What will I need to get started in spearfishing?

Speargun
It is important to invest in a speargun that is suited to your needs. There is no point buying a $99 speargun if spearfishing is something that you want to do quite often, and do well. For a good quality beginners gun, you will be looking at spending around $300. When buying your speargun, consider these things:

  • How often will I be spearfishing?
  • Where will I be spearfishing?
  • Will I be spearfishing from the shore or a boat?
  • What fish will I be targeting?

From these questions, you should be able to determine what quality of gun you want and what length of gun you will need. If targeting smaller fish on a shore dive, starting out with a 110cm gun is best as it is much easier to load and handle. This can then be upgraded to a 130cm gun when you start targeting larger fish from a boat. If you want to buy just one gun for all purposes, a 120cm gun could be ideal and is often referred to as a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ as it may be slightly big for dirty inshore water, and slightly small for offshore clear water and larger fish.

Fins
Your fins are what propel you down to the depths you want to dive, and also help to swim through current and waves with ease. Most spearos start off with plastic fins for under $150.

Mask
A comfortable-fitting mask is important for spearfishing. Consider the field of vision that the mask provides, and whether it is low-volume. A low-volume mask is one that has less space between your face and the lens. The lower volume the mask the less you will have to equalize it as you descend. When starting out though, a low volume mask isn’t a priority.

Snorkel
The ideal spearfishing snorkel is a basic snorkel that is flexible, making it durable and virtually indestructible.

Float, flag and float line
A float and flag are important for safety as well as ensuring that you don’t lose your speargun! The high-vis float and diver down flag will alert water traffic to your presence in the water. Being run over by boats is one of the biggest dangers faced by spearos, so a float is essential at all times. Your float line is attached to your float and the butt of your speargun. It means that when you shoot a fish you can let go of your gun and return to the surface for air, and then grab your float line and pull your speargun and fish in. It is also important if your spear becomes lodged in structure on the bottom, so that you can let go of your gun and return for air but still find your gun again once you have breathed up. This is especially useful when there is a bit of current.

Knife
A knife is an essential piece of spearfishing equipment. A fish does not usually die simply from being speared, you will need to use your knife to dispatch of the fish by spiking it in the brain (slightly back from the center of it’s eyes).

Wetsuit
A wetsuit will protect you from stingers, sun, and reef/rock cuts that can become badly infected.  They start from $99 for a non-camo steamer, to $350 for a high-quality two-piece wetsuit that is lined for extra comfort and warmth. When buying a wetsuit you will need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Where am I diving?
  • How often am I diving?
  • Am I someone who feels the cold?

These few questions should tell you how much you want to spend on your wetsuit, and what thickness wetsuit you need. Typically, spearos will have two or three different wetsuits of varying thicknesses to suit the different seasons. If you are starting out spearfishing around Brisbane, a 3.5mm wetsuit is a good option to start with.  If you are diving in Sydney, a 5mm is best.

Weight belt and weights
Spearing in salt water means that you will be buoyant. If you are wearing a wetsuit, the neoprene will make you even more buoyant and you will need weights to allow you to dive comfortably. It is important to get your weighting correct, however, as being too heavy can be dangerous and being too light can make it very difficult to dive and hunt. A good rule of thumb is to be positively buoyant at 10m depth – you should NOT be sinking while relaxing on the surface.

Socks and Gloves
Socks are important for protection of your feet from stingers, blisters, sun and rocks/reef. Gloves are vital for spearfishing. After you have shot your fish you will need to grab it. Fish have spines, spikes and sharp teeth that can cause you a lot of trouble if you do not wear gloves.