So you want to catch fish with a pole spear? For beginners, using a pole spear can be one of the most difficult yet rewarding methods of catching fish.
In fact, you might not catch anything your first time out, or even your first couple times. But when you do land your first fish on a pole spear, you’ll be filled with a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
Stalking a fish underwater, in its own natural habitat is no easy task. You will need the right tools to increase your chances of success and make it a fun and rewarding activity.
What kind of pole spear should you purchase if you are new to the sport and looking to get your feet wet?
There are many types of pole spears, ranging from simple fiberglass one-piece spears for $30, all the way to advanced aluminum and carbon fiber hybrids costing over $500. Buying a pole spear you will enjoy using and which will enable you to catch the most fish is your best bet.
Let’s take a look at how to select the best pole spear for beginners.
Quick Answer: 5 Best Beginner Pole Spears
- Best Overall: JBL Travel Polespear 6′
- Budget Pick: MAKO Traveler Pole Spear
- Best Travel Spear: JBL Shaka 7′ Carbon Fiber Travel Pole Spear
- Best Lightweight Spear: Gatku Eight’er
- Also Consider: Evolve Carbon Fiber Travel Pole Spear
Best Overall: JBL Travel Polespear 6′
You really can’t go wrong with this pole spear. Manufactured out of aircraft-grade aluminum, this 3-piece spear is highly versatile and an awesome choice for your first spear. The JBL Breakdown Travel Polespear 6′ breaks down into three 26 inch pieces, so you can throw it in your backpack and hit the water!
It can be used in the standard 6-foot configuration or adjusted to 4 feet for close-range hunting and lionfish hunting. A 24” extension can also be purchased separately which extends the length to 8 feet.
Included with the spear are two different JBL spear tips, a barbed paralyzer tip, and a rock point tip. The rubber sling is also fully adjustable, so you can vary the amount of force needed to load and fire the spear according to personal preference. The aluminum construction is hollow which allows the inside of the spear to fill with water. This keeps the spear neutrally buoyant as well as giving it more power to penetrate through fish.
Lastly, when the spear pieces are screwed together the surface of the spear is totally flush with no protruding connectors. This allows for more accuracy when releasing the spear, as nothing will snag on your hand. Many cheaper spears are not flush and can even cut your hand when fired!
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- The standard 6mm thread is versatile, allows interchangeability of most tips
- Tough aircraft-grade aluminum makes the spear durable and rust-resistant
- Adjustable length (4 foot or 6-foot configurations)
- Smooth joint connectors increase accuracy
- Great for travel, breaks down into short 26” sections
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Best Budget Pick: MAKO Traveler Pole Spear
The best bang for your buck! At less than 50$, the MAKO Traveler Pole Spear is by far one of the best choices for a beginners pole spear. MAKO is a highly reputable brand in the diving and spearfishing community and makes excellent value products. Perfect for small and medium-sized fish, this three-piece aluminum spear breaks down into three 27.5” sections for easy traveling.
Included is a 5 prong paralyzer tip with barbs on the end of each prong, the paralyzer tip stuns the fish and the barbs keep it from escaping. Additional spear tips are available, as well as an adapter to allow the use of standard spear tips.
The spear measures 6’7” when fully assembled, but can be configured to 4’5” or 4’11” for close-range hunting. Or it can be used as a 33” length, strictly for killing lionfish. The connector joints are recessed on this spear, which enables a smooth release and increased accuracy. You’d have a tough time finding a better pole spear for beginners.
- Lightweight, durable aluminum spear for under $50
- Breaks down into three 27.5” pieces for easy traveling
- Ideal for hunting small to medium-sized fish, maximum 10-15 pounds
- Fully configurable lengths. 6’7”, 4’5”, 4”11” or 33”
- Recessed connector joints for smooth release
- Trusted MAKO brand product
Best Travel Spear: JBL Shaka 7′ Carbon Fiber Travel Pole Spear
The JBL Shaka Carbon Fiber 7′ is incredibly well built; it is undoubtedly the Cadillac of JBL’s pole spears. Constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum and carbon fiber, the tapered front section is aluminum, while the two rear sections are made of lightweight unidirectional carbon fiber. This unique design allows the spear to be incredibly light, while still durable enough to use in rocky reef environments.
The spear comes with JBL’s rock point slip tip which can handle large fish (some people report catching fish as large as 50 pounds!) The included rubber sling is heavy duty and gives added speed and penetrating power. It also comes with JBL’s heat shrink grip preinstalled, which helps hold the spear in a loaded position with ease.
Check out my hands-on review of the JBL Shaka for more info.
- Includes JBL’s excellent slip tip. (Retails for $40 on its own)
- The standard 6MM thread is versatile, allows interchangeability of most tips
- Ideal for hunting small, medium or large fish
- Lightweight hybrid aluminum/carbon fiber construction
- Aesthetically pleasing design, this spear is gorgeous!
- Breaks down into 3 sections for easy travel, the longest section measuring 36”
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Best Lightweight Spear: Gatku Eight’er
This lightweight 2-piece spear is truly the best pole spear for all experience levels, from beginners all the way to experts. Because of its lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum construction, the Gatku Eight’er tears through the water faster than almost any other spear on the market.
The 3/8” carbon fiber front section is highly maneuverable in the water and makes tracking and stalking fish a breeze. This makes it ideal for fish like hogfish, snapper, or Spanish mackerel.
