Why you need a spearfishing stringer

Catching a fish is one thing. But it’s not really yours until you’ve made it back to the boat or dry land. In the meantime, you need to use a spearfishing stringer to secure your catch.

When I first started I always used a net bag. It was only a few dollars from my local fishing store, and was sturdy as hell. As I used to get a lot of crayfish the bag made sense, but it was a tad annoying trying to always stuff more and more fish inside. Plus, it took a minute or two to open and secure it with each fish I put in. If you’ve ever tried to stuff a live, squirming fish into a wet bag that already contains a couple of fish, you know what I’m struggling with.

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Ranger Nets Standard Replacement Net Bag, 16”x20'
11 Reviews
Ranger Nets Standard Replacement Net Bag, 16”x20"
  • 3/4-inch mesh
  • Basic fishing net replacement bag
  • Knotted nylon construction
  • Replace damaged nets of any brand. Multiple sizes/depths
  • Fits up to 16" hoop, 20" Deep

 

It also added a huge amount of drag to my floatline. I’d often struggle kicking back to shore if I’d had a good day spearfishing, just from the weight of the fish in the water.

Unknown to me at the time, I was doing a couple of things wrong.

The benefits of a spearfishing stringer

A couple of years later I started experimenting with a spearfishing stringer after reading about how easy they were to use online. I’ve been suitably impressed. These days I can dispatch and thread a new catch onto my fish stringer with one hand, in about 10 seconds. Which means, less time screwing around on the surface, and more time actively hunting the next fish for my dinner table.

Using a spearfishing stringer also had another benefit. Fish are aerodynamic in the water, but when they’re stuffed inside a big mesh bag they become dead weight. If they’re threaded onto a fish stringer instead, they’re much easier to drag along behind you.

How to setup a spearfishing stringer

Once you start spearfishing it’s inevitable you’ll have an encounter with a shark. Perhaps you’ll just notice them cruising by, or if you’re particularly unlucky you’ll find they’re a lot more aggressive when they’re trying to steal your catch.

I had a close call after taking a fish a little too close to a bull shark. As soon as my spear struck, the bull went in and started attacking too, and within a few seconds had successfully torn the fish from the end of my spear. It was a little frightening I’ll admit, but once he had the fish he left the scene and I didn’t see him for the rest of the dive.

After that encounter, I realized why you should never keep your spearfishing stringer on your body. There’s just too much risk. You need a floatline.

ROB ALLEN 12 LITER OVERBLOWN FOAM SPEARFISHING FLOAT AND OPTIONAL DIVE FLAG (Float Only)
1 Reviews
ROB ALLEN 12 LITER OVERBLOWN FOAM SPEARFISHING FLOAT AND OPTIONAL DIVE FLAG (Float Only)
  • Tough Polyethylene Outer Shell and a hollow core
  • Can cut through the surface chop extremely well
  • Comes with clips and strap
  • Dive Flag is optional

 

My setup is quite simple. I’ve got:

This means, that anything I catch isn’t going to be near me. My catch of tasty, bleeding fish, is always hanging at least 30 meters away, which keeps me just a tad safer if there’s a bigger predator out there who wants the fish more than I do.

 

How to use a spearfishing stringer

Using a spearfishing stringer isn’t rocket science.

Mine’s got a clip that attaches to my float, with about 2 feet of stainless steel cable that’s firmly affixed to the center of a stainless steel spike.

When I catch a fish, this is how it works.

I dispatch it quickly with my dive knife, if my spear hasn’t already done the trick. I’m not a fan of letting anything suffer unnecessarily. Simply take your knife, and push it through the top of the fish’s head, just behind the eyes. This’ll hit their brain. Depending on the size of the fish I may instead cut through their spine, but usually I do this only on smaller reef fish.

Then I take my spearfishing stringer and push through either the eyes or through the gills and mouth. The fish get threaded onto the cable, and the metal spike serves as an anchor so they can’t easily slide off.

Once you’re back on shore, simply reverse what you did in the water, and you can unthread the fish. It’s so simple, I kick myself now for the amount of time I wasted struggling with that horrible net bag.

 

The best spearfishing stringers

When it comes to spearfishing, I like to keep things as simple as possible.

There’s a couple of different types of fish stringers. Personally, I like the cable and spike as it’s so easy to use, but you may find you prefer the hoop. Ultimately, it’s up to you. I’ve tried many different brands, but the ones I like most are as follows.

  • Cable and Spike. Get yourself a Riffe Fish Stringer. It’s what I use today and it rocks. It comes with a clip so you’ve got a quick-release option (just in case), and a stainless-steel cable which will last far longer than the cheaper paracord options. This is what I use, and is well worth the investment to ensure your fish make it back to shore.

