I’ve tried different types, and the best fish stringer is one that not only keeps your fish secure but is quick and efficient to use.
Unless you want to swim to shore with every fish, you need a tool to hold your catch.
There are a lot of options you have for a spearfishing stringer, let’s dive into the details. Why it’s important to have a fish stringer? How do you set it up and use it effectively? What do you look for when you’re buying a stringer?
A fish stringer will make your life easier in the water. It’s a critical piece of spearfishing gear that everyone should be using.
A spearfishing fish stringer has been specifically designed for spearfishing, unlike many products you’ll find in the market.
The most popular is a cable and spike stringer, which looks a little like a “T” shaped design. You have a clip or a loop to attach the stringer to your float, which connects to a heavy-duty cable (and is where your catch is stored), with a spike at the end.
To use this stringer, you take the spike, push it through the gills and out the mouth, or straight through the eyes of your fish, and out the other side.
This threads the fish onto the cable and they’re stuck from coming loose as the spike affixed as a “T” serves as an anchor.
Though it isn’t foolproof. In rough seas or against a persistent predator, there’s a chance a fish can come loose from this stringer. A small chance.
- Cable and spike “T” setup makes it the fastest loading stringer you’ll find
- Constructed from heavy-duty materials it will last you season after season
- Quick-clip to easily attach the fish stringer to your spearfishing float
It’s well worth the investment to ensure the fish you spear to make it back to shore.
But you do have some other options for a fish stringer. With a similar setup to this type of stringer, this is probably your best choice if you’re looking for a cheaper fish stringer. It’s essentially the same, just with lower-quality materials. A clip to attach the stringer to your float, a plastic-coated wireline to thread your fish onto, and a stainless-steel spike. All in all, a good choice if you’re looking for a low-cost fish stringer.
STORM HEAVY DUTY FISH STRINGER
This fish stringer has a different design. It’s essentially just a loop of metal that locks in place with a simple latch. It’s a little more secure because when your fish are on this stringer they’re caught in a closed-loop, with no chance to get loose.
The downside is it’s a little more cumbersome to use, you’ve got to unclip it each time, and you’ve only got a little space to play with as you thread more fish on. I found that once I have 5 or 6 fish on this stringer it’s about all you can fit comfortably.
You’ll also want to ensure the “spike” end of the clip has a point but not too pointed, if not just take a file to it before you tie it onto your spearfishing float. It’ll make it much easier to use.
WHY YOU NEED a FISH STRINGER?
When first starting to spearfish you may not have any idea what a fish stringer is.
I had always kept my catch live in a net bag (when I would fish), so my first spearfishing float setup was quite similar. A small orange buoy, with a large net bag hanging underneath.
The net bag proved great for holding a couple of crayfish, but once you add three or four fish into the mix it starts to become serious dead weight.
Fish are designed to be aerodynamic in the water, but when they’re stuffed inside a big net bag, they’re most definitely not. If I had been using a fish stringer instead, they would have been much easier to drag behind me on my float line.
The first dive I used a fish stringer I was a little apprehensive, (I was worried I’d lose my fish), but once I started pulling my float through the water the difference in weight was noticeable.
THE BENEFITS OF USING THE BEST FISH STRINGER
The biggest benefit of using a fish stringer is convenience.
If you’re shore diving, it’s not always possible to swim your catch back to the beach.
Using a fish stringer is also a lot safer.
HOW TO USE FISH STRINGER?
It’s essentially just a piece of cable or metal you thread your fish onto. You connect it to the float on your float line, so it’s right there and ready to use.
But not only that, the dead fish on the stringer hangs at least 30 meters away.
Makes me just a little safer if there’s a bigger predator out there looking for an easy meal.
When I catch a fish, this is how it works.
Once the fish is on the spear, pull the float line in close so the fish stringer will be handy.
Carefully bring up the shaft and grab the fish tightly, just behind the gills.
Using the spike on the stringer, thread it through the gills and out of the mouth of the catch.
This next step is very important.
When you’re fishing, you’re taught to keep your catch alive so it stays fresher for longer.
When you’re spearfishing, you don’t have this luxury.
A live fish, struggling on the end of your stringer is like a beacon for sharks. We’ve all learned that blood in the water will bring the sharks in, but what many people don’t know is there’s something else the sharks love more than blood.
As your catch thrashes about, it is sending out signals the sharks in the area can pick up on, and they’ll come in to investigate.
You want to kill your catch as fast as possible.
Getting a fish onto my stringer takes about ten seconds, a little longer if I need to dispatch it as well, and then I just need to reload my speargun and get back to spearfishing.
Once you’ve finished spearfishing and are back on your boat (or onshore), you just need to reverse what you did in the water. Unthread the fish, or unclip your fish stringer and then it’s time to start cleaning and scaling your catch.
HOW TO SET UP A FISH STRINGER?
When it comes to spearfishing, keep things as simple as possible.
This is how my float line is set up these days.
- A heavy-duty float with a “diver below” flag attached.
- A floating line of 30 to 35 meters (approx. 100 feet) attaching my speargun to the float
- A spearfishing fish stringer attached to the float.
I’m a big fan of the “T” style cable and spike fish stringer as it’s just so easy to use and it’s what I always recommend when my friends are learning.
Ultimately, it’s up to you.
WHEN YOU SHOULDN’T USE A FISH STRINGER
Of course, if you’re spearfishing in an area with high levels of shark activity a fish stringer isn’t a good idea. A pile of dead fish is like a buffet invitation for the sharks.
I’ve had a few close encounters in my time, and these days I have a couple of options when I’m diving in areas that are particularly sketchy.
The first is to use a spearfishing catch bag instead of a stringer.
It’s similar to what I used when I created my first float line and doesn’t eliminate the fact you’ve got a bunch of fish in there. But it will make it harder for a shark to get them out.
I usually have one of these net bags on my floatline at all times anyway (it’s where I store my crayfish), and if I’m worried about sharks I’ll put my fish in there.
The second option is to get a floating boat. You can buy one, like the below model from Palantic which is essentially just a tiny inflatable boat.
You use this instead of your float, but it has an area you can actually keep your catch right out of the water. No dead fish in the water means no hungry predators looking for a meal.
The only downside is they’ll be sitting in the sun (which can speed up how fast they spoil), so I wouldn’t recommend this on a long dive unless you’re also towing around a cooler full of ice.
The final choice is to keep either a live tank or a cooler on your boat.
When I’m spearfishing in deep water (and also where most of the big scary sharks like to hang about), I never use a fish stringer. I bring two coolers on board.
My catch goes straight into the boat and on ice, as soon as I’ve wrestled the fish out of the water that is. I’d hate to lose a prize fish because I was too greedy, or didn’t take the time to secure it properly in my boat.
CHOOSE THE BEST FISH STRINGER WHEN YOU’RE SPEARFISHING
A fish stringer is a must-have piece of spearfishing equipment, as it allows you to secure every fish you catch so you can keep spearfishing. Which is critical.