Hawaiian Sling Spearfishing

By David Fialkoff •  Updated: 11/30/20 •  5 min read

A Hawaiian sling can be considered the middle ground between the powerful speargun and the basic pole spear. Think of it as the aquatic version of a bow and arrow; that offers accuracy, speed, and range that goes beyond the capabilities of a pole spear, and you don’t have to worry about entanglement either.

Read on to learn all about Hawaiian Slings and how you can spearfish using this simple yet effective device.

What Is a Hawaiian Sling?

The Hawaiian sling is one of the simplest devices used in spearfishing but nonetheless a unique tool, unlike other pole spears. It is comprised of three major parts:

What Makes It Different from a Pole Spear?

The features that differentiate a Hawaiian sling from the pole spear are the elastic rubber tube found at one end and the grip. When it comes to a Hawaiian sling, the grip slides along the pole, while on pole spears, it slides along the diver’s hands. Except for these two aspects, we can safely say that the Hawaiian sling is identical to the usual pole spear.

When Was The Hawaiian Sling Made?

The Hawaiian sling was popularized in the 1950s, although humans have used similar fishing slings for thousands of years. Anyone can try this method of spearfishing, but just as long as they have the necessary license or permit.

Where Is It Used?

As the name implies, the Hawaiian sling is commonly used in the Aloha State, although its origins couldn’t be traced back to Hawaii in specific. These slings are also popular in other states of the United States such as Florida, as well as countries like the Bahamas, the Netherlands, Germany, and Japan.

How Does a Hawaiian Sling Work?

A Hawaiian sling consists of a wooden tube with an elastic loop at one end. How it works is that the shaft, which is tipped by a spearhead, is drawn through the tube and pulled back, stretching the loop. Upon release, the shaft is propelled forward, much faster and further than a diver could by hand.

How Do You Make a Hawaiian Sling?

Anyone can make a DIY Hawaiian sling spear. The construction is relatively simple:

It may take a couple of tries to get your sling just right, but you’ll become an expert at making Hawaiian sling spears by the time you’re ready to hit the water. And if you don’t succeed, don’t worry – you can always buy one.

How Do You Spearfish with a Hawaiian Sling?

First Thing’s First – Gear

You don’t need that much gear to get started with spearfishing, but you still need some basic equipment:

Optional items include gloves, a titanium dive knife, and a wetsuit.

Tips and Techniques

1 – Swim out to Deeper Water

Big fish prefer the depths, so if you want to get your hands on bigger fish, you’ll need to learn how to hold your breath longer underwater.

2 – Scan the Bottom for Fish

After you’ve reached that ideal spot where the water is deep enough, float at the surface and look for any fish that may be on the bottom. If you’re lucky, you will find schools of fish, which are easier to target. If not, you may have to look for them between the cracks and under the ledges, which brings us to the next tip.

3 – Play Hide and Seek

Sometimes, fish don’t always present themselves easily, so you will need to look under ledges and rocks, or inside caves and crevices. You should always be in a state of mind where you are ready to catch the fish because the last thing you want to do is get startled when you see a fish hiding somewhere and it swims away.

4 – Stay above the Fish

Now that you’ve spotted a fish, descend quickly but at the same time, you need to make sure it doesn’t see you. You have to sneak up on it and the best way to be successful is to always stay above it so that it doesn’t notice you.


Spearfishing is an ancient fishing tradition that still appeals to many people worldwide. If you’re drawn to this sport, try the Hawaiian sling spear – a simple device that can be used by beginners and pros alike. And even if you don’t manage to catch anything, you will still get to enjoy the amazing seascape around you.

David Fialkoff

David Fialkoff is the founder of Spearfishing.Live, a site that's dedicated to the sport of spearfishing. He is a full-time digital marketer and loves to spend time chasing fish underwater on the weekends.