 

  • Chain and Stringer. Look for stainless-steel chain if you can find it, but there are some cheaper options like this. The benefit of using a chain fish stringer is you have multiple fish clips you can use, so it’s quick and easy to attach every new fish you catch to the stringer. A word of caution. Whilst it’s a cheap and easy option, you’ll need to take care of it as the chain will start to rust quickly in the salt water.
Berkley 46-Inch Chain Stringer, Silver
49 Reviews
Berkley 46-Inch Chain Stringer, Silver
  • Victory RIPG-400FB-12 RIP
  • Meets every demand for the discriminating shooter
  • Arrows come in a plus or minus factor of
  • 001 in straightness
  • Locking snap design

 

  • Loop fish stringer. Look for one with a big loop with a sharp spike, like this. These types of spearfishing stringers are the simplest model you’ll find. Some come with a strap so you can carry it with you, but I highly advise against this, especially if you’re in an area where there’s heavy shark activity. All you need to do is unclip the spike and thread your fish onto the stringer, before clipping it shut. It takes a little more time to use than the cable and spike version, but some of my friends prefer this type of fish stringer.
Storm Heavy Duty Scuba Divers Fish Stringer
22 Reviews
Storm Heavy Duty Scuba Divers Fish Stringer
  • Stainless Steel Construction
  • Curved ends are easy to Lock and Release
  • Flexible for Easy Fish Stringing
  • Rounded Handle designed for attaching or clipping to bolt snaps
  • Two welded points of contact create strong design built to last for years

 

Personally, I’d recommend using a cable and spike. It’s the fastest to use, and mine hasn’t failed me yet.

 

When a spearfishing stringer is a bad idea

The only time I’d advise against using a spearfishing stringer is if you’re in a location with heavy shark activity. I’ve had a couple of close encounters, but not enough to warrant using anything other than a fish stringer, but that’s just me. You may be somewhere where it’s needed. So, here’s what you can use instead.

  • Get yourself a catch bag. Rob Allen make a great low-profile bag that comes in a couple of different sizes. It doesn’t completely eliminate the fact you’ve got a bunch of fish in there, but it will make it harder for a shark to get at them. I keep one of these tied to my floatline along with my spearfishing stringer, as we normally dive for a crayfish or two on the way back to shore.
ROB ALLEN CRAYFISH BAG ULTRA LOW PROFILE GAME BAG - 3 SIZES AVAILABLE (Large)
1 Reviews
ROB ALLEN CRAYFISH BAG ULTRA LOW PROFILE GAME BAG - 3 SIZES AVAILABLE (Large)
  • Ultra low profile
  • Contours to the diver
  • Canvas backed to protect diver

 

  • Get yourself a float boat. I started using one of these when I started swimming out to an off-shore reef (it was a good 800 meters offshore),  as I wanted to cut my profile down and make it easier to swim back. It’s essentially a tiny, inflatable boat that you use instead of a float. There’s clips to attach any extra gear and throw a bottle of water in, and space to keep your catch inside the boat. So your speared fish are not floating in the water and attracting any hungry predators.
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Palantic Scuba Diving Inflatable Gangway Float Boat with Dive Flag & Air Pump
5 Reviews
Palantic Scuba Diving Inflatable Gangway Float Boat with Dive Flag & Air Pump
  • Inflated Measurement: 35" x 24" x 11". - Dive flag measurement: 10" x 8". Pole length: 19-3/4", 1/2" diameter.
  • Outside Material: PVC with reinforced mesh. Inside bladder: 0.35mm PVC
  • Include 6 plastic d-rings on the bottom and 5 plastic d-ring on the top side.
  • YKK zippers
  • Air pump included

 

In deep water, I tend to avoid using a spearfishing stringer altogether. We spearfish off the boat, and any fish we’ve speared go straight back into the boat. Once we get them out of the water that is. Because until you land the fish, there’s so many things that can go wrong. It’s not yours until it’s in the boat, or back on shore.

Using a spearfishing stringer is great if you’re targeting smaller and medium sized reef fish, and need a way to keep these together before you’re done spearfishing for the day. It’s a must-have piece of spearfishing equipment, and well worth the investment.

Happy spearin’

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The best spearfishing gloves to protect and insulate your hands

When you’re exploring the ocean, you need a decent pair of gloves. Not only do they keep your hands warm, but the best spearfishing gloves will protect you from all sorts of nasties.

Now, on my first couple of spearfishing adventures as a grommet I had very little spearfishing gear. Armed with a pole spear, my fins and a snorkel, I wasn’t even wearing a wetsuit in these early days, as it was the middle of summer and the conditions were perfect.

Getting a pair of the best spearfishing gloves seemed like overkill. Until I came across a cave full of crayfish. Despite being severely underprepared, myself and two friends managed to each pull a crayfish each from under the ledge. This proved far more difficult than I had ever imagined. Of course these suckers didn’t want to let go, as we’d yet to figure out you need a strong grip on the top of their carapace.

Without even a towline we swam back to shore crayfish in hand. It was when I got home that my mom almost had a heart attack, as my palms and fingertips had been slashed to ribbons from the spines on the crayfish.

But that wasn’t even the worst part. I had to stay out of the water for a week while they healed. The very next thing I did was buy a pair of the best spearfishing gloves. At least, the best available from the surf shop in my little coastal town. A pair of U.S. Divers’ Warm Water Gloves.

