What Is Spearfishing


Spearfishing has been part of human life for ages. Once practiced for survival, the ancient technique has blossomed to become a beloved sport practiced by people around the globe.

Advancements to spearfishing technology aside, over the centuries, underwater spearfishing has not changed much. Still, underwater spearfishing is not that easy, especially for beginners.

If you intend to try underwater spearfishing at some point, knowing what is spearfishing is a good idea. By the time you finish reading this article, you should have a better understanding of what is spearfishing.

What is Underwater Spearfishing

Underwater spearfishing, in its simplest form, involves stalking and shooting fish with a speargun or different equipment. While spearfishing is a similar activity across the globe, it is generally different in varying spearfishing destinations.

If you are not just getting started with fishing, you already know that fishes are different in different locations. Different equipment is necessary when hunting different fish species.

In Bermuda and the Bahamas, you will most likely find spearfishers using slings and pole spears. If you move to other parts of the world, you will realize that spearguns are more popular.

It is worth noting that diving methods and spearfishing regulations do vary from one country to the other. It is not uncommon for the regulations to vary from one state to the other.

Spearfishing Techniques

Depending on your position relative to water, basically, 3 spearfishing techniques are available. The techniques are shallow water spearfishing, freediving spearfishing, and scuba dive spearfishing.

When most people think of underwater spearfishing in general, they usually think of the freediving variant. This is understandable considering that it is by far the hardest. Also, according to most spearfishers, it is the truest way of spearfishing. To understand what is spearfishing, you will need to know about all the 3 spearfishing techniques.

Shallow Water Spearfishing

This involves spearfishing just under the waterline or above it. This is the simplest way of spearfishing, both in terms of the necessary gear and technique. Shallow water spearfishing can be done from a boat, a fishing kayak, or even from the shore.

Free Dive Spearfishing

If you ask anyone who has underwater spearfishing experience, he or she will tell you that it is impossible to become a good spearfisher before you learn how to dive. Mastering your breathing technique and also taking the time to learn how to behave when underwater can help boost your safety after diving.

When using the free dive technique, you won’t have an air or scuba tank to help you. For this reason, free dive spearfishing can be considered to be an extreme sport featuring greater hazards.

Scuba Dive Spearfishing

Spearfishing with scuba gear is safer than free-dive spearfishing. Additionally, you will have the ability to reach greater depths where bigger fish usually hang out.

Your dives will be much longer. You will have the chance to study the behavior of the fish you will be targeting.

What Will You Need When Spearfishing?

Generally, spearfishing will not require a tone of equipment. However, a few items are essential. Unless you intend to scuba dive for a bigger game, you won’t need to spend a lot of money to cover the basics.

1. Mask and Snorkel

When choosing a spearfishing mask, you should consider its fitness and visibility underwater. Obviously, if you cannot see, landing fishing will be impossible. Before paying for a mask, you should ensure that it offers great visibility at all angles.

Keep in mind that clear lenses offer perfect visibility in clear waters. Colored lenses will increase contrast when you are in murky waters.

Go for a low-profile spearfishing mask, which allows less air inside. This will make it much easier for you to deal with the pressure difference once you get underwater.

You won’t need a fancy snorkel. A simple “J” shaped snorkel should do. Avoiding purge valves is a good idea. The valves usually make bubbles, which often alert fish of your presence.

2. Fins

Freediving fins are powerful tools for getting around when underwater spearfishing. They help you conserve energy. While quality plastic fins can offer great results, the newer carbon and fiberglass materials require much less energy to operate.

3. Spearfishing Wetsuit

There is a wide range of spearfishing wetsuits to choose from. One thing you need to consider, however, is the wetsuit thickness. Depending on the water temperature, you will need a thinner or a thicker suit.

For warm, short dives, a thickness of 1.5 mm should be ideal. Make sure that your wetsuit can blend with the surroundings. If the wetsuit can’t blend, fish will notice you.

4. Gloves

You should invest in a pair of sturdy, flexible gloves. On top of helping you when diving in cold waters, they will help you have a better grip on your equipment.

5. Spearfishing Knife

This can help you release fish as quickly as possible. A knife comes in handy if you happen to get tangled in weeds, fishing lines, or ropes.

6. Speargun Versus Pole Spear Versus Sling

Your weapon will be the most important part of spearfishing gear. Below, we will discuss the top 3 weapons used by spearfishers.


The basic components of the speargun include the barrel, spear, and handle. The handle features a trigger mechanism.

There are 2 main types of spearguns:

  • Pneumatic – These use air pressure to fire your blades. While older versions underperformed in deep waters, the modern, airtight models are more powerful in all depths.
  • Band guns – To load band guns underwater, you need to have experience. Unlike pneumatic guns which are usually measured by their barrel size, band guns are measured by their total length.

Pole Spear

Pole spears are made of carbon fiber, wood, graphite, or aluminum. They are generally approximately 4 to 10 feet long, with a threaded top for housing the spear tip.


The sling, which is often called the Hawaiian sling, is a simple contraption that works much like the bow and arrow. It features a spear shaft and a shaft holder. The purpose of the shaft holder is to stabilize and aim the spear.

7. Float

This brightly colored equipment is usually inflatable and features a flag. Usually attached to the spear butt with a float-line, it has 2 purposes. The purposes are:

  • It alerts boats close to you of your presence.
  • It allows you to resurface for air without holding the spear.

You might also like: Most Common Spearfishing Dangers And Risks

Spearfishing Pre-requisites


Apart from ensuring that you have the right spearfishing gear, you should fulfill the following pre-requisites:

  • Get certification in your preferred diving style.
  • Since the deeper you dive the bigger the game, consider involving yourself in advanced dive training.
  • Since experience is crucial, start with shallow first drops. Increase the depth as your experience grows.
  • Ensure you have proper safety gear.
  • Aim for smaller, manageable fish until you are ready to handle bigger prey.
  • Dive with a buddy. He/she can help in emergencies.

Globo Surf Overview

If you have been wondering what is spearfishing, this article should help you find the answer to your question. As you have probably noticed, spearfishing largely involves diving, stalking your fish, and then shooting it.

For this reason, to succeed at underwater spearfishing, you have to first succeed at diving. If you do not have diving experience, you should consider getting a diving certification.

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