How To Use A Pole Spear

Going back to the spearfishing’s most ancient roots, using a pole spear is a great way to get started in the spearfishing world! Using a pole spear has many benefits and can be more rewarding than using a full on gun. Let’s first take a look at times when it would make the most sense to be using a pole spear!

Why Use A Pole Spear?pole spear fishing

While basic, a pole spear (or Hawaiian Sling) is a very powerful tool when used correctly. There is technically not a fish that if hit correctly, can not be taken down with a pole spear! I have personally shot plenty of sheepshead, flounder, taug, lionfish, and even a grouper this season. That being said, there are times when it makes the most sense such as:

  • Shallow water
  • Close quarters
  • Need for quick reload
  • Upping the challenge level
  • Backup if gun breaks

The most common use of a pole spear is around jetties and in shallow water where space is limited and a quick reload is necessary. For instance, if you are hunting sheepshead…many times they swim in schools. So if you shoot one, there are usually 3-5 more close by! With a pole spear you have an instant reload and can bag 2-3 at time with some practice. This is simply not possibly with a gun.

Pole spears are also very maneuverable and can make otherwise impossible shots a reality. In the jetties, it is crucial to be able to shoot up into cracks and nab those taug! With a shorter model spear, it can make hunting quick work and you will be eating well.

How To Use a Pole Spear

To understand how to use a pole spear, you must understand the parts and the basic physics behind them. The main parts are the shaft, tip, and band. The band is elastic and provides the power behind the shot. Otherwise, you would just be trying to stab fish! By utilizing the force created by the band, your spear is able to rapidly release through the water and add a lot of stopping power.

how to use a polespear

The band create power and rapidly pushes the spear through the water.

To use the pole spear, you place the band between your thumb and forefinger and grab a spot far up on the spear, usually a foot or so from the end. As seen in the photo, you simply aim by pointing the spear where you want it to go. Just be sure to hold onto to the band after shooting or your spear could be lost! This sounds like it may happen often, but I have yet to lose a spear this way and holding on is easy.


Now unless you have some beginner’s luck, aiming a pole spear usually takes a few attempts to get right. What I would recommend is finding a neutrally buoyant object, or build one, and test out shooting it in a pool or in clear shallow water. This will make it easier for you when it comes time for the real thing. The last thing you would want is to miss a big fish!

Pro Tip: “Try rotating your shooting hand so the back of your hand is face down, this give you a better siteline when aiming dead ahead!”

Choosing a Spear Tip

best paralyzer tip for spearfishing

The paralyzer tip stuns the fish.

At first glance, you will find quite a few different spear tips including the paralyzer, the single barb, and the double barb. It generally comes down to the size fish you will be hunting and the environment. For smaller fish that you can pin against rocks in shallower environments, the paralyzer tip will do the trick. This “stuns” the fish and you will need to be sure to get a quick stringer on the fish.

For bigger fish such as cobia, grouper, etc. it is beneficial to use a single or double barb tip. The barbs keep the fish from coming off and for those trophy bluewater fish, using a double barbed spear tip is recommended.

So Which Pole Spear Should You Buy?

The main three lengths of pole spears are 5 feet, 6 feet, and 7 feet. For a beginner, any of these will work but the 6 footer is a great starting place. A paralyzer tip is also a great starter tip and will do the trick on pretty much any smaller fish. Just be sure to be quick about grabbing your catch!

My Top Choice best pole spear for beginner

  1. Scuba Choice 5′ Travel Pole Spear with Paralyzer Tip

This is a perfect starter pole spear and includes a paralyzer tip and bag. It can also be broken down and taken with you on a spear trip! Scuba Choice is a very well known brand and you will find this pole spear is very well reviewed.

If you are a beginner or just need a great travel pole spear, this is your best bet. Yes the following link is an affiliate link, but I would not recommend anything I knew was not the best! If you are interested, simply click the photo to the right or the button below!best hawaiin sling

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