101 Guide – Spearfishing for Beginners

An awesome variety of marine life, as well as beautiful coastlines, ensures that spearfishing remains the exhilarating experience it is.

Pelagic fish, such as tuna and sardines, as well as the predatory fish that feed on them, attract spearfishing enthusiasts worldwide to discover the diverse marine life.

Their plan – to be part of exciting spear fishing adventures, whether as a sport or for hunting food.

Striking at Hunted Fish

Spearfishing is a form of fishing to strike at hunted fish. People spearfish for sport, for commercial purposes and for subsistence. The methods of spearing a fish vary greatly around the world and extends to the species of fish being caught, as well as the gear being used. It always includes the thrill of the hunt and enjoying the pleasure of eating fresh, tasty fish straight from the sea.

There are many incredible spear fishing hot spots for all enthusiasts out there. Yes, spear fishing as a sport has only recently emerged, and inexpensive equipment which allows people of all budgets to take part has meant it becoming immensely popular.

There’s Nothing New about Spearfishing

Today, there are many American brand spearfishing swords, but spearfishing was actually pioneered in Europe. In Southern France, in Cosquer Cave, there is cave art which is thousands of years old and which includes drawings of seals which seem to have been harpooned.

In primitive times, regardless of the weather, Native Americans, for instance, would cut a hole in the ice to fish from it. They used different types of implements for spear fishing, with the shafts of their “spears” being made from wood. The tip was made with bits of metal found or even pieces of bone. Their spear fishing was sometimes done at night with the help of a fire-torch for light, and they would even wander into shallow water and spend hours waiting for fish to come their way.

The Speargun Takes one to Deeper Waters

Today, traditional spear fishing is still restricted to shallow waters, but with the development of the spear-gun, fishing can be done in deeper waters. There are more modern methods of spear fishing which can include some scuba diving and the use of powered spear guns, but this form of modern spear fishing is heavily regulated due to environmental concerns about vanishing fish species.

Spearfishing for beginners in shallow water only requires a face mask, flippers and spear. A complete outfit like this is affordable for the beginner, and with a bit of creativity and research, you can even make your own spear at home.  The idea is to swim as quietly as possible, all the while peering down through your mask to look for fish.

Getting Kitted out with some Basic Gear

As you become more involved with spear fishing, you’ll want to progress onto equipment which lets you do more. In fact, your enjoyment of the sport will be enhanced by using the right gear. Whatever equipment you settle on, the right fit is a primary concern.

1. Mask

Your mask is an important factor and experts always suggest that you make sure that the skirt is always black to prevent light from entering. It should be made of 100% silicone, and preferably not Silitex or rubber, as they don’t seal well. The lenses must be made from tempered glass.

2. Spearfishing Fins

The spearfishing fins need to fit well. The foot pockets are different, depending on brand, so you should try your fins on before you buy. Fins for spearfishing are longer and thinner than regular fins.

3. The Snorkel

A snorkel is a good buy because it’s a breathing tube of about 18’’ long. The rubber mouthpiece is gripped between the teeth and with this snorkel, you’re able to keep your face looking down into the water without having to constantly turn it to breathe. A snorkel for a beginner should be as basic as possible. A simple J shaped snorkel is all you need – one which doesn’t have a whole lot of contraptions, like purge valves.

4. The Wetsuit

As a beginner, you may think that a wetsuit is something that can wait for a while, but like mentioned earlier, having the right gear just makes your spearfishing more enjoyable and successful. Most wetsuits these days are made from neoprene, and if you find it gives you a rash, you can try a stinger suit. Performance is important and each brand has their own cuts and fits to suit every kind of person’s preferences. Neoprene is buoyant, so to compensate for this, you will need a weight belt. There are different brands, but most spearo’s make use of the Marseilles rubber weight belt with its quick release buckle.

5. Polespear

Experts say that when you start spearfishing for the first time, a good idea is to start with a polespear. The limited range of polespears exposes weaknesses in the skills you have, bearing in mind that one skill is to learn to glide slowly and smoothly through the water to ensue fish aren’t frightened off.

6. The Speargun

Spearguns are available in 2 types: rubber powered or pneumatic. Certainly, if you’re a beginner, it is recommended that you start with a smaller, less powerful gun. A 60- or 75 cm length gun will always stand you in good stead when you’re looking for smaller fish species in shallower local waters.
Having a wetsuit and having all the gear may have you feeling out of your depths. As a beginner, there are many spearfishing courses where you will be:

  • Shown the different kinds of equipment you can use and how to use each one
  • Taught how to improve your breath-holding abilities
  • Shown how to dive safely
  • Taught what fishing laws need to be adhered to
  • Taught techniques that will make you efficient at spearfishing
  • To point out all the potential hazards you will come up against and how to tackle them

Final Thoughts


What an exhilarating experience it can be gliding around below the waves and enjoying the tranquility and what all the ocean can offer.

Spearfishing for beginners requires getting the right gear – it looks good, feels right and it enhances the entire spearfishing experience. As a beginner, the best advice is to simply get into the water with simple snorkeling, and once you are confident and proficient, you can move onto more serious equipment and to deeper sites. The possibilities for exciting experiences with spearfishing are endless.

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