Spearfishing Frequently Asked Questions
Who knew shooting a fish could get so complicated.
We’re here to help. Below are answers to common spearfishing questions. Don’t see what you’re looking for? email us!
What Is A Speargun?
What Is A Pole Spear?
Often incorrectly called a Hawaiian sling, a pole spear is an underwater hunting device that doesn’t require a trigger system to deploy. Pole spears are one of the earliest tools of primitive spearfishing. The basic make up of a pole spear is a long, straight rod. At the front there is a pointed tip. Attached to the rear is some type of elastic or other material that acts as the power source. This elastic material is held by the user and stretched the entire length of the pole spear. When a user wishes to “fire” the pole spear they simply release the pole spear. The elastic then contracts. As a result, the stored energy in the stretched elastic propels the pole spear towards the intended target. All pole spears work on this concept. The JBL one-piece pole spears are made of aircraft aluminum for increased rigidity. There are a variety of pole spears on the market ranging from economical fiberglass one-piece designs to advanced models that feature cutting edge materials and design; such as The Shaka. Upgraded features like carbon fiber deliver unmatched rigidity and in turn provide maximum energy transfer for the fastest shot possible.
Which Is Better: Wood Or Aluminum Spearguns?
All JBL spearguns feature barrels made from either wood or aircraft grade aluminum. Both material offers certain advantages that are beneficial in the sport of spearfishing. Wood spearguns, like those by JBL, are constructed of solid mahogany or laminated teak. Their natural composition, unique grain pattern, and lacquered finish are typically considered more appealing than that of aluminum spearguns. In addition to looks, wood spearguns allow for more elaborate shapes and weighting options. These spearguns can be built to handle the energy of a four, five, or six band power source. This is because wood is solid, does not have size constraints, and can be processed in any fashion. These large spearguns, along with the help of the M8 trigger system are the “go to gun” for large pelagic hunting. All wood JBL spearguns feature the M8 trigger system. Another advantage is that all wood spearguns will float when the shaft is not loaded.
While wood is great for large “tuna style” spearguns, they can be less maneuverable under water due to their mass. Aluminum spearguns like the JBL Reaper and Explorer series spearguns are built from aircraft grade aluminum. They offer a lower profile for quick movement and easy tracking properties. These spearguns are great for many different diving environments such as inshore spearfishing. Larger models are also great for blue water hunting where extended shots are necessary. At the end of the day both wood and aluminum spearguns are designed to do the same thing: put dinner on the table. Both styles are very utilitarian and can be used in very diverse diving conditions. Which model and style really boils down to individual shooting style, personal preference, and type of fish that is being hunted.
Standard Or Elite Speargun? What's The Difference?
Great question! The difference between the two is how they are rigged. Standard spearguns are set up in the more classic fashion. This means the shaft is connected to the speargun by a slide ring and they typically use bands that have metal wishbones. These spearguns will also often have closed muzzles. Elite spearguns usually have bands with kevlar wishbones and the shaft is connected directly to the speargun. They also tend to feature open muzzles. These variations may seem small but they can affect the dynamic of the speargun dramatically.
What Are The Benefits Of Standard Spearguns?
In general spearguns of this style are easier to load. Attaching the shaft to the speargun with a slide ring means no complicated process of wrapping the shooting line. Instead, once the spearshaft is locked in place, the only steps left before shooting again are reloading the shooting line and bands. Bands with metal wishbones also tend to be easier to reload because of their rigidity in hand. These spearguns are also extremely accurate because the slide ring (when used with hardened bushing) cancels any wiggle room the shaft may have at the muzzle. It is for these reasons that Standard style spearguns are typically preferred by scuba divers. The last thing a scuba diver wants to deal with, in addition to their BC and other gear, is a complicated speargun. Especially when the fish of a life time swims by! An example of a Standard rigged spearguns are the Carbine and Woody Magnum series.
What Are The Benefits Of Elite Spearguns?
