To me, having a knife when you’re spearfishing is just common sense. I dived into the why it’s important in a previous article, but today I want to explain how to choose the best spearfishing knife.
Because there’s just so much choice.
And if you choose wrong, it could end up costing you.
A few years back we had a team of commercial fisherman trawling my local headland pretty savagely. On and off for about a month, to my eyes I could see the damage their nets were doing to both the underwater vegetation and the fish population. It was heartbreaking.
You could clearly see where the nets had torn through big forests of seaweed, but that’s not the worst part. A couple of days later I found a large section of net that had torn free. There was a big rocky outcropping in the middle of a sandbar that was a perfect spot to stalk kingfish and mackerel. But caught up inside it was one of the big blue groper that live on the reef. I’ve seen grouper on almost every dive of my life, and as they’re a protected fish (for spearfishing) they’re a constant part of my life when I’m diving.
I was rather sad it had died.
As I dived down, my goal was simply to remove the trash cluttering my local dive spot.
I got the fright of my life when the fish woke up and started kicking. My eyes just about bugged out of my head.
Now this grouper must have only been trapped a few hours, trying to get at the other fish that had been caught up inside and died. Using the line hook on my spearfishing knife, it took four or five attempts to free this big, beautiful fish. And like a shot, he was off again.
Without my spearfishing knife, I wouldn’t have been able to help.
The best spearfishing knife should
- Not be massive. You just need a few inches of blade
- Be easy to grip. Even with your dive gloves on
- Be comfortable to wear. You should be able to draw it one-handed
Oh, and I personally always choose a spearfishing knife that’s got a serrated “sawing” edge, a line hook for quickly cutting through discarded fishing line, and a sharp point. That’s a key feature I always look for with the best spearfishing knife.
I’ve never had the bad fortune to get tangled underwater, however I’ve heard more than enough horror stories of divers and spearo’s who have had both close calls, and some unfortunate ends.
Don’t get a massive spearfishing knife
Trust me. It makes it really difficult to use underwater, and they’re awkward if you’re trying to cut anything underwater without slicing yourself. You can buy dive knives up to about six inches, and while my first spearfishing knife was more akin to a machete, these days I have a short little four-inch blade that’s plenty. Bigger is not always better when it comes to the best spearfishing knife.
The best spearfishing knife has a serrated “sawing” edge
Once you’ve had to cut through rope, you’ll understand why. Of course there’s models with and without a serrated edge, but I’ve found from experience that it’s much easier to saw through a big nasty bunch of fishing line with the saw edge than the blade. Oh, and a line hook for quickly cutting fishing line is a definite win.
Choose the blade point you’re comfortable with
For me, I prefer a pointed tip on my spearfishing knife as I always dispatch the fish I catch before I start to untangle them from my shaft. This isn’t the most graceful thing to do underwater. But as I usually dive in deeper water, the gore sometimes brings in other curious fish to my dive spot. Other spearos will tell you a blunt tip is safer, which it is, and if you’re not comfortable or this is your first knife, it may be a better bet to get a spearfishing knife with a blunt tip.
Find a spearfishing knife that’s comfortable to wear
There’s two parts to this. The sheath for your knife needs to fit comfortably on either your calf or thigh, secured so that it will not slip as you kick through the water. It also needs to hold the knife securely, so it doesn’t fall out unnoticed on your dive. I am still salty I lost my first dive knife this way, and I’m constantly checking and tapping my leg to see if my knife is still there as I dive.
Find a spearfishing knife that’s easy to grip
When I was younger I bought what I thought was the coolest dive knife ever. Made of pure stainless steel, it looked more like a throwing knife than one you’d use diving. I lost count of the amount of times I knicked myself using that knife to clean my catch at the end of a dive. Eventually I swapped this out to a more comfortable spearfishing knife. Find one with a contoured handle you can easily grip, it’ll make it much easier to use underwater.
You don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on your knife
There’s spearfishing knives available for all budgets. On the lower end of the spectrum are the stainless-steel blades, which will rust quickly if you don’t rinse and dry these after each spearfishing trip. A little oil will help too.
- Available colors: Black and Blue
- Blade length: 2-3/4"
- Blade material: Stainless Steel #304
- Back mounted webbing clip on the sheath
- Line and additional hose mount clip included
Once you start looking at titanium spearfishing knives these get significantly more expensive, but they’re also completely rust-proof.
- The ergonomic shape of the handle guarantees a sure grip and easy use.
- The quick-release system guarantees fast and effortless use when needed.
- The 3-mm blade features micro-serrations to ensure excellent cutting capacity in any situation.
- Can be worn on the arm, calf, or belt.
- Two elastic Velcro fastening bands. Dimensions: 72mm blade
Choosing the best spearfishing knife isn’t rocket science. Forget the big “Rambo-eqsue” blades and opt for a function. Not too big. With the right tools, and a handle that ensures you can hang onto your spearfishing knife no matter what. That’s what you need.