Spearfishing: Working Techniques, Equipment and Safety Guides

Spearfishing and underwater enthusiasts! Have you ever wondered what it would be like free diving beneath the waves hunting for your dinner? 

If so, you might want to try your hand at spearfishing, one of the oldest methods of fishing known to man.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about spearfishing and share with you the latest techniques, equipment, and safety guidelines that will help you become a successful spearfisher. 

Asa seasoned pro or a beginner just starting, there’s always something new to learn when it comes to this challenging and rewarding activity.

So, let’s dive in and discover everything you need to know about fishing with a spear in 2023! From the best gear to use to the latest tips and tricks for catching your prey, we’ve got you covered. 

We will look at what spearfishing is, and why it’s become such a popular pastime for so many people around the world.

Are you ready to dirty your hands with underwater hunting? Let’s go!

Read Eskimo Ice Fishing: An In-Depth Beginners Guide.

 Is Spearfishing Fun and Worth Trying?

underwater hunting

This is an ancient method of fishing that has been used for thousands of years. It involves hunting fish with a spear, either by free diving or using scuba gear, and requires a great deal of skill, patience, and underwater awareness.

Spearfishing to some people is for recreational purposes as a hobby or sport. It also serves as an important means of sustenance for many coastal communities around the world. 

Unlike commercial fishing, which destroys fish populations and harms marine ecosystems, spearfishing is a more sustainable and selective method of fishing that allows for greater control over what is caught and how much is taken.

In addition to providing food, spearfishing also offers a unique opportunity to connect with the ocean and its inhabitants in a way that is both exhilarating and humbling. 

It requires divers to be in tune with the natural rhythms and patterns of the sea and to approach their prey with respect and reverence.

Marine hunting is an exciting, challenging and rewarding activity that promotes both environmental stewardship and personal growth.

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Spearfishing Gear Every Underwater hunter needs. For Beginners and Experts.

spearfishing gun

Underwater hunting as it sounds is not just free diving with a spear in hand and easily picking any catch you want. Remember the water is not your habitat and those fish know their home better than you do. 

To make your adventure productive and fun as well, you need equipment that would lessen the stress. Especially as a beginner, your first-time experience determines if you would come back again.

Below are the gears anyone planning to go fishing with a spear needs, be you a beginner or a pro;

  1. Spearfishing Guns
  2. Wetsuits
  3. Fins
  4. Masks
  5. Weight Belt
  6. Polespears
  7. Floatlines and Buoy
  8. Dive Watch and Depth Gauge
  9. Gloves and Booties

For You Eskimo Ice Fishing: An In-Depth Beginners Guide.

Spearfishing guns or pole spears

Spearfishing guns or pole spears are the most essential piece of gear for any spearfisher. 

A speargun is a type of underwater firearm that uses pressure to launch a spear towards your target, while a pole spear is a long stick with a sharpened tip that is used to jab and impale fish. Both types of equipment are effective, so it’s a matter of personal preference which one you choose.

Mask and Snorkel

 A mask and snorkel are essential for expert spearfishers to see and breathe underwater. Experts often choose low-volume masks with tempered glass lenses and soft silicone skirts for maximum comfort and visibility. Some popular brands of masks and snorkels for experts are Cressi, Mares, and Omer.

A high-quality mask provides a clear and unobstructed view of the underwater environment. Make sure to choose a mask that fits well and is comfortable to wear for extended periods.

A snorkel allows you to breathe efficiently and conserve energy while diving. 


These are another essential piece of spearfishing gear. Fins provide power and manoeuvrability underwater, allowing spearfishers to move quickly and efficiently. Experts often choose long-blade fins made of fibreglass or carbon fibre for maximum thrust and control. Some popular brands of fins for experts are Omer, Mares, and Cressi.

When selecting fins, experts should consider the blade length, stiffness, and foot pocket design.

The blade length should be long enough to provide sufficient propulsion but not too long that it becomes unwieldy. 

