Fishing, Hunting, & Trapping

Spearfishing 101: How To Get Started



How to Spear Fish

Reeling in a fish is a rewarding experience, but have you given spearfishing a try? It's just as fun but more challenging!

How to Start Spearfishing

We won’t sugarcoat it: fishing requires skill – but it’s the love of the sport driving that skill.

As such, some fishing enthusiasts choose to pursue spearfishing, an ancient method of hunting and catching food, to both enhance their survival skills and expand their enjoyment of the sport/hobby.

This means knowing how to spear a fish is part of a greater skillset when it comes to surviving in the outdoors. So to help you out, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to spearfish!

Why Spearfishing Is Valuable

Why Spearfishing Is Valuable | How to Spear Fish

There might be a time when you’re outdoors and without any fishing equipment. Under such circumstances, it’s valuable to know how to spearfish to catch food for survival.

Even if you don’t have an “official” spear, there are ways to create a makeshift spear to increase your chances of overcoming hunger. To improvise a spear, you can use a stick or pole and attach anything sharp, such as a pocketknife or piece of glass.

In addition to enhancing survival skills, spearfishing is also a challenging and engaging offshoot of traditional fishing.

For this reason, hunting and spearing a fish demand the following similar qualities:

  • Good eye
  • Quick reflexes
  • Intense concentration
  • Patience
  • Skilled technique
  • Effective equipment

Whether you view spearfishing as a sport, means of procuring a sustainable food source, or as part of a survival skill set, there’s no denying knowing how to spear a fish is valuable.

Locations to Learn Spearfishing

Spearfishing can essentially be done wherever there are water and edible fish. You can practice in streams, lakes, or even in the ocean.

Of course, there are some factors to consider – for example, the visibility and current of the water and the abundance and size of the fish present. It’s also essential to learn spearfishing in a location where the water is clean and clear.

This is because spearfishing in areas with poor water quality can result in serious illness.

Additionally, ensure you follow all regulations and don’t hunt for fish in protected areas with vulnerable species. Understanding the types of fish you wish to hunt will help you find a safe and permissible location.

Spearfishing Equipment

Spearfishing Equipment | How to Spear Fish

Most spearfishing beginners choose pole spears for their equipment, which are lightweight, fairly inexpensive, and handle well for spearing fish.

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To get more specific, longer pole spears are even more effective for beginners.

In fact, aluminum pole spears work even more effectively, especially when it comes to larger fish. It’s also worth carrying an extra pole spear, in case problems arise with your equipment.

On the other hand, some spearfishing enthusiasts pursue spearguns as equipment.

However, these are typically used by a more advanced level of fisher, and the type of speargun required depends on the type of fish being hunted and the environment. For this reason, it’s essential to carefully consider whether you wish to invest in a speargun, and if so, whether you’re ready to invest in one.

How to Spear Fish


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The best way for a beginner to learn how to spearfish is to practice in shallow water.

This allows you to fish above the waterline so you’re not at risk of becoming submerged. Underwater diving and spearfishing present far more dangers and risks.

Here are must-know tips and instructions on how to spearfish:

  1. Ensure safety. Be sure you follow safety guidelines, including checking your surroundings for any hazards. Make sure to stand where you have stable footing. Additionally, consider going with a partner to be better prepared for accidents or emergencies.
  2. Getting started. To begin shallow water spearfishing, you can stand on the shore of your chosen location and spear any visible fish with a sharpened stick. Other options include standing in the water, on rocks, or in a kayak.
  3. Understand the hunt. Spearing fish in shallow water requires stalking techniques. This is due to fish swimming on the surface of the water, below the surface, or near rocks. It’s also important to understand your prey. Different species of fish behave in certain ways, and it’s essential to recognize their patterns.
  4. Using the spear. Be sure your spear is readied before you enter the water. This allows freedom of your other hands to help with balance and aim. With a pole spear, it’s essential to keep your arm out about halfway so there’s room to move and reach. When the fish is in range, aim for its head and release the spear smoothly. Aiming for the skull prevents suffering due to its connection to the spine, killing the fish swiftly.
  5. Hunt humanely. It’s important when spearfishing to do so humanely. This means getting close enough to your prey that you have good aim and a stronger chance of killing the fish rather than wounding it. Additionally, having a knife on hand is another way to ensure you’re able to kill the fish to avoid prolonged suffering.
  6. The endgame. Once you’ve speared a fish, make sure you grab it right away. You can then hook it to a fish carrier or place it somewhere safe if you wish to continue spearfishing. If you’re catching fish with sharp spines, gloves are advisable to protect your hands.

Wrapping Up

Whether you decide to learn how to spearfish as a means of expanding your interest in the sport, developing new survival skills, or as a method of hunting food, it’s essential to be prepared and take precautions.

Though spearing fish might look simple, it requires a great deal of physical work and mental focus. Spearfishing beginners should be especially aware of safety when it comes to location, equipment, and technique.

It’s also important to learn how to hunt humanely when spearfishing, just as with traditional methods of fishing. After all, the more attention paid to protecting species and their environments, the greater chance humans have of survival.

What are your thoughts on spearfishing? When will you give it a try? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!

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