Thursday, February 25, 2016

Absolutely Hooked! Review: Spear Fishing Today in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Spear fishing playa del carmen

Last week while in Playa Del Carmen, Nick and I had the opportunity to try out something brand new that very few people have done in their lifetime. This unique activity - definitely worth experience anytime you are in the Playa Del Carmen area - is spear fishing! If you have seen the James Bond movie, this is exactly what you should be thinking of. It is a combination of fishing, hunting, snorkeling, and so many great things.

playa del carmen spearfishing

In any case, Nick, myself, and two other guys in our group decided one afternoon to try out spear fishing. We met Leo, the founder of Spear Fishing Today, right on the beach in Playa. After a cold morning on the water, the guys all decided to go rent wet suits in order to stay warm while spending the afternoon in the water. After this, we loaded up and headed out into the ocean to give spear fishing a try!

After one of the first dives. It was a COLD day out, thus the wetsuits! That is Nick's frozen & exhausted look.
Once we reached our destination, Leo asked each of the guys about their experiences with fishing and knowledge of Caribbean fish. As the three guys in our group were brand new beginners to spear fishing, Leo talked for 10 to 15 minutes on safety procedures and best practices while spear fishing. For myself, somebody with no experience whatsoever spearfishing, I had initially been worried that it could be dangerous, especially with a group of beginners. After listening to the safety talk and instructions, I was impressed with the system that SpearFishing Today had worked out and how well they took care of their customers. In any case, after the instructions it was off into the water the guys went!

spearfishing in playa del carmen
The boys headed out to the first site! Water is absolutely beautiful!
For those unfamiliar with spearfishing, essentially what you do is have a mask and snorkel, along with a spearfishing gun. In pairs, you take turns with the gun and dive down into the water, looking around for fish. When you see one, you wait until it approaches you or you get close enough, and then - bam! - you are able to shoot your spear at the fish in hopes of getting it. Of course, most fish will fight back, which is why in deeper waters your gun and spear will be attached to a buoy.

In any case, enough from me - let's hear about the experience from Nick!

Nick is quite excited!
To say that I was excited about spearfishing would be a complete understatement. I love to fish and also love to hunt, and as Samantha mentioned earlier this seems like a great combo of the two. Leo who is a native of the Netherlands is absolutely amazing in everything he does and his attention to detail is top notch.

As Samantha also mentioned it was myself, and two other guys from our group. There was also a more advanced spear fisherman named John who joined us on the trip. I paired up with John and the other two guys from our party paired up. We all suited up and followed Leo into the ocean. We started out in a fairly shallow area so that we could get the feel of things and I think Leo wanted to make sure that we were comfortable in the water. I had done a fair bit of snorkeling before so this was very similar. Just float on the surface, put you face into the water and breath through a tube. I quickly found out that I had pretty good lungs and could spend a fair amount of time underwater checking out the coral structures where fish like to hide.

Myself watching John dive down. It was impressive to see how far down he could get! Thats a sunken ship below him!
We used the "buddy system" at all times. When John was underwater with the speargun I was watching him and following from the service. When he would surface, he would pass the gun to me and then I would take a big breath and it was my turn to dive down. I was amazed at the amount of life there was under the surface. It was like swimming in a tropical aquarium. While diving, I was able to see barracuda, trigger fish, grouper, parrot fish, pufferfish, manta rays, and sting rays - and this is all in addition to the beautiful coral reefs! When spearfishing, it is important to note that it is very selective. You do not shoot beautifully colored reef fish, sharks, rays etc. We are only after appropriate sized game fish (basically anything that is silver or white).

spearfishing playa del carmen
On the way up with a triggerfish in tow!
I left my hand in this shot to give you an idea. And right now, John was probably only 15 meters down!
One of the highlights of my trip was seeing the manta ray. It was just on the edge of my vision, and I looked below me. All of a sudden I could see this huge manta ray, swimming on the edge of this coral reef with a steep drop off. It was almost majestic to watch the manta ray float by me and then down into the ocean's abyss, and made me feel absolutely tiny. Definitely one of the coolest aspects of spearfishing is that not only are you able to hunt/fish, but you are also able to have cool experiences like this and see unique aspects of the ocean you might otherwise never get to see.

spear fishing in playa del carmen
You can see the second shot being performed!
Leo with the barracuda
The second fish of the day!
After about 30 minutes we all felt comfortable and went out a little deeper to a sunken ship. At this location the water was so blue and beautiful and we could just barely see the bottom. After some time, we were able to shoot a very nice barracuda. After we got the barracuda, Leo made the most amazing ceviche for us on the boat and we had an amazing lunch before heading back. Leo gave us some large filets from the barracuda to take home. We ended up giving our fresh fish to the security guard at our condo. We told him to come over when he got off his shift. He showed up promptly at 7pm and was so happy to get the fresh fish. As you know, Mexico is a poor country and our whole group was happy to give him our fish. He didn't speak a word of english but his gratitude was amazingly apparent.

Slicing the barracuda up
Barracuda with ceviche ingredients
Work in process...
Completed ceviche! Just one of the small bowls we munched on!
On our way back in after eating the ceviche John was telling me that he was going back out again in 2 days and I really wanted to join. He said he was taking the ferry over Cozumel and the fishing there was very good. He talked about these "triggerfish" that were plentiful and very good eating. I spoke with Samantha and she gave me the go ahead so 2 days later I was on the boat again. I think it is safe to say that I have caught the spearfishing bug and I will absolutely be doing this at any and every tropical destination that we visit.

best spearfishing in playa del carmen
All of us with the barracuda!
And there you have it, from my hubby himself on his experience spearfishing! If you ask him, he will claim that I stole all of his words about the experience - but truly, I was just telling about my experience from above water watching the guys!

beautiful sunset on the way back home!
**Disclosure: We received a complimentary or discounted experience in order to facilitate this review. As always, this did not affect my review in any way and all opinions remain 100% honest!**


  1. I started spearfishing last year and I'm hooked! It's so much more eco-friendly than regular fishing and the self satisfaction is great!

    1. I can't lie, I personally didn't go but my husband loved it! It definitely seemed very eco-friendly, and there was definitely a policy of only catch what you will eat. So great!

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