The Ultimate Spearfishing Guide For Beginners

The sport of spearfishing is in fact one of the oldest methods of hunting fish known to humans. It has been happening around the world for thousands of years early spearfishers have been using very little and very simple tools to hunt under water.

At the present time, spearfishing equipment is significantly more advanced, sophisticated and efficient. Yet spearfishing equipment still requires fairly small investment that is bound to pay off (if you choose to appropriate tools).

Not only this, but it also give you a chance to witness wonderful sights and experience unique moments that can turn into some of your most fond memories. Moments that teach you how to always stay sharp and think quick on your feet. Moments that may give you some of the biggest thrills you can feel in your life.

With all that in mind it is very easy to see why spearfishing has been gaining more and more popularity around the world lately. If you are considering diving underwater and experiencing those moments for yourself, we encourage you to do so as you will not regret it.

That is why today we are walking you though everything that you need to know when you are just starting out at spearfishing.


Yes, spearfishing can be practiced with very little equipment. But if you want to be as efficient as possible when diving to hunt fish, you will would need a whole set up of tools.

Every single one of those tools must be selected according to the environment and conditions you will be diving in. So what do you need to get started?

Speargun or Polespear

Obviously, the most important tool of all is the one that you will be using to hunt fish.

To properly choose the best speargun for you, you must take multiple factors into account.

How often would you like to go spearfishing

The first thing you want to consider is how often and how well do you want to be spearfishing. That way you can determine how much money you would want to spend on a speargun.

By the current standard of prices on the market, if you don’t intend to be spearfishing that often, there is no point for you to spend more than 100$ for a speargun

On the other hand, if you dive and hunt fish on regular basis, you would want to buy a gun that is of good quality. That means you should be looking to spend about 250-350$ for a speargun.

Where would you be diving and what fish would you be spearing

Different conditions and different species of fish require various types of spearguns or polespears.

If you are planning to dive in shallow waters and hunt for smaller fish, as you would when still learning, you should be using a gun that is shorter and less powerful.

When diving from a boat in deep blue waters, hunting for big game fish, it is more suitable to use a gun that has a longer traveling range and more penetrating force.

The traveling distance of your shot as well as its penetrating power will depend on various attributes of you speargun. Such as the mass of your spear, the rubber strength the band that propels it, the materials it is made of and more.

If you want to learn more on how to choose the best speargun, you can click here.


A polespear is a simpler alternative for a speargun. It can be a bit more difficult to use efficiently until you get the hang of it though.

It is more like a sling that uses your hand to propel and guide the spear to its target. If you want to find out what you need to know to choose the best polespear, click here.

Dive Mask

The mask you use while spearfishing will be a major factor that dictates how well you can see your prey and how comfortable you feel under water.

The first thing you need to consider when choosing the best spearfishing mask is its volume, also called profile. The profile or volume of a mask is the space between your eyes and the lens/lenses. A mask that would be used for spearfishing should have a lower profile.

Then you should also take into account the field of vision that the mask allows. Also the shape of its skirt and nose piece, and wether it fits you comfortably and seals good.

If you want to learn more about choosing the best spearfishing mask, click here.


A pair of fins is what will help you dive down, resurface and swim to different positions much faster. They can also help you swim through currents and strong waves much easier.

The main thing you have to take into account when buying the best spearfishing fins is how strong and durable is the material/s they are made of. If your fins break at the wrong time, like for example when you are swimming through a current, that could put you in a dangerous situation.

You can read more about choosing the best spearfishing fins by clicking here.


Using a snorkel while spearfishing significantly increases the length of the periods you are able to stay under water.

It also gives you a chance to swim close to the surface while catching your breath at the same time. That allows you to take a moment to look for the best spots you can hunt from above.

The best spearfishing snorkel should be the most basic, simplified version you can find.

Click here if you want to know more about choosing you snorkel.


A wetsuit is an essential part of your equipment. It keeps you warm on long dives or in cold waters. It also protects your body from sunburns, stingers and potential cuts on reef or rocks that can be very dangerous.

To determine what suit you should buy, you must consider the conditions you are going to be diving in. Rocky and rough terrains as well as cold waters would require a suit that is at least 3.5 mm thick.

