When you are in the water, you need to be adaptable, in both your movements and your methods. There are several spearfishing techniques out there. Here, Subea lists the most famous ones.

Ambush spearfishing

Picture the scene: you are kicking gently, holding your speargun out in front of you, barrel pointed in the same direction as your eyes as you scan for your prey—you are ready to shoot at any moment. For ambush hunting, you need quick reactions and fast reflexes: which are acquired over time.

Hone your technique according to the surroundings in which you are hunting:

- surface hunt; there is no freediving involved with this method, instead you stay by rocks or on a beach in very shallow water. If there is a lot of seaweed or foam around, this is ideal because the fish will not see you coming. Remember to kick without making noise or splashing!

- bottom hunt; here you stick to the bottom and sides and use your hands rather than your fins to be more discreet. Watch out for coral!

- this technique is also effective as you head back up, since fish are less wary when you are underneath them. However, it is only suitable for more experienced hunters, as it is practised along rock faces or at depths of more than 10 metres.

Targets: wide variety of prey species, perfect for beginners. In terms of equipment, go for a barrel length of 70 to 90 cm.

Learn different spearfishing techniques with Subea

Hole hunting

Often favoured by novices, this technique is used in shallow water, on rocks or along an embankment, but also in seagrass meadows. Good visibility is key to be able to spot cavities.

Our advice: approach the hole from the side or from above, but never from the front! And before you shoot, make sure you have identified the species so that you can guess how it is going to react and also to be sure that it is not a protected species.

Targets: conger eels, moray eels, scorpionfish (watch out for the spines!) or octopus, which love shade. As for your equipment, go for a small 50 cm barrel for ease of handling—and a decent diameter of spear (6.5 mm) for strength.

Learn different spearfishing techniques with Subea

Stalking

To be effective, the stalking technique requires experience and practice. From the surface, you spot your prey on a sandy or rocky bottom, then you drop silently in on it. Your duck dive must be perfect, your descent precise, fast and discreet, and your shot accurate.

A minimum depth of 5 m is therefore necessary to avoid being spotted by the fish in advance: so you need to be able to hold your breath!

Targets: sole, scorpionfish and turbot will not be too fearful. Choose a long barrel for accuracy (1 m or more).

Learn different spearfishing techniques with Subea

Aspetto or long wait

For this technique, you stay still at the bottom (or at neutral buoyancy for more experienced divers) using your surroundings as cover. For example, position yourself between two rocks or behind some seaweed.

A good breath-hold is essential here, as well as correct weighting to keep you on the bottom. As you can imagine: this type of spearfishing requires self-control and precision, so it's more suitable for experienced spearos.

Targets: they can vary. Bass, white seabream, gilt-head bream... For long-wait spearfishing, barrel length directly correlates with water visibility (the clearer the water, the longer your speargun can be). In general, for the aspetto technique, you will be using a speargun that is at least 75 cm.

learn different spearfishing techniques with Subea

Blue water spearfishing

Also called big-game spearfishing, it is practised offshore, in open water. Given how far you will be from the coast and the large prey you will be hunting, it is only open to expert spearos, with an excellent level of fitness and heightened knowledge of the environment (current, weather, species, etc.).

Targets: here, big offshore fish are what you are aiming for. To be in with a chance, a long barrel (1.20 m or more) is recommended: it will give you power and accuracy. A reel is also essential to haul your catch back up while you stay on the surface.

learn different spearfishing techniques with Subea

Pole spear

This is the only permitted technique for hunters under 16 years of age. It is ideal for young people who will not have the strength to reload a speargun. 

You need to get very close to the fish and be very accurate. This is the best technique for beginners to learn about spearfishing!

Subea tips for calm and clever hunting: speargun and spear combo for beginners

- Safety first: never go out alone, always think before you shoot and only unload the weapon once on dry land.

- Stay away from crowds: Spearfishing regulations are strict, so make sure you do your homework.

- Hunt ethically and responsibly: do not shoot pregnant females, protected species or juveniles. There are minimum sizes for each species, below which it is forbidden to shoot! The more you know about the environment and biology of your prey, the better you will understand how they live and the easier it will be to find them.

- Newbies: choose a versatile speargun (70 cm) and a trident tip to compensate for your lack of accuracy. Subea is here to help you choose your spearfishing speargun.

Baptiste, Subea digital manager

Baptiste

Digital manager – padi rescue and level 1 ffessm

I'm Subea's Digital Manager. I'm passionate about spearfishing and freediving, and have been scuba diving for over 15 years. I am an autonomous diver to 60 metres.