Diving/Spear Fishing

Spearfishing Without a Boat

by Tim Simons – Dutchy’s Tairua
Shore diving is a great way to put food on the table without all the boat hassle, if it’s done right. You will need to do a bit more homework and generally swim a little further. If you have done a few shore-dives, you may be already doing the things talked about below without even realising, but for people just getting into it this will be a good guide.

You will have a fair idea of what the conditions are like when you are at your destination looking at the water, but key things to consider are:


The smaller the better. If the swell is big you will get lots of whitewash which doesn’t help with the underwater visibility and makes diving in-close difficult. Big swells will cause surge which can be dangerous and is very annoying to dive in, making everything harder.


You want to know what the typical tides are for the spot you plan to dive and be able to end up where you want to, instead of two beaches down the coast and having to hitchhike back. A good rule of thumb is to stick to areas you know or have dived before, get some local knowledge, and do some homework.

Underwater visibility

The clearer this is, the better. A lot more hunting options become available with better visibility. If the visibility is rubbish, you will find shooting fish hard and may be stuck looking for crays or paua.


You need to be safe and comfortable and have the right gear for the job.

– Gun

Depending on the visibility, I like to run a 120cm gun which keeps my options open and means I’m able to shoot anything from moa moa to kingfish. Check your rigging and keep it in good condition and feel for cuts and scratches––you don’t want to have issues out there or lose a nice fish because of it. It’s only $6 to replace your shooting line so don’t be tight.

– Float & float-line

You can either use a streamline float or a float boat. I used to run a float with a catch-bag, but it was too heavy through the water and made doing big swims harder than they needed to be. I switched to a float-boat and have never looked back. You can put everything inside and keep it away from pesky bities, out of the sun, and keep the drag to a minimum. You want to be visible, so make sure you have a dive flag on your float or float-boat. Keep your float-line at a good length, about 20m or slightly less is good. Keep in mind that sometimes you need to pull the float in a bit closer when swimming around points to stop it from getting caught in the rocks.

– Wetsuit & fins

You need to be warm and comfortable since you will be doing lots of swimming. A 5mm 2-piece wetsuit is a pretty good start and an all-year-round option. It’s always better to be hot than cold. If you do find yourself getting hot, you can let some cold water into your suit every now and again.

– Torch & measure

Always carry these because you will want them when you least expect it. Be sure to measure your fish out there, and return to the same location to give them the best chance of survival.


Some areas are better than others, but you don’t have to go far to find some good diving. At this time of year, the shallows are very alive, and if the visibility plays its part, you can come back with a trophy mixed bag. You want to try spots with easy in-and-out access where you don’t waste all your energy before even getting into the water. Places like Sailors Grave, Hot Water Beach, and Opito Bay on the East Coast of the Coromandel can all make for beautiful dives and have great access.


If you are heading out and coming back to the same spot, something I like to do is head through the shallows snooping for snapper and looking for spiny rock lobster (crays) and paua on the way out. Then on the way back, stay out deeper working the weedline looking for fish. You can also set some ground berleys with kina and fish on your way out and revisit them on your way back.

When you are looking for crays or paua, a handy trick is to mark the spot with your speargun so you don’t lose it, and then you have both hands free. Once you get onto a cray, be sure to have a look around since there are usually more in the same area.

Finally, always tell someone where you are diving, and dive with a buddy.

If you need anything for your shore-diving missions, come see us at the Dutchy’s, located at the Tairua Marina. We stock everything spearfishing, with the best brands such as Rob Allen and Beuchat in store. Follow us on Facebook for local updates and videos.


Tim Simons

Dutchy’s Limited 12 The Marina, Tairua, Mob: 021 882 827



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *