How to Spear Fish?

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Are you thinking about taking fishing to the next level? Instead of standing on the shore, a dock, or on a boat and fishing with a pole, how about fishing with a spear? Spearing fish is entirely different from any other type of fishing that you have done before, and it is important to understand the basics of what is involved to ensure it’s right for you.

If you are ready to learn how to spearfish, you will find the information you need to get started below. You can learn more about spearfishing and will be able to make sure it is the right choice for you before you start buying gear.

Table of Contents

Are You a Strong Swimmer?

One of the first things you will need to consider when you want to go spearfishing is your ability in the water. While you don’t have to be a world-class swimmer by any means, you do need to know how to swim competently. This is true whether you are freediving or you are using scuba tanks.

If you are going to be freediving, you will need to be able to hold your breath while you are diving and looking for fish. After all, the fish aren’t going to come to you. You need to get down in the water to find them. Whether you are in shallow or deep water, make sure you have good breath control and that you won’t panic.

Those who are going to be freediving might find themselves frustrated in the beginning because they can’t stay down in the water and hunt for long before coming up for air. It’s important to take it easy and learn how to relax. This takes time, of course, since you will be hunting in the water. It could be helpful to take a freediving course to improve your skills.

Scuba fishing can work well, but it’s not as popular as freediving. Some feel that it isn’t a pure form of spearfishing, so they would rather free dive. Others worry that the bubbles they are creating with the scuba gear are going to scare off the fish.

Ultimately, the choice will be yours. However, regardless of which option you choose, you still need to be a strong swimmer. If you don’t have a lot of endurance for swimming, it’s a good idea to start practicing, so you can enjoy the sport more.

Spearing the Fish

When it comes to actually spearing the fish, you will be using either a pole spear or a speargun. Either of these could work well for a beginner, but they work quite a bit differently from one another. Let’s get a closer look at each of these options.

Pole Spears

The pole spear is relatively simple. It features a straight, long spear shaft that has a sharp, pointed tip. There is a band on the pole spear, which is used to throw it. The elastic bands on some of the spears can typically be used by pulling them back to add tension and then released to shoot the spear through the water. It works similarly to a bow and arrow.

There are many different versions of the pole spear, including options like a Hawaiian sling. You will want to look at the options available and find the one that you feel will work best for your needs.


Spearguns are used by many spearfishers today. They are relatively easy to use, and they can provide a substantial amount of power and accuracy with their shots. When you are just getting started, you will likely want to choose an aluminum speargun. They are durable and they tend to be high-quality.

However, you can also find carbon fiber and wood spearguns if you feel they would be a better option for you. You may want to make sure it is a hobby you will continue before investing in an expensive wood speargun, though.

As for the size, you will likely want to keep between 90 cm and 110 cm. You should also make sure that you choose an option with double slings. They can provide you with more power when you need it.

You will also have to choose whether you want to have a float line or a reel. When you are just starting out, a float line tends to be the best option. They are easy to use, and they are safer than reels. Also, you will not have to worry about tangles. When you reel fish to you, it also takes up a lot more energy and air, which you might not have left.

Tips for Spearfishing

The following are some important tips that you will want to keep in mind when you are spearfishing. They are helpful for beginners to the sport, but some of the tips can serve as helpful reminders to those who have been spearfishing longer.

You Should Have a Dive Buddy

When you are spearfishing, it is important that you have a dive buddy with you. You can take turns fishing and watch out for one another when you aren’t hunting. Having someone with you ensures that you can get help in case anything goes wrong during the hunt.

Some experienced spear anglers hunt on their own. While it might be their prerogative, it is not advised. Having at least one other spearfishing partner with you not only provides more safety, but it is also more enjoyable.

Get Used to Spearfishing in Shallow Water First

You don’t want to head out to deep water in the middle of the ocean on your first trip. As exciting as it might sound, there are so many factors that you will not be able to control that it can become overwhelming very quickly. Instead, you will want to practice in shallow water, and then slowly get accustomed to spearfishing in deeper locations.

Shorter Dives Are Fine When You Start

When you are getting started in the sport of spearfishing, you will find that it can often be difficult to hold your breath for as long as you would like. You are nervous and you have a lot going on in your mind, which means you can’t hold your breath as long. That’s fine.

Never stay down for longer than you feel comfortable, and never extend a dive that could go beyond your limits for holding your breath. Take your time and go slow. You will get better with experience.

Know the Area

When you are going fishing, it is very important to research the area where you are going. You want to know the types of fish you will be able to find, their size, the regulations, and whether you may have to watch out for aquatic predators while hunting. Learn as much as possible about the location before you set foot in the water.

If Near Shore, Pay Attention to the Surf

Beginning divers will not want to fish a site if the surf is too high. Ideally, you will wait until the surf is under two feet before venturing out to fish. Those who have more experience can fish in water with a larger surf, but wait until you have been fishing for a while before you try it.

Be Careful in Low Visibility

Spearfishing in low visibility can be dangerous for a host of reasons. You don’t know what’s in the water, you may not be able to see your dive buddy, and it will be difficult to find fish. If the visibility is too poor, you may just want to get out of the water and fish another day.

Consider Taking a Class

Fishing with a spear is a very different way of fishing, and not everyone will take to it like a “fish to water”. Therefore, it’s advisable that you take a spearfishing class if you can find one. Going through a class will provide you with the confidence and skills that you need when you head out on your first hunt.

It’s best to learn proper spearfishing techniques before you head out to fish, and a class is a great way to do it. If you can’t find a class in your area, you could opt for watching videos from respected spearfishermen online to get a better understanding of how to spearfish.

Spearfishing Equipment You Will Need

In addition to your pole spear or speargun, you will also want to have certain other pieces of gear that will help you on the hunt. Here’s a list of some of the most important items to have with you.

  • Mask
  • Snorkel
  • Fins
  • Wetsuit/trunks/rash guard (your choice)
  • Scuba gear if you are scuba fishing
  • Spearfishing gloves
  • Dive knife
  • Weight belt
  • Float line/reel
  • Dive flag
  • Freediving watch
  • Fish carrier
  • Fishing license

These are some of the most important pieces of gear that you will want to have with you. It’s always a good idea to buy the best quality gear that you can afford. This ensures that it will be durable and reliable, which is essential when you are diving and spearfishing. The last thing you need is for any of your gear to fail you when you are trying to spear a fish.

Try to find some reviews of the different gear that interests you. Check out what other users and professionals have to say about the equipment. This can help you to make a decision that you will be happy with once you actually start using the gear. In addition, don’t buy gear simply because it is cheap, as it is often cheap for a reason.

Know the Spearfishing Laws and Regulations

You can’t simply hop into any body of water with your pole spear and start looking for fish to spear. There are laws and regulations in place in various areas. Some locations might not allow spearfishing, and others might allow only certain types of spearfishing, for example.

Always take the time to learn where you are and are not able to go spearfishing, so you do not run afoul of the authorities. It’s better to be cautious rather than getting a large fine or getting arrested. Always make sure you have your fishing license with you, as well.


Spearfishing is a wonderful sport that can be a lot of fun. Whether you are after small reef fish or you want to hunt something larger, there are plenty of places to go and enjoy the sport. Make sure that you practice in shallow water and that you are certain you understand how to use all of your gear before you get started. Find a fishing buddy or two and head out for a fishing trip like no other.