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Choosing the Right Spear Shaft

Choosing the Right Spear Shaft

Choosing the Right Spear Shaft for You

There are countless options for different spear shafts.  Thinking about shaft thickness, length, and threaded vs. flopper shafts can be a lot, but remember that your gun actually limits what type of spear you can use. For example, if you have a Euro speargun, you have little choice other than to use a euro notched (rounded) shaft. Conversely, American style spearguns require American notched (square) shafts. In this article, we will be going over some considerations in the factors a diver can actually control in the choice of our spear shafts.


Shaft Thickness

Shaft thickness is usually a consideration based on species and number of bands.


Thick Spears

Thicker spear shafts help land larger Bluewater species, especially tough skinned species like Tuna and Marlin.  Thick shafts create more force due to their increased weight compared to thinner spear shafts. Thicker spear shafts also are less prone to bending under strain. Thicker spear shafts tend to be 8mm for euro spear shafts and 11/32” or 3/8” for American spear shafts.  The thicker the spear shaft, the heavier it is and the more force it takes to launch it through the water. Spearguns need to be larger to absorb the force of larger spear shafts. The weight of the spear shaft can also affect accuracy and control, so it's important to choose the right thickness based on your target species and diving conditions.


Thin Spears

Thinner spear shafts are lighter weight and tend to shoot further and penetrate fish easier.  They are also more prone to getting bent by fish, especially large reef fish pulling them into rocks (think grouper).  Thinner spear shaft lengths tend to be 6.5mm, 7mm, or 9/32” shafts. Although 7.5mm and 5/16” spear shafts are still in the normal range of shafts used under everyday reef hunting conditions, they are not considered especially "thick", so we would also include them in this category. 


Spear Length

Speargun length determines spear shaft length. It is important to try to keep the shaft overhang of your spear shaft consistent across all of your spearguns to help keep your point of aim consistent.  Most manufacturers recommend between 9” and 11” of shaft overