How To Spearfish For Beginners (The Ultimate Guide)

how to spearfish for beginners

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How To Spearfish For Beginners (The Ultimate Guide)

How to spearfish? In this guide, I will cover everything you need to know, step-by-step.

This guide on how to spearfish has been split into a few parts to help beginners find everything they need to be safe and have fun. 

If you are a beginner who wants to learn and get better at spearfishing, reading this article is the best way to get started. 

“It combines the sport of fishing and hunting, ” says Koeneke spearfish instructor and spearfish instructor Dr. David O’Neill. You wear a camouflage suit, snorkel mask, and fins while hitting the fish with a spear tip.

Spearfishing or javelin fishing is an ancient fishing method and has been practiced for thousands of years in many parts of the world, from Africa to the Middle East. 

In the South and Midwest of America, it is used to propel carp and other fish into the shallows and catch bullfrogs at night under bright lights.

This ancient survival technique gives you the classic feeling of victory every time you catch a fish, making you feel like a true survivor in the world.

In this guide, you will learn everything from what spearfishing is to a list of good equipment that you will get, to where to find fish to spear. To get started, you need some basic information about spearfishing techniques and a good starting point for your first trip.

When looking for the equipment, look at what is safe for spearfishing at your level and what you should take with you when throwing the spear.  

We are here to provide this article as a guide to the right way of spearfishing, so start with spears and progress in using a spear weapon in deep waters. 

You should first Invest in beginner equipment that can also be used for occasional snorkeling and scuba diving because you should not make an effort without proper training. 

Get scuba diving or free diving lessons so you can learn how to use respirators and also train to go deep underwater.

What is Spearfishing

what is spearfishing

Before we cover how to spearfish, let’s cover what is spearfishing. Spearfishing is basically just a method of fishing that involves more activity than regular fishing.

Spearfishing has been used for 16,000 years in the stone ages for everything from survival to the fun. Every culture throughout history has fished with spears, with slightly different techniques. Spearfishing was also even mentioned in the Holy Bible (verse 41.7).

This sport became very popular around the early 1930s and after WWII. 

There now is specialized pieces of equipment to catch fish more efficiently, using spearguns.

Spearfishing is commonly done using free-diving, scuba diving, and snorkeling.

What Equipment Do I Need?

what spearfishing equipment you need

If you are starting spearfishing, a 3.5mm wetsuit is a good option for you. Still, if you want to continue this sport, you might want to invest in one that is made of higher quality material, such as a 4-6 mm long spearfish wetsuit, with spearhead at your local dive shop.

If you have the money, I recommend you focus on buying high-quality basics that are long-term in use, such as a pair of freediving masks, javelin fins, and a javelin starter pack.

You should also have a weapon of your choice. There are slings, pole spears, spearfishing knives, and spearguns on the market.

Next is a snorkel mask. I recommend you get a higher-end mask because the last thing you want is a foggy vision with saltwater pouring in your mask.

After that, you will need freediving fins for faster and easier movement. You want to get durable freediving fins from quality brands.

Finally, these are optional. You should get gloves, booties, and weight belts(recommended for the more inexperienced).

Spearfishing Legally

spearfishing legally

A big part of how to spearfish is the boring legality. To spearfish, you must first obtain a fishing license spearfish.

In most cases, you only need a regular fishing license. However, in a few cases, depending on your state, there may be addons for a state’s particular region.

Certain spearfishing equipment also requires licenses such as spearguns.

In addition to that, you can only catch a certain amount of fish or other sea creatures. However, if you plan on catching a fish or two every few weeks, you’re fine.

To add on, you should also research what fish you are not allowed to catch and where you can’t go (even with a license). Liking the article so far? Consider following our new social media accounts!

How To Spearfish (Step-by-Step)

how to spearfish step-by-step

Now we can get into actually how to spearfish.

After you have gathered the proper equipment, license, and mindset, you are ready to start.

Your first step to spearfishing is to find a trusted partner. You want to avoid doing this activity alone and have a buddy with you to help you in the event of an unexpected incident. 

You should also join spearfishing organizations to learn and have a community with like-minded people. You should also consider learning directly from an expert. 

You know all the basics you need to become an experienced spear thrower by fishing with rod and spear, but you don’t spend a ton of money to learn the basics of spearfishing; you can learn it with the sticks and spears.

