Spearfishing With an Invisible Cape

Spearfishing With an Invisible Cape

Spearfishing With an Invisible Cape

Spearfishing presents many challenges to a diver that wants to catch his own dinner.  One has to dive, hold his or her breath, locate the fish he fancies and manage to find a way to land the spear firmly on the desired pray.  Many times, the greatest effort comes after the shot, fighting to subdue the fish or struggling to get it out of a cave. 

That all said, still for me, the greatest challenge for a spear fisherman or woman is to approach the fish he or she targets.  To close the distance and get near enough to shoot without scaring the fish is hard! In order to land a solid shot, the tip of the speargun should be no more than a few feet from the targeted fish when the trigger is pulled.  That’s a pretty short distance!  Fish can perceive ill intent and will not permit the hungry spearo to get close enough for a precise shot.  In most cases, the hunted fish will sense the threat and move away, not permitting the human’s approach. 

Closing the distance between diver and prey is one of the key skills a successful spear fisherman or woman must develop in order to put food on the table.  There are multiple ways of doing this as the techniques vary according to intended target species and diving conditions in the day of the hunt.  One of my personal favorite techniques to approach fish I want to spear is called the Invisible Cape technique, used mainly to hunt pelagic fish but that can occasionally be used for bottom fish too.  Actually, as you will see ahead, it’s not so much a technique used to approach fish but one to become invisible and have the fish approach you!

The technique consists in using a large school of fish (that you are not targeting) as concealment so your desired fish does not see you.  If a diver manages to position himself in the middle of a school of fish, whomever is on the outside of the school is not able to see what’s inside the school,  so the diver becomes “invisible” to other passing fish and creatures.

In the video linked below, I use the Invisible Cape technique to land a beautiful, delicious, but very skittish Blue Fish (Pomatomus saltatrix).  It’s my favorite fish to cook over a barbecue grill, so I am always very happy when I can take a blue fish home.  In this example, I use a large school of Atlantic Spade Fish (Chaetodipterus faber) to become invisible to the passing Blue Fish.  As he does not see me hidden amongst the Spades, the Blue Fish swims directly into the school and in reach of my gun.  I am fortunate to be using a Cressi Cherokee Ocean, a spear gun that is very precise and permits me to land this perfect shot and bring the fish home to meet my grill.  Notice that I say the shot is perfect not solely because it brought the fish to my hands, but also because it landed on the blue fish’s upper body and did not ruin the filet.


Francisco was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he learned to fish. Spearfishing in Rio de Janeiro is a way of life, and his love for the sea and spearfishing has led him to be a proponent of sustainable spearfishing. He has served as captain of the USA National Spearfishing Team,...

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