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Moto Spearfishing

Moto Spearfishing

In 2017 Ash and I did a month-long moto trip in Baja, and we brought a compact spearfishing kit with us.

As it turned out, the bikes were a great way to access rocky points and remote beaches that normally don’t get a lot of fishing pressure. Finding camp spots with fishing potential added an interesting dynamic to the trip. There's something really satisfying about riding in, setting camp, and catching dinner. We never came up empty handed, we always found fish.

In this post I'll share some pics from the trip and details about the gear we used, in case anyone else wants to try something similar. 

Here are some things we learned:

  • Because we couldn’t store extra meat, there was no point in gathering more fish than we needed. We saw plenty of larger fish in the water, but passed them up for the little guys instead.
  • With two people fishing at the same time, we had to check in with each other regularly while we were diving, to make sure we didn’t accidentally shoot more fish than we could eat.
  • We found that even without ice, we could keep some fish overnight and eat it in the morning for breakfast. We stored it headed/gutted in a drybag full of saltwater. It was winter, so the temperatures were cool at night.

For gear, we took these JBL 6’ travel polespears.

We lost a lot of fish using the ‘paralyzer’ tips that came with the spear. We preferred the standard flopper tips on our guns at home. It’s a good idea to bring several extra tips. When you slam one into a rock, you’ll want to have another handy. With a lot of rubbing we were able to sharpen our dull tips on a rock (see pic below), but it was much easier to keep a few spares handy, and then sharpen the dull ones with a grinder when we returned to civilization.

For fins, we used these ‘Wild Horn’ swim fins. Obviously it’s not the same as diving with a full length freedive fin, but they get the job done and they take up way less space. Any small swim fin will work, we chose these because of the comfortable neoprene upper and the grippy sole on the bottom.

I used a two-piece hooded Mako 3mm open cell blue camo suit. It was a pain to get in without lubricant. Next time I’ll take a hooded one-piece lined suit instead. Ash brought her 5/4 lined black surf suit with a hooded rashguard, and that worked fine too. The smaller the suit the less space it takes up on the bike, but it sucks to stop diving because you're cold.

We carried fish stringers (like this one) attached to our weight belts. We didn't take dive buoys or float lines. At the spots we were diving, there was nobody else around.

At the beginning of the trip we had dive weights with us, but they were too heavy to carry on the bike. We ditched them and used rocks instead. When we first got in the water we would hunt around for a decent rock, and then test the buoyancy of the rock by holding it in our hands and diving to the bottom. Once we’d found the right rock, we tied some webbing around it to create a makeshift harness, which we then connected to our belts. In an emergency you could release the rock quickly by undoing the weight belt, just like with dive weights.

This wasn’t a perfect system but it got us to the bottom. The rocks tended to catch on things and sometimes come loose, plus they make noise if they bounce along the bottom, spooking the fish. Next time, instead of one large rock in a harness, I'll try using a hip sack stuffed with many smaller rocks.

Here's a video that shows how we rigged the weights.

We mostly fried the fish in a small pan on our camp stove. Sometimes we cooked them whole on the fire, and one night we made ceviche with some new friends we met on the beach. Camping off the bikes, we didn’t have much room for groceries and supplies, so most of our preparations were simple: fish, lemon, hot sauce, tortilla.

We also found edible shellfish like these delicious pen scallops. We spotted some lobsters too, but they're hard to catch in the daytime.

For anyone thinking about diving and spearing from a bike, I hope this helps you figure out what to take. Send some pics and please let us know how it goes!