Applying Italian Spearfishing Techniques to Cold Water

Photo of author
Last Updated:

As the popularity of spearfishing continues to grow, so does the number of people looking for ways to improve their success in the sport. One area that has seen a lot of attention lately is cold water spearfishing.

While most people think of spearfishing as warm water activity, there are many places where cold water conditions are the norm. And, as it turns out, the Italians have developed several techniques that can be very effective in these colder waters.

Adapting these techniques to your spearfishing adventures can give you a real advantage and help you put more fish on the table. Also, it can be a lot of fun to experiment with new techniques and see what works best for you.

We talked to an expert to find out the best way to adapt Italian spearfishing techniques to cold water conditions. 

This is what Danieli Abella, an experienced spearfisherman out of New England, said “A lot of people ask me how I do it. And it’s all because I use a lot of the techniques I learned over in Sicily, particularly the whole hunting stuff.”

Listen to more spearfishing tips on the Cast & Spear Podcast

History of Italian Spear Fishing

The Italians have a long history of spearfishing, dating back to the Roman Empire. Italians have been using spears to catch fish for a long time.

“The town that I was born in just so happened to be a town where one of the pioneers of freediving is from his name is Enzo Maiorca. I think he was the first diver to go below 50 meters in the seventies and eighties,” Danieli Abella said.

While the methods and equipment have changed over the centuries, the basic principle of spearfishing has remained the same. And, as the sport’s popularity has grown, so has the level of expertise of the Italian spearfisherman.

Today, many different techniques are used by Italian spearfishermen, all of which have been refined and perfected over many years.

italian spearfishing techniques
Source: Canva Pro

Basics of Spearfishing in Cold Water

Spearfishing is a popular sport in many parts of the world, but it can be challenging in cold water. The Italian technique of spearfishing is based on using a trident or four-pronged spear. This spear is very effective in open water, where fish are more spread out.

When spearfishing in cold water, you should dress properly. A wetsuit or drysuit will help keep you warm, and gloves are essential to protect your hands from the cold water. You will also need a good pair of fins and a mask with a snorkel.

“Some days, you’re diving where your entire body is sort of out of the water. You just have to wear your mask underneath the water,” Danieli Abella said.

The Italian technique for spearfishing involves holding the trident in both hands, with the tips pointing downwards. You will need to be very still and silent when hunting fish in cold water. When you see a fish that you want to spear, quickly raise the trident and thrust it downwards into the water.

If you are successful, the weight of the fish will pull the trident out of your hands. To avoid losing your catch, you can tie the trident to a line or rope.

Spearfishing in cold water can be very rewarding, but it takes some practice to master the Italian technique. With a little patience and perseverance, you will be able to enjoy this challenging and exciting sport.

Italian Techniques Used in Cold Water Spearfishing

Some of the fishing techniques used in cold water spearfishing are similar to those used in warm water conditions. However, a few key differences can significantly impact your success. They include:

Use Heavier Weights and Sinkers

Fishing in cold water generally requires heavier weights and sinkers than warm water conditions. The water is typically denser, and the fish are less active. As a result, getting your spear down to where the fish are swimming takes more weight.

Use a Float

Using floats is another common technique used by Italian spearfishermen in cold water. The floats help keep the spear near the water’s surface, making it easier to spot fish. They also help keep the spear from being dragged down by the sinker’s weight. This is especially important when fishing in deep water, where the currents can be strong.

Look for Secluded Areas

When spearfishing in cold water, it is crucial to look for secluded areas where the fish are likely to be hiding. This could be a rocky outcropping, a shipwreck, or anything else that provides shelter from the currents.

Be Quiet

To catch fish in cold water, you’ll need to be as quiet as possible. Fish are very sensitive to noise, and the sound of your speargun can easily scare them away.

