What is a good spearfishing knife?

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What is a good spearfishing knife?

Postby chris oak » December 29th, 2017, 12:25 pm

We had this discussion in the past in the rigging section and I'll try to find it later. I had a guy ask me about it recently and IMO it really depends on what you are doing when you are diving. If you are diving with cable for giant fish, you better have a knife or shears that can cut that cable.

I am your basic shore diving, sometimes boat diving kook. I carry two knives and they are pretty similar in function as they are disposable. I say this because I am an expert in losing knives, I can carry a pocketknife forever and never lose it but I'll drop a dive knife once a season.

I used to carry expensive titanium ones and had a hard time sharpening them. I tried the small Dexter commercial net knives which were the sharpest I've ever used but as they aged they would often break at the hilt when I was braining bigger fish.

I now rotate through a series of different knives, mainly it depends on what's near me. Either a Mori Italian style dive knife, a rapala white handled bait knife or a skeletonized stainless one. The skeletonized one comes with a piece of crap sheath that needs a lot of work as the release button always fails or jams so I either put it in one of my better knife sheaths or use a bungee to hold it in, it is absolutely the worst sheath I've ever seen. I like this knife because it is thick steel and I can also take them to work to cut a notch in one side with our metal saw to use as a shackle release when I'm hunting tuna. The stainless grade is usually crap and the knives start rusting after a couple of years which hasn't really happened much because I lose them faster than that, I am also a fanatic when it comes to washing down my gear and everything gets soaked for a while in fresh, soapy water.

I sharpen all my knives (filet, pocket, dive) regularly with either a good ceramic stick or a shitty file (depending on the type of knife) and they are pretty sharp so I can easily gut fish or cut lines. I also usually carry two knives, one on my arm or leg, and one on my weight belt system. I know exactly where they are and practice removing them each to brain fish so I can do it by memory if I can't see.

Regardless of what knife you choose make sure that:
1. you can personally sharpen it yourself to cut the mono you are using
2. that you can cut cable with it if you need to
3. that it is long enough to brain the type of fish you are hunting. There are a ton of very small 3" knives that will have a harder time getting thru that bone and braining big tuna or grouper.
4. that you probably want to put a piece of bungee to hold the knife in its sheath and also use as a lanyard, I learned this from Bill Mac years ago when I first start scrounging the internet to learn things
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Re: What is a good spearfishing knife?

Postby Bill McIntyre » December 29th, 2017, 2:30 pm

Good subject Chris.

I carry two knives, one on my left forearm and one in a pouch sewn on the left thigh of my wetsuit. I prefer the forearm to the weight belt because I want to be able to see it and get to it instantly.

I'm always amazed when I read so many guys saying they lose knives all the time. I go years without losing a knife, at least partly because that bungee holds it in the sheath and because I put my hand through the loop of bungee as I remove the knife from the sheath. Not only does that keep me from losing it if I drop it, but it allows me to drop it if I want to use two hands after cutting kelp, braining fish etc.

I've used the Mori imitation of the Riffe Italian knife for years, but last year I did manage to lose one and replaced it with The Red Tide version copy of the Mori copy (I think they're all made in the same factory). The Red Tide version is different in that its serrated on both edges. It seems that I never used the straight edge of a Mori Riffe anyway, so why not have serrations on both sides?

On my thigh I carry a Wenoka that's just a little longer. If I'm taking my time getting a knife out to cut kelp, I use that one.
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Re: What is a good spearfishing knife?

Postby NaClAddict » December 29th, 2017, 3:37 pm

I like the Mori knife. I tried red tide and both knives had no edge on the tips. Sharp edges on the tips make for more controlled braining. Fewer stabbed hands. I too like the double edged serrations though. I went with the polished finish and it rusts quickly. Maybe should’ve done Teflon except I don’t want Teflon on my food.

I’ve also always had good luck with these knives.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B007ZG30 ... ref=plSrch

More of a utility dive knife. Great kelpcutter. Useful serrations and line hook also. Sheath lock has never jammed in decades of use. Fills the hand nicely. Only drawback is I’ve had the two plastic parts of the sheath separate. So now I zip tie the sheath together at the bottom and just below the lock and no problems.
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Re: What is a good spearfishing knife?

Postby Avenues » December 29th, 2017, 8:09 pm

+1 On the red tide knife.



As far as stabbing your hand while braining a fish, unless it's a monster I like pinch the blade between my thumb and pointer a couple inches from the tip of the knife. This way my fingers restrict how deep the blade goes by stopping on the top of the head.

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Re: What is a good spearfishing knife?

Postby Rob102 » December 29th, 2017, 8:39 pm

I’m a fan of the squeeze knife. I add a bungee loop to the handle to secure it to my wrist. When I’m not using it the loop stretches down over the top of the sheath. I mount it horizontally on my belt so it doesn’t poke me when I paddle or hang up on kelp. There are many brands of this knife so you can get them cheap if you look.

http://www.aqualung.com/us/dive-gear/ac ... lock-knife
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Re: What is a good spearfishing knife?

