may dominate a certain piece of “prime real estate” where females will congregate – why not?
Keep out the other males and your genes will dominate the future. I believe certain species will inspect any new arrival to determine if it is competition.

In the ambush we may, or may not, manipulate curiosity.

Ambush is derived from Late Latin – imboscareim meaning in, boscus meaning bush – hiding in the bush – leopard style.

In the military sense ambush involves surprise attack normally from a concealed position that gives advantage to the attacker. Attackers will go to great length in selecting a prime spot that gives them full advantage, often over vastly superior numbers.

In our case we will hide amongst the seaweed, rocks or reef or wreckage. We may even just position ourselves silently on the sand, and wait, cocked and ready.

When in ambush we either shoot (or photograph) a totally unaware prey hence using full and complete surprise; or we “advertise” our position to the fish when it is some distance off and then let its curiosity draw it in.

Ambush is the preferred method of hunting reef fish and selected game fish in South Africa.

The best approach is to dive down to the bottom and select a position where you are able to reduce your visibility (to a fishes eyes) and rest on the bottom.

Getting down to the bottom totally unnoticed is not ideal – some “publicity” is required to arouse the fishes curiosity. If there are small fish about they will probably crowd around and take turns to look at you hence creating a zone of irregular behaviour (publicity) that will intrigue larger more cautious fish to inspect. It is like a crowd at a roadside – when you drive past you will probably exhibit some form of curiosity. Now once you are positioned, slowly scan the area around you for approaching fish. The sooner you see a fish approaching the sooner you can reposition the gun/camera and yourself to attempt a shot.

This ambush process will become more and more apparent and fine-tuned with experience.

In the rest of thatlesson I covered the detail on fine tuning the manipulation - shades of grey between black and white.

Let me end the post with this quote which also comes from that lesson:

Imagination is everything.

It is a preview of life’s forthcoming attractions

Albert Einstein 1879-1955.

1 comment:

Eckart Benkenstein said...

Something I have just learnt recently (I have to say that I have only been spearing for a short time and I learn something new every time I get into the water). Anyway, back to what I learnt: I found that it's sometimes best to give the fish the upper hand when it comes to hiding, they feel a bit more secure. I'll use a recent example: I knew there was a school of about 5-6 biggisch galjoen in the area. There was a large rock with kelp on top and slightly to the right about 4m away 2-4 medium sized rocks. so I dived down and lay in the "valley" and sure enough they come and hung behind the smaller rocks and couldn't resist taking a closer look since they thought they had the upper hand regarding the structure...big mistake! managed to bag my biggest Galjoen this way.