The rear section is constructed of aircraft grade aluminum, which gives added penetrating power to the spear.
The added length of the spear means the grip position is 3 feet away from the end of the spear. This allows you to approach fish with greater stealth as they are less weary the farther away you are.
- Fast, maneuverable and easy to use
- Lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum construction
- 2-Piece construction, longest section measuring 46”
- Flexible carbon fiber front end means it will bend instead of breaking
- Added length increases stealth when stalking fish
Also Consider: Evolve Carbon Fiber Travel Pole Spear
The Evolve Carbon Fiber Travel Pole Spear is an excellent choice for just about anyone looking for a compact, versatile, and deadly pole spear. Its all carbon fiber construction and aircraft-grade aluminum fittings make it lightweight and give it a desirable tip-heavy balance.
Three different sections allow you to break it down for travel or transport. The spear can also be set up in 5 different length configurations, allowing you to set it up short for killing lionfish, or full length, when you need that extra reach.
Evolve makes the spear in four different length options (6ft, 7ft, 8ft, 9ft), so you can easily find the right length for your fishing needs. It’s also offered with a variety of different tips including a flopper, slip-tip, and 3-prong paralyzer tip.
- All carbon fiber construction with aluminium fittings
- Compact design makes it ideal for travelling with
- 3-Piece construction
- Ideal for hunting around reefs and wrecks
What to look for in a pole spear for beginners
Travel. Going on holiday? If so, you will probably need to pack the spear in your travel bag or backpack. In that case, a collapsible 2-piece or 3-piece pole spear will be necessary.
Environment. Will you be using it in saltwater or freshwater? Some cheaper pole spears have a tendency to rust and pit if exposed to saltwater and not properly cleaned after. Also, consider treating any metal parts of your spear with something like H&M CB12 Corrosion Block. This will stop corrosion and increase the longevity of your spear.
Target Fish. What type of fish will you be targeting primarily? Smaller fish are faster, and a lighter spear travels through the water faster than a heavier one. In this case, a carbon fiber spear would be best. Larger fish (over 10 pounds) require more penetration and a heavier aluminum spear with a thicker band would be ideal.
Depth. Consider where you will be using your spear primarily. If you will be fishing mostly in shallower water, say reefs or near lake shores, a shorter spear (6 – 8 foot length) is more maneuverable and useful. If you will be fishing in deeper blue water a longer spear (8-10 foot length) will enable you to reach bigger fish from a distance.
Visibility. Visibility is another important factor to consider, the better the visibility, the better the fish can see you coming. So, a longer spear works better in high visibility conditions. In low visibility conditions, you can get closer to the fish. So, a shorter spear will work to your advantage, as you can maneuver and load the spear with greater ease.
Why Does the Length of a Pole Spear Matter?
Pole spear length is a critical factor when choosing the right spear. Generally speaking, the longer a pole spear is, the less maneuverable it will be underwater as it becomes more difficult to make quick turns or twists. However, increased length also improves range (the distance between you and your target before throwing), so you may want to take that into account depending on your fishing situation.
If you are shooting fish from close quarters, such as in rocky caves or among coral outcroppings, a shorter pole spear could be beneficial due to its extra maneuverability in tight spots. When hunting bigger game from further away, a longer pole spear would allow for better range and accuracy with casting. All of these factors should be considered when determining what size pole spear is most suitable for your needs.
Pole Spear Materials Explained
Pole spears come in a variety of materials, but the three most common are aluminum, fiberglass and carbon fiber.
Aluminum poles are lightweight and relatively easy to transport, making them a great choice for taking on vacation. Another benefit of aluminum pole spears is affordability; they tend to be far less expensive than stainless steel variants. When used properly, aluminum can remain structurally sound and reliable underwater.
On the other hand, aluminum pole spears can corrode over time, even with proper maintenance, so careful upkeep is a must if you want them to last over multiple uses. Additionally, they may not be able to forcibly hold as much weight or require as much power efficiency as their stainless steel counterparts when thrusting through stronger species of fish.
Pole spears are often constructed of fiberglass and are especially useful for fishing in shallow waters. While fiberglass makes the pole spear durable and lightweight, it also has its downsides; this material is prone to warping in temperatures over 100 degrees and can be brittle, making it prone to cracking or breaking.
Additionally, fishing with a fiberglass pole spear can result in being more easily detected by fish due to vibrations from movement. On the up side, though, fiberglass poles provide an excellent weight balance and great flexibility, giving them an increased accuracy and precision when aiming your shot.
Carbon fiber’s durability allows the pole spear to withstand greater stress and impact than other materials, making it well-suited for extended use in deep-water scenarios or around coral. The light weight of carbon fiber also increases maneuverability while simultaneously decreasing fatigue on the user.
Despite these benefits, the cost of a carbon fiber pole spear may be more than some users are willing to pay. Additionally, its strength may be too much for an inexperienced user, leading to damage when used with too much power.
Can You Use a Pole Spear Out of Water?
While it is certainly possible to use a pole spear outside of the water, it is not recommended due to the potential for injury and the fragility of many pole spears. Due to its design, a pole spear does not have enough power to accurately shoot when out of water and will likely result in inaccurately launching the spear from the weapon, potentially into an unintended target.