I start writing this article already knowing it will stir up some controversy as there is no definitive criteria to determine what fish are best to spear. Many factors can play into this decision making process as the difficulty or challenge a determined species can present to the spear fisherman or simply it’s eating value. Others might argue that the best fish to spear are the ones that are more rare, or the ones easier to shoot. So the best fish to spear is really a personal choice. In this article the criteria is my personal choice and I like fish that are hard to catch and good to eat.
For the sake of the table below, I have divided USA’s three bodies of water, Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf in light of spearfishing, so not exactly as your geography teacher would. That’s why I will put Gulf and south Atlantic coasts in the same category as they pretty much share the same sea fauna. For each region I will suggest a bottom species and a pelagic species in order to accommodate all spearfishing preferences and styles.
Another item in the below table that has a high personal preference component is the suggested wetsuit. Some people feel cold more easily, while others don’t like thick wet suits. Some like open cell wet suits while other prefer a nylon lining that makes putting the suit on and off more convenient. It’s very personal and I used my personal preferences. You will notice that I don’t like to feel cold, don’t mind thick wet suits and usually prefer open cell, except for very hot days when I usually take off my top once I am back on the boat