Spearfishing is essentially bow hunting underwater. It is neither easy to master or cheap to get into….. and its more addictive than crack. It also has its share of controversy as it is illegal to do on scuba in many European and Caribbean nations but not in the USA. So there are essentially two schools of spearfishing; freediving (breath-hold) and scuba diving. There are different guns, styles and techniques used in each. Panama City Beach has many vibrant fisheries so there is a target species to spearfish through out the year.
Philosophically we are a pro-spearing dive shop as an ethical spearfisherman has near zero by-catch, whereas a traditional angler will accidentally catch some undersize or undesirable species that have to be thrown back. A significant percentage of which die as a result of the stress or from waiting dolphins, barracudas, Goliath groupers and sharks. In fisheries management this is known as “discard mortality.” This is unavoidable in hook and line fishing but easily avoided while spearfishing.
We practice and teach ethical spearing practices in our shop and on our boats, and we are intolerant of anything less on the water, as we see ourselves as stewards of the marine environment. Our primary dive boat, the Steel Slinger, has a federal reef fish permit making it the only USCG inspected dive boat in the area legally able to take divers to the offshore wrecks, bridge spans and limestone reefs. We also now have a 25′ 6 pack boat that runs spearfishing trips whenever you want to go. These are not however a handheld guided affair to shallow water dive sites suitable for new divers or children! Our shop stocks more spearing gear than any other local dive shops. We are also the only shop to carry to two most accurate guns lines (Spearfishing Specialties for SCUBA and HammerHead for freediving) as tested by Spearing Magazine. We also host spearing tournaments and Calcuttas constantly. So, you could say that we are kinda into spearfishing here at Panama City Dive Charters.
If it looks like we are having fun, its because we are! Look at the smiles. If you’d like to get into any aspect of underwater hunting we would like to teach you the tricks and ethics of spearfishing “the right way.”
One thing diving hunters do have to deal with that traditional fishermen will seldom appreciate in its entirety, is that once you shoot a fish… you still have to keep it away from the other predators! Spearing is hunting in its most basic form, it is extreme when you are head to head with a bull shark (or 3) over who owns the fish on your stringer! So spearfishing is not for the feint of heart.
We always have a friendly competition running at our dive shop to keep spearos talking to each other and motivated. Every 3 months we total up everyone’s score (weight + lobster) and the winner gets the pot. It costs $20 to enter the Calcutta. All entrants weighing a fish have a chance to win a speargun. The speargun will be given away by a random number generator programmed with a low limit of the lowest score and a high limit of the highest score. Whichever diver has the closest score to the random number wins the gun. The shooter with the highest point total will win the cash pot. Come by the shop for more info, to sign up or weigh your dinner anytime during our business hours.Species change every quarter to reflect seasonal prevalence and changing regulations.