I've been hunting since I was old enough to hold a gun in my hands. My dad raised me to be an outdoorsman, and if it walks and can be eaten, there's a good chance I've taken a shot at it. But on a recent trip down to Florida, a friend introduced me to a new sport. Hunting. But in the ocean. Instead of sitting in a hide swatting away the bugs, you're in the water with a snorkel and a speargun. It's like a highly active form of fishing, that was incredibly fun. It's called spearfishing. And I would recommend it without hesitation to anyone who enjoys hunting. But not only that. In a crisis, knowing another technique to put food on your dinner table is invaluable. It helps you add variety to your diet, can supplement the stores you've got tucked away in your stockpile, and gives you something to do when the world has turned to chaos. Everyone who lives near a large water source should know how to go spearfishing.
Don't forget the regulations
Now you'll probably need a fishing license to go spearfishing (check the restrictions in your state), and make sure you do a little research on locations first. Certain areas can be off-limits, but most coastal areas will have spots you can go hunt. You can go spearfishing in fresh water too, but there are usually more restrictions on the types of fish you can take, and also seasons to follow. Make sure you know the rules before you get yourself in trouble, and face large fines.
Gearing up to go spearfishing
If you've ever been snorkeling before, spearfishing is pretty much the same thing. You've got a pair of flippers, and a snorkel and a mask. Perhaps even a wetsuit if the water's a little cold. And of course, a speargun. Now there's much more spearfishing gear you can buy, but these are the basics you need to get in the water and start hunting fish.
How a speargun works
A speargun is a weapon designed to shoot a spear underwater. It's got a band that's kind of like a slingshot, which you stretch down and "click" into place to load the speargun. Then it's just a matter of finding a fish to shoot, diving underwater and swimming close, turning off the safety and firing your speargun. The shaft will shoot forward, hopefully impale your target fish, and you can reel it in. The speargun I used, had about 4 to 5 feet of range, which was plenty for me to land a couple of fish.
Where to go spearfishing
The first thing I noticed once I got in the water was just how many fish I saw. It was incredible. I wasn't sitting on the sidelines hoping for a bite on my line. Or wasting hours and going hungry at the end of an unsuccessful day fishing. I was right down there with the fish, armed with a speargun, and the pickings were good. You can spearfish anywhere there's water, but I found there were more fish along structures like the pylons of a jetty, or a man-made rock wall or reef. And they got bigger the deeper the water got.
Remember to stay safe in the water
I don't need to tell you that the ocean can be unsafe, and it goes without saying that anytime you're swimming you need to ensure you're not putting yourself in danger. Check the conditions before you go into the water, and if it looks choppy, rough, or there's a rip, don't risk it. Losing your life over a couple of fish isn't a smart idea, no matter how hungry you are when the SHTF.
How about sharks?
Ah, the big question. I didn't see any on the spearfishing trips I made, but that doesn't mean they're not there. My friend had a line and a float he used to hold our catch (he said it was to keep the fish away in case a shark came near), and recommended I use a similar setup if I start to go spearfishing on my own. You don't want to wrestle a shark for a fish. It's a fight you will lose.
Hunting fish as a food source
This is where things get interesting. I averaged two fish on each spearfishing trip, as a complete beginner, flopping around in the water. Enough meat to feed my family every night. In a crisis, knowing how to go spearfishing is a key survival skill that will reliably put food on your table. When the supermarkets run dry, the people who know alternative ways to catch food will be the ones who thrive. Make sure it's you, and make sure you've got the gear, the expertise, and have put in the practice to bring home fish after fish as a food source,
Weaponizing your speargun when the SHTF
After the trip I bought my own speargun. I couldn't help it. I've yet to use it in the pond on my property, but I was playing around with it on the weekend and it occurred to me it's like a modified crossbow. Once I took the shooting line off (what connects the spear to the speargun), I went to the yard and made a few shots. My speargun launches the spear pretty accurately about 10-15 feet, and has a maximum range of about 35 to 40 feet. I did manage to slightly bend the shaft shooting it like this (which I'll need to replace before my next trip to the beach), but I realized a speargun could be a rather novel weapon once the SHTF. You'd only get one shot, but it may be enough to take on intruder in your home who intends you harm, if you've not got a tactical flashlight
or a can of pepper spray
handy. For anyone who lives near a source of water, like a lake or the beach, knowing how to go hunting in the water is an important survival skill. Buy a speargun and learn to catch fish after fish, and you'll never go hungry, even after the supermarket shelves are stripped bare.