If you will be diving in warm waters you shouldn’t wear a wetsuit that is more than 3 mm thick. Otherwise you might overheat which will make you experience under water very uncomfortable and can even cause passing out.


Fish are most often not killed by being speared so you will need to subdue it by spiking it through the brain which is located slightly behind its eyes.

A great deal of the best spearfishing spots are located in or near shark areas.

Knifes are most crucial in shark areas where you will need to secure your catch as quickly as possible to prevent it from attracting the attention of a shark.

Also depending on what speargun setup you will use, you may need to use a knife to cut some lines.

Socks and Gloves

Without gloves or socks when you dive underwater and your skin gets really soft, scratch can become a deep cut that can easily be infected.

Using socks and gloves protects you from any type of cut, trap heat around your hand and feet to keep you warm, and gloves allow you to have a better grip under water.

If you wish to learn more about what kind of gloves you should use, click here.

Weight belt and weights

In case you plan to be diving in salt waters, you will need to make yourself heavier to not float up. Especially if you are going to wear a wetsuit made of neoprene which would make you even more buoyant.

Naturally, in that case you should also avoid using too much weigh which would make it harder for you to hunt.

Tips every beginner should know

Before you dive for the first time, you will need to know the environment of your local spearfishing spots. You should also know how to stay safe under water.

So what are the most thing you should know before you dive in?

Safety tips

As fun as spearfishing is, the ocean can be an unforgiving environment should you go there unprepared.

Spearfishing can be dangerous in many ways. If you want to know more in depth information on each one, click here.

Here are the safety tips everyone should know before entering the ocean.

Always have someone to watch you back when you dive

There are a lot of reasons you wouldn’t want to dive in to hunt fish on your own. The most significant of which is that you can pass out under water.

The more you dive, the more better you will become at holding your breath under water. When you get more experienced it is likely that you will be trying to stay close to the fish for longer.

It is not a rare occurrence for experienced spearfishermen to run out of oxygen on their way back to the surface. This leads to a blackout. Which you you will not survive unless you have someone to pull you out of the water.

Pulling you out must be done as fast as possible. Staying without oxygen for more than two minutes starts to damage the human brain.

No matter how good you become at it, don’t ever dive alone.

Research the dive spots before you go there

As you might have noticed, buying the appropriate equipment will require knowledge about the conditions of the areas you will be diving in.

Not putting together you setup of equipment according to your environment can often make your tools useless. So before buying spearfishing supplies you will have to do some research.

Make sure you know depth and temperature of the waters you want to be spearfishing in. Also the size of the fish you will be catching.

Another thing you should ALWAYS research is the directions and strength of currents and tides in the area. If you are still learning You should avoid swimming in dangerous conditions.

Use your speargun cautiously

There are plenty of examples of people shooting themselves or their friends because they don’t use their spearguns carefully.

Make sure you are aware where you are pointing it at all times. Also be careful not to fire accidentally. Even if you don’t shoot anyone, you spear can still hit a rock and break for example.

When people dive in groups to hunt fish, they rely on each other to have their backs. However, accidents can happen, and they will if people are not careful when spearfishing.

So be aware of your actions!

Find a mentor

It’s very hard to properly develop your skills in any niche without someone to give you guidelines.

Try to tag along experienced spearfishermen to pick their brains. They are most often quite happy to help you learn so don’t shy away from asking questions.

Start by using a polespear

The way polespears work is very simple. That is why they are a great option when developing your skills. You can very easily learn how to use them, aim and maneuver a spear under water.

They are also more affordable which makes them even more suitable for beginners

We recommend using shorter spears when still learning. Longer shafts can be quite difficult for newbies to maneuver under water.

Learn how to be harder to detect.

You will have a way better success rate when hunting if you prey doesn’t notice your presence. Fish do not have the best eyesight of the animal kingdom so don’t think it would be hard.

Try using your surroundings to your advantage. Learn to hide behind rocks or use camouflage efficiently.

Observe the swimming patterns of the fish and make educated guesses to try to sneak up on it. One of the easiest way to stay hidden from a fish is to swim behind it. You can also to make a turn you’ve seen it do a lot and shoot it immediately

Start small

You shouldn’t go straight to hunting for large sized fish. Big fish most often live in deeper waters. As time goes by, you will become skilled enough to dive in deep waters but in the beginning stick to shallow waters and reefs.

