Hunting technique

Photo: Aleksander Nordahl, ettpust.com

There is a lot to learn about where to look for the various fish, but common to all underwater hunting is that you should get as close as possible for a good shot that ensures the catch, and to avoid damaging shots.

In order to get close to the fish, it is important to act quietly and calmly. You are quiet if you don't splash with your flippers on the surface of the water, or they slap against each other on the way down. You are also quiet by avoiding air bubbles from the snorkel and mask during the entire dive. To dive silently, you have to be aware of this, and practice avoiding letting out air. When it comes to demersal fish such as catfish, sole and flounder, this is not so strict. They lie quietly on the bottom and it takes a lot to scare them away. This is also the reason why most scuba divers only manage to catch bottom fish.

To avoid the fish becoming afraid of you, it is important to make all movements as calmly as possible. After all, this also saves energy for you, so that you get more time during the dive. This applies to the movement of the hand with which you equalize the pressure in the ears, the movements of the feet and the head that sweeps its gaze around the bodies of water. Sudden movements also create pressure changes in the water, which the fish's lateral line organ will easily perceive.


Search hunting is an active form of hunting, where you both search for and get close to the fish being speared, before it has time to run away. With this form of hunting, it is common to cover a larger area, to be in each place for a short time, and to constantly move to new places. If you are looking for bream and catfish, this is the most suitable form of hunting. You simply have to actively dive and check the largest possible bottom surface. When you become well-known in an area, you will eventually find out where the best places are. In current-rich areas, you can dive down and let yourself be carried away by the current, or use the back roads to get into a good position where the fish are.


This is a way of hunting that means diving into an area where you think there are opportunities to encounter large free-swimming (pelagic) fish. You lie down on a rock or in the kelp, lie still and hope that the prey comes close to you. If the fish see you and you are calm, it is not uncommon for them to become curious and come closer to investigate. With this type of hunting, you can also attract the fish by releasing scent traces from the liver of freshly shot fish, making noise down the throat or waving the barb on the arrowhead a little. This is perhaps the most fascinating form of hunting, but requires you to have usable diving time and have the ability to be patient. It is important that the harpoon is connected to the fishing line via the buoy, so that you can go straight up to the surface without having to drag a large fish along the way.


The different harpoons have different precision, power and range. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the newly purchased harpoon in advance before you start hunting for fish. By aiming at empty shells on a shell sand bottom, or hanging empty milk cartons/balloons etc. from a rock on the bottom, you get to know the harpoon and get used to its range and precision. You should not practice on the fish. You therefore wait with the hunt until you have become a good shooter.

In most situations it is best to spear the fish from the top down. One aims at the brain and the neck region, in order to aim for a fatal shot and in any case a shot that gives a good hold. The brain of the fish can be found in the back of the head. One can imagine an equilateral triangle with the eyes as two of the points and the brain as the third (see picture). Of course, this does not apply to all types of fish. On flounder, the brain sits at the very edge of the head, and on catfish and sea eel, the brain sits quite far back towards the neck.

On large fish at a short distance, we should aim for a shot directly in the brain. At a slightly greater distance and on smaller fish, we strive for a shot that gives a good grip on the fish, i.e. in the fish's fleshy areas.

If we meet the fish from the side, it is important to aim high enough to avoid belly shots which will easily cause the fish to break free from the arrow and swim away injured. Harpooning directly from the front can give good hits, while harpooning directly from behind (fleeing fish) can lead to damage shooting and should therefore be avoided. You must try to get as close to the fish as possible, and if you are unsure whether the distance will be too long in relation to the range and precision of the harpoon, you should not harpoon.

It is rare that you experience having the opportunity to harpoon fish from the underside. This can nevertheless occur in situations where the UV hunter comes up in a completely different place than where he dived down. It also requires the UV hunter to come upon the fish before it senses any danger. If you do not draw in the expanding air in the mask while swimming upwards, even the smallest air bubbles will reveal you and the fish will swim away. Most pelagic fish are most used to attacks below them, which you will quickly experience. Such situations where you encounter large fish when you are on the way up, lead to harpooning through the belly, but the arrow still continues through the fleshy neck and back region. In some such situations, it can therefore be perfectly reasonable to let the arrow go, as long as it has a sufficiently powerful impact.

Shooting positions with low and high hit percentage. Avoid shots with a hit percentage of 20% and less. The picture above shows the hit area where the fish dies instantly. For halibut, acceptable (light blue) and good (dark blue) hitting points are indicated.


