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Fishing is a sport that is universally enjoyed. Praised for its relaxing qualities, it attracts millions of people all over the world. 

The benefits of fishing are plenty: you get to have a nice leisurely outing in nature and you may even bring a good dinner to the table at the end of the day. But what if you could make fishing endlessly more exciting? Spearfishing is the answer.

What is spearfishing? Spearfishing is an echo of the days of old, thousands of years ago, back before fishing rods and lures. It was invented when our ancestors were first enticed by the mysterious water creatures and the possibility of hunting them. 

Spearfishing comes with a number of techniques and equipment that vary both by preference and by location. Many factors play into what technique you might end up using, from the quality of the water to your personal capabilities. Some people use polespears, others — more commonly — opt to use spearguns. A lot of the time, spearfishing is done underwater and may even be done when scuba diving.

Spearfishing is not the easiest activity. Some people wonder whether it’s safe to do. However, the enthusiasts swear by and recommend it to everyone as a more thrilling form of fishing and a throwback to our very roots.

Are you interested in spearfishing? This is definitely not a sport you should be jumping into unprepared. Check out our guide below to master the art of spearfishing!

What is a spearfish?

There are two definitions to the word “spearfish”, but the first one is probably not the one you search for. Spearfish can refer to billfishes, several fish of the genus Tetrapturus. They can be found in all seas, but they’re not very common to find and hunting them is not often done.

The other definition is the one we’re going to focus on. What is spearfishing, you ask? Spearfishing, as in the activity of hunting fish with a spear-like object, is most commonly done while underwater or even while deep-sea diving. It’s an activity that is exciting, but by no means easy. It requires a lot of preparation, the right equipment, and a whole lot of awareness and care. 

Of course, you bring home many desirable rewards, ranging from the fish themselves to the actual experience. However, you may want to read up much on the subject before trying to get into the water and hunt.


Thousands of years ago, spearfishing was a means to an end. It allowed the hunters to bring home a meal every night. As new methods of catching fish cropped up, such as the with nets or even fishing poles, spearfishing lost in popularity when it came to securing food. However, all over the world, people still engage in this activity both for the competition and for the purpose of catching something for dinner.

It has come a long way and has a large following of spearfishing lovers that have organized clubs and meetups. Even if living far, they have often exchanged tips and ideas to make their hunts more successful. What’s more, an entire market was built around spearfishing and the equipment that used to be made by hand is now readily available to us all. It goes without saying that all of it is vastly improved in comparison to the weapons that we once used.

In the last fifty to sixty years, spearfishing has become more than simply a hobby or a method of hunting. It’s now considered a competitive sport with countless tournaments centered around it. People continuously attempt to improve their technique. They also search for new ways to fish efficiently, safely, and quickly.

If you still wonder what it is to fish with a spear, we’ll try to describe it as best as we can below as we discuss the different techniques.

Spearfishing techniques

There are three main ways people spearfish: shallow water spearfishing, scuba dive spearfishing, and freedive spearfishing. Most people, when told to imagine spearfishing, often imagine something straight out of a survival show where people stand in shallow waters and chuck spears at fish. After all, what is spearfishing if not something we’d expect to see in a movie?

Others, somewhat more accurately, think of freedive spearfishing — the most difficult way to spearfish. This requires you to be underwater with nothing much to help you but your weapon and a snorkel.

Shallow water spearfishing

This is the way most people think of when imagining spearfishing. This method doesn’t involve diving and can be done from a boat, a kayak, or even from the safety of the shore. People use either polespears or spearguns to hunt the fish that are within their range. This method is only viable on rather shallow, clear waters.

Scuba dive spearfishing

The name of this technique speaks for itself. If you want to dive into deeper waters, you’ll need a full set of scuba diving equipment. However, it’s not the equipment itself that is the most important thing here — it’s the knowledge of diving and flawless execution of diving.

When you dive deep, you’re able to find different kinds of (often bigger) fish. This is mostly done for competition or for fun and has little to do with securing a meal. It’s more of a competition of who can get the rarest fish. Arguably, it’s one of the most dangerous parts of the process of catching fish, as deep waters carry many threats that you need to be aware of.