According to Danieli Abella, “You’re underwater diving, and there’s a fish that’s about 20 feet in front of you. Literally just moving your finger and putting it on the trigger of your gun, not shooting the trigger. But just placing your finger on the trigger if you do that too quickly and too loud. And it’s a very faint noise, but even doing something like that, you’ll see the fish take off, and it’s gone.”

Move Slowly

When you are in the water, you should move slowly and deliberately. The smallest disturbance can cause the fish to flee. You do not need to move as fast as possible to be successful. Moving too quickly will only make it harder to spot fish and get a good shot.

Use the Right Gear

Using the right gear is essential for success in fishing, but it is especially important in cold water conditions. Wearing a wetsuit will help keep you warm and dry and provide some protection from the elements.

“Make sure you have the right gear, and when you dive, you know where to go, and you go with a plan,” Danieli Abella said.

A good pair of fins is also essential. They will help you to move through the water more quickly and efficiently. Finally, make sure that you have a good spearfishing gun. A quality gun will make it easier to get a clean shot and increase your chances of success.

“You have to have the right tool for the for the job a lot of the fish there because they’re so big, you won’t always be shooting them into in holes,” according to Danieli Abella.

Be Patient

Patience is key when spearfishing in cold water. The fish are often less active, so finding them may take some time. Once you have found a school of fish, be patient and wait for the perfect shot.

Practice Your Technique

As with any sport, practice makes perfect. The more you spearfish in cold water, the better you will become at it. Practice your techniques and learn what works best for you.

Danieli Abella said, “Dealing with this really hard fish kind of pushed me to learn and practice and just be as good as a diver as possible.” 

How to Apply Italian Spearfishing Techniques to Cold Water Conditions

As any experienced spearfisherman knows, your fish conditions can significantly impact your success. It is often necessary to adapt your techniques to succeed in cold water conditions.

One of the most popular and effective spearfishing techniques comes from Italy. Italian spearfishers are some of the most successful in the world, and their techniques have been honed over many years of experience.

Here are some tips on how to apply Italian spearfishing techniques to cold water conditions:

Have Heavier Spear

When spearfishing in cold water, you will need a heavier spear than you would use in warmer conditions. This is because the water density is greater in cold water, so your spear will need to be heavier to penetrate the fish.

You can purchase a heavier spear or add weight to your existing spear. One way to do this is to tie weights to the spear’s shaft. Another option is to use a heavier tip on your spear. If you are using a pneumatic speargun, you may need to increase the tension on the bands to generate enough power to penetrate the fish.

Use a Wider Barb

A wider barb on your spear will help ensure that the fish is securely held on to the spear once it has been caught. You don’t want the fish to be able to wriggle free, so a wider barb is essential.

Use a Float

Using a float will help you keep your spearfishing line taut, which is essential when spearfishing in cold water conditions. Keeping your line taut when the water is cold can be difficult, so using a float will make it easier.

Wear Gloves

Wearing gloves when spearfishing in cold water is a must. Your hands will get cold very quickly, which will impact your ability to use your spear. Wearing gloves will help keep your hands warm, which will improve your expertise.

Keep Moving

The cold water will make your body temperature drop very quickly. For you to stay warm, it is crucial to keep moving. This will help keep your blood flowing, and it will also stop you from getting too cold.

Have Multiple Prongs

Multiple prongs on your spear will increase your chances of catching a fish. When spearfishing in cold water conditions, the fish are often more elusive, so giving yourself the best chance of success is important.

“I go there with literally a 40-centimeter-long gun with a single band on it and with a four-prong,” Danieli Abella said. 

Use a Light

A light can be very useful when spearfishing in cold water conditions. The light will attract the fish, making them easier to catch.

Benefits of Using Italian Spearfishing Techniques in Cold Water Conditions

There are many benefits to using Italian spearfishing techniques in cold water conditions. These techniques have been proven to be effective, and they will help you catch more fish.

Improved Success Rate

You are more likely to land a fish when using Italian spearfishing techniques. In spearfishing, you have to be very accurate, and the techniques used in Italy have been perfected over many years. The success rate is much higher than when using traditional methods.

