Spearfishing… Going Old Skool! Hawaiian slings and pole spears

Spearfishing is increasingly becoming a more and more popular sport. With this increased popularity it allows more manufacturers and suppliers to bring in and sell slightly more specialist or unusual gear.

A polespear - Freedive UK - Learn to Freedive with our freediving courses

One of the more specialist, yet most traditional items of kit is the pole spear, or Hawaiian sling. This is something that was bloody impossible to get at a decent price 5 years ago, so many ended up making there own… something you can still do.

What is a a polespear?

For those that don’t know about slings they are the most basic and ancient of ‘useful’ spearfishing tools. Any more traditional and i really doubt you or I could catch a thing! So, what is it exactly….. A pole, of perhaps 6ft in length, with a barbed tip (normally a paraliser tip) at one end and a bungee at the other. By hooking a thumb in to the bungee and pulling it up the length of the pole, you create a  tension in the bungee which can propel the pole forward when you release your grip on the pole. Make sense?!

Technically there is a difference between a polespear and Hawaiian sling. The polespear is the simpler of the two, as described above. The hawaiian sling uses a wooded guide to launch the spear, like a catapult. So in tech terms, the polespear is the most basic, then Hawaiian sling, then a speargun. More often than not though, they both get banded about to describe either/or.

Why use a polespear?

Using a  polespear offers more challenge to ‘regular’ spearfishing, with less range and slower release you have to be much more stealthy when hunting. Hunting with a such a basic tool genuinely will make you feel closer to your prey, more involved in the hunt and more satisfied when your efforts are rewarded.

Polespears are also excellent for hunting flatfish, with no chance of damaging expensive spears by shooting in to a stony seabed here!

If you are more focused on your freediving than your spearfishing, then a polespear is a great, affordable foothold in spearfishing.

Many people think that a polespear is an unnecessary addition to their kit list, asking why… rather than why not? Even if it doesnt become your ‘go to weapon’, you can think of it as a brilliant backup. When your £250 carbon speargun looses a band or gets a sticky trigger miles from anywhere, you will be pleased to have a polespear with you! I have one attached to my float, or kayak when I dive…. just in case.

So, next time you are thinking about upgrading your ‘cannon’, perhaps you should stop….think, and consider that perhaps you should be downgrading?

You can buy polespears in the UK at spearfishingstore.

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One Response

  1. Great post. When I’m at my usual spot I use a pole spear to keep it challenging. It forces me to work on stalking/approaching techniques.

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