Spearfishing vs Line Fishing: Why I Choose to Spear Fish

spearfishing vs line fishing

I’ve been spearing fish for most of my life, and if you want a reliable way to put fish on the table – comparing spearfishing vs line fishing is a no brainer.

Plus, it’s a great way to combine a lot of the things I love most in the world. Spearfishing is an incredible adventure activity, that gets you outdoors and in the water. Testing your limits as you hold your breath, trying to catch bigger and bigger fish. And it’s way more fun than sitting around waiting for the fish to bite.

To me, nothing beats spearfishing, and in this post today I’ll explain why.

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Spearfishing vs Line Fishing: Why I Choose to Spear Fish

When it comes to spearing fish vs line fishing, I’ll pick up my speargun almost every time. You see, my dad was a keen angler, and any chance we’d get we were out with a line from the shore, off the rocks, or taking out little runabout out around the islands just offshore. The trouble is, we didn’t catch all that much.

  • Perhaps we just weren’t all that good at line fishing.
  • Perhaps we weren’t using the right tools to find the best fishing spots.
  • Perhaps our area had been decimated by the local commercial fishing industry.

But once I started spearfishing, do you know what happened? I started spearing fish consistently, bringing home bigger and bigger fish. The further I explored, I realized a key difference with spearfishing. If you’re the one spearing fish, you’re the one in charge.

is spearfishing better than line fishing

You don’t need to wait for the fish to bite

Fishing from the shore my dad would always complain about this. “Ahh, I guess the fish aren’t biting today.” Or we don’t have the right bait. Or we run out of bait.

A thousand reasons why we weren’t able to catch the fish lurking beneath the surface. Yet it seemed there was nothing we could do.

When you’re spearfishing, you take the hunt to the fish. Instead of trying to convince a fish to bite your line, you’re actively underwater and sneaking up on them. It doesn’t matter if the fish are biting or not. You’re spearing them no matter what, which means you’ll be more consistent in your catches. Comparing spearfishing vs line fishing in this instance, and it’s a no brainer. Spearfishing puts more fish on your table.


Spearfishing results in zero bycatch

When line fishing you can try to target specific species with different baits, different rigging, and fishing at different depths, but it’s not an exact science.

No matter what, you’ll always get bycatch. That is, you’ll reel in an under-size fish, a protected species, something you did not intend to catch. I’ve hooked alligators and turtles in the America’s, even a particularly aggressive Albatross deep sea fishing in New Zealand. Because you’re leaving it up to nature, you don’t know what animal will take your bait. Even if it’s just fish, you put them through an incredible amount of stress with a catch and release.

You’re hauling it into your boat, pulling the hooks out, and gently tossing it back in the water. Sometimes fish survive, other times they don’t.

Comparing spearfishing vs line fishing and it’s a whole other story. You’re underwater and you can see exactly what you’re targeting. The specific species of fish. Down to the size of the fish you’re targeting in the school. That way, you ensure any fish you spear is both legal, and what you want to take home.

school of fish while spearfishing

You’ll leave no trace when you’re spearfishing

Have you ever had a fishing line get snagged? Of course you have. No matter how careful you are, it’s inevitable that your hooks, or the line, will get caught up underwater and break off before you can properly retrieve them.

When you’re fishing, this means you’ve got to go to the trouble of rigging up again. But underwater you’ve just added trash that’ll potentially harm the ocean environment. Marine life like turtles, birds and even dolphins get caught up in discarded fishing gear. Often with devastating results.

If you put spearfishing vs line fishing side by side, one of the biggest benefits is that you’ll leave no trace if you’re spearfishing properly. Now, that does mean you’ll need to use a certain amount of care to avoid damaging delicate structures like corals while you’re swimming around. But if you’re conscious of your movements, you can go spearfishing without harming the ocean we all love. The same can’t be said about fishing.


