Best spearfishing knife for your spearfishing adventures

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. Once you start looking at titanium spearfishing knives these get significantly more expensive, but they’re also completely rust-proof.

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.

Happy spearin!

Why you need a dive knife for spearfishing

The first time I strapped a dive knife for spearfishing to my leg I felt invincible. I was 15 years old, and it was a second-hand blade I picked up at a garage sale for $2. Unlucky for me it wasn’t actually all that secure in the sheath, and it promptly slid out to be reclaimed by the ocean when I started spearfishing.

I never found that dive knife again.

But I did invest in a new spearfishing knife a few weeks later. One that actually stayed put around my calf, and I could draw at a moment’s notice.

The spearfishing knives always drew my eye when dad took me to the dive store. Shiny and sharp, I wanted the biggest and best (despite a significant lack of funds). Maybe it was watching a little too much Rambo as a kid. Or Crocodile Dundee.

After over 30 years in the water, it’s with reluctance I say I’ve never had to draw my knife to fight off a monster from the deep. There’s nothing out there trying to “get you.” Despite the pit of fear in your stomach when you realize the bottom that’s out of sight is also probably out of your dive depth as well.

That’s the open ocean.

But I always recommend new people to the sport invest in a dive knife for spearfishing.

It’s not a weapon.

It’s a tool.

A dive knife for spearfishing is one of the most important pieces of gear to buy.

Because the thing that’s most dangerous to you in the water is other fishermen. Or more accurately, the trash they leave behind.

Discarded fishing line is one of the biggest risks you face when spearfishing. I’ve seen more than my fair share around my local headland, and I typically dive in some of the most remote spots up and down the Australian coast.

Every snagged line that breaks (or is cut) and forgotten by a fisherman above the water, is leaving behind a death trap for those underwater. People and marine life alike. Of course, much of this is not done on purpose, it’s simply a byproduct and waste from a more inefficient form of fishing. And the pain that it can cause is real. In 2017, fellow diver Angelia Dover got her regulator caught and she drowned, unable to surface.

If only she had a dive knife for spearfishing.

She could have cut herself free, and rejoined her family.

But that’s not even the scariest part.

When you’re spearfishing, time isn’t on your side. With each breath the countdown begins, and should you get snagged underwater you’ve literally got seconds to get yourself free and make it back to the surface. That’s where a dive knife for spearfishing comes in handy.

Mine has a serrated edge for rope and sea kelp, along with a line-cutter that’s perfect for slicing through old fishing line. And while many people will swear off of a knife with a point, I also use my spearfishing knife to quickly dispatch any fish I catch. It’s got to be sharp.

We cover everything you need to consider for the best spearfishing knife in another post, but I just want you to do me a favor.

Before you head out into the water, invest in a dive knife for spearfishing. It may just save your life.

Happy spearin!