Elite spearguns are designed to deliver the most powerful and silent shot possible. This is largely accomplished by attaching the shooting line directly to the shaft and forgoing the standard slide ring. It eliminates the metal-hitting-metal noise and deceleration associated with the spearshaft striking the slide ring as it exits the muzzle. The removal also reduces the shaft diameter moving through the water. This effectively allows it to accelerate faster and carry inertia much longer. Elite guns typically have open muzzles so the shooting line can wrap over and secure the shaft. Elite guns often have bands with kevlar wishbones for an added level of stealth. With this set up the only metal contact made with the shaft is between it and the sear in the trigger mechanism. It is this refusal to compromise the quality of shot that make Elites the speargun style of choice for freedivers and purists. An example of Elite rigged spearguns are the Reaper and Woody Elite series.
What Do I Need To Start Spearfishing?
What Is My Wetsuit Size?
Great question! We recommend looking up your dimensions on our JBL Wetsuit Size Chart for proper wetsuit fit!
What Is Open Cell Neoprene?
Open cell neoprene is a porous neoprene variant that does not have an inner protective liner. What this means is that raw neoprene foam is in direct contact with the users skin. This type of neoprene is typically more delicate than “lined” variations but offers a host of advantages. There is no barrier between diver and the insulating neoprene. Because of this open cell neoprene is warmer and more stretchy than lined neoprene. Vertigo 2 piece wetsuits are made from the highest quality open cell neoprene.
How Do I Get In An Open Cell Wetsuit?
Open cell neoprene is very porous and does not have an inner protective liner. This makes it stick to skin and to the untrained diver, difficult to put on. Fortunately there is a simple solution for getting into an open cell suit more easy. Literally. Make a solution of gentle (or tear free) soap and warm water and use it to lube up the inside open cell neoprene before entering. We recommend using baby soap in roughly a 1:15 ratio with warm water.
Once the mixture is made, take the suit bottoms and hold close all openings except one. Pour the solution in the remaining open hole. Close it and shake until the soap & water mix has coated the inside completely. The soap solution can now be drained or used on the second, upper half of the suit. The suit bottom should now slide on easily. Repeat these steps for the suit top and dive safe!
What Is A Break-away Setup?
A break-away setup for a speargun is any kind of rigging of the shooting line that’s designed to completely detach the spearshaft and shooting line from the speargun when fired. Break-away setups are typically connected to a float and float line instead of the speargun itself. This can be very advantageous for many reasons. It makes the sport of spearfishing more safe. It does this by detaching the speargun and adding additional line and a float to manage the caught fish. With this setup a diver is able to head to the surface, breath, and start hoisting up their fish instead of worrying immediately about their catch and attached speargun.
For information on how to rig a break-away setup watch our tutorial!
What Are The Benefits Of Freedive Fins?
Not all fins are created equal! While it’s true that all fins are designed to make you move faster through water, freedive fins are designed to create the maximum amount of thrust from each kick. This means that you can travel further with less energy. Freedive fins are typically longer than standard fins and may use any number of innovative features to accomplish this. Rails that channel water down the fin blade or using advanced materials such as carbon fiber are just a couple of examples of these features in action. By using less energy a diver is able to move faster, more quietly, conserve oxygen, and increase the time they can spend under water before having to return to the surface to breath.
How Do I Reload The Shooting Line?
After safely shooting your speargun the shooting line must be reloaded to the anchoring position. Shortening or wrapping the shooting line too tightly may cause the speargun to seize or misfire.
1A. For models with a closed muzzle first insert spearshaft through muzzle and lock rear of the spearshaft in trigger mechanism. Make sure that the slide ring is seated securely against the outside of the muzzle (when required for use or if available).
1B. For models with an open muzzle first rest spearshaft in open muzzle and lock rear of spearshaft in trigger mechanism. Bring shooting line from the point of attachment on spearshaft to the muzzle of speargun. At the muzzle, wrap shooting line under tab left of the spearshaft, over the spearshaft, and under the tab (or into groove) right of the spearshaft. This wrap secures spearshaft for shooting. Models with downward facing line release can be wrapped ambidextrously.
2. Take the shooting line from muzzle and bring it to rear point of attachment (line release). Secure shooting line at point of attachment.
