Lionfish Hunting Gear: Selecting a Pole Spear - OceanWide Explorers (2022)

Searching for a lionfish hunting spear? We’re helping you select the most important piece: a pole spear. When it comes to hunting lionfish, you need to choose your weapon and choose it carefully.

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But first, what are lionfish?

Lionfish are an invasive species in the Western Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, they’re causing a detrimental impact to natural coral reef systems and the only way to deter their spread is to hunt them!

That’s where you come in!

Lionfish Hunting Gear: Selecting a Pole Spear - OceanWide Explorers (2)

Lionfish Hunting Gear: Selecting a Pole Spear

If you’re looking to get into the sport of spearfishing lionfish, this is a great place to start. One of the most important pieces of lionfish hunting gear you’ll need is a pole spear. How else were you planning on catching the thing, anyway?

This article breaks down all the factors to consider when buying a lionfish pole spear. By the end, you’ll have a thorough understanding of the best lionfish pole spear you’ll need to spear your prey!

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What is a pole spear?

A pole spear is an underwater tool to hunt while scuba diving, free diving, or snorkeling. It’s made up of three parts:

  • Shaft: the actual “pole” of the spear. Varies in length, material, and thickness.
  • Prongs: or “spear tip”, if you will. Prongs usually come as single, triple, or even quadruple tipped.
  • Sling: the “rubber band” of the pole spear. Two variations exist: a sling vs Hawaiian sling.
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Considerations When Selecting the Best Pole Spear for Hunting Lionfish

Consider these factors when buying your next pole spear. Choose wisely, my fellow hunters.

Length of Lionfish Hunting Spear

You want something short but not too short. Yet you want something with some range, but not too much range (the longer the pole spear the more range you’ll have). You feel me?

Typically, pole spears are manufactured between 2 feet and 6 feet. A 2 foot pole spear is doable for lionfish, but if you ask me, it puts my delicate hands at too much risk to get stung by one of their 18 venomous spines.

Not to mention, you’ll need to get a little closer to the lionfish which may end up spooking them when you’re going for your kill shot.

OUR RECOMMENDATION: I’ve had the most success with a 4 foot pole spear. It provides me a little extra range and more power (the slings are longer, thus, packing more punch). Additionally, our 3 foot pole spear works its magic underwater.

Stick between a 3 and 5 foot pole spear when hunting lionfish. Anything less? Too small and semi dangerous. Anything longer? Talk about overkill.

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Number of Prongs

This one isn’t even debatable when lionfish hunting. A single tipped pole spear would be detrimental – just about every lionfish would escape!

You need a three pronged tip (or even four, if you really wanted to). This would stick lionfish more efficiently reducing the amount escaping the clutches of your spear!

Additionally, you’re still able to dispense your catch into a lionfish containment system (we recommend the Zookeeper) without issue!

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Type of Sling

As previously stated, there are two different types of slings on a pole spear. Both have their pros and cons:

Standard Pole Spear Sling

A rubber loop attached to the back end of the pole. You wrap the loop around your thumb, pulling the shaft of the spear back gripping just above the prongs.

Pros to a Pole Spear Sling
  • Spear can be released one handed (freeing off-hand for steadiness, holding dive flag, etc.)
  • Although not recommended, spear can be cocked one handed too. (digging the prongs into the sand)
  • You can angle your shot better under ledges, into cracks, holes, and crevices.
  • Easily replaceable if sling snaps.
Cons to a Pole Spear Sling
  • More difficult to pull back and load the spear.
  • Not as accurate due to only one hand being used to steady the spear. (Obviously, this could be improved with experience)
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Hawaiian Sling on a Pole Spear

A Hawaiian Sling is used slightly differently than your standard sling. Coupled with a grip, a Hawaiian Sling packs a two handed punch while giving you a steadier aim.

Pros to a Hawaiian Sling
  • Steadier aim as two hands are required for use.
  • Easier to load spear back for your shot.
Cons to a Hawaiian Sling
  • Two hands are required, giving you less overall functionality during your hunt.
  • Prey needs to be directly in front of you. Difficult to angle into ledges, cracks, and crevices.
  • Entirely new handle and band are required for replacement when band inevitably snaps.
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Our Recommendation: start with a regular sling and venture into a Hawaiian sling to see how you like it. It’s entirely a preference thing when all said and done.

Currently, I strictly use a regular sling. It just gives you more versatility in the long run.

Ease of Travel

Will you be hauling around your 6 foot pole spear from boat to water? Airplane to your hotel? Maybe.

Or, is it easier to transport a simple 3 foot spear? How about a collapsible spear? Those do exist, after all.

Just be reasonable when deciding on a pole spear. Ask yourself, when and where will you be using it? How easy will this be to put into my dive bag?

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Pole Material

Lionfish pole spears are made from four different materials: carbon fiber, aluminum, fiber glass, and stainless steel.

Carbon Fiber

For lionfish, stay clear. This is the cream of the crop as these types of spears are for open water spearfishing.

Aluminum

I may be biased, but I had an aluminum pole spear only for it to bend in my dive bag. If you have a thick enough one, it could certainly work. But they’re not the best.

Fiber Glass

Mostly, lionfish pole spears are made of fiber glass. Don’t hesitate to buy any, just make sure it’s thick enough (circumference, that is. We have a very flimsy, thin fiber glass pole spear).

Oh, and they’re usually the cheapest!

Stainless Steel

The lionator is the only pole spear I’ve seen made of stainless steel and I think it’s one of the best on the market. Far better than aluminum and slightly heavier than the fiber glass.

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Our Recommended Lionfish Hunting Spears

Years of hunting lionfish later, I’m zeroing in on the best lionfish pole spear. Here are our favorites so far:

The Lionator

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The Lionator is a short, yet perfectly balanced underwater weapon. The stainless steel design and removable prongs makes it strong, durable, yet easy for travel.

Collapsible 5′ Travel Spear

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This 5′ pole spear from Scuba Choice is the perfect medium of length, versatility, and travel compatibility.

Lionfish Hunting Gear: Selecting a Pole Spear Final Thoughts

Well, hopefully you’ve learned enough to make a well informed choice on your next (or first) pole spear! In summary:

  • A 3 to 5 feet pole spear is the ideal length for hunting lionfish.
  • When lionfish hunting, you’ll need a three pronged tip, at least.
  • Consider travel compatibility. If it’s 5 feet or greater, be sure that it collapses.
  • Test out a Hawaiian sling and regular sling. The benefits between the two is entirely your preference.
  • Stainless steel or fiber glass pole spears are our favorite to work with (and they’re the cheapest).

If you have any other questions regarding lionfish hunting gear, feel free to contact us at any time or just leave a comment below!

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Read More About Lionfish Hunting

We hope you enjoyed our post on selecting a pole spear for lionfish hunting. Hopefully you’ll find it useful on your next adventure! Here are a few more ocean-loving articles we think you should read next:

  • Lionfish Hunting: Everything You Need to Know
  • 18 Facts You Should Know About Lionfish
  • The Gear You Need to Hunt for Lionfish
  • Spearfishing Lionfish: Shooting Your Prey

Leave a comment below with your favorite pole spear or factors you consider when making a purchase!

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