1. What is a stinger suit?
Stinger suits are a type of swimming wetsuit (also known as a dive skin). They were designed for use in Australian waters and protect swimmers and divers from sunburn and the sting of dangerous box jellyfish. Stinger suits are used for a number of water sports including spear fishing. They are very flexible and comfortable. They have slightly thicker fabric and also a hood to protect the head (some also have built in mittens to protect hands). Stinger suits are made from spandex and Lycra so they do not provide a lot of thermal protection. However they are suitable for spear fishing in warm water conditions (25 degrees centigrade and above) and provide plenty of freedom of movement.
2. What wetsuit can I choose if I am allergic to neoprene?
Nearly all modern wetsuits are now made from neoprene. However if you are one of the few people who do get skin problems from wearing neoprene suits you can try wearing a stinger suit or a rash vest under your wetsuit. This will reduce the contact between your skin and the neoprene. This also makes it much easier to get your wetsuit on and off.
3. Do I need a camouflage wetsuit?
Serious spear fishermen prefer a wetsuit with a camouflage pattern for hunting in reefs and wrecks. This helps to break up your body shape so that your large outline does not ‘spook’ fish before you can get within striking distance. Camouflage wetsuits are not essential but they can help to give you the edge when you are hunting in close quarters.
4. Do I need gloves with my wetsuit for spear fishing?
It is a good idea to buy gloves when you are spear fishing. These can help you to grab slippery fish more effectively and keep your hands warm. Gloves also protect your hands from scratches and scrapes when you are hunting in reefs and wrecks. You can buy cheaper cotton fishing gloves but these tend to wear quickly. Proper diving gloves will be made from the same material as your wetsuit and will last well. They also have special raised patterns on the palms and finger pads to assist with grip.
5. Do I need a wetsuit for spear fishing?
Wetsuits protect you in a number of ways when you are spear fishing. Firstly they keep you warm and ensure your body temperature remains regular. Secondly they protect your skin against minor cuts and scrapes that can be caused by abrasive rocks and underwater debris. Lastly they can protect you against sunburn when you are fishing close to the surface in sunny conditions. Wetsuits can enhance your experience of spear fishing and are essential if you are going to be swimming or diving in cold water conditions.
6. What type of wetsuit do I need for spear fishing?
Spear fishing can involve quite a bit of swimming and underwater manoeuvring so you will need a wetsuit that can offer you freedom of movement and also warmth. If you are fishing in tropical conditions then a 2 or 3mm wetsuit would be ideal. This will offer you plenty of flexibility. Colder conditions will require a slightly thicker suit and a 5mm wetsuit should be adequate for most conditions. If you intend to dive for long periods of time in water temperatures under 15 degrees you may need a drysuit to ensure you stay warm.
7. How much should I spend on a spear fishing wetsuit?
You should try and spend as much as you can on a wetsuit. To get a suit that is both flexible and warm you need to buy a good quality brand name such as Beuchat. Cheap wetsuits are more prone to ripping and tearing. If you are diving around reefs and wrecks then cheaper wetsuits can be easily damaged.
If you are fishing in tropical areas you can get away with cheaper options such as stinger suits or very lightweight wetsuits. As a general guide you should spend at least $300 on a 3mm+ full body wetsuit for spear fishing. If you are just starting out in spear fishing then opt for a mid price suit as you don’t want to spend too much money on a sport you are not yet familiar with.
8. What are spear fishing wetsuits made from?
Modern wetsuits are made from a synthetic rubber material called neoprene. This is a highly durable, robust and insulating material that can also provide plenty of flexibility. You do need to care for neoprene as although it is durable it can be damaged by chemicals in the water and poor storage.
9. How do you care for wetsuits?
Make sure you clean your spear fishing wetsuit and let it dry completely before you put it away. Never fold your wetsuit for storage as this can cause irreversible creases in the rubber. These creases form weak points on the wetsuit that can crack, rip and tear more easily. For storage hang your wetsuit on a special hanger or lay flat on a shelf (don’t store things on top of it though).
10. Do I need a wetsuit hood for spear fishing?
If you are fishing in cold waters then a hood can help to keep you nice and warm. They are also useful for keeping your ears dry (regular divers and spear fishermen can suffer from ear problems with overexposure to seawater). If you have long hair then a hood is a good way to keep your hair under control and out of your face.