You Could Fish With a Pole and Hope for the Best – or Spear One!


When it comes to pole fishing, one of the biggest unknowns out there is whether fish are around, and willing to bite your bait. And you also don’t get to choose which fish decides to bite — a hardhead catfish  or a tasty redfish? You can also toss a cast net, but again, you don’t get to choose what is swept up in your net.

In our last post, we talked about how divers are being encouraged to spear lionfish in the Caribbean and the Atlantic. But what about spearing other fish?

Using Spearguns to Catch Fish Eliminates Uncertainty!

Historically, fisherman stood on rocks around tide pools or in shallow water and threw a hand-sharpened into the water at a fish. While you can still do that, it’s a lot more fun, and productive, to don your snorkel or dive gear and hunt the fish you want to catch.

Just as hunters became more successful when they switched from shooting arrows or chucking spears at game to using rifles, spear guns have made it much easier to catch the exact fish you want. And just like hunting rifles and shotguns, there is a seemingly endless number of options.

Types of Spearguns

jbl magnum 38 special speargunBand-powered

Band-powered spear gun use stretchy rubber bands to propel the spear forward. These bands come in different diameters and stretch capability. Generally, the thicker and more bands used, the more powerful the speargun, although more bands means more loading time. You can choose from a variety of styles and lengths, depending on what type of fish you’re after, visibility and the area in which you’re hunting.

For example, shorter guns 50cm to 75cm (19.7” to 29.5”) are useful in tight areas like caves and in low visibility.

For reef fish, a 38-48″-inch gun is ideal for most conditions, like this JBL Magnum 38 Special pictured left.

Longer guns, more than 60-65″, offer a longer reach for big pelagic species in open water. You need length when visibility is good because just as you can see your target, it can see you and you can’t sneak up on it!

Check out this JBL Gulf Magnum XHD Speargun pictured below.


Advantages of band-powered spearguns:JBL gulf magnum xhd speargun

  • Easy to maintain
  • Silent
  • Accurate and easy to aim
  • Adjustable power
  • Easy to load
  • Maintains power at all depths

Pneumatic Guns

Also called “air guns,” pneumatic guns use air pressure to propel the spear. They are very powerful for their size, ranging from about 30cm to 110cm. They require more maintenance than band-powered and can be difficult to load, especially guns longer than 70cm or so.

Advantages of pneumatic spearguns:

  • eac hunter pneumatic speargunsGood for use in tight places where rubber bands can get cut on sharp rocks
  • Adjustable pressure and multiple reloads are possible
  • More powerful than band-powered in shallow water, although they lose power at depth.

So which is the best speargun? There is no easy answer as you have many factors to consider. Most avid spear fishermen have multiple guns in different lengths so they are prepared for varying conditions and hunting locations.

A Few Spearfishing Tips

  • Spearguns come with a safety that requires a little work to release. This is an intentional design to keep you from accidentally triggering the gun when you are ascending, descending or swimming. A misfire during any of these times can result in damage to your air lines best case, and your buddy worst case.
  • Consider a padded gear bag to safely carry your spearguns, like this Armor speargun bag.
  • Watch visibility: Good buoyancy can keep you from kicking up sediment and muddying waters, which will make it easier to spot prey. This is also important because it reduces the temptation to shoot something you can’t identify. It could be a fish, but it could also be a diver or a shark’s tail.
  • Predatory fish like barracuda and sharks also like to eat the fish you hunt. Don’t be surprised if a ‘cuda comes out of nowhere and snatches your catch right off your spear. If the water’s getting bloody and bringing in predators, it may be time to call it a day.

Spearfishing is a great way to combine a love of hunting, fishing, and diving. You can also participate in tournaments in which competition ups the ante! If you’re not interested in hunting for sport of food, you can help preserve Caribbean and Atlantic ecosystems by hunting the invasive lionfish.

Not sure what gun to buy? Call 877-728-2243 or stop by Scuba Toys in Carrollton, TX and we can help you out! Or checkout our large online inventory of spearguns.

With the holidays right around the corner, do you have someone in your life who might need a speargun or other gear? Scuba Toys gift certificates will make your diver smile!

Do you spearfish? If so, what type of gun do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below!

Article attribution:

Article Name
You Could Fish With a Pole and Hope for the Best, or Spear One!
Spearfishing reduces the need for luck when trying to catch fish. With so many types of guns on the market, we help you sort it out.

3 responses to “You Could Fish With a Pole and Hope for the Best – or Spear One!”

  1. Cristo says:

    I have a JBL band spear gun, which works well for me.

  2. Emil H. says:

    I haven’t been spear gun fishing yet, but am eager to try. I’ve heard it’s more enjoyable than fishing with a pole.

  3. gregg says:

    Spear fishing is a thrill. It’s way better than sitting around with a pole, wondering if there are any fish around.

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