Survival Spearfishing

Guest post by Coty Perry

It’s said that spearfishing became popular in the early 1930s as a method of underwater hunting. Today, it’s an afterthought for many, but preppers understand that spearfishing is a great way to catch fish without requiring extensive gear that can break or get lost. 

The more methods you have for gathering food, the better, and spearfishing may be a skill that comes in handy someday. 

Survival SpearfishingWhat Spearfishing Gear Do You Need? 

First, we need to talk about gear. Part of what makes spearfishing desirable for survival fishing is the fact that it doesn’t require much. Depending on your method, you could get away with nothing more than a wooden spear. 

If you’re prepping and you plan on using spearfishing as a way to catch fish when SHTF, then here’s some things you might want to start accumulating. 

Mask and Snorkel 

Spearfishing from the shore is doable, especially if you have a sonar fish finder because these show horizontal images in all directions. But what if you don’t have a fish finder? 

You might need to dive into the water, and to increase visibility and your chances of catching more fish, you’ll need a mask that fits properly and a snorkel to help you stay under the water longer. 

It’s also beneficial to get goggles with two different types of lenses. Clear lenses are nice in clear water, but they don’t offer the best visibility in murky lake water. For lakes and ponds, you’ll want colored lenses. Amber or yellow colored lenses increase contrast in cloudy water making it easier to zero-in on your target. 

As for the snorkel, go according to your budget and buy the best one you can afford with your prepping budget


Time is of the essence when you’re trying to catch fish. The more water you can cover in less time, the higher the chance you have of catching something. Fins will help you cover more water, they’ll help with fatigue and they’ll protect your feet. 

Weight Belt 

An often overlooked aspect of spearfishing is the fact that our bodies are naturally buoyant, and by staying on top of the water at all times, you’re limiting yourself. A weight belt will help keep you submerged so you can get a better lock on the fish you’re trying to spear. 

Water-Resistant Knife 

When you do get a fish, you’ll find that you may have speared them in a place that didn’t kill them right away. To spare them the suffering, a knife will come in handy. It’s also important to have a knife underwater in case you get tangled or caught on something. Purchasing a survival fishing kit will help you get a lot of the things you’ll need in one place. 

Types of Spears 

The most obvious and important piece of spearfishing equipment will be your spear. You’ve got three options, and your prepping strategy will likely determine which you choose. 


If you’re trying to limit the amount of maintenance and risk for error or damage to your tools, you’ll want to use a pole spear or Hawaiian sling. 

If you’re taking an advanced approach and you want to have the latest technology, you can use a speargun. 

Hawaiian Sling – This type of spear consists of a spear shaft, holder and a sling. It works similar to a bow and arrow. What you’ll do is pull back on the sling, which is loading pressure behind the shaft. When you release the sling, the shaft will fire out from the holder and penetrate anything in its path. This strategy works well in close quarters. 

Pole Spear – The simplest spear is made using wood, aluminum, or graphite. You can choose between a few different tips as well. Some use a three-pronged tip while others use a single. The pole should have an elastic band that you pull back on, which loads the spear. When you release the band, the spear fires. 

Speargun – Spearguns have trigger mechanisms using pneumatic air pressure to fire. The best models are airtight, so they work at all depths, and they fire similar to a pole spear but use a trigger instead. These are the most expensive and require the most maintenance, but they’re the most accurate. 

Knowing how to make your own spear is never a bad skill to learn as well. This will help you in the water and on land. 

Choosing a Technique and Strategy 

Once you’ve decided on your gear and you have your spear of choice, you’ll need to determine how you plan to catch anything. Shallow water spearfishing works by fishing from the shore or in a boat. It requires incredible vigilance, patience and quiet. 

Start by freediving (holding your breath) with limited equipment. We suggest practicing as soon as possible, so you’re comfortable in the water, you understand how to behave and you know how to conserve your energy and slow down your breathing. You should only move when necessary and make as little noise as possible. 

Practice each of these techniques so you can master them on your own time rather than having to scramble when you need to spearfish to feed your family.



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