- 1 Why Do You Need the Best Pole Spear?
- 2 Pole Spear Features
- 3 Do It Yourself (DIY) Pole Spear
- 4 How to Care For Your Pole Spear?
- 5 Pole Spear Buyer’s Checklist
- 6 Best Pole Spears Reviews
- 7 Final Thoughts on Pole Spears
You’re probably looking for the best pole spear available…But do you know which pole spear ISN’T THE BEST?
Those cheap yellow fiberglass ones you see at every fishing and dive shop…
Here are the top pole spears that will change the way you think of pole spears:
Top Pole Spears
- Our Pick for Best Pole Spear : EIGHT’ER Gatku Hybrid Polespear
- Beginner Pole Spear (3 Pieces, Prong Tip): Mako Spearfishing Traveler Pole Spear
- Best Travel Pole Spear: Sea Stinger 80″ Lightning Rod
- Best Long Range Blue Water Pole Spear: Headhunter NOMAD
- Best Carbon Fiber Pole Spear (3 Pieces, Adjustable): Evolve Carbon Fiber Pole Spear
- Build Your Own Pole Spear: Linghunt Custom Pole Spears
Now that you know there’s a whole new world to the game of pole spears, let’s dive into why upgrading your gear will unleash your hunting effectiveness.
Let’s jump in!
Listen to this post on the Cast & Spear Podcast
Why Do You Need the Best Pole Spear?
Hunting fish using a pole spear has been around for hundreds of years. There is no better way to get a better understanding of the sport than to try getting close to a fish and piercing them with a simple pole spear, wetsuit, and mask.
Bill Rogers, who’s been spearfishing for over 40 years, even states that predatory fish understand aggression. Therefore they tend to stay away from a spearo with a carbon fiber speargun because they can sense they are being stalked prior to an attack.
With a pole spear, however, the slim profile can be concealed by the diver until the last second and surprise the fish at close range.
Let’s dive into other benefits of the pole spear.
Cost of Pole Spear vs. Speargun
The cost of pole spears is significantly cheaper than a speargun. The entry-level speargun will cost around $150 dollars, but that doesn’t include all of the added extras one needs to effectively shoot decent size fish.
However, a pole spear you can get the basic entry level yellow fiberglass model for around $35…although I would not recommend that version as they don’t last long. A pole spear you’ll be happy with will cost around $80 and will last you years.
That’s still nearly HALF THE PRICE of a basic speargun!
Ease of Use
A pole spear is quite simple to use as long as you have decent arm strength. The hardest part for most people when getting started is to load the rubber band and have enough grip strength to hold the handle while waiting to shoot a fish.
However, higher-end models have an S-clip that holds the loaded band in place until you find the fish he wants to attack. You can then disengage the S-clip and release your grip to fire.
The huge benefit comes after shooting your pole spear…there is no complex reloading. Many times when you use a speargun you’ll have the extra line from your reel or wrap that you’ll need to deal with to reload the gun. This takes time especially for a new spearo and can be quite frustrating. It’s even harder if you have a fish on the end of your spear trying to swim away…none of this matters with a pole spear.
Shoot Multiple Fish
When you go down in search of fish in the reef or caves, after you take a fish with a speargun, you almost always need to come up for breath to unload the fish and reload the gun. With a pole spear, depending on how much air you have in your lungs and the size of the fish you’re spearing, you could actually take multiple fish on one breath.
This is beneficial because sometimes fish are gathered together and easy to take at one time. Many spearos lose sight of fish when they go up for a breath and try to head back to a good spot. A lot of times fish tend to move from place to place and if you can’t keep an eye on their movement, you’ll lose them.
Safer Than Spearguns
When you’re using a speargun, you’re using a gun. Guns typically are powerful and also have moving components that can misfire, such as the trigger mechanism.
Pole spears don’t have this issue.
They tend to be less powerful than a speargun since you have to get closer to the fish to shoot. This means there is less chance that you’ll overshoot a fish far and hit your dive buddy and injure them…plus you should never have a spearo in front of a loaded weapon, but sometimes people are careless.
Spears are meant to pierce fish…not your dive buddy.
Pole Spear Features
The best pole spears are simple in operation, but over the past few decades have been innovated to improve their robustness and speed in the water to help you catch more fish.
We’re going to break down the different features that are important for you to consider when you’re buying a pole spear based on your specific criteria.
Pole Spear Balance
For a pole spear to hit a fish it must be accurate and this is achieved by designing the right center of balance into the pole spear. Think of a broom. When you are able to balance it on your finger, the placement of your finger on the pole is its center of balance.
