Blue water spearfishing - the gear
Welcome to the land of giants; hunting bigger fish requires bigger guns. The guns range from 140 – 160cm. Some people opt for 130 which is the best ‘in-betweener’ for both reef an blue water however you’ll find it a bit short. 140’s are very good but nothing beats the power and range of a Rob Allen 160 cannon. We tend to use 160’s and have 140’s for backups.
The most common rig used is having the speargun attached to your float system by about 25 meters of heavy duty float line. Between the float line and the float system we use 3 meters of 9mm dyneema core bungee. This will stretch 3 times its normal length so adds an extra 9 meters to the system.
The float system varies depending on the fish we are targeting. If it’s something like wahoo or dorado then we’ll use a single 35l remora flat. If it’s something bigger like tuna or billfish then we’ll start with a 11l hard float connected to the 35l inflatable with another 3 meter bungee.
Both of these systems are designed to tire the fish out while minimising the risk of having the spear ripped out. The 11l hard float gets pulled under without risk of imploding while the bungee keeps a constant pressure on the fish; slowly but continuously playing it like an angler would, draining its energy.
Taking a step back for a moment to the initial hunt. As soon as you swim down and make a successful shot the first thing you should do is get away from your line and take stock of the situation. By far the biggest killer is line wrap. In the excitement of everything it’s easy to miss that your line has slightly snagged on your weight belt or looped around your wrist. You would be amazed how small a fish actually needs to be to pull you underwater, especially tuna. Pound for pound you will struggle to find a stronger fish. Its power is immense and its stamina is just as impressive. A good sized tuna can take a couple of hours to subdue and if you foul wrapped to 250 pounder then there’s a good chance you’ll end up fish food!
When you place the shot kick free of everything straight away. Have a look behind you to make sure you don’t have a tangled mess of float line shooting your way that you need to get clear off. If everything looks clean then cup the line but let it zoom through your fingers as the fish races off. Let the first float fly past you if you are using one, and target the second one. As soon as the opportunity is there, grab it and take a ride.
There is no point fighting the fish straight away. Just hang on to the float while it takes you for a tour of the local area. We always clip on our secondary backup guns to the last float. This is a great technique as it’s the fastest way you’re going to get your hands on another gun. You can have it at the ready for a secondary shot if the opportunity presents itself and it’s also very comforting to have it handy when all that blood is in the water.
Get a feel for its stamina; is it as strong as ever or showing signs of wear? The time will come to start playing the fish and trying to pull it up to the surface. If you tiring yourself or you have a heavy fish then lie on your float and use that for extra buoyancy power. If you can, shorten your line by clipping loops on your float clip or tying loops in the line. Again be very careful here, it’s very easy to get snagged and wrapped in all this line floating around.
As soon as you are able, put a second shot in it to administer the last rites or take hold of it under the gills to use your knife.
Blue water spearfishing courses – New to blue water spearfishing? Then why not let one of our instructors train you up!