The stiffness of the blade affects the amount of power generated with each kick. The foot pocket should fit comfortably and securely, without causing discomfort or chafing during long dives.

spearfishers should consider wearing fin socks or neoprene booties to provide additional insulation and protection. Some spearfishers prefer to wear full-foot fins without additional footwear, while others choose open-heel fins with adjustable straps for a more customizable fit.

weight belt 

A weight belt is an essential piece of equipment for expert spearfishers to maintain neutral buoyancy and control their descent and ascent. Experts usually choose weight belts made of rubber or nylon with quick-release buckles for safety. Some popular brands of weight belts for experts are Omer, Rob Allen, and Riffe.

wetsuit or rash guard

a wetsuit or rash guard to protect your skin from the sun and marine life, as well as gloves and booties to protect your hands and feet from cuts and scrapes.

It’s important to note that safety should always be a top priority when spearfishing. 


are the most basic and traditional spearfishing tools. They come in different lengths, ranging from 4 to 16 feet. Polespears are made of fibreglass, carbon fibre, or aluminium. Experts usually prefer carbon fibre polespears for their durability, strength, and lightweight. Some popular brands of polespears for experts are JBL, Riffe, and Mako.

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Floatlines and Buoy

Floatlines and buoys are crucial for expert spearfishers. Float lines are used to connect the spear to the buoy, which helps to prevent the fish from diving deep and getting lost. Buoyancy is also essential for safety, as it makes the spearfisher visible to other boaters. Experts often choose high-visibility floats and buoys with reflective tape and flags to ensure maximum visibility. Some popular brands of float lines and buoys for experts are Rob Allen, Cressi, and Mares.

Dive Watch and Depth Gauge

 A dive watch and depth gauge are essential tools for expert spearfishers to monitor their depth and time underwater. The dive watch also helps to track dive time and surface intervals, which is crucial for avoiding decompression sickness. Some popular brands of dive watches and depth gauges for experts are Suunto, Oceanic, and Seiko.

Gloves and Booties

Gloves and booties are essential for expert spearfishers to protect their hands and feet from sharp rocks, coral, and marine life. They also provide warmth and traction, which is crucial for diving in cold or rough waters. Experts often choose gloves and booties made of neoprene with reinforced palms and soles for maximum durability and protection. Some popular brands of gloves and booties for experts are Omer, Mares, and Cressi.

Carbon Fiber Fins

 Carbon fibre fins are a high-end option that is ultra-lightweight and incredibly powerful. They’re designed to maximize your speed and efficiency in the water, making it easier to chase after fast-moving fish.

Reel Speargun

 A reel speargun is a type of speargun that has a built-in line reel. This allows you to shoot your spear and then reel in your catch without having to swim back to the surface. It’s a great option for targeting larger fish or fishing in deeper water.

Dive Computer

 A dive computer is a device that tracks your depth and time underwater, helping you to stay safe and avoid decompression sickness. It provides information on water temperature, ascent rate, and other important metrics.

Float Line

 A floating line is a line that connects your speargun to a buoy on the surface. This helps you to keep track of your speargun and catch, and also provides an additional safety measure in case you need to signal for help.

Spearfishing Wetsuit

 A high-quality wetsuit designed specifically for spearfishing provides extra warmth and protection, as well as increased mobility and flexibility. Look for wetsuits that are durable, comfortable, and designed with features like reinforced knees and elbows.

Underwater Camera

 An underwater camera is a fun and useful tool for capturing your spearfishing adventures. It helps identify fish species and keep track of your catches.

Working Techniques of Spearfishing

free diving

Spearfishing is a challenging and rewarding activity that requires skill, patience, and precision. There are various techniques of spearfishing that expert spearfishers use to catch fish effectively.

Let’s discuss some of the most common spearfishing techniques and their difficulty levels.


Freediving is the most basic and traditional method of spearfishing. It involves diving without any breathing apparatus, relying solely on the diver’s lung capacity and swimming skills. Freediving requires a high level of physical fitness, breath-holding ability, and experience in reading ocean conditions. It is considered a difficult technique, especially for beginners or those without prior experience in freediving.


Stalking involves approaching fish stealthily and slowly, using rocks or reefs as cover. This technique requires a high level of patience, observation skills, and underwater movement control. Stalking is a bit difficult, especially in murky waters or when dealing with skittish fish.


This technique requires patience to wait in a spot, often using a camouflage wetsuit or hiding behind a rock or reef, and waiting for fish to come close.

