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UK Spearfishing

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Stevie T

Well-Known Member
Jan 27, 2003
Hi guys, I'm new to spearfishing and will be getting my first gun in the next couple of weeks. I live in Weymouth on the south coast of the UK and have found through my diving some fantastic looking places to try.

However, I was just wondereing if anyone could give me some advice on getting started, i.e. size of gun, additional items required (I know wet suit and water! :t ) eg. floats etc.....

Also if anyone has any experiance of the Weymouth & Portland area it would be nice to share any hints.

Many thanks in advance for any help........
Buy yourself a gun of about 1m (Im guessing that water clarity is not great where you dive and youll want to be able to see the end of it) this is a good size gun for general use and you can always buy another gun a bit longer for bigger fish or cleaner water and longer shots
Rob Allen or Riffe or many of the european guns are good look around a bit and ask on prices reliability etc -Rob Allen and riffe are both very reliable and hard wearing guns from what I have seen as for floats an 11 litre Rob allen foam filled job is very popular and sturdy get it with a flag attached so mad boaties dont run you over.
Youll also want a kniffe with a sharp point like the Riffe spearo Dagger for killing bigger fish and hopefully not but maybe to cut yourself out of a tangle . And get your self long bladed freediving fins they are better for deep freedives and scare fish less than lots of quick kicks from short fins.:)
I suggest 75 gun min for general purpose fishing plus a 90 if you can afford it as the visibility can be 25 ft plus.I also recommend a tidetable for Portland Bill the tides on the point are dangerous to the unwary,Good fishing to be had westside of Portland Bill from Chesil beach to the point.I have dived there many times with good catches bass mullet pollack.
good hunting
Old Dave
Welcome UKSpearo
IMHO the most important thing you can get yourself is a good spearfishing wetsuit.
Comfort and warmth are directly related to Bottom time.
I'm not saying that you need to do massive BT for fish but If you start shivering and getting cold like you will in a Surf wetsuit, forget about it, you won't be able to hold your breath for any time at all.
regarding Scuba suits with plush lining and zippers , you will be warm but be as flexible as a bit of driftwood, again not good.also you wil probably need a lot more weight.
Gun length in my experience a 90cm Eurogun will be adequate for probably 80% or more of your dives.
I have found that the 75's are just a little short for some shots. anyway guns aren't really that expensive round €100 should see you with a decent gun.
for twice that you could get two.
Floats , while the foam filled RA floats are exceptionally good they are very bulky to store and transport , plus you probably won't be spearing anything big enough to take the float down far enough to implode it.(If you do give me a PM immediately)
I have a Cressi inflatable and have found it to be really good. I lost the little alpha flag that came with it but have chopped up an old fishing rod and bought a small flag to fit to it, Poacher is right about mad boaties the more visible you are the better.
I have fitted a stringer to the float so I don't have to tow around a pile of fish.
Weight belt: get a rubber belt either Marseillaise (Holes) or American Clamp.
you don't want to be constantly readjusting your belt, not only is it annoying it is also dangerous not to know where the buckle is.
Knife: I am in two minds on this , A good spearfishing knife is a lovely thing and heartbreaking to lose. Sods law demands that the cheaper the knife the less likely you are to lose it! Just make sure you have one.
Fins: I started with Scubapro Gorilla open heel fins, didn't know any better.
I then graduated to Picasso Black teams and marvelled at the difference.
I got a pair of Specialfins Hybrid Pro Hards for my last B'day and marvelled again at the difference. I would get pair that fit my feet well before worrying about anything else.
Booties :whatever fit, and maybe finkeepers as well.
The best thing ever? A good Buddy or a mentor.

Good Luck

Last edited:
Stevie T
Portland Bill shoreline is kelp coverd rock & bolders leading to deeper water. This is where fish are I personally think a 75 gun a better option in this situation.
Good Hunting
Old Dave
With lower viz a smaller oleopneumatic gun like the Mares Medi Sten or SeacSub Asso 75 or 90 are a good bet. They have lots of punch and power and are nice to use. Contrary to popular opinion they are easy to look after, spare O rings cost about 30 pence for the 3 at the front end of the gun. Best prices for air guns are through Scubastore / Deeperblue

Stevie.... guess what! I live in Weymouth to! I know Portland very well! Be careful of the race (tide - is very dangerous if you don't know it) off Bill point. Get in contact and we can sort out some dives for next year if you like. I use a 90 when it's clear, but I use a 75, 90% of the time. Go and see Ben in Portland Ocean engineering in Portland castle town (on the left hand side a hundered yrds before the slip way or so), he has all the kit and will give you good advice.

Whats your e-mail address and I'll mail you.

I should be out on Saturday, the water temp is still about 12c so is OK, I'm still using a 5mm suit and it's fine... March till April I use a 3mm under my 5mm though!

Safe diving

I used my 75cm gun for the longes time, but since I got my 120cm gun the 75 has not been in water.. why? Well even in bad conditions I find the longer gun better, if you position yourself well you can see shadows of the fish swimming by.. I have shot many good sized fish from quite far using such technique.
The only time I wish I had taken my 75cm gun with is when I can only see about 2feet... but then ususally the sea is rough and it is very difficult to dive in the first place.

happy diving to you all..

Hmmmmm.....shooting at shadows! Remind me not to dive too close to you when I hit the UK in a few weeks!!!
oh not to worry... nine out of ten I am hitting a fish.. the measly 10% are just swimmers.. could say a freak accidents..:) :martial
Merry Christmas..

I would second the comment on getting a good suit.

I bought an Elios one (plenty of references here in the search - but this is the web site : www.eliossub.com - head to tailor section with the scissor logo/button).