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Spearfishing is an active and engaging exercise

I’m not saying that fishing doesn’t require a certain amount of energy, but compare two scenarios for me. Two guys sitting in a boat, drinking a few beers while drifting over the same sandbar as they fish. The other, these same two guys are in the water, drinking water to stay hydrated and swimming at least a mile or two as they explore the ocean floor.

Who do you think is burning more calories?

Spearfishing is my favorite form of exercise. I can’t stand treadmills and I couldn’t tell you the last time I was in the gym. But you wouldn’t notice from looking at me. The amount of swimming I do keeps me lean and in shape, much better than many of friends my age. Plus, it’s highly interactive. You need a certain amount of physical strength to spearfish effectively, as well as staying on top of your breath holds.

Stacked up against line fishing, spearfishing enables you to be an active participant in the hunt. Putting your abilities to the test as you stalk your prey, and spearfish underwater.

why you should spearfish not line fish

You can explore more places spearfishing vs line fishing

If you’re fishing from the shore, you’re pretty limited in the areas you can fish. You’ve got to be able to get there on foot, it’s got to be safe against any crashing waves, and you want to find a relatively sandy bottom so you’re not losing rig after rig. Having a boat gives you more mobility, sure.

But once you start spearfishing, you’ll open up a whole new world.

I’ve caught fish in places that’d be unsafe fishing off the rocks, where you’d never get a boat in close. Pulled fish out of caves where fishing with a line would simply get you snagged.

Comparing spearfishing vs line fishing, once you’re underwater you can explore every nook and cranny of the reef. Hunting your target fish no matter where they might be hiding. It’s like adventure fishing, as you can explore and discover new dive sites, see the incredible underwater landscapes and encounter all different species of fish. And you can explore with just a few kicks of your fins, changing locations as your heart desires.


Spearfishing increases your love for the ocean

Not to name and shame, but I’ve had more than my fair share of bad experiences with other fishermen.

Guys on boats who had zero respect for the ocean. Tossing beer cans over the side because they’re offshore. Dumping sewage in areas you’re not allowed to dump. Who fish for the pure greed of taking everything they can, trawling and netting the ocean while destroying the environment we all love.

But spearfishing creates the opposite feeling to this. Sure, as with any sport – there are bad eggs who do the wrong thing. But in my personal experience, it’s few and far between. Because you see the impact people are having on the ocean first hand. You’re the one swimming through the trash, coming across the discarded nets and line all over the sea bed. When i see this it strengthens my resolve to do what’s right, and protect what we have for generations to come.

It’s like it creates a closer connection to nature. As you immerse yourself underwater, seeing all the fish up close. You gain a far greater appreciation for the underwater world.


Spearfishing is a sport you can continually improve

If you were to line up spearfishing vs line fishing, you’re comparing two hunting sports that require a certain amount of skill to perform.

But in my mind, there’s a ceiling to how much you can learn to go fishing. Spearfishing requires so much more. You’ve got to perfect your dive and equalization techniques. Master all of the different gear. Learn how to identify fish underwater and shoot with precise aim. All while holding your breath underwater, in anywhere from 5+ meters of water (or more).

To me, mastering these techniques and continually pushing myself to get better provides a real sense of accomplishment. I can see my dive times increasing. I know how much more accurate I’m getting with my speargun. If you’re line fishing, you don’t have this same ability to see your skills develop as you become more proficient over time.

spearfishing equipment vs line fisherman

Why should you choose spearfishing vs line fishing?

To wrap up this article, it’s important to note that both spearfishing and line fishing have their own merits and considerations. Ultimately, the choice between the two methods depends on your own personal preferences, local regulations, and environmental sustainability. The reasons I choose spearfishing vs line fishing are all outlined above. It’s a way to get outside, to go hunting, to push my body to achieve something great. All while bringing home a nice feed of fish, while practicing one of the world’s most responsible fishing practices.

What’s not to love about spearfishing?


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