For most pole spear designs the weight will be located in the first one-third of the spear to keep it from yawing when shot. Think of an arrow when it leaves a bow, the weight is in the front because the weight in the front will guide the flight path and the back of the arrow will follow.
For a great breakdown of the physics of a pole spear, be sure to check out this article by Linghunt.
Pole Spear Lengths
This comes down to what conditions you’re using the pole spear in. Rule of thumb is that you should use one that’s at least seven feet long to give you a wide range of situations to hunting with. Anything smaller and it might be too weak to hit meaningful fish.
If you’re in blue water situations, bigger tends to be better so you can load up more power and hit from further away. Eight to nine feet would suffice.
Pole Spear Materials
Pole spears can be made out of a variety of materials but the common ones are fiberglass, carbon fiber, and aluminum.
Fiberglass Pole Spears
Fiberglass tends to be the cheapest of the bunch and I recommend you stay away from them. They aren’t as robust and will not survive the beating of reefs and rocks. Fiberglass isn’t as stiff as other materials so you will get a lot of flex in the pole which will take away from the power transfer and potential accuracy of the shot.
A two-piece fiberglass pole spear will add some extra stiffness and reduce flex, however for the longevity, it’s still better to switch to a better material.
Many spearos claim to see the remains of these typically yellow fiberglass pole spears at the bottom of the reef…
Carbon Fiber Pole Spears
Carbon fiber is an extremely strong material that has a tensile (pulling) strength greater than steel. Therefore, when it’s manufactured this material is placed at various angles of fiber directions and bonded together by a strong epoxy.
This means that you get a strong pole spear at a fraction of the weight. They also tend to be stiff depending on how the layers are constructed, which will reduce flex.
All of this translates to a quick pole spear in the water. There are also hybrid designs that have certain areas as metal and others as carbon fiber to get the benefits of both worlds. Some spearos have problems with carbon fiber because they tend to get beat up pretty bad over time when you hit reef and rocks.
They also have a downside for having not enough punching power to take down big fish.
If you need a quick quiver and will keep them away from point-blank blasts against hard objects, they are a great choice.
Aluminum Pole Spears
Aluminum is a great material to make pole spears because they have the weight to provide stopping power for big fish and can take the abuse of rocks and reefs. This added weight can make them a bit slower in the water, which tends to be the common complaint by spearos.
It’s hard to hit fish if you can’t get your pole spear lined up in time and unloaded. Many manufacturers do their best to shave off as much material as possible to give the pole spear enough stiffness for an accurate shot and light enough to not feel like a rock in your hands.
Most polespears are anodized which gives it added corrosion resistance in salt water and can further add to the stiffness.
Pole Spear Grips
Pole spears come with a wide variety of grips from barebone to complex. Many of the cheap fiberglass versions don’t have a grip, which makes it difficult to hold underwater when loaded.
Manufacturers have their own styles from a spiral shape, ridges, and tapers. This all comes down to the personal preference of the diver. The taper is a nice design because it allows for a variety of grip positions, whereas the spiral and ridge designs are dependant on which those grips are placed.
An added benefit of having a bumpy grip is that when the pole spear travels through the water, they create air bubbles which in turn form a boundary layer to help reduce friction. This means more energy will be transferred into the fish and give the spear more stopping power.
If this is hard to visualize, think of a golf ball. The dimples do the same thing and allow the golf ball to travel farther than if the ball was smooth.
Rubber bands are used as the spring to store energy to fire the spear. If you choose to use a thicker rubber band you’ll get more power transferred to your spear and visa versa. However, if you use too powerful of a band you’ll put more stress on the pole and might cause excess flex that could affect your shot…plus it might be too hard or tiring to use for the whole day.
Depending on where you’re shooting, it’s important to vary the amount of energy you transfer to the spear to not damage it. If you’re in the open water you want the max power because the fish are larger and you probably need to shoot farther.
Many rubber bands are fixed at the end of the pole spear, which limits your options for adjusting power. Some higher end pole spears have a cam that allows you to move the rubber band closer to the tip of the spear to give you added flexibility around hard objects like reefs.
Remember, try not to overshoot your fish so you can keep you pole spear in working order for longer.
Pole Spear Tips
Pole spear tips come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on your needs. The most common styles are prongs which usually have three or five spears. When they enter the fish they spread out preventing the fish from getting away.
There is a higher cross-sectional area on a prong tip which adds drag to your spear. You’ll tend to use this style for reef fish where you don’t need much spear travel. These are also good for smaller fish.
These are the same as the tips commonly found on spearguns. They come in either single or double floppers depending on how much staying power you need for the fish species.
Floppers work by entering the fish and when they swim away a piece of metal opens up and prevent the spear from exiting the wound. These have a low profile through the water and tend to make the pole spear quicker than prong style tips.
