Spear fishing in this country dates back to the American Indians, who used spears to fish in the winter or spring. In the winter, they cut holes in the ice, put down a wooden lure shaped like a frog or minnow and laid on their stomachs waiting for a fish to spear. In spring they speared fish from their canoes at night using a torch for light. A single pronged spear was used to catch big fish and a three-pronged spear or gig was used for small fish. Both spears were constructed of a long wooden pole with bone, stone or copper points. Currently, the same design is followed, but the components are now steel.
Spear fishing is not as easy as it may sound. Hitting a fish can be tricky, because one must be aware of the light refraction of the water, the fish’s speed, water pressure, and depth. Today, anglers spear fish for pike, carp, bullhead, and many other species depending on the region.
Spear fishing restrictions may be encountered depending on the state. In Alabama, Alaska, California, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Virginia, spear fishing is illegal. There are restrictions on spear fishing such as equipment, the type of fish taken, and specific seasons in all the legal states. Also, many waterways do not allow spear fishing due to the angling popularity of the types of fish in their waters, such as those bodies of water designated for trout or other prized game fish. Check state regulations before spear fishing to get the details of the restrictions.
Equipment, which can be used to spear fish, depends on the state and body of water. Areas of flowing water such as streams typically have more restrictions than non-flowing water, such as lakes, reservoirs and ponds. A spear gun, underwater spear, and pitchfork are sometimes used instead of the traditional single-point and pronged spears. For safety reasons spear fishing equipment should be in a case while being transported.