Many places around the world have experience of harpooning tuna and other large fish. The experience includes, among other things, using powerful enough equipment when you want to tackle the biggest fish.

On halibut, you should harpoon from behind and at an angle into the neck (see picture on the opposite page), so that the arrow does not tear loose if the fish is not paralyzed and swims away. The point of impact should be in the neck/brain, with a powerful harpoon, strong arrow, thick line, etc., and which have large barbs. The entire harpoon rig must be well thought out, solid and strong. If you are not rigged up for halibut hunting, then avoid sending the arrow into the fish. It can lead to damage shooting.

It is a "matter of forgetfulness" to try to swim up directly with a real large halibut . That is why it is important to set yourself up in a sensible way. The harpoon must be directly connected to the catch buoy. Alternatively, the fishing line can be connected to a diving kayak or diving raft. When the fish is speared, it will therefore fight with the buoyancy in the buoys, and not with you. The buoy will have sufficient buoyancy for the halibut to be forced up again after a while.

You should swim down to the halibut as soon as possible and kill it , possibly additionally harpooning it again with another harpoon, to ensure the catch.

When hunting for halibut, it is important that the harpoon with all details such as line thickness, arrow thickness, powerful big floppers on the arrow and shock absorbers are strong enough to be able to save a large halibut. The catch buoy must be of good quality and have solid attachment points, possibly let the line go through the three front rings on the buoy. The whole rig must be well thought out and strong enough to be able to save the catch if you feel responsible enough to send the arrow towards the fish.

In addition, one should have a spare harpoon, and preferably a companion boat.


In general, it can be said that the good fishing spots are also good places for UV hunting. This is often in areas with strong currents, where fish shoals of pale (small eel), herring and lyre are sometimes dense. Large pike, cod and sometimes halibut are often hunted here. Such current-rich places are often found in straits, narrow fjord mouths and at headlands that jut out.

When power diving, the UV hunter is much safer than equipment divers. The UV hunter can more easily manage to swim against a fairly strong current, and swim straight up as fast as he wants, in situations where the current is down. It doesn't take long before you understand and become familiar with the current pattern where you dive, and are able to cooperate with backwaters inshore, behind islets and headlands, where the current runs in the opposite direction. By diving repeatedly in the same places, you eventually become familiar with the underwater topography, you know how the current flows in relation to the ebb and flow, and where the fish are.

When diving in tidal currents, you should plan this in relation to the tide table. There is about six hours between high tide and low tide, and in most straits the current is weakest with favorable diving conditions in the time around high tide when the current turns. In our strongest tidal currents that we find in Northern Norway (e.g. Saltstraumen) due to big tide difference, you have to be very careful and plan well. This is only for experienced underwater hunters, as it is downright dangerous if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The demersal fish are mostly found scattered over rocky and sandy bottoms, and we therefore do not make an illustration of this. Here it is often random where you hit the fish. But demersal fish also prefer slightly current-rich places. It is important to feel safe in the sea, which in turn provides real safe diving. As a beginner, you should approach stream diving gradually, and preferably dive together with experienced UV hunters in the first period.

As a UV hunter, a certain long-term patience is necessary. We cannot expect to catch fish every time we are in the lake. Visibility can be poor, and it can be difficult to change outside in all seasons and weather conditions. Many foreigners are impressed that we do this hobby up here in the "ice sea". On the other hand, we probably don't fully realize how lucky we are to live along a coastline with such good conditions for underwater hunting.

You can either dive from land or from an anchored boat. If you dive from a boat, it is important to be well used to boats and mark the boat with a diving flag. In addition, there should be a person on board to look after the anchor in case the anchor comes loose. If there is a lot of current or wind, the boat can drift faster than you can swim, and if it is far from shore, dangerous situations can arise.

Many people use sea kayaks to get out into islets and reefs , which is an excellent combination since there is room for both equipment and fishing in the kayak. By paddling in a wetsuit, you as a paddler cannot become safer in relation to the problems with buoyancy and cooling.

More and more people are purchasing self-lensing hunting/fishing and diving kayaks , which above all are perfectly suited for UV hunting. These are extra stable sit-on-top kayaks, where you can easily dive directly from the kayak and get on with little risk of tipping over. We can expect more people to discover these kayaks in the future. We must not forget that underwater hunting is only in the starting pit in this country.

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