Pole Spears and Hawaiian Slings
There is some debate over what constitutes a Pole Spear or a Hawaiian Sling. I cannot say who is right or who is wrong, but I will clarify what I will be describing for each item. A Pole Spear is a long spear that can be made out of a variety of different materials. It is propelled through the water by a long band which is looped through the back end of the spear. The energy of a pole spear is stored by the diver by stretching the band toward the front of the pole spear and grasping the spear with the same hand that is holding the band. A Hawaiian Sling is a tube with a band connected to the tube with a notch in the back of the band that holds a spear designed to slide through the tube.
Generally, it comes down to preference on one compared to the other. There are countless varieties in design and quality of both types of devices. Regardless of quality, design, or innovations, they all tend to face similar challenges, benefits, and are used in similar manners for both types of devices, which is one of the reasons they are frequently clumped together.
Polespears have made some of the largest technological jumps in the past decade. This is especially true for their quality. The materials, precision, and quality have allowed pole spears to land some fish species that no one would have dreamed of landing with a pole spear in the past. That being said the challenges of the equipment have resulted in some die-hard users. One of the biggest challenges are range. Even the longest pole spears only have the lethal range of about a 45’ or 100 cm speargun. That being said, in that range they tend to hit the fish and penetrate it better than a speargun of that length at those ranges. So range is the major limitation for Polespears and Hawaiian slings.
Becoming a Better Spearfishermen
The benefits of using a Polespear or Hawaiian sling is that you are forced to become a better hunter. You are required to get better at stalking your prey and close the distance more. If nothing else, it adds even more challenge to an already challenging sport. Another benefit is that they are simple. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure any of these things out. Its simplicity is one of the reasons it is frequently a child’s first introduction to spearfishing.
Pole Spears and Hawaiian Slings – Legal Limitations
One of the biggest reasons to use these is that some places only allow the use of them to spearfish. The Bahamas and Bermuda have chosen to protect their fisheries from spearfishing by limiting spearfishing equipment to just pole spears and Hawaiian slings. These countries, and other like them have certainly helped to create a culture of using Polespears and Hawaiian slings and have resulted in a large number of people that prefer pole spear to spearguns.
So if you are planning a trip out of the country, remember to check their regulations. Especially on method of take and get some practice in. Alternatively, if you want to challenge yourself to become a better spearo pick one up. Force yourself to close the distance a bit more. After you get good with a pole spear or sling a speargun will almost feel like cheating.