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Choosing the Right Slip-Tip - Spectra vs Cable

Choosing the Right Slip-Tip - Spectra vs Cable

Spectra VS Cable Slip-tip

Slip-tips are an essential component of successful bluewater spearfishing, especially for species with soft flesh like wahoo. The question for bluewater hunters is when to use cable vs. spectra tips. Both have their pros and cons, and here we will go over the benefits of both.

Cable Slip-Tip

Cable slip-tips are best for fish with tough skin like billfish and tuna. If the spear shaft penetrates the fish, the cable will hold well in those species. However, the biggest challenge that you run into with cable tips is ensuring that they are in proper working condition. Once a cable tip is kinked, rusted, frayed, or corroded the cable needs to be replaced. Given the strength of the fish these slip tips are typically used for, your gear needs to be in its best working condition.  Any points of failure will be tested over the course of hours and anything that has a weak point will likely break under these conditions. Another drawback to these tips is that if they are working properly, they will never break. This is mostly a good thing, but can be really bad if you're hunting fish that like to get stuck in deep reefs, like dogtooth tuna. The reason for this is that some fish will inevitably get stuck in the reef beyond your reach, but usually a spectra slip tip will fail that deep which will allow you to recover your shaft, float line, floats, slide ring, etc. With cable, you'd lose all of those hundreds of dollars worth of gear if a fish got stuck deep.


Spectra Slip-Tip

Spectra slip-tips are better for fish with softer flesh.  These work better on Wahoos, Mahi Mahi, Rainbow Runners, and other soft-flesh species because spectra is more malleable. These fish are so strong and fast that the tip cable or spectra soft can cut into their skin enough that a hole is produced and widened in the fish as it swims.  If the hole gets large enough, the slip-tip will pull back through the fish. Spectra reduces the likelihood of this happening.  The biggest challenge with spectra slip-tips is the increased risks of cuts damaging the spectra. Gills and gill plates on fish are very sharp and can damage the spectra on a slip-tip. As the fish continues to fight, the spectra can cut even more from the constant rubbing and result in the loss of the fish.

Both types of tips should be inspected regularly before any trips to ensure your equipment performs optimally when the opportunity presents itself.  Remember, luck occurs when preparation meets opportunity.  
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