The Tampa Bay Times

Double check your speargun because it’s a good time to go hunting for Cobia.  Cobia are moving south from Bayport to Naples, FL.  These strong pelagic fish are normally speared with a spearshaft that has a line attached to the speargun.  This is called “line shafting”. The other gear setupt of using a spearshaft without a line or rope attachment is called “freeshafting”.  Freeshafting is not a good way to shoot pelagic fish.  Pelagic fish like Cobia just take off once shot and they don’t dart for the cover of the reef and “hole up”.  Cobia just head away from the threat, taking the spear, the line, the gun and the diver along for the ride.  Keeping the Cobia within reach with a line which is tethered to the speargun is a must. Before a diver heads out to intercept some of these migrating Cobia, he should go over his gear and check for any weak points.  These big powerful fish can and will break away if a weak point in the speargun system is found.  Some of the areas to double check are: the line and the crimps, the clips that attach the line to the gun, the screws that hold the mounting points for the line on the gun and make sure the gun does not show cracks on the wood or metal pieces.  Most important is that you take a sharp cutting tool.  A line cutter or knife works great to cut and release the monster Cobia if you get tangled in the line. 

Capt. Bill Hardman teaches scuba classes and runs trips for Scuba, Spearfishing, Freediving and Technical diving courses at Aquatic Obsessions, 6193 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL  33710.  You can reach Capt. Hardman at (727) 344-3483 (DIVE) or