Best Ways to Start Spearfishing – Is Scuba Diving or Freediving the Best Way?

By Charles •  6 min read
Best Ways to Start Spearfishing - Is Scuba Diving or Freediving the Best Way

Spearfishing is a sport that requires skill, patience, and the right equipment. It’s a way to connect with nature, challenge yourself, and catch your own food. As a beginner in the world of spearfishing, you may be curious about whether scuba diving or freediving is the optimal approach to begin with. This piece will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of both techniques, ultimately aiding you in determining which method suits your needs best to start your spearfishing journey.

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Spearfishing has been a tried and true method of catching fish for centuries. In modern times, it has evolved into a beloved sport that is enjoyed by people all over the world. However, beginners may feel overwhelmed when trying to navigate the best way to get started. One crucial decision you will need to make is whether you should opt for scuba diving or freediving when catching your prey. In this piece, we will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of each method so that you can determine which approach suits you best as a beginner in spearfishing.

What is Spearfishing?

Spearfishing involves using a spear to catch fish, and has been employed by various cultures throughout history as a sustainable method of harvesting fish. In contemporary times, modern spearfishers can utilize different techniques such as scuba diving or freediving to capture their prey. 

Scuba Diving for Spearfishing

Utilizing a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA), scuba diving enables divers to breathe while submerged. Spearfishers may find the prolonged periods of time they can stay underwater advantageous.

Advantages of Scuba Diving

Longer bottom time: With scuba diving, you can stay underwater for much longer periods of time compared to freediving. This means you can explore more of the underwater environment and have more time to catch fish. 

Ability to go deeper: Scuba diving also allows you to go deeper than freediving. This can be an advantage when trying to catch certain types of fish that are found at deeper depths.

More comfortable: Scuba diving is generally more comfortable than freediving since you don’t have to hold your breath for long periods of time. 

Disadvantages of Scuba Diving

Cost: Scuba diving requires more equipment than freediving, which can make it more expensive to get started.

More complicated: Scuba diving also requires more training and practice to master compared to freediving. This can make it more difficult to get started. You’d need to be scuba certified before you try diving in Tulum, for example, no matter if it is for spearfishing or just a recreational dive.

Less challenging: Since scuba diving allows you to stay underwater for longer periods of time, it can be less challenging than freediving.

Freediving for Spearfishing

Freediving is a method of underwater diving where the diver holds their breath and swims underwater. Freediving requires less equipment than scuba diving, but it also has some limitations.

Advantages of Freediving

More natural: Freediving allows you to experience the underwater environment in a more natural way since you don’t have to rely on equipment to breathe.

Less expensive: Freediving requires less equipment than scuba diving, which can make it a more affordable option for getting started.

More challenging: Freediving is more physically challenging than scuba diving since you have to hold your breath and manage your air supply.

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Disadvantages of Freediving

Limited bottom time: With freediving, you can only stay underwater for short periods of time before needing to surface to breathe. This can limit the amount of time you have to catch fish.

Shallower depths: Freediving has limitations on the depth you can reach, which can make it difficult to catch certain types of fish that are found at deeper depths.

Less comfortable: Freediving can be uncomfortable since you have to hold your breath and manage your air supply.

Choosing the Right Method for You


Choosing the right method for starting spearfishing will depend on your personal preferences, experience, and budget. For those who are inexperienced in diving, freediving could be a great option to begin with. It provides a more organic way of exploring the underwater world and requires less gear to get started. Nevertheless, if you have the financial means and eagerness to purchase scuba equipment and undergo training, it can allow for extended time underwater and access to greater depths.

Tips for Starting Spearfishing

No matter which method you choose, there are some general tips to keep in mind when starting spearfishing:

  • Always dive with a buddy: Spearfishing can be dangerous, and it’s important to always have a buddy with you for safety.
  • Know the laws and regulations: Make sure you know the fishing regulations and laws in your area before you start spearfishing.
  • Learn the local species: Familiarize yourself with the fish species in your area and their behavior before trying to catch them.
  • Start small: Start with smaller fish to practice your technique before moving on to larger species.
  • Practice safety: Always wear the appropriate safety gear, including a wetsuit, weight belt, and dive knife.

Safety Considerations

Spearfishing can be a dangerous sport, and it’s important to prioritize safety. Some safety considerations include:

  • Always dive with a buddy and establish clear communication signals before diving.
  • Make sure you have the appropriate safety gear, including a wetsuit, weight belt, dive knife, and spearfishing float.
  • Never dive beyond your limits or without proper training.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings and avoid areas with strong currents or dangerous marine life.


Both scuba diving and freediving have their advantages and disadvantages, and the best method for you will depend on your personal preferences and experience. No matter which method you choose, always prioritize safety and follow the appropriate fishing regulations and laws in your area.

koox diving and adventures

Spearfishing for invasive species, such as lionfish, can actually be beneficial to the oceans. Lionfish are not native to the Atlantic and Caribbean waters, and their population has exploded in recent years, causing harm to the ecosystem. By spearfishing for lionfish, not only are you helping to control their population, but you can also enjoy a delicious and sustainable seafood option.

This article was done in coordination with Jesus Guzman Dias – Chucho – the owner of Koox Diving & Adventures – a premier diving and adventure company with dive shops in Tulum & Playa del Carmen, Mexico. With a passion for exploration and a commitment to safety, Koox offers a wide range of thrilling activities including scuba diving, snorkeling, cenote exploration, and cultural tours.

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Charles is a man who loves the outdoors. He moved to Wyoming specifically to spend more time in the mountains and wilderness. A hunter and fisherman, Charles knows how to enjoy nature and all that it has to offer. He is an outdoorsman through and through, and he wouldn't have it any other way. Charles is the President of Absaroka Enterprises, an company focuse on outdoor entertainment and endeavours. He's also an Editor for Alpha and Omega Outdoors, an online hunting, fishing, camping, trapping, and all around outdoors blog.

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