Freedive spearfishing

As mentioned above, diving is a key part of spearfishing. This type of spearfishing is done without the use of scuba gear and instead, you need to get a snorkel. It requires you to know the ins and outs of freediving and to feel confident underwater.

Things like mastering your breathing technique, a whole lot of practice, and the ability to blend into your surroundings are all going to make or break your spearfishing freedive.

How dangerous is spearfishing?

When you compare it to traditional methods of hunting fish, you could say that spearfishing is very dangerous in comparison. However, with enough practice, most people are capable of doing it — and doing it well, too.

There are a few dangers associated with spearfishing. One of the main components is the dive itself. A lot can go wrong if you’re not familiar with diving, that’s why the #1 recommendation that expert spearos teach to newcomers, is to be a skilled diver. You need to be comfortable underwater and diving has to be almost as if second nature to you. This may help you avoid much of the struggle that new fish hunters experience.

The spear that you use for spearfishing is also quite dangerous in itself. It’s recommended that you start out small and slowly but surely build your way up as you familiarize yourself with a speargun or a polespear. Some people also own a Hawaiian sling, which may be dangerous in its own right.

When done correctly and with attention to detail, spearfishing isn’t overly dangerous, but it’s still an activity that not everyone can get into and it does have a learning curve.

Where can you spearfish?

In theory, spearfishing can be done in nearly any body of water, but realistically, not every location is viable. First and foremost, not all areas allow spearfishing. Secondly, even if it’s allowed, the water and the terrain may not be suited to diving or spearfishing specifically.

What types of water can you fish in?

You can fish in freshwater lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds. These bodies of water are usually suited to spearfishing, but they’re much smaller than the sea or the ocean. As such, most people use them for shallow water spearfishing and do not dive. Of course, the ocean is the best place to look for fish.

Which oceans can you spear fish in?

If you’re into scuba diving or freediving, the oceans that are suitable for divers are the South Atlantic Ocean, the North Pacific Ocean, the South Pacific Ocean, the North Atlantic Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. However, keep in mind that this changes from place to place and you always need to plan your trips very carefully.

What do you need for spearfishing?

Spearfishing cannot even be attempted without the right set of gear. Fortunately, as the interest in the sport has grown considerably in the past twenty or so years, the market adapted to the rising expectations.

These days, you’d be able to find gear for spearfishing, such as a good spear for fish or underwater snorkeling gear, just about anywhere. However, we find that the internet is often the best source. This is due to much higher product availability, pricing, and the ability to read reviews prior to choosing to buy a certain product.

What is spearfishing gear that you should have? We’ve got you covered. Here are a few of our spearfishing must-have’s.

Cressi Scuba Snorkeling Dive Mask

Cressi Scuba Diving Snorkeling Freediving Mask Snorkel Set, All Black
  • Frameless mask with single lens design, tempered glass lens for extra durability.
  • Ultra clear lens for vivid colors, soft and comfortable mask skirt, low volume design. It features push button buckle for easy strap adjustments, wide field of vision.

Unless you’re solely into shallow water spearfishing, you’re going to need a good snorkel set. It has to be comfortable and reliable to the highest degree. If that’s what you’re after, check out Cressi.

The set consists of a durable frameless mask. It was made with the addition of tempered glass which is easy to see through but also remarkably sturdy. This is a single-lens design, which normally offers more visibility than other models. We especially enjoy how wide the field of vision is, meaning you’ll be able to spot your target from afar.

The skirt of the mask is comfortable even if worn for prolonged periods of time. There’s a push-button buckle feature that makes strap adjustments simple to do even if you’re underwater. 

Safety comes first in this Cressi set, so there’s a special valve that seals the tube when you submerge. You’ll also like the anti-splash top, quick release snorkel keeper, and lastly, the purge valve, which is very easy to clean.

Don’t try to spearfish underwater without a reliable snorkel set. Check if this Cressi model might be the one for you.

Check on Amazon

Cressi Comanche 2.0 Power Band Sling Speargun

Cressi Comanche Rail 75
  • Comanche is the world champion spear gun, the result of continuous fine-tuning and pursuit of perfection.
  • Very gentle shaft release system, ring for the line, sternal support for reloading, dovetail triggering for the reel.