One of the reasons hunting smaller fish is a good way to learn how to spearfish is the smaller targets. Once you have started to find it easy to accurately shoot smaller fish that swims faster, hitting a big game fish would be child’s play.

Also in shallow waters, reef areas, shore dives, etc you will have a lot of obstacles in your environment. They will be useful to both learn how to maneuver under water and hide from the fish.

Buy the right equipment

We have already established that you must buy your spearfishing tools according to the conditions of your environment. Not only that buy you must also make sure that you are buying good quality supplies.

In case you don’t think you will be diving on regular basis, you can compromise and buy equipment that is not that durable. Since you won’t be using your tools that often, even if they don’t have high durability, they will still last for a long period of time.

However, compromising of anything else is out of the question. Buying low quality gear can make your experience under water very uncomfortable which would make your hunts less successful.

In a lot of cases compromising the quality of your spearfishing tools can even put you at risk. In many ways you rely on your equipment to keep you safe, it giving up on you at the wrong time can be a risk for you life.

So make sure you are buying good quality products that you can rely on.

Improve you skill to hold your breath

Needless to say, to longer you can hold your breath, the better and better you will become at spearfishing.

Hold you breath allows you to observe your pray for longer, go to hiding spots beforehand instead of having to stay hidden from the fish on your approach. Even helps you remain calm under water which will help you have more successful catches.

There are a lot of exercises and techniques that can help you increase your lung capacity without even diving.

In 2008 the famous magician and illusionist David Blaine broke the world record of static apnea by holding his breath underwater for 17 minutes and 4.5 seconds. On a TED talk in which he explains how he accomplished that he describes an exercise that you can do to increase your lung capacity.

Sit down as calm as possible, and try to breathe as deeply as you can for at least a minute. After that inhale deeply one last time and exhale all of your air as quickly as you can. Once you’ve exhaled all of your air, hold your breath for as long as you can.

Restore you breath by resting for a while and repeat at least two more times.

This is a very effective drill that will help you increase your breath hold very fast. Not only will you see results very soon, you will also train your mind to stay calm without oxygen and push yourself over your limits.

Aim small, miss small

Naturally, you will want to develop your aim to be as sharp as possible. Not only will you become more efficient and catch more fish, you will also avoid damaging your spear.

A missed shot can easily hit a rock or other hard object and break your spear. It can also stick somewhere that you can’t pull it out of or can’t pull it out without breaking it.

So when you are hunting small fish and feel that you’re starting to get the hang of it, don’t just aim to hit the fish. Aim to hit a specific spot on the fish.

Just like a good sniper always aims for the head, you should also aim fo the fish’s brain which is located slightly behind its eyes. Even if you miss that exact same spot, aiming for it would make the error in your shot smaller too.

Not only that but it’s also the most humane way to kill the fish and you will be saving your effort to subdue it with your knife.


Spearfishing allows you to have unique experiences on fun adventures. It requires a setup of equipment that will assist you in your dives.

Every single piece of that equipment is there for a reason and plays a significant role in your efficiency. Not using the advantages that spearfishing tools give you can make it much harder for you to catch fish.

A lot of them are also used to protect you from the rough conditions of the ocean so diving without them can put you at risk.

You must always put together your setup of spearfishing gear according to the conditions of the environment you are going to be diving in. Choosing tools that are not appropriate for your situation will make them useless so always research your dive spots.

If you want to be good at spearfishing, you will have to put in some effort. If you want to improve you skills you will have to spend some time working on your abilities and pushing yourself over your limits.

As fun as spearfishing can be, it can also be dangerous. When you are going on a spearfishing adventure it is not a walk in the park. You have to be prepared or otherwise the ocean can be a very rough and unforgiving place.

That is why you also have to take safety seriously and follow certain guidelines. As long as you are careful and you avoid putting yourself or your friends at risk, you will be fine.

Did you find this article helpful? We did our best to give you as much information as we could in one place so you don’t have to do tons of research on your own. Feel free to give use your opinion in the comments section.

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