For example a surfing wetsuit new inthe shops here is at least £180 (yes...rip off Guernsey) or you can buy a spearing one for about £145 from a shop... or you can get a tailor made one from Elios for about £140 (including postage) that fits like a glove and takes feeling cold out of the equation.

I used to dive with an old surfing suit and lasted 45mins before all the blood retreated to the centre of my body. Now with a 5mm open-cell/kanoko Elios I have been out for a fair couple of hours.

Next I would consider a decent mask - get one that fits - alot of people find that the Cressi Superochio fits well. It wont break the bank either.

So now you have a way of keeping warm and a way of seeing.

Next up I would think about fins.
Personally I started with and continue to use Sporasub Dessault full-foot pocket fins. Don't get open heel fins and dont get Mares Quattro scuba fins (ok so I lied :) - I started with MAres scuba fins - big difference graduating to long fins.) Again not too expensive and you can replace the fin blades if you crack one - or later upgrade with a better fin blade. Flexibility and value for money.

So : suit - mask - fins...
Next I would go for a weight belt - get a rubber one - they have Cressi "Elastic belts" on the Scubastore site - these are rubber ones and what you want - they cost about a tenner from scubastore - have yet to see them cheaper in the UK even with postage - also hardly ever in stock on scuabastore but they have a load in at the moment (I just bought two :) - how greedy !).

Chuck some lead on it - at first you should not put too much on.
If you are a beginner - go diving/spearing with other people.
Make sure that the amount of lead that you have if not so much that you sink if you stop swimming. You should be bouyant at the surface!

When you dive down the point that if you were to stop swimming you would neither float back up nor sink further into the depths is the neutral bouyancy point.

Try to set the weight so that you are comfortable with this point. For eample if you can hold your breathe for 30 seconds and dive to around 5m then you might like to consider setting the weight to about 6m.

ie so that you are just floating back up to the surface when you hit the bottom at 5m. You can then grab onto a bit of seaweed and shoot with the other hand. This is sometimes a good feeling of security knowing that you will float back up when up are finished at the bottom.

Other people will no doubt have different opinions (Depends on you level and hunting area - personally I wear less weight in strong currents, mates who freedive to 30m hardly wear any weight / mates who spear in water 6m to 10m wear loads of weight - in fact too much - sometimes I worry - so dive responsibly with others and wear less weight if in doubt and until you know what you are doing.).

Next I would consider a float.
Hang your fish stringer from it. Less to get tangled on the bottom or potentially stop you surfacing. Yes - get a large float - inflatable ones seem good - the best UK ones I have seen are from Apnea in Jersey - the double bladder ones. ANyway - I made one and will be adapting it this winter to have a large flag with "fekk off windsurfers" written on it or possibly displayed in neon (I became a popular race marker in the summer...).

Then a trusty knife.
A large mullet on the end of your spear may be incredibly frisky and unwilling to go home with you. Bass less so in my opinion.
Also very handy for cutting fishing line and taking it home to burn.
I wear mine on the inside of my calf to avoid any tangles.

So that is the basic kit.
Then the gun.

Personally if you are unsure of the gun type that you want I would buy a really nice Totemsub Guizzo 80 (http://www.totemsub.it/guizzo/guizzo.htm) (and then sell it to me ! Or at least try it and tell me how you like it).
No seriously - I would buy a Picasso Century 82 from scubastore (about £84) or a Gimansub Labrax 80 if you have more cash (about £175) or something like a Totemsub Pelagos 90.

The first one (Picasso) is an aluminium gun. Nicely made, accurate and strong.
The second two are Italian wooden guns. Do a search for info on these as I will go on about it for ever once started.... Needless to say they are quieter, handle smoothly, accurate, powerful yet easy to use, look good and women want to touch them constantly. Kind of like a cashmere jumper...

So all that and a good bag to hold it all and dont forget to rinse everything after each dive and you should be in with some nice fish...(Also - I never touch a drop of alcohol the day before diving - this seriously affects your ability to hold your breathe - or at least mine - even a glass of red wine or a beer will drop my bottom-time by 50%....)

(If I were to recommend one thing (in a Spanish Inquisition stylee) it would be a good buddy who will watch you, a good suit to keep you warm ... and surprise).

Hope that was helpful.
Stevie - ther's lots of conflicting advice on gun lengths here. I have a 60, 90 and 120. I use teh 90 most of the time. BUT I dive in North scotland and the viz patterns here are different from down there. I'd use whatever most of the guys that spearfish locally use. 75 seems to be the norm on the south coast. This can be used for hole fishing and open water (because the viz tends to be poor). I use my 60 when the viz is bad and the 120 when it is exceptionally good.

I'd certainly echo the advice on the suit, weight belt & float (these have the two greatest performance and safety gains of any part of kit).

I hope you enjoy your new sport!

Alison said:
Are there any fish in the UK? Not any more Shaca shot them all last winter I think

Hey easy on me. :blackeye I am just making sure the demographics of sea bass does not get too out of shape ;)

Are they really?????

Why is this, have they been overfished as usual :( ?
Its Gibraltarian by the way :D

Today i am going to whack a huge one just for you ;)

I will send you the video. Hope colin does not mind you watching vids of men in tight rubber suits HAHAHA
I am going Scotland in the month of July for a short week stay, with my buddy and our wives. We come from Malta, v.small Isand in the Med, surrouded by warm crystal clear waters. Obviously I would like to hunt while I am in Scotland. Thus would appreciate if you post tips and hints for us. Remember we come form the Med, thus know nothing about tides, ocean temp (What will it be in July?), type of fish, visibility, laws and regulations (by the way, can we fish in lakes?), good,safe locations to fish. In a nutshell what should we beware of and what should we look for?
Thanks guys.
Don't worry we are greenies(2yrs hunting) so we won't take too much of your fish
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