Whether you’re into freediving underwater or scuba diving, or even just like to spearfish from the shore, you won’t get anywhere without a good weapon. This model by Cressi is a great example of what you should be looking for.

Cressi is a pioneer when it comes to spearfishing and freediving, so when you get some of their products, you know that reliability is a part of the package. This gun is no different: it’s highly durable thanks to the anti-corrosion aluminum tubs that prevent any bending in the barrel. This even applies to long models such as this 28mm one.

The handle in this model was specially designed to accommodate and adjust to your preferences. The steady grip, along with the ergonomic design, both work towards improving your shot precision. The more used to operating this gun you will be, the better your results.

This speargun is highly reactive and quick, ensuring that you won’t miss a kill. With the amount of precision and power that is found in this product, your spearfishing trips are bound to be more successful.

Check on Amazon

Cressi Adult High-Level Free Diving Equipment

Cressi Gara Professional Set 2.0, 42/43
  • Cressi is a REAL diving, snorkeling and swimming Italian brand, since 1946.
  • Professional set for freediving / spearfishing. It is composed of: Matrix mask, Gara Professional LD fins, Corsica snorkel, Mask strap cover, Long fins set bag. Antifog solution included.

This professional freediving spearfishing set covers more than just the mask and the snorkel. In this, you receive everything you need in terms of freediving equipment. Catching fish has never been easier than when you buy yourself some good gear and a reliable spear gun.

By getting this, you receive Gara Professional LD fins, a mask strap cover, a set bag suited for long fins, and a matrix bag. You’ll also get an antifog solution. Antifog solution is used by many fish hunters, so you may need it too. As such, this is a good way to save some money on something you’d otherwise have to buy separately.

The Gara Professional LD fin is known for its great performance, but not only that. Most users praise it for how easy it is to use. There’s no effort needed in loading the long blades. It’s also relatively lightweight, so diving is made easier and safer without any additional weights pulling you down.

The mouthpiece is hypoallergenic, so you don’t have to worry about any kind of irritation underwater. The tube that leads up to it is highly bendable, and the mouthpiece itself is anatomical, which means that it’s perfectly adapted to the shape of your mouth.

If you’re missing the whole set as opposed to just a mask, consider Cressi for the reliability and performance of their diving gear.

Check on Amazon

MAKO Spearfishing Freediving Backpack

MAKO Spearguns Spearfishing Longfins Freediving Backpack with...
  • This is the must have Freediving/Spearfishing backpack for shore dives as well as boat dives. It’s a: Backpack Gear bag Speargun holder (holds two spearguns) And an Insulated Fish Bag/Cooler Bag all...
  • Main compartment: 43" long x 12" wide x 8" deep. Holds freedive fins up to 43 inches long/Wetsuits/ gloves/ socks Mask/fins/snorkel/knife

Are you heading out on a shore dive or a boat dive? If you tend to dive in shallow water and have the option to bring a whole lot of gear, you definitely need a great backpack.

As spearfishing gear tends to be rather massive and unusually shaped, most large backpacks (such as camping backpacks) just won’t do. You don’t want any important piece of your equipment to be either lost or damaged. With a professional-grade backpack, that just won’t be an issue.

This combines multiple uses into one product. You can use it as a gear bag, a speargun holder that can hold up to two guns, and an insulated fish bag. This means that you’ll be able to pack up well for your hunting trip, but also bring home the bounty without risking any damage to it.

The main compartment in this sizeable bag measures at 43x12x8″. There’s also an extra-wide utility pocket measuring at 8x7x4″. The slightly smaller secondary compartment (insulated) still offers a lot of space with its 32x8x4″ size.

You can use the utility pocket for storing your valuables, such as your smartphone or your keys, and you won’t have to worry about any possible damage to those items.

A good bag ensures that you’ll be ready for just about anything. If you want something tailored to the needs of a spearfishing enthusiast, MAKO is the way to go.

Check on Amazon


Spearfishing is a sport, an art, a hobby, and sometimes even a lifestyle, all rolled into one. It’s definitely not the safest way to fish. However, those that have been doing it for years praise it for the adrenaline rush it never fails to provide. 

If there’s one thing to remember about spearfishing, it’s that you shouldn’t head out without the correct equipment. We hope that our recommendations help you start your journey!


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