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First speargun - Never used one

Discussion in 'Underwater Hunting' started by Sonic04GT, Jun 8, 2021.

  1. CuzzA

    CuzzA Percoidea Wetwork for Hire ScubaBoard Supporter

    Not many tank divers are going to use a freedive gun like what you have there. It's definitely good to have one on the boat though because you'll often come into a school of pelagics where you'll want to drop in, freedive and land a nice Dorado, AP or Permit.

    For reef fish tank diving you really want a gun you can load from the hip and is negative. A buoyant gun will end up on the surface. I did it for the first time on Saturday because I wasn't paying attention and forgot I shot all three of my shafts and never added ballast to my gun.

    The bigger the gun the better as the longer shaft will help slow down a big fish with a poor shot. Not to mention a longer gun means a longer shaft and longer line wrap giving you longer range. The East Coast isn't really conducive to freeshafting due to currents so sticking with a line is a good idea, especially for a new shooter, but adding a second freeshaft is advantageous because sometimes it takes two or even three shafts to put down a big grouper, snapper, jack or cobia. Remember, unlike freedive spearfishing you don't have the luxury of bringing the fish straight to the surface to get it under control. You have to secure it at depth.

    For a tank gun you have a few options. Biller, Ocean Rhino or a Koah Battle Axe. I am a fan of a teak gun as they will hold up to the elements for decades if cleaned and given a nice timber oil wipe once a year.

    The Biller gun would be your least expensive option, but the company hasn't changed the design since they started making them. I cut the hand guard off and swap the muzzle for a Rhino or Sea Hornet Commericial muzzle. Both can be bought at Speargods in St. Pete, FL. The Rhino gun is solid as well, but is bulky, heavy, especially with spare shafts and there's not much modification you can make to the balance due to the custom molded integrated handle, trigger mech and butt design. Both the Rhino and Biller use the same shafts which are readily available and manufactured by Speargods. Both guns are open track and have the benefit of backloading which is a must in my opinion for freeshaft tank spearing. Not so much of a benefit with lineshafting.

    The Battle Axe is an enclosed track gun that uses sharkfin tab shafts. All of these guns can quickly convert from freeshafting to lineshafting with a slide ring. The Rhino and Biller use a special shaft to allows for a slide ring with a notched shaft called the Evolution Shaft that was developed by Richard Taylor, who is the owner of Speargods. All of these gun platforms also allow for easily adding kill spikes, spare shafts and powerhead mounts. I would tie a bolt snap to the handle of any gun you use. Remember you are a diver first, shooter second. There will be times on ascent or during a safety stop/deco that you may need your hands free to deal with other gear and it's good to be able to clip your gun off while you take care of the issue.

    As for a stringer, on the Gulf Coast most of us use the one handed stringer, again with a bolt snap or carabiner to clip to your hip d ring. I do not recommend keeping the stringer clipped on you with fish, rather just get in the habit of multitasking and carrying it in your hands, but if you must it's a good idea to incorporate a quick disconnect clip so that if a big Jewfish or shark grabs your stringer it isn't pulling you along with it. That said, on the East Coast they have a much smaller reef system than the Gulf Coast and with the number of sharks today it is more likely than not that you're going to have an encounter over there. So what some guys do is use a catch bag to sort of hide the visual that there's a fish with you. Of course a shark can still smell the fish blood in the water so it's unlikely it will leave you alone. The other option is to buy a bunch of small DSMBs. Piranha Dive MFG carries a small 24" or maybe it's 30" DSMB for around $20 or so. Make a small loop of stainless steel or heavy duty mono and clip a bunch of those DSMBs to it. Each DSMB should have a mono style stringer attached to it. This is just a piece of mono with a small stainless steel spike you put through the fish's eyes. Mako I'm sure sells them. This way when you shoot a fish you can string it to the DSMB and send it up to the boat and get it out of water and continue your dive.

    Anyway, that's about all I can add at the moment. Good luck.
    lowviz, Belzelbub and Johnoly like this.
  2. MAKO Spearguns

    MAKO Spearguns ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    As indicated above, that kind of gun (euro) gun is more commonly used by freedivers, but there is no reason that scuba divers cannot use it. We have many, many scuba divers who use our “pipe” guns to scuba dive. There is no reason why the OP can’t use the existing gun he has effectively.

    With respect to the length of the monofilament shooting line and rigging and replacement, this might be helpful.

    As for the advice to float fish in the Palm Beach area (rather than carry a stringer), that is consistent with my understanding of the shark situation there as well, although I can’t offer first person advice since I’ve not dove there.
    Johnoly likes this.
  3. Sonic04GT

    Sonic04GT Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: West Palm Beach, FL
    What is the clip for just forward of the fixed tab MAKO was talking about? Also, I did end up tucking that line under. It just doesn't always stay with 4 lines running under it. I have a single wrap now and it works better.

    Thanks for the write-up Cuzza! I appreciate all the insight. As I'm just starting out, I'm going to stick with what I have for now until it becomes an issue. Then maybe one day purchase a gun better suited for diving and set this one back up for freediving. I will keep all of that in mind!

    Thanks for the video, MAKO. That was actually one of the videos I watched the other day and just rigged it exactly as shown a short while ago.
  4. Sonic04GT

    Sonic04GT Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: West Palm Beach, FL
    I wish I had made the shaft loop just a HAIR longer though as it rubs slightly when seating it in the trigger mechanism, but does lock into place. Local shop only had the Riffe 300lb 30ft mono kit which comes with one end already crimped and only 1 extra crimp to complete the other end. $10 for it.

    Unfortunately, due to that setup, you have to rig the bungee end first, working in reverse and then guestimate the shaft loop end. I would have rather have done it the other way around starting with the shaft, but I do have some 2.0mm double barrel aluminum crimps on the way that I can re-do it with using the remaining mono from that kit if it becomes an issue. I can't believe they don't include a couple extra crimps with that "kit." It doesn't even state what size crimp comes with it so I assumed it was 2.0mm on my swage. Hopefully these 2.0mm crimps will fit. It appears the line is 1.8mm.

    I threw a tuna clip through the plastic loop on the handle as the recessed metal one is difficult to get to. Will just be for clipping the gun off during ascent/descent.

  5. MAKO Spearguns

    MAKO Spearguns ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Yes next time the loop being a little longer will make loading easier. You can also use some plier to gently bend the mono and put a little kink in the line to help the loop lay down flat and more easily insert into the mechanism. I'm glad our video was of use to you.

    good luck!

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