This also means that the spear needs less mass to the same amount of damage, which is why you see this tip on more high-end pole spears.
Slip tips are beneficial to help keep fish with softer flesh on the end of your spear after being hit. The tip of the spear detaches and is held in place by a cable or Dyneema cord so that it provides more give with the fish’s movements.
These tend to be used on big fish in open water.
Breakaway tips are similar to slip tips except they are anchored directly to a mechanism that releases the tip away from your gun and onto your floatline. This is a must for big game fishing if you don’t want to risk losing your pole spear.
Simply spear the fish and let the fish run and pull on the float line and float until it’s tired, then bring it up to the surface. Simple right :P.
Pole Spear Float line
Most of the time you won’t be needing a float line when using a pole spear unless you go for large fish. Since the newer pole spears are becoming as effective as spearguns, you’re starting to see the use of float lines and floats more often in blue water videos.
Pole spear float lines act the same way as speargun float lines. You’ll attach the float line to the end of your pole spear and after you hit the fish you let your pole follow the fish and let the fish fight the buoy or boat.
If you don’t want to risk your pole spear to the sea gods, buy a breakaway tip and let the tip connect directly to the float line.
Do It Yourself (DIY) Pole Spear
For those of you who are adventurous or crafty, there is always the option to build your own pole spear. Here are a few videos I found online of guys doing just that.
Also, if you want a custom spear, check out the fine individuals over at LingHunt who let you specify exactly the pole spear you want based on your needs.
How to Care For Your Pole Spear?
Pole spears are simple in their design, which makes them easy to care for. The main areas of care will be the rubber bands and the tips which get the most use.
For the rubber bands make sure you keep them out of the sun when not in use. Over time they will dry out so you’ll need to replace them when you see cracking. If you’re not going to use your pole spear for a while, take off the rubber band and place it in a plastic bag in your fridge to help it last longer.
The tips will get the most abuse because they hit hard objects like reefs and rocks. If that doesn’t do them in, over time they’ll develop rust unless their stainless steel. Always have a bunch of tips in your arsenal so you can switch them out if damage or switch them out depending on the conditions.
After using the pole spear for the day it’s probably better that you take it apart if it disassembles, rinse it under fresh water, and let it dry in a dark place.
Pole Spear Buyer’s Checklist
- Get a pole spear that is at least two pieces.
- Opt for aluminum or carbon fiber instead of fiberglass. PIck aluminum if you need robustness and carbon fiber if you need speed.
- I recommend at least 7 feet for your pole spear.
- Do your best not to hit reef or rocks at full power.
- If using carbon fiber, be careful pulling the spear with a force that bows the material, this could lead to breakage.
- Replace rubber and tips when necessary.
- Disassemble and rinse with water after use and store away from extreme heat or direct sunlight.
Best Pole Spears Reviews
Our Pick for Best Pole Spear
Eight’er Gatku Pole Spear
This pole spear is more for experienced divers.
It’s the perfect weapon for the Bahamas. Go after Hog Fish, Snapper, Grouper and all the small stuff too when coupled with their InshoreShrinker. Also acceptable for pelagic fish if you use their Slip Tip.
This pole spear is a sleek, 3/8” diameter, carbon graphite front end allows you to effortlessly swing polespear with minimized drag in the water; This is especially a benefit when tracking fish.
Gatku Pole Spear Review + Unboxing
The extended section in front of loaded hand allows you to see where the polespear is headed. Eliminating the ‘shooting from the hip’ factor. Instead, you are capable of pinpointing target with limited guesswork.
This polespear won’t feel so ‘weighted down’ in the rear with the tip 3’ away from the loaded hand; resulting in natural tracking movements plus a more comfortable hold.
With 3’ of polespear in front of your extended, loaded hand, fish are much more approachable. The proximity of your body and the fish is a greater distance, making it less likely spooked.
This is another pole spear brand that comes highly recommended by nearly all spearos!
Check out our Complete Gatku Pole Spear Review
Best Beginner Pole Spear (3 Pieces, Prong Tip)
Mako Spearfishing Traveler Pole Spear
- NOTE: MAKO Spearguns only sells our products...
- 3 piece design measures a whopping 6' 7" and...
- NEVER yields painful fiberglass splinters in the...
The MAKO Spearguns 3 in 1 Spearfishing Traveler Pole Spear is perfect for small to medium size fish and perfect for travel. Capable of taking fish weighing as much as 10 to 15 lbs, this 3 piece design measures a whopping 6′ 7″ and breaks down to only 27.5″ long for easy storage and travel and allows you to configure the length to your specific needs.