Good timing and the ability to predict fish behaviour are also needed. Like stalking, it is a challenging technique, especially when dealing with larger or more cautious fish.

Drift diving

Drift diving involves using the current to move through the water, allowing the diver to cover a large area without expending too much energy. This technique requires a good awareness of ocean currents and the ability to navigate effectively. Beginners in marine hunting shouldn’t attempt this technique, especially in areas with strong currents or when dealing with changing water conditions.


Flashing involves using a reflective surface, such as a mirror or piece of metal, to attract fish towards the diver. This technique requires a high level of observation skills, timing, and knowledge of fish behaviour. It is not effective in areas with low visibility or when dealing with skittish fish.


Chumming involves attracting fish by releasing small pieces of bait into the water. This technique requires knowledge of the type of fish in the area and the appropriate bait to use.

Pole spear

involves using a handheld spear with no additional propulsion mechanism. This technique requires good hand-eye coordination, precision, and knowledge of the fish’s anatomy. It needs speed and quick reflexes, especially when dealing with fast-moving or elusive fish.

Spearfishing techniques vary in difficulty level, and expert spearfishers use a combination of these techniques to catch fish effectively.

The most common techniques include freediving, stalking, ambush, drift diving, flashing, chumming, and pole spear. 

Each technique requires a different set of skills, knowledge, and experience, and expert spearfishers should develop proficiency in multiple techniques to increase their chances of success.

Safety Tips for Spearfishing


Spearfishing also comes with some risks. Follow these few safety tips that spearfishers use to stay safe while spearfishing:

1. Check weather and ocean conditions

Before heading out, check the weather forecast and ocean conditions to ensure that they are safe for diving. Avoid diving in rough seas or during storms, as they are dangerous.

2. Dive with a buddy

 Diving with a buddy is a critical safety measure that should not be overlooked. A buddy will provide assistance in case of an emergency, help with equipment malfunctions, and increase overall safety.

3. Wear appropriate gear

Wearing appropriate gear, such as a wetsuit, fins, gloves, and a weight belt protects the diver from hypothermia, stings, and cuts. Ensure that the gear is in good condition and fits properly.

4. Use a dive flag

 A dive flag is a signal to boats that there are divers in the water. It increases visibility and reduces the risk of collision.

5. Be aware of marine life

 Spearfishing involves interaction with marine life, and it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with certain species. Avoid approaching dangerous marine life, such as sharks or barracudas, and keep a safe distance.

6. Know your limits

 Spearfishing is physically demanding, and it is important to know your limits. Avoid pushing yourself too hard and take breaks when necessary.

7. Learn basic first aid

 Knowing basic first aid, such as CPR and treating cuts and bruises, is the most important thing to have at the back of your mind when you go diving in case of an emergency. 

Carry a first aid kit and familiarize yourself with its contents.

As with any other outdoor activity, there are legal and ethical considerations that need to be taken into account. Don’t get carried away in the fun.

Below are important legal and ethical considerations for spearfishing:

  1. License requirements: In most places, you need to have a valid fishing license to go spearfishing. Make sure to check with local authorities to find out what the requirements are in your area.
  2. Bag limits: There are limits on how many fish you should catch in a day or during a particular season. Make sure to follow these limits to avoid overfishing and damaging the local ecosystem.
  3. Protected species: Some fish species are protected by law and cannot be hunted. Make sure to research which species are protected in your area to avoid penalties for violating these laws.
  4. Gear restrictions: In some places, there are restrictions on the types of spears and other gear to use. Make sure to comply with these regulations to avoid legal issues.

Ethical considerations for Spearfishing

  1. Respect for the environment: As a spearfisher, it’s important to respect the natural environment and not damage the underwater ecosystem. Make sure to avoid fishing in areas where there is significant marine life, such as coral reefs.
  2. Sustainable fishing practices: Overfishing will cause long-term damage to the ecosystem. It’s important to use sustainable fishing practices, such as avoiding hunting large fish that are critical to the local food chain.
  3. Safety: Spearfishing is risky, and it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of others around you. Make sure to wear appropriate gear, such as a wetsuit and dive flag, and never dive alone.
  4. Respect for other users: Some areas may be popular with other water users, such as swimmers and divers. It’s important to respect their space and avoid interfering with their activities.

