Choosing the correct speargun for you

There are many types of spearguns on the market and they can range from under $100 to over $4000. The quality of spearguns also varies, so it’s very important to keep that in mind when purchasing one. My suggestion is not to buy a cheap speargun, as with the cheaper spearguns manufacturers have to use cheaper materials which generally won't last as long. This means you might have to replace it sooner than what you think, which costs you more in the long run. 

Rather get something of good quality. In general, depending which part of the world you live in, you will be looking at spending roughly $250-$450 (aus). This should get you a speargun that has been made with quality components.

Various manufacturers use different components: wood, carbon and aluminium are all common materials used. Generally most spearguns are made of aluminium as it’s a relatively cheap material. There are some great advantages to using this as the barrels are strong and tough which allows the barrel to take a thrashing. 

Carbon will impact the cost as it’s a more expensive material but it has some great advantages: lightweight in the water and when traveling. It also is great with assisting in reducing recoil in your shots but carbon is brittle and you need to take care with the spearguns. Most carbon spearguns here in Australia start around $600. 

Wood is also a great material for spearguns as it has mass and it’s phenomenal at absorbing the recoil. Wood in general is more expensive as it takes time to make sure the stock is correctly made and most of it will be made by hand and you aren’t able to really mass produce it which would bring the cost down. Wooden spearguns generally start around $750 here in Australia. 

Choosing the correct length speargun:

Let’s first understand that in general when people talk about the length of a speargun they are generally referring to the length of the barrel only. If you want to find out what size speargun you have all you need to do is measure the barrel length of your speargun. 

The length of a speargun will impact the range of your shot and it’s best to choose the size of the speargun based on the conditions and the fish you are targeting. On average spearguns vary from 60cm (in barrel length) through to 1,4m, although there are shorter and longer spearguns on the market. 

It might be easy to assume that the longer the speargun, the better it will perform or it’s for taller people, however with length comes some disadvantages. If the visibility is poor and you have a long speargun (a speargun of 1,2m and longer) you might not be able to see the end of the spear. Having a long object in your hand can also make it difficult to move around in the water or track a fish as it’s swimming past. Or conversely if you have a 60cm speargun and you are diving in very clear water and the fish are hesitant to come closer you will struggle to have the effective range to shoot those fish you wish to target. 

When choosing a speargun it’s best to consider where you’ll be diving the most and what types of fish you’ll be targeting. For example I live in Melbourne and I do a fair bit of my diving in Port Philip Bay. The visibility can really vary, so my favourite speargun is a 80/90cm gun as it’s a good all rounder. As soon as I start diving on the ocean side of where I live, I start using a 1,1m gun which gives me a bit more range and power. When targeting bigger fish like yellowtail kingfish or tuna, a 1,2m speargun or longer will be the way to go. The longer spearguns make a big difference giving you that extra range that you may need when hunting bigger fish that might not come as close to you as  smaller fish.

If you live in areas with good visibility, you will generally need a slightly longer speargun when starting out. 1,1m and longer speargun might suit your conditions better. 

Depending on the visibility and fish you are hunting, you will require different spearguns (some with more power and other spearguns will need to be longer or shorter). In general, the clearer the visibility, the longer the speargun you will require as the fish generally hold further back. If the visibility is really bad you will need a shorter speargun. You will need to build up a bit of a quiver over time that works best for the conditions you will be diving in. 

Keep in mind that you also want to make sure there isn’t too small a gap between the various spearguns you own. If you have a 10cm gap between your spearguns if the conditions aren’t great you will struggle to choose between a 70/80/90cm speargun and there will be too much of an overlap in your range. My suggestion is to have a minimum of 20cm between your speargun lengths which will make it easier for you to decide which speargun to use on the day. 

Also consider keeping to a certain brand. The reason behind this is that the handle and speargun should feel the same in your hand which will help with your accuracy and confidence in your shots. The angle, size and hight of the handle will be the same and the only factor you will need to adjust for is the length. 

Written by Eckart Benkenstein