how to make a bamboo fishing spear

In a survival situation, the ability to catch fish using a spear can mean the difference between life and death. For thousands of years, indigenous people from many nations on earth have used fishing spears to catch food. Traditional spearfishing is a true and proven method of catching fish of any size.

If you look close enough by a river, stream or standing on the side of a bank you can see freshwater fish feeding and swimming about. This is where having a homemade fishing spear can come in handy.

There are two main designs of fishing spears, single barb and multi barb head spears. These can be made out of metal or wood depending on the materials available. Each will target a different type of fish, and in this post, we will teach you how to make both.

Sure you can buy your own ready-made metal barbed fishing spears but its more fun and cheaper to make your own. So let’s look at the steps involved.

How to make a multi barb fishing spear head.

Bamboo fishing spear head with wood separators

I love making multi-prong fishing spearheads. They are designed to target smaller surface fish as the spread is larger and the fish are small. The more barbs on the head the better. I have made spears for friends that have over 20 individual razor-sharp metal barbs on the end of the spear.

Wooden spears are very traditional as they are easy to make by just splitting one end of the spear into 4 pieces. This larger spread will make hitting the fish easier. Modern fishing spears now use metal prongs which are sharper and smaller and may include a rubber band launcher.

gold trident fishing spear head

The Trident has become a very popular traditional fishing spear. It is a three-pronged spear, it is also the symbol for Poseidon (Neptune)

The trident word comes from the Latin word tridens or tridentis tri meaning “three” and dentes meaning teeth. So 3 teeth Spear.

How to make bamboo fishing spears.

Bamboo spears are easy to make and you don’t have to use bamboo. Any long straight piece of wood will work.

Splitting bamboo fishing spear to make 4 prong fishing spear head.

First, we need to use a sharp ax, knife, or hatchet to split the bamboo into 4 equal pieces. Be very careful as this is dangerous. I like to use a vice to hold the wood and then use a hammer to tap in the sharp hatchet to split one end of the bamboo into 4 quarters.

These will then need to be separated and forced open by using another small piece of wood. You can then tie it all off with some string or vines. Make sure the vine is wrapped around the whole shaft tightly as well as each individual barb to help separate them.

Sharpening bamboo fishing spear head

Use a knife to shapen the end of each of the 4 bamboo head prongs. Add some notches for barbs, but dont go too deep as this will be a weak spot. If you have a large piece of bamboo you can also make 6 or 8 barbed spears.

It will be just a matter of splitting more pieces of bamboo and wrapping them tight. I find that the spike prongs often break if they become too small.

Making metal spear head prongs.

7 barb metal prong fishing spear head

If you don’t have access to bamboo and would like to make a more modern spear, then you will need to use metal prongs. The best way to make your metal barbs is to use old welding rods of 1/16 or 3/32 size diameter. Often you can get a few of these for free from your local steel fabrication garage. The flux can then be broken off using a hammer otherwise you can buy the round bar from your local hardware shop.

These metal barbs can be sharpened up on a bench grinder or a hand file to a very sharp point. They must be sharpened before securing them to the spear shaft. Its also best to use stainless round bar rod to prevent rusting if you are fishing in salt water.

I like to make the barbs around 7 inches in length. This will enable you to have enough length to secure the spearhead barbs to the shaft.

How to secure the spear head to the spear shaft.

How to make a fishing spear head with metal barbs
3 Prong metal barb fishing spear head on wooden shaft.

There are many ways to secure the metal spear prongs to the shaft. You will need a good base to weld onto like a bolt or hex nut.

I like to first fit all of the metal prongs onto the spear shaft temporarily using electrical tape and then use an arc welder on low amperage to tac weld the barbs together. Be aware that the metal will get very hot, so be careful.

Steel wire then can be used to wrap around the prongs and the shaft. Make sure to use some pliers to wrap and tie off the steel wire. A few small hose clamps can also be used to secure the prongs.

I have even seen people using long 6-inch spike nails and wrapped these to the end of a broom handle as a basic homemade fishing spear. Stainless steel welding rods are my preferred material to make metal barbs.

Another way is to glue the barbs into place by using 5-minute epoxy or metal putty also works well. Having the ends of each prong slightly bent will aid the glue to bind into the straight prog and hold it into place.


At the end of the day, any sharp stick can be used as a fishing spear. The trick on how to make a fishing spearhead is trial and error. They are quick to make and last a long time.

My favorite hand spear is the MAKO Spearguns as shown above. Multi barbs just increase the probability of striking a fish. To increase the odds of hitting a fish I like to berley them up with bread or fish pellets.

Different sized spears are essential for above water fishing as well as underwater spear fishing. The longer spear will enable you to get closer to the fish but will add some extra weight and drag.

Always treat your hand spear as a weapon so be careful where you point the sharp end. A styrofoam block or a soda bottle cap works great as an end cap if you lose the rubber cap. If all else fails you can make the soda cap into a fishing lure.

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