How to Catch Lionfish

You can catch lionfish in shallow water with a snorkel, pole spear or hand net. Always wear gloves when handling this fish. In deeper water you need diving gear and either use a speargun or gaff to catch them and deposit them into a thick walled dive bag until you return to the surface. An easy and effective way to remove lionfish is to use 2 short handled landing nets, one to scoop a fish, the other to close it in (sandwich the 2 nets together) then swim to the surface to deposit the fish in a bucket.

Fishing For Lionfish

Lionfish are active during low light times – sun rise and sun set. During daylight hours, lionfish are not aggressive and do not spook easily when approached by divers, so wait until your spear is 3 or 4 inches from the fish then spear it. Your main concern is avoiding those venomous spines, one sting and your day is over. We have read relief can be found by the painful sting by immersing the effected area in as hot of water you can handle, usually above 105 degrees will neutralize the poison.

Native to the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea, lionfish can be found year-round in Florida waters and from North Carolina to South America, including the Gulf of Mexico. They can be found in almost all estuarine and marine habitat types and have been found in waters up to 1,000 feet deep.

Rarely caught on hook-and-line, the most effective methods of removal are spearing and using a hand-held net. Care should be taken when spear fishing so that the spears do not impact and damage reefs.