Increased Efficiency

Italian spearfishing techniques are more efficient than other methods. You can cover more ground and spend less time in the water. This means that you can catch more fish in a shorter time.

Better Quality Fish

You are more likely to catch bigger and better-quality fish when using Italian spearfishing techniques. You get the chance to get closer to the fish and select the ones you want to catch. This means that you can avoid the smaller fish that are not worth your time.

Greater Appreciation for the Sport

Using Italian spearfishing techniques will help you develop a greater appreciation for the sport. This is because you will be spending more time in the water, and you will be challenged by the fish you catch. You will also get to see some of the most beautiful underwater scenery in the world.

Better Understanding of Marine Life

Marine life is very different from what you see on land. When you spend time spearfishing, you will see how fish behave and interact with each other. This can help you to understand their habits and learn more about them.

Improved Physical Fitness

Spearfishing is a great way to improve your physical fitness. You will be using your body to propel yourself through the water. You will also be using your muscles to control your spear. This is a great workout, and it can help you stay in shape.

Connect with Nature

Connecting with nature is one of the best things that you can do for your mental health. When you are in the water, you will be surrounded by the beauty of nature. This can help you to relax and de-stress.

Final Thoughts

You can apply Italian spearfishing techniques to cold water fishing with great success. By using a rig designed for colder waters and adjusting your tactics accordingly, you can take advantage of the many benefits that Italian spearfishing techniques have to offer.

You can enjoy greater success and satisfaction when fishing in colder waters with the right approach. Consider applying Italian spearfishing techniques to your next cold-water fishing adventure if you’re looking for a new challenge. You might just be surprised at how effective they can be.

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
× How can we improve it?
× Thanks for your feedback!

We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better fisherman.

While you're here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Facebook YouTube

Person Drowning Underwater

Shallow Water Blackout (How and Why It Happens)

Shallow water blackout happen when your brain is starved of oxygen. It’s a defense mechanism of the body. Similar to when a person faints on land, this could happen while you’re underwater. Typically due to your mammalian dive reflex, you have a certain amount of time before brain damage can occur. If no one is
How To Spear Lionfish

How to Spear Fish — Understanding the Equipment, Locations, and Safety

Are you ready to learn how to spear fish? If so, you’ve found the right place to wrap your head around the basics. This article will cover the high-level basics of spearfishing to get you started. Each part of this article will be linked to more in-depth guides so you can go deeper on a
Spearfishing Gear

17 Spearfishing Gear Essentials For Catching More Fish

Not having the right spearfishing gear when entering the ocean is dangerous. Too many spearos have become frustrated or worse been put in situations that can lead to disastrous consequences due to bad gear selection. Take for example a bad dive knife. Spearfishing Gear for Beginners You’re in the water and get caught in a
tuna tail

How To Make Fish Taste Better

Are you curious about how to make fish taste better? It’s one thing to know how to catch a fish, yet entirely different to know how to make it taste restaurant quality. In this guide, I share what I’ve figured out after years of trial and error in the kitchen. Having access to wild food
marlin taken for dinner

How To Kill A Big Fish (And Be Mentally Ready For It)

I was 30 when I put a knife through a big fish’s brain. I was 15 hours south of the US border, floating by myself in the Pacific Ocean. I had just finished a seven-minute rodeo with my largest yellowtail trying my best not to get tangled in my reel line. Adrenaline was coursing through

4 Ways To Immortalize Your Catch So You Can Relive The Moment Long After You Stop Diving

Certain fish demand immortalization. Memories are nice, but memories fade. With the uncertainties of life, you never know when you’ll need to hang up your fins. Not to get sentimental, but when you’re older you’ll want to relive parts of your youth. I want to share a few time capsules you can use to document
Peter Yee spearwithx
cast and spear logo small

10 Tips For Improving Your Spearfishing!

FREE 3-Day email series

No thanks, I catch enough!