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Spearfishing in the Florida Keys

Divers from all over the world travel to the Florida Keys and Hawks Cay to try spearfishing.

The first thing they learn is that this sport is more challenging than one might expect.

What is Spearfishing?

Spearfishing can be considered a combination of hunting and fishing in that both require skill, good sporting ethics, and more often than not, a knowledgeable guide. However, the technique for spear fishing is more closely related to game hunting than hook-and-line fishing.

Dive Duck Key, one of the top Florida Keys outfitters, has been helping Hawks Cay guests experience the popular South Florida activity in an extremely safe and sportsmanlike manner for decades. Give it a try on your next Florida Keys fishing or lobster diving trip.

While many visitors come to Hawks Cay to hook The Keys’ famous finfish–cobia, tarpon, snook and bonefish–more adventurous divers may head out beyond to the reef to select target species of fish like grouper, snapper, and hogfish with virtually no damage to the environment or non-target species. 

What does Dive Duck Key offer?

Dive Duck Key offers underwater hunting courses and classes as well as guided trips and charters to make spearfishing more accessible to the average diver. Our professional dive instructors focus on teaching good sportsmanlike behavior, safe hunting practices and preserving our natural environment while enjoying the exciting sport of underwater hunting. It is important for divers to have a solid foundation of dive skills before learning how to spearfish.

The Spearfishing Tradition

Florida’s underwater hunting has a long and rich tradition. Underwater sportsmen owe a lot to their forefathers who opened the door to the deep blue. While humans have hunted fish with spears since before recorded history, the first sport divers did not begin venturing beneath the waves until the 1930s. Armed with pole spears and homemade copper goggles, these early Florida spearfishermen stalked their prey without the benefit of scuba tanks.

Freedivers tackle a variety of gamefish near shore as well as offshore while holding their breath for several minutes at a time. The sport gained prominence after World War II as manufactured spear guns became available on the market.

Some spearfishermen have forsaken free diving for the comfort of scuba. The use of scuba equipment reduces risks associated with deep water free-dive spearfishing. In the Florida Keys, underwater hunters can choose whether or not they want to wear a scuba tank while spearing some of our tastier species of fish that inhabit the shallow waters of our coral reefs.

The Experience & Regulations

The crew at Dive Duck Key are happy to educate anyone interested in participating in the underwater hunt, using a variety of equipment and techniques, with the main focus being on safety and protecting our natural habitats.

While hook-and-line fishing in the Florida Keys is popular for its goal of ‘filling the fishbox’, our attitude is geared more towards enjoying a beautiful dive on the reef, while having the opportunity to select the dinner menu for the evening. Spearfisherman have an advantage over Anglers because they can pick and choose what they take, making sure the fish is of legal species and size. An ethical diver always thinks conservation before taking aim.

Florida law severely limits spearfishing from shore. Your best opportunity for enjoying the sport is on a public or private spearfishing charter with Dive Duck Key, aboard the Seafari, the Island Diver or the Cool Change. All charter boats carry fishing and lobstering licenses that cover all passengers onboard. A personal license is not required.