INTO THE DEEP
Central Florida Ag News|September 2020
Florida Spearfishing Adds Element of Adventure to Favorite Pastime
MATT COBBLE

IN FLORIDA, where we are nearly surrounded by open water, finding a recreational activity to do in the water is not a challenge. So with all of the various possibilities, why should a sportsman (or sportswoman) consider spearfishing?

In a lot of ways, spearfishing is one of the oldest methods of harvesting fish, dating to before written records existed. However, as more efficient or less intensive methods were invented (cast net fishing, rod fishing), spearfishing fell out of favor. At least, until sport fishermen rediscovered the practice in the 1930s.

For most spearfishing enthusiasts (or “spearos,” as they refer to themselves), the appeal of spearfishing is the combination of “exhilarating peace” of freediving with the thrill of hunting. Yes, spearfishing has more in common with hunting terrestrial game than fishing with a rod and reel.

Unlike fishing with a rod and reel, spearos are able to pinpoint exactly which fish they want to target. From a conservation standpoint, spearfishing is less impactful on the environment and on controlled populations.

“There’s very little bycatch,” says T.J. Konitzer, owner of Off the Wall Adventures & Outfitters in Lakeland and Brandon, as well as an avid recreational and commercial spearfisher. “Bycatch” refers to other marine life caught when fishing, either the wrong species, or undersized specimens of the same species.

Konitzer has been spearfishing recreationally for 21 years, and for the last 10 years has also spearfished commercially, offering spearfishing charters through Off the Wall Adventures. He typically takes charters to the Florida Middle Grounds, a reef in the Gulf of Mexico approximately one hundred miles west of St. Petersburg.

“We take them out and show them both the recreational and commercial aspects of spearfishing,” Konitzer explains.

“A lot of places only want to take out very experienced divers, but I don’t mind taking someone who’s learning. You have to learn somewhere, and we have good instructors.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM CENTRAL FLORIDA AG NEWSView All

Recipe Spotlight

A Healthy Berry Very Easily Turns Decadent

3 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
March 2021

SIGNS of the SEASON

You Say Tomato, We Say Florida’s Finest

2 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
March 2021

How Will You Celebrate National Ag Day?

WE’VE ALL SEEN #NationalDogDay or #NationalCoffeeDay sweep our social media feeds at some point every year. While there are many interesting avenues you can celebrate via National Today, there is one that remains all-important to maintain a stable economy and to live our healthiest lives. Can you guess it? National Ag Day on March 23.

2 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
March 2021

Oh, the Places They've Gone!

Polk Graduates Talk About the Ag Programs That Sparked Their Careers

4 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
March 2021

New Avenue for Kids

Organization Offers Education, Opportunity and Support for Community

4 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
March 2021

UF Scientists Sequence Genome of the Supersweet Corn You've Nibbled for 20-Plus Years

SWEET CORN, a food favorite for many consumers, serves as a major crop for Florida. Earlier research by UF/IFAS scientists led to an even sweeter sweet corn dubbed “supersweet” because it has more sugar than other types of the staple crop.

2 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
March 2021

Is Olive the New Orange?

Florida Growers Court New Alternative Crop

5 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
March 2021

Branching Out

Daniel Jankins Academy Teacher Incorporates Hands-On Lessons in Agriculture, Sustainability and More

3 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
March 2021

Florida-Grown Coffee? How UF Scientists Are Using AI To Serve Up the Possibilities

MOST OF THE WORLD’S COFFEE is grown in tropical regions. However, a changing climate could allow coffee to grow farther north — for example, in Florida. In April, all HCYCP participants pick up their tree kits to start their project.

3 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
March 2021

AGRISHOPPER

Fun Projects Can Help Youth Get Interested in Agriculture

3 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
March 2021