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An introduction to spearfishing usually begins with or includes an introduction to Pole Spears.  Lightweight, easy to use, and economical; the pole spear is the perfect tool to get you in the water and spearfishing. 

The premise of a pole spear is a simple one.  You have some type of pole with a sharpened tip on one end and a large rubber band on the other end.  You simply stretch the rubber band from the rear of the pole toward the front and grab the pole with the same hand that you stretched the band up with.  This is done by placing the rubber band between your thumb and pointer finger.  This way you have your whole hand to grasp the pole spear with.  When you have a fish in rang that you want to shoot you release the pole while keeping the rubber band in your hand.  This propels the spear forward toward the target. 

An understanding of the material used in making the pole spear along with the variations of the tips and bands will make you a much better consumer.  The intent of this article is to do just that.  Just looking on the shelf at a large dive shop can give you so many options it will send you into a head spin.  I will break down the available and recommended types of tips, pole spear sizes, and materials. 

On average pole spears range in size from 4 feet up to 12 feet and longer.  Longer pole spears are becoming popular of late because it has been recognized that the relationship between the length of the pole spear and the shooting range have is a positive one!  The longer models are being sold to divers wanting the challenge of taking down larger fish such as cobia, big grouper, amberjack, Mahi Mahi, and the like.  The base materials used for the actual pole play a very important role in the performance of the pole spear.  If very light materials are used in the construction the pole spear will have a fast release and will have a higher speed than one made of a heavier material.  Light materials consist of aluminum, graphite, carbon fiber, etc…  Heavier materials such as a normal fiberglass material attain a slower speed through the water but when impacting the fish will have more punch.

In choosing the correct pole spear one should think about the type of fish he/she is pursuing.  The lighter, faster pole spears will work well for smaller fish.  A 3 prong tip is going to be the correct tip for fish less than 5lbs.  Although the 3 prong or paralyzer tip is great for smaller fish, the bigger more powerful species have a tendency to shake off or break this set up.  The length in most cases is dependant on the fish being hunted.  In clearer waters the longer the pole spear the better.  This will maximize the rage of your shots.  Same goes for medium and large targeted fish.    

With most medium sized fish a medium to light pole spear will work best to achieve speed and penetrating power.  This in combination with a fixed flopper or a double barb tip will be the best set up for fish in the 5 to 15lb range.  These tips are very good at creating a small wound and holding well. 

A heavier pole spear made of fiberglass or a heavy aluminum will work well for the larger fish because they will pack a heavier punch to go further through the bigger species.  For this type of hunting you’re going to want to use a fixed flopper or a slip tip to keep from breaking equipment.  I prefer to use the fixed flopper because of its simplicity but they do need to be replaced often with the bigger species.

For the beginner I would recommend a regular fiberglass pole spear of about 5 feet in length with a 3 prong tip.  This is an average size with a tip for shooting smaller fish.   This will be very economical and easy to find for about $40.  Pole spears have made it a long way in the spearfishing industry because of their simplicity, ease of use, and cost.  And although inferior to the modern gun, they are still a very popular weapon of choice!

As I said at the beginning of the article, pole spears make the best fist weapon but after diving for 20 years you realize how much fun going back to the pole spear really is!  They teach you to be a very proficient diver.  Honing your skills holding your breath, taking good shots, and being patient!

James Simcic of Captain Hook’s Marina & Dive Center and Spearcrazy!

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