Postby Behslayer » December 30th, 2017, 12:13 am

A good knife is one that cuts the lines you may encounter. Big serrations are not your friend.

One trick with braining fish. I don't know how many times I've heard of guys stabbing their fingers braining fish. They are holding the fish in the gills and stab right through the head and into their fingers. I also have broken a bunch of knife blades stabbing heads. One way to avoid this is to brain the fish from the gills.
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Re: What is a good spearfishing knife?

Postby NaClAddict » December 30th, 2017, 9:55 am

For the record. I have never stabbed myself while braining a fish. I was just bummed that the cutting edges on the red tide knife weren’t anywhere near to an edge. Having a sharp knife is mandatory. I could brain a fish with a plastic tent stake, it doesn’t mean that is the right tool for the job.

I also do not believe in expensive knives. I have only lost a few over the years. I don’t feel too bad if I do lose one. Besides the decent ones all seem to rust. Easy come easy go. Wrist lanyards are great. I just do one loop of bungee. Unlike Bill who has a loop on an end.

I like the rubber band handle keeper. It keeps kelp from getting lodged between the handle and your body or sheath. Anyone who says the bungee loop/handle method does this is a scumbag surface shooter.
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Re: What is a good spearfishing knife?

Postby Bill McIntyre » December 30th, 2017, 10:37 am

I can’t get the complaint about the tip edges of the Red Tide not being sharp enough. I think the biggest fish I’ve brained since I got that knife was only 40 ponds but it went in easy enough.

I’m not worried about Teflon in my fish since I’m not eating the heads but with the Wenoka and the uncoated Mori knives I’ve found that wiping them with silicone after each trip prevents corrosion.

The loop in the bungee fits tight around my wrist so it can’t slip off. I’m anal about dropping my knife.

I always remove those rubber band handle holders since they require another step to taking the knife out of the sheath. Kelp can get between the handle and the sheath now and then but since I wear the knife on my forearm it’s easy to notice when that happens antemove it.

However I am a surface shooting scum bag.
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Re: What is a good spearfishing knife?

Postby chris oak » December 30th, 2017, 11:22 am

Behslayer wrote:A good knife is one that cuts the lines you may encounter. Big serrations are not your friend.

One trick with braining fish. I don't know how many times I've heard of guys stabbing their fingers braining fish. They are holding the fish in the gills and stab right through the head and into their fingers. I also have broken a bunch of knife blades stabbing heads. One way to avoid this is to brain the fish from the gills.


Jon how do you do that, is it easy? There's a large bone in the way on seabass but I'd be interested to try it.
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Re: What is a good spearfishing knife?

Postby Behslayer » December 30th, 2017, 6:55 pm

Hi Chris, I put the tip of the knife Up inside the gill and then strike the butt of the knife with the but of my hand. I guess there's a small amount of bone but you can get the blade through. You know you found it when the fish quivers. This way there's no knife point coming towards your hands. I never tried this technique on a Giant fish like a 200lb Tuna.. It works best on fish like Wahoo or King Mackeral, reasonably sized Snapper, Striped Bass, etc. which have relatively small heads. I learned a long time ago by almost drowning, never to stick my hands into a Groupers gills, don't do that.. they have spines which will grab your gloved hand and it is nearly impossible to release yourself.
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Re: What is a good spearfishing knife?

Postby NaClAddict » January 1st, 2018, 9:06 am

Bill McIntyre wrote:I can’t get the complaint about the tip edges of the Red Tide not being sharp enough. I think the biggest fish I’ve brained since I got that knife was only 40 ponds but it went in easy enough.

I’m not worried about Teflon in my fish since I’m not eating the heads but with the Wenoka and the uncoated Mori knives I’ve found that wiping them with silicone after each trip prevents corrosion.

The loop in the bungee fits tight around my wrist so it can’t slip off. I’m anal about dropping my knife.

I always remove those rubber band handle holders since they require another step to taking the knife out of the sheath. Kelp can get between the handle and the sheath now and then but since I wear the knife on my forearm it’s easy to notice when that happens antemove it.

However I am a surface shooting scum bag.


There was no edge on the tip of my RT knife. There were two beveled edges that ran into a Flat squared off side. No “knife edge” to speak of at all. There was enough extra material it took a lot of strokes with a rough metal file to make an edge. Rarely do I use the tip to cut, but I do at times and want it to cut. A dull instrument requires more force and is dangerous.

For the lanyard. I’m usually pretty amped when it comes time to brain a fish. The extra step is no biggie as I’m trying to calm down before my next dive. Also, I loop maybe bungee over the sheath same as you. If in a hurry I can just grab the bungee an pull the knife loose and the rubber band pops up and off. I used to throw a few wraps of electrical tape to serve the loop shut down close to the handle. This guarantees a smooth bungee only release. I stopped because it never made a difference more than a jiggle or two. Also in a total emergency I figure I’d just rip on that bungee and if the rubber band breaks I really don’t care. I’m just down to a bungee as a retainer now.
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