Dealing with speared fish

So, you shot at a fish and now its struggling on your spear; What do you do now?

It is important not to let the fish flap on your spear for too long, or it may tear off. If the fish is well on, pull it smoothly toward you, and get a good grip on it by the gills.

If it’s hit badly, do not pull hard. Let it have line, and try not to put too much pressure on it, then, when it has stopped its initial struggle, grab it quickly and decisively behind the head. Don’t worry about the spikes!

Once you have your hands on the fish, take out your knife or stringer and kill it by stabbing it in the brain. On a round fish, looking from above this is located at the apex of an equilateral triangle with the eyes as the bottom corners.

Either stab from above, or up through the gills. When you hit the right spot the fish will stiffen and open its mouth wide. Make sure you do not stab through your fish into your hand or leg!

The best way to carry the fish depends on the type. For Pollack and mullet just push the stringer right through after braining the fish. For bass, string them through the mouth, in order to keep it shut so there is less drag. With mullet, avoid stringing through the gills, as they can tear off easily. All fish can also be strung through the eyes.

Whether the stinger goes on your belt or float is a matter of preference. Many divers carry a belt and a float stringer. Normally they put fish on the float, but if in a hurry, (for example in the middle of a shoal of bass) string them on the belt. Deep dives with a belt full of fish are not recommended, as the drag on the way back up can be a problem. Never use wire stringers on a belt. Anything attached to you should be easy to cut off in case of entanglement.