Florida and California get ranked among the top spots to spearfish in the U.S. But before you go, there’s much to know about proper spearfishing gear.
Whether you fish for sport or your next meal, the right speargun makes all the difference in your underwater excursion.
Read on for the best spearguns on the market right now.
Choosing the Right Type of Speargun
Those skilled in how to spearfish know that the right gun type makes all the difference in how successful your underwater fishing trip will be.
Spearguns are either band-powdered or pneumatic. The styles vary in their power, range, accuracy, and loading capabilities.
This option uses bands to provide the gun with enough power to shoot a spear. It’s simple to aim and easy to maintain. It’s also favored for making little to no noise when shooting.
Most models allow you to load the gun yourself. More bands can get added to increase the power behind your gun. Yet, the more bands you add, the longer it will take to load your gun.
Band-powered designs fall into three styles: American, railgun, and European.
The American style gun is good for targeting both small and large fish. Its comfortable design allows you to load the gun while resting against your hip. Its spear will likely have two barbs instead of one.
An American style can also hold many bands for extra power. Yet, this style gun can make some noise when fired. It also has more drag time than other styles.
A railgun has a thicker spear shaft for catching bigger fish. It has excellent accuracy and is great for shooting longer ranges. This is due to its unique design which includes a special rail guide.
The European style gun has a thin single-barbed spear to target smaller fish. It’s easy to load and there is little drag when fired.
This type of gun is best for open water and long-range shooting. It uses air compression for power, resulting in little recoil. The more air you pump into the gun the more power it yields.
With this type, you may need help loading your gun. It can also make more noise than a band-powered gun when fired. Yet the compact design makes it easier to travel through the water.
Its shaft is a bit larger in thickness, for catching bigger fish. Aiming can be trickier with a pneumatic gun. You can’t always be certain of the spear’s path and how it will travel.
What to Look for When Shopping for Spearguns
Underwater visibility conditions, power, and spear dynamics all come into play when buying a speargun.
Fish can sense the difference between divers that carry a speargun and those who do not. So it’s important to consider a compact design that emits limited noise.
Here are a few considerations when it comes to the design and quality of the gun, shaft, and other mechanisms.
A spearfishing gun and its mechanisms get made of wood, carbon fiber, aluminum, or stainless steel. Some triggers get made of plastic. It’s important to select a durable material that will not get damaged by salt water.
The type of speargun you choose will determine how much power and accuracy the gun has. The lighter your shooting line, the less drag you’ll experience.
Choose your speargun size based on ease of handling and how long of a shot you need. Larger guns can be harder to load. You may need a tool rather than loading with your own hands.
Gun sizes range from 50 to 130cm. Consider how visible the water is that you will be fishing in.
Shorter spears are better with low visibility. A longer spear also needs some experience to handle. These do not get recommended for beginner spearfishers.
You’ll want a less complex design that is simple to repair if needed. Band-powered guns are easy to fix but the bands should get replaced at least once per year.
The gun’s spear should get made of a waterproof material that cannot get rusted in salt water. Stainless steel that has gotten heated and hardened is your best bet.
Some make zero noise, while others let off a sound when shooting or loading. If the sound is too loud this can scare off other fish. Or even attract other more deadly creatures.
Spear or shaft thickness matter when it comes to the size of the fish you plan to hunt. A thinner shaft can bend if used on a big fish. You want to make sure the shaft is thick and durable enough for the type of fish you’re hunting.
Spear Points and Barbs
Your spear’s barbs should depend on the fish’s skin. A tri-cut point gets needed for tougher-skinned species. Use this style point for snapper, snook, and grouper.
Fish like mackerel and yellowtail have skin that is easier to puncture. They will need a pencil-nose point.
A single barb, or Tahitian flopper, will travel faster in the water. It gets recommended for shallow water fishing. A double barb, or double flopper, gets used for bigger fish.
The Top 5 Best Spearguns to Buy
You’ll want to select a spearfishing gun that matches your skill level. You also need to consider visibility conditions. Certain models perform best in deep or shallow water.
For beginners to expert level, here are the top 5 best spearguns on the market.
1. Mares Sten
This is a pneumatic speargun with a ton of power. Its lightweight yet ergonomic design fits great in your grip. You’ll find the Mares Sten on the higher end of the speargun price spectrum.
The gun is 41 to 100cm in length with an 8mm thick shaft. It features a sideline release and manual inject loader. The air tank allows for a high-holding ability for more shots.
It’s safety catch and shock absorbent technology make it a safe and reliable option when underwater. It’s double barbed design makes this gun a great option for larger fish.
The smallest length (Sten’s Mini Mini model) comes with a holster. You can attach the gun to your leg when you need to go hands-free. Below is a link to Amazon.
2. JBL Woody Magnum
This band-powered model gets known for its smooth and efficient trigger pull. Its beautiful design gets made of African Mahogany and a CNC machined barrel.
Its built-in shaft track has excellent accuracy in both shallow and deep water. The gun features a heavy breakaway spear, best for big fish. Its load pad is as comfortable as its 45-degree handle.
The gun’s M8 3-piece trigger mechanism includes a lifetime warranty. Its powerful trigger can also handle 2,400 pounds of pressure. The JBL Woody Magnum is one of the most expensive guns on the market. Below is a link to Amazon.
3. Cressi Comanche
This Cressi model is the champion of superior performance spearfishing. It’s moderately priced for a high-end model gun, with an anatomical muzzle feature.
It’s one of the larger spearguns you can buy, at 110cm in length. You’ll experience superior shaft alignment and a comfortable grip for prime accuracy. The bands can also get lowered to increase visibility and thrust.
The gun features extra strength tubes that keep the barrel from corroding or bending. The butt of the gun also has an extender feature that allows for soundless loading. Below is a link to Amazon.
4. Beuchat Espadon
This band-powered gun is great for novice spearfishers or as a backup for more skilled hunters. It’s affordable and you can even upgrade to larger bands for a bit more power.
It works best for smaller species of reef fish in areas of limited visibility. The gun features a 7mm shaft, with a single barb.
This is a great gun for beginners learning to hunt underwater. Here are more tips for spearfishing beginners. Below is a link to Amazon.
5. Cressi Apache
Another great buy for beginner to medium level reef spearfishers. Sizing ranges from 35 to 75cm, perfect for catching small to mid-size species.
It’s smaller size and compact design makes it a great choice for navigating shallow reefs and inside caves. The gun provides a quick and simple load with an anti-rust barrel.
The gun offers two different spear tips. Choose from either a single or double barb to control the power and speed of your spear. Below is a link to Amazon.
Enhancing Your Spearfishing Experience
Your gun is the most important tool you’ll need for spearfishing the deep seas. Yet, there’s still a few more pieces of equipment to bring with you.
Your underwater outfit should consist of a wetsuit with a mask and snorkel. You’ll also need a good pair of diving fins. A rubber weight belt will help you descend into the deep much faster.
Learning to hold your breath for long periods comes in handy when spearfishing in the deep sea. Experienced divers can hold their breath for over 10 minutes.
Neoprene gloves are a must for keeping your hands warm and maintaining a good grip on your gun. They also protect you from sharp corals and a fish’s defense mechanisms.
You may also want to consider a chest loading pad. It provides extra protection during recoil.
A knife is always a good idea and you’ll need it to cut fish lines. It can also save you if you need to free yourself from seaweed or rope.
You’ll also need a fishing license. Be sure to read up on the proper safety tips to avoid any accidents.
Your Next Spearfishing Adventure Awaits…
These top-of-the-line spearguns are sure to enhance your underwater hunting experience. If new to the spearfishing sport, it’s best to start with an entry-level gun. Then upgrade to a bigger investment as you become more skilled.
So, ready for your next underwater adventure? From the Florida Keys to Japan, here are the top spearfishing destinations across the globe.