Common Spearfishing Locations

Here are some of the most common spearfishing locations:

  1. Florida Keys, USA: The Florida Keys offer some of the best spearfishing in the United States, with a wide variety of fish species to hunt and clear waters for visibility.
  2. Great Barrier Reef, Australia: The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most famous diving locations, and it’s also a great spot for spearfishing. The reef is home to a wide variety of fish, including tuna, barracuda, and snapper.
  3. Bahamas: The Bahamas is a popular destination for spearfishing, with clear waters and a variety of fish species. Some of the most popular targets include grouper, snapper, and hogfish.
  4. Hawaii, USA: Hawaii offers some of the best spearfishing in the world, with a wide variety of fish species and clear waters. Some of the most popular targets include yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, and wahoo.
  5. Mediterranean Sea: The Mediterranean Sea is a great location for spearfishing, with a variety of fish species and clear waters. Some of the most popular targets include sea bass, grouper, and octopus.

These are just a few of the many great spearfishing locations around the world.

Read More on this here 31+ Best Spearfishing Locations in the World

No matter where you go, make sure to follow local regulations and practice sustainable fishing practices to protect the environment.

Spearfishing Tips for Beginners

  1. Start with proper gear: Before you even hit the water, you’ll need a good quality spear gun or pole spear, wetsuit, fins, mask, weight belt, and dive knife. Make sure to invest in high-quality gear that fits you properly.
  2. Learn about your local marine environment: Research the local marine life, fish species, and legal fishing regulations in your area. This will help you identify fish species and avoid areas where spearfishing may be prohibited.
  3. Practice proper safety measures: Always dive with a buddy, and never dive alone. Keep track of each other’s whereabouts and have a plan in case of an emergency. Always check the weather and water conditions before diving.
  4. Improve your diving skills: Proper diving techniques will help you conserve energy, dive deeper, and hold your breath longer. Practice your swimming and diving skills regularly to improve your ability to dive and manoeuvre underwater.
  5. Be patient and observe: Fish can be elusive and difficult to spot. Be patient and take the time to observe the marine environment around you. Look for signs of fish, such as schools of smaller fish or a change in water colour or temperature.
  6. Know your target: Only shoot at fish that you clearly identify and that are legal to harvest. Learn about the fish species you are targeting, including their size, habitat, and behaviour.
  7. Aim for a humane kill: Always aim for the head or the spine of the fish for a quick and humane kill. Avoid shooting the fish in the stomach or tail, which will cause unnecessary suffering.


So, there you have it, my fellow spearfishers of 2023. With these working techniques, top-of-the-line equipment, and safety guides, you are well on your way to becoming the ultimate underwater hunter.

Remember, safety always comes first. Always dive with a buddy and check your gear before you hit the water. And let’s not forget about the fish – they are not just targets, but living creatures. Always aim for a humane kill, and consider catch-and-release for fish species that are not legal to harvest.

As for the rest, practice, practice, practice! Improve your diving skills, learn about your local marine environment, and be patient and observant. And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the adventure.

With these tips and tricks, you’ll be spearfishing like a pro in no time. Now, go out there and catch the big one! Just don’t forget to share the pictures with us. We could use a good laugh at your expense.

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FAQs About Sharks And Spearfishing

Can you use scuba fins for spearfishing?

Yes, you can use scuba fins for spearfishing if you are going very deep into the water in unfriendly conditions.

Can spearfishing attract sharks?

When you have a successful catch underwater, the struggle, blood flow and sound from the action will likely attract sharks that also want to prey on the catch.

What to do if a shark approaches you?

Swim backwards gently, do not beat around the water as this will confuse and excite the shark into an attack.
If the shark eventually attacks you, hit, scratch the eye and gill aggressively as hard as you can. Hitting the nose also has a little effect.

How can you tell if a shark is near?

Hovering birds and the movement of large groups of smaller fish mean there is a possible bigger fish likely a shark or whale attacking a prey nearby.

Edet Ubok-Obong
Edet Ubok-Obong

Edet Ubok-Obong is an experienced Writer with a deep passion for Gardening, Fishing and home improvement. He shares his knowledge of these fields through this website.