Eye Contact- Are you ready for a fight!?
Research indicates that eye contact plays a crucial role in communication and social interactions among animals, humans and probably even marine species. In some cases, it can convey dominance, aggression, fear, or attraction, depending on the context and species.
So how can we use this knowledge when we are in the underwater world?
Sharks: If you spearfish long enough you are going to come face to face with a shark at some point. Maintaining eye contact with a shark when it approaches lets him know you are aware of his presence and ready to defend yourself if necessary. But be careful as it can also be seen as a challenge so also observe the sharks body language. If his pectoral fins are extended to the sides and his back is not arched he is not looking for a fight. If his back is arched and pectoral fins are down, then the shark is ready for a fight.
In contrast, when it comes to fish, we want to appear submissive and non-threatening. Ideally, we don't want fish to be suspicious of our intentions. We do this by averting our gaze slightly when approaching a potential target to appear as non-threatening as possible. By not staring, we can oftentimes gain that few extra feet that puts a wary target in range for a shot.
The same thing applies if we are trying to play on a fish’s curiosity and get the fish to approach us. Use peripheral vision to track their movements and move extremely slow when adjusting your position. By appearing non-threatening and non-aggressive we can get the fish into our kill zone.
In summary, eye contact can be a powerful tool in underwater interactions, but it requires awareness for the animal’s behavior and signals. Whether you’re facing a shark or a fish, it’s essential to use eye contact strategically to convey the right messages when underwater hunting.