3. Bring line from rear point to muzzle and wrap over front point of attachment. This is located where the shooting line is fixed to the speargun.
4. Return line to rear and secure over rear point of attachment. Note the last wrap utilizes the elastic bungee (if available) to allow shooting line to stretch over line release while still providing adequate tension to retain line on release.
Why Should I Use A Reel Or Floatline?
Rigging a speargun with a reel or float & floatline is a great option for extending the length of line that is already connected to the spearshaft. This is extremely useful in general as well as in situations like freediving and/ or hunting larger fish. There is only so much room for the shooting line on a speargun that connects it to its spearshaft. Oftentimes it is not enough to land a large fish on a single breath of air. A reel or float & floatline lengthen the amount of line one has to more safely land their catch.
How Does Accessory / Reel Mount Work?
The accessory / reel mount, as the name implies, was designed for quick and easy attachment of reels and other accessories to a speargun. This mount is located in front of the handle and is standard on all Reaper, Explorer, Elite, Euro, Mid-Handle, and Woody Magnum spearguns. Adapter mounts are also available to retro fit older and non JBL models. To mount an item, line the accessory up with the rear narrow end of the mount and slide forward until firmly seated on mount. Tug accessory toward muzzle to confirm that it is seated securely. The friction between the accessory and mount will keep it in place. Any forward pressure the accessory may encounter will not unseat accessory and be met with resistance from the mount. We recommend that when using a reel, the shooting line be run through the stainless eyelet on the bottom of the muzzle (if available).
How Does The Little Nuke Slip Tip Work?
Both the Little Nuke and Warhead are special types of slip tips that do not use conventional methods of retention (such as o-rings) to stay in place on the end of a spearshaft. They instead rely on constant tension being applied to their connecting tether. To maintain this constant tension we suggest loading the bands of your speargun and slipping a portion of the tether (not the end!) underneath the taut bands. This tension will then hold your Little Nuke in place until fired. Do this carefully and with your speargun pointing away from yourself and any other divers. The theory behind this method is that the tether under tension will hold the spearhead in place until fired. Once fired the spearshaft moving forward through water will keep the spearhead in place until impact. At which point the barb at the rear of the Little Nuke will toggle in the fish, pulling it perpendicular to the direction of impact and securely anchoring in the fish. The benefit of this setup is that it toggles much more easily and efficiently than other mainstream methods.
How Does The Warhead Slip Tip Work?
Both the Warhead and Little Nuke are special types of slip tips that do not use conventional methods of retention (such as o-rings) to stay in place on the end of a spearshaft. They instead rely on constant tension being applied to their connecting tether. To maintain this constant tension we suggest loading the bands of your speargun and slipping a portion of the tether (not the end!) underneath the taut bands. This tension will then hold your Warhead in place until fired. Do this carefully and with your speargun pointing away from yourself and any other divers. The theory behind this method is that the tether under tension will hold the spearhead in place until fired. Once fired the spearshaft moving forward through water will keep the spearhead in place until impact. At which point the flopper will toggle in the fish, pulling it perpendicular to the direction of impact and securely anchoring in the fish. The benefit of this setup is that it toggles much more easily and efficiently than other mainstream methods.
Which Is Better: Reel Or Floatline?
There are pros and cons to using either a reel or float & floatline. Reels are compact, easy to use, and everything is contained within the spool. The disadvantage to them is that there is a finite amount of line that they contain. Because of this a diver must catch their fish before running out of line or risk losing his/ her speargun. Floatlines on the other hand act as a floating line that connects the spearshaft to a float. That advantage here is that the float can be tracked from the surface when a fish is shot without the risk of running out of line. Some floatlines such as the Seavine II also stretch and contract to tire a fighting fish out. The downside to floats and floatlines is that they tend to be more bulky and cumbersome. Because of these reasons picking the correct gear really comes down to the individual diver and their needs.
Can I Configure My Polespear For Breakaway Shooting?
More info coming soon!
What Makes A Freedive Wetsuit Special?
More info coming soon!
What Is Vertigo And How Does It Work?
More info coming soon!