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U.S. Divers Comfo Sport 2mm Diving Gloves (Large)
113 Reviews
U.S. Divers Comfo Sport 2mm Diving Gloves (Large)
  • Comfo Sport Glove
  • 2mm neoprene back warm water glove
  • Reinforced synthetic suede palm
  • Elastic band withhook and loop closeure
  • Two-year limited warranty

 

They were great. Grabbing onto rock ledges as I pulled myself underwater to check out hidden ledges, fighting with crayfish on almost every dive, and also making it a bit less hairy when you’re trying to wrangle a struggling fish off your spear. The only downside was they lasted only about a season, as I put them through the works. Soon the fingertips started tearing through, and I needed to upgrade these again and again.

These days, I’m loving my pair of Strike gloves from Ocean Hunter. They’re a much tighter fit, and the sealed seams helps to cut down on the water washing through which keeps my fingers much warmer. Plus, the fully reinforced palms and fingertips feel a whole lot sturdier and have already lasted two seasons with only a little wear. Being neoprene they’re flexible yet still very strong, as I’d rather strength over flexibility in a pair of spearfishing gloves any day of the week.

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Ocean Hunter Strike Kevlar Glove, L
  • SKU: tri-glohskl
  • Brand: Ocean Hunter

 

Why get the best spearfishing gloves?

Your hands are important, but I found that after spending an hour or two in the water your palms and fingertips soften rather dramatically. What would result in just a small scratch normally is now a deep cut if it happens while you’re spearfishing.

There’s a few reasons to buy a pair of spearfishing gloves

First and foremost is the protection they give. It’s like a safety net. One of the spearfishing techniques I like to use is a slow dive along the bottom, pulling myself along. The added protection on your hands means I can do this without a worry I’m tearing them up.

Plus, you’re able to grip and grab things you normally wouldn’t. Like pulling a crayfish from under a rock, or sticking your fingers into the gill of a fish. The added protection means you can do this without a second’s thought.

It’s also safer. I am a big fan of shallow-water spearfishing in the wash of the waves along a headland, and there’s been many times I’ve gotten just a little too close. Having a decent pair or spearfishing gloves means that any time I need extra support to stop myself smashing into the rocks from the push of a wave, I can simply grab onto whatever is nearby.

Finally, the best spearfishing gloves will keep your hands warm. In summer it’s not as critical, but if you want any hope of a long dive during winter, keeping your hands warm is one of the most important steps. Once your fingers get cold, you’ll struggle to handle and reload your speargun.

These days, a pair of spearfishing gloves are a must-have in my basic setup, and I always have at least one or two pairs as backup in my boat.

What are the best spearfishing gloves?

I’ve tried everything when it comes to spearfishing, and have heard many different opinions when it comes to the best spearfishing gloves to buy.

One friend swears by his work gloves. They’re designed to be puncture resistant, and I’ve watched him use these to pull crayfish after crayfish out of their holes without a second’s thought. I like the protection myself, but I found the lack of insulation to be a big downside, especially if you’re diving deep or in cold water. My fingers get numb far too fast.

The next choice is to get cheap “gardening-style” gloves from the hardware store. They’ve got good rubberized grips and provide some protection for your fingers, but I hate how loose they fit. It might just be me, but I’ve yet to get a good close fit on a pair of cheap gloves. They always balloon up with water and feel like they want to float away when I’m swimming. Plus, they don’t last all that long and provide zero insulation.

My advice is to buy a proper pair of spearfishing gloves.

You want to find a pair of gloves that have a nice snug fit on your hand when you’re putting them on dry. They will stretch when they get wet so snug is perfect, just ensure it’s not too tight that the gloves are cutting off the circulation to your fingers. That’s bad.

For me, I also use gloves as an insulator, because my fingers go numb fast when I’m spearfishing. I always opt for 2mm spearfishing gloves, which I’ve found to be a good balance. They’re thick enough to keep my hands warm, yet I still have quite a lot of mobility in my fingers when I’m trying to wrangle a crayfish or reload my speargun.

If you can, I’d also recommend looking for gloves with a long wrist cover. That way you can create an overlap between your gloves and your wetsuit sleeve. I tuck my gloves underneath the sleeve of my wetsuit, which forms a nice barrier against any water getting in. But I’m not quite done. On my right wrist goes my dive watch, over the top of it all to hold the seal tight. On my left forearm I strap my dive knife, which I position so the top strap forms a second lock holding the seal tight on this wrist.

Now I’m ready to go spearfishing. My hands are protected from both the cold water and anything I may need to grab on a dive, and I’m able to last much longer in the water than if I wasn’t wearing spearfishing gloves at all. Don’t risk tearing your hands up or needing to cut your dive short. Get a pair of the best spearfishing gloves today, like the Ocean Hunter Strike. It’ll be worth it. Trust me.

Sale
Ocean Hunter Strike Kevlar Glove, L
  • SKU: tri-glohskl
  • Brand: Ocean Hunter

 

Happy spearin’