Hawaiian Sling

Spearfishing can be a fun spin on the traditional pole-and-string. It requires precision, accuracy, and a little more hunting skill than fishing from a seated position. Though there are many different ways to Spearfish, one of the most common and successful methods is the classic Hawaiian sling.

This fish hunting method is actually far more of a useful bushcraft skill than one may immediately assume. It can be constructed out of necessity,  with materials found in the wild, or by using common objects found around the house.

With some training and time on the shore, you can be a spearfishing master using a Hawaiian sling spear.

The Hawaiian Sling Spear

Spearfishing dates back as old as the Bible in Job 41:7. Poles of various lengths, shapes, and tips have been used to stab fish out of the lakes and shores in civilizations new and old across the globe. This ancient technology is one of the most useful and long-lasting that we can observe.

Many of our ancestors lived on fish they could catch. Their poles were their lifeline, allowing them to sneak barbed devices through the lens of the water and into their gilled meals. These technologies may not be today’s easiest means of catching fish, but still rank pretty highly when it comes to survival.

As the name implies, the Hawaiian sling is commonly used in Hawaii, although its actual history cannot accurately be dated back to Hawaii in specific as the design has been used for millennia. Hawaii’s climate, popularity, and ability to be spearfished keeps this tri-tipped bungee poles name around.

Spear Construction

There isn’t much to this fish grabbing rig. The Hawaiian sling is comprised of three major parts:

Tip

First, you have the tip. This is a three-pronged end that is shaped like a tripod, with the extruding ends being sharpened to a point. They are made most commonly out of metal such as steel but can be found made with materials such as carbon fiber, fiberglass, or a type of wood.

Pole

The next component to the sling is the bulk of the device. The pole itself ranges from four to six feet long and is about an inch wide. These dimensions can change however depending on the type of build and location being fished. 

The material of the pole itself can also vary. A modern pole is often made of fiberglass, metal, or wood while the ones you may construct in the wild are often made primarily of wood alone.

Carbon fiber is a very lightweight material that can serve as a great pole. The materials discussed can also be salvaged from parts commonly found, we will discuss do it your self options further.

Sling

Finally, the launching mechanism of the Hawaiian sling spear is made of any number of elastically charged materials.

Surgical tubing is one of the most popular methods of propulsion as it has high elasticity and does not wear out very quickly. Other options include bow strings, braided rubber, elastic bands, or other rubber recycled materials.

DIY Sling Spear

Market grade sling spears can vary in prices as the quality of construction also varies greatly. Making one your self can be one of the most cost efficient and exciting ways to customize your traditional fish hunting experience. 

Constructing your own spear is relatively simple, but will take some creativity and ingenuity on your end, as everyone’s materials are often different. Let’s start by discussing tip construction.

A common method of tip building is to take 3 bicycle spokes and sharpen one end of each to a sharp point. cut the spokes evenly so they are two to six inches long. Next, weld or bind these together at the non-sharpened ends. This end will be fastened to the end of the pole.

You may also find sharp wood pieces, needle ends, or hardened wire to use as a tip. Just consider the condition it will be operating in. It must be able to take a hit to a reef or rock and be sharp and nimble enough to pierce a fish.

The Pole and Tip

When it comes to pole selection, the imagination is the limit. A slender rod of your desired length is used as the body of the weapon. Cut the ends off of a hockey stick, lacrosse pole, ski pole, tent pole, long arrow, or other reclaimable material. 

In the wild, the use of a straight and slender four-foot stick will do great. Though you can mount any number of tip types to a stick like this, a common method is to simply sharpen the end of the stick into a split, two-point tip. This reduces the time taken to build the contraption.

The Sling

Your last piece as you may guess is the sling. Again, imagination and creativity will be your best friend when constructing this part.

The key is to choose a material that provides resistance and can be preloaded. The band should be 5 to 15 inches in length and be pliable and resistant to breaking. 

A bicycle intertube, surgical tubing or bungee cable can do very well for this. To assemble, either fasten with a bolt or bind tightly with a strand of paracord, twine or string the elastic piece in a loop to the end of the pole that doesn’t have the tip.

You must make sure that the method used to bind the resistance strap is strong enough to withstand multiple tightly stretched preloads. 

Now you have a fully constructed sling spear. How are you going to use it?

Using Your Sling Spear

With a fresh fish slaying spear in hand, its time to hunt! Let’s see what practice you should have before getting under the water and searching for dinner.

The sling spear should be held in your good hand. With the elastic strap looped around your thumb, pull the rod back so that it stretches the band tight.

With it tensioned, hold the rod with the same hand that the elastic is looped on with the barbed end facing outward away from you. Now, simply aim and let go! the rod and all will jump forward propelling it and its barbed end out a few feet very quickly.

Practice this to ensure you can operate your spear safely before getting into the water. If you have made your own, make sure the device holds up well and reinforce where ever may need strengthening.

Fishing Days Ahead

It may take a couple version to get it just right, but you will be an expert spear builder by the time you are ready to hunt fish!

Keep your mind as sharp as the Hawaiian sling, and get hunting with a spear today! Whether you are creating your own or hunting with a tested pro-spear, the Hawaiian sling will get you dinner with a show!

For more great articles about life in the great outdoors, fishing, diving, and more check out our blog. Happy spearfishing!