Step 1: Understand your weapon

Your first lesson should be to observe the feeling of how to handle a spearhead and learn how it works. I do not expect beginners to hunt for large fish species immediately and successfully. There are many ways to target other smaller species that occur in shallow waters, such as shrimps, crabs, snails, and small crabs.

A speargun is what most experienced spearfishers will use and will trigger a strong rubber band that propels the spear forward and impales the fish. If you want to stab a fish with a spear, you need a device that pushes a spear into it, like a fishing rod or spear tip.

Divers usually use a rod or spearhead for this type of spearfishing, but spearfishing can also be done with a rod and spearhead and a bow and arrow.

Step 2: Be safe

The safety of spearfishing is so important and can quickly get nasty, but if you use common sense and take care of your environment, javelin throwing is a safe sport for beginners. 

Remember always to have a spearfishing buddy, never point your weapon(especially spearguns) at another person, avoid places with high traffic, and always surface with a time cushion.

If you think all about safety and know everything, you can skip the spearhead because you have to prepare to catch wet fish. 

Step 3: Have fun and know what you’re doing

It can be difficult to learn something as complicated as spearfishing, but in just a few days, you will be able to grab the right spearfishing equipment and begin your adventure with the right spearfishing techniques. 

After a few attempts, you will begin to understand the different behaviors of the different fish species. Although many methods can be used, some common methods of spearfishing are listed below. 

This is the kind of activity that usually doesn’t cause you to wait long before a catch, typically just a few minutes. Once you catch a fish, you can put it in your boat, kill it with the tip of your spear, and continue the hunt. 

Now you may be lucky enough to get a clean kill, but it’s best for spearfishing when you are ready, geared up, and paired up with your mate. Buying a rod and spear that you like to use will allow you to catch the most fish is your best bet.

Once you are more comfortable spearfishing, you must practice using the right spearfishing technique in shallow (under 20 feet) water, where you do not have to worry about using a spear weapon. 

Spearfishing is not limited to the open sea, so you should learn the various tips and tricks to catch more big fish. 

The best way to do this is to find another Spearo (underwater hunter) to hunt with and be aware that you have plenty of opportunities to hunt underwater. If you need a guide, you will hunt in a different part of the ocean than your normal diving area.

Normally, divers go 5 to 25 meters deep while spearfishing off the coast, but land diving allows you to hunt various fish. You will find a wide variety, from small fish to large fish, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, tuna, and even a few sharks.

How To Use Spearfishing Equipment (Hawaiian Sling, Pole Spears, Spearguns)

Hawaiian Slings

The Hawaiian Sling is a commonly used device that works like a bow and arrow. It is very easy to use. All you have to do is aim your spear with weaker arm and pull the sling with your stronger arm. 

Pole Spears

Pole spears are usually 4-10 feet long, with a sharp spear tip on the top. There should be an elastic band at the retrieving end. You should have a rope at the spear’s retrieving end to retrieve your spear after throwing it.

To fire the pole spear, simply grab the pole with one hand and pull on the elastic band. Note that the spear will bend if you’re pulling hard, and it is above eight feet.


You should first learn how to load most spearguns. First, grip the handle, then pull the elastic band until you hear a click. Other spearguns, like the pneumatic speargun, uses air pressure to fire the blade.

Spearfishing Techniques

spearfishing techniques

Surface Diving

This is a common technique because you’re going to be hunting on the surface or in the shallows most of the time. This technique also saves a lot of energy; you’ll be surprised how hard it is to do something like bottom diving.

Ideally, you look down when doing this technique, instead of forward or on the sides. Looking down gives you maximum coverage.

Midwater Diving

Midwater diving is diving at around 10-20 feet. You can only do this diving for as long as you can hold your breath while doing constant movement underwater.

This is commonly done with a buddy underwater with you, so you can both monitor each other.

This is ideal when the water has plenty of “things” to grab, like kelp. When the water gets a little rough, or a swell comes up, you should definitely have something to grab.

Bottom Diving

This is the most difficult and requires the most experience for security. You must be able to hold your breath for well over a minute if you hope to be successful with this technique.

This technique consists of diving to the bottom and waiting for fish. This also requires you to be more “stealthy.”


Thank you, I hope you learned how to spearfish!

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Updated: 9/17/2020

How To Spearfish For Beginners (The Ultimate Guide)

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