3 piece: 6′ 7″ long for normal hunting conditions 2 pieces: 4′ 5″ or 4′ 11″ long for close range hunting and Lion Fish hunting 1 piece: 33″ inches long strictly for killing Lion Fish. Mako uses high strength, corrosion resistant, anodized aircraft aluminum spear which will NEVER yield painful fiberglass splinters in the hand (like some inexpensive fiberglass pole spears do when worn down).
The connecting joints are supported by a recessed flush screw on connectors for a smooth release. Includes Three interchangeable sections for 3 different pole spear lengths. One 5 prong cluster (paralyzer tip) with “sure grip” barbs on each prong. One full-length MAKO “Latex Power Band” for 3 pc and 2 pc hunting.
NOTE: There is no knurling in the grip area. This is typically not a problem when gripping with bare hands. However, if you like to wear gloves, Mako recommends you check out their “Orange Honeycomb Super Grip Gloves” or “Latex coated Lionfish Gloves”. Combining these gloves will give you the warmth and the grip you need.
Best Travel Pole Spear
Sea Stinger 80″ Lightning Rod
I’m a fan of the cam action on this pole spear that gives you a higher level of control around the amount of power to use, while still gripping it in the same location each time.
This spear is very lightweight, extremely strong, and precisely tuned to deliver the optimum force for deep penetration of the Sea Stinger Tips. The Lightning Rod’s carbon fiber shaft gives it a highly desirable tip heavy balance. Most of it’s weight is in the forward 20 inches which increases accuracy and punch.
Pole Spear Stiffness
The stiffness of the carbon fiber shaft reduces flexing under load and helps eliminate that power killing “shaft whip” flimsier spears suffer from. The patented Power Band Cam allows the shooter to quickly adjust the power stroke and hand position of the spear on the fly. This allows the user to quickly reduce the power and at the same time, move the shooting hand closer to the tip. This unique feature comes in handy when the prey holes-up under a ledge.
By moving the Power Band Cam forward the grip position can be moved closer to the tip while reducing the power to deliver an accurate holeshot with reduced power to prevent over penetration and jamming the tip in the rock. The Cam Lever can also be removed and the power band can be affixed to the back end of the spear.
The Sea Stinger Spears comes with a 6mm threaded end so that it can fit several different tip options and rear shaft lengths are available.
Best Carbon Fiber Pole Spear (3 Pieces, Adjustable)
Evolve Carbon Fiber Pole Spear
- Breakdown Carbon Polespears transforms up to 5...
- CT Breakdown 1/2" Carbon Polespears are produced...
- High tolerance 7075-T6 Aircraft Aluminum fittings.
This pole spear is the pride of Hawaii! You can break down this Carbon polespears and transform it into 5 different lengths. This pole spear is produced using spaceship grade high strength T700 Carbon along with a solid core. It also uses high tolerance 7075-T6 Aircraft Aluminum fittings.
Available in 4 sizes, CT6 – 6′, CT7 – 7′, CT8 – 8′ and CT9 – 9′ and can transforms into 4-8 different combinations!
If you are looking for what the local use…you’ve found it!
Best Place To Build Your Own Pole Spear
Linghunt Custom Pole Spears
Sometimes a bulk manufactured pole spear won’t get the job done. That’s why I recommend you also check out Linghunt Engineering. They are known for letting you specify every aspect of your dream pole spear.
LEI is a small engineering business specializing in the custom design and manufacturing of high-quality items ranging from Industrial Controls to Spearfishing and Hunting.
When in doubt, build it yourself!
Final Thoughts on Pole Spears
The cheap yellow fiberglass pole spears tend to be poorly constructed and you’ll most likely be replacing it within months. Do your future self a favor and spend some money on a better model upfront so you can master a spear you’ll use for years.
You might be asking, what is the best pole spear available then? And I’m sure you know my response…
There are many factors that go into this decision, such as, what type of fish are you going for, are you in open water or near a reef, what’s your skill level, etc.
More than One Pole Spear
One thing’s for certain, it’s best you have multiple quivers in your arsenal. That’s the only way you could make sure to have the right tool for the job. This is especially true when you’re on a dive trip.
The last thing you want is a busted pole spear and your trip is ruin because you can’t get another one in time.
Pole spears also seem to be having a revival in the community and there are some amazing manufacturers that don’t get enough love. I want to change that so you can get a clear picture of all the latest innovations available for you to try out.
Are you looking to start spearfishing don’t know which is the best pole spear to start with? Hopefully, we answered that in this guide.
Hopefully, this guide helped you to narrow down the options so you can pick one up and use for your next dive! Let us know which you choose in the comments below.
The Anglers Behind This Article: