Besides being a profession for many, fishing is one of the most enjoyable hobbies to enjoy with your family and friends. However, fishing isn’t just one thing, as there are tens of different ways to catch fish, whether they’re big or small!

Among the most popular methods for fishing are line fishing and spearfishing. If you want to learn more about the difference between them, you’re in for a treat!

Today, we’ll put spearfishing vs. line fishing in a head-to-head comparison, so you can decide which one of them is more beneficial for you. So without further ado, let’s dive in!

What is the Difference Between Spearfishing and Line Fishing?

Before we dive into the juicy details, we first need to identify the basic differences between the two fishing techniques.

This will help clarify things for those who are new to the fishing world and will also justify the advantages that one of them might have over the other:

Line Fishing

Line fishing is what comes to almost everyone’s mind when people say “fishing”. This is because it’s the standard method for individual fishing and is a popular way of recreational fishing.

In line fishing, the fish are encouraged to bite on a fish hook that is attached to a fishing line, hence the name of the technique. This barbed hook then pierces the mouthparts of a fish to make it harder for them to escape.

Line fishing is also known as “angling” because the word angle in old English was a synonym of the word hook


Although line fishing is the more common method for catching fish, spearfishing is one of the oldest and most traditional methods for catching fish in the world. In fact, there are claims and clues of spearfishing being as old as 16,000 years!

As the name suggests, this method depends on hunting the fish using custom spears. Today, there are specialized spearguns that use pneumatic power to strike the fish.

The technique is more often than not associated with snorkeling, scuba diving, or even freediving techniques.

What Are the Advantages of Spearfishing Over Line Fishing?

Now that you know more about spearfishing and line fishing, you might be wondering, which one is better.

As a rule of thumb, many enthusiasts believe that spearfishing is a much better method for catching fish for a variety of reasons. Let’s have a quick look at each of these advantages:

It Almost Completely Eliminates Bycatches

Bycatch is a common fishing terminology. It refers to the accidental and unintentional catching of marine species while fishing commercially or recreationally. If you have unselective fishing gear that covers a large area, you should expect a huge bycatch.

If you try line fishing with the most target-specific baits and choose the most ideal spots in terms of depth and rigging, you’ll still end up with some bycatch.

The problem is, bycatch is a huge environmental issue that is never solved no matter how advanced your tools are while line fishing.

According to some claims, bycatch can waste well over thousands of tonnes of fish every year. These fish could be protected species or small fish.

Most of these unwanted fish are dumped back into the ocean after they’re already dead to avoid exceeding the weight quota, so these fish are completely wasted. Even the ones that are alive may not survive due to the stress and hook injuries.

The best way to completely eliminate bycatch while catching fish is spearfishing. You’ll always be able to see and confirm the type and size of the fish you’re targeting, so you can always take your prize home without wasting other fish in the process.

It’s a Generally More Environmentally Humane Way to Catch Fish

While fishing, you have to be aware of the environment. However, collateral damage is almost inevitable while catching fish with lines and hooks.

No matter how careful you’re, and no matter how durable the fishing line is, it’s always prone to snagging.

Since finding a needle in a haystack would be a much easier challenge than spotting the hooks and lines in a lake or an open river, you’ll eventually have to leave them there.

The problem is, these items could be a real threat to the marine creatures, with lines trapping the fish and hooks severely injuring them.

Of course, you may still cause harm while spearfishing by damaging nearby coral during fail attempts to catch a fish, but it’s something that you can avoid with a little bit of extra care.

You Won’t Have to Wait for the Fish to Bite

Line fishing requires a lot of patience as well as a lot of research beforehand. Fish can sometimes be very picky about their food, especially if they’re already full. This makes the fish less keen on going out of their way to bite on the bait.

Patience is a virtue. However, you may not have the whole day waiting for the fish. There is also a chance that the fish luckily got away with the bait without catching on the hook.

All these reasons, and more, would waste countless chances of catching a lot of fish that are basically a few feet away from you.

Spearfishing cuts straight to the chase. You’re there with your speargun where you can consistently catch the fish without relying on so many variables or be dependent on baits.

It Teaches You Self Control

When you first start spearfishing, you’ll learn the virtue of mental-discipline and having good control over yourself.

While approaching the fish you’re trying to catch with a speargun, you might get the fish spooked because of sudden movements or excitement.

With time, you’ll learn to get closer to the fish while maintaining a regular breathing pattern and slowing your movement down all the while making a progress towards catching the fish

Line fishing does teach you patience.

However, spearfishing will help you learn and understand body language a lot more! In other words, spearfishing can help you improve your overall hunter senses.

It Doubles as an Excellent Exercise for Your Body

Fishing always requires energy, but it’s easy to tell that spearfishing will help you exercise and stay in shape when compared to line fishing, especially if you move around a couple of different spots.

It’s a Counts as a Great Way to Escape the World

Of course, the views from above the sea might be amazing and fun to look at. However, it’s not going anywhere! So why not take a bonus dive?

If you want to see something truly impressive, you’ll need to go down yourself. Being there and gazing upon the beauty of the marine world will help you create a true feeling of appreciation and love for the ocean.

It Shows You Where the Fish Are

Finding the fish from the top of a boat can be quite a skill that takes years of experience as well as trial and error to hone, and yet, you might not always be right.

However, while spearfishing, you’re already there and you can clearly see the fish and where they’re foraging.

It Improves Bonding Between Fishing Buddies

When you go down there with a fishing buddy, not only will you be putting your safety in each other’s hands, but it’s also a great way for coordination and building an eternal bond as well as lifelong memories with a friend.

It Helps You Overcome Your Ocean Fear

Some people might live all their lives without knowing that they have the fear of sharks or being underwater. It’s always different when you’re there than when you’re watching through a screen of any kind.

In most cases, taking things slow might help you overcome your fears and understand the marine world better and give you a heightened sense of freedom and liberation.

Does Line Fishing Have Any Advantages over Spearfishing?

Although spearfishing is a much better way to catch fish, line fishing might still have a few advantages here and there.

For example, if you’re not feeling energetic, you might look at line fishing as a way to chill and relax with your buddies over a boat.

Also, while you would be missing out on tons of other benefits of spearfishing, it’s somewhat easier to learn how to fish using a hook and a line.

Lastly, it might not be legal to spearfish everywhere, with some regions prohibiting spearfishing while diving. However, you should keep in mind that line fishing isn’t allowed everywhere too.

Wrap Up

There you have it! A complete guide that puts spearfishing vs. line fishing in a head to head comparison, so you can pick the ideal method for you.

As you can see, spearfishing is clearly much more beneficial than line fishing because it offers a much wider range of advantages, whether it’s environmental, physical, or even mental!

If you’re a line fisher and you’re thinking about transitioning to spearfishing, you’ll be delighted to know that your experience from line fishing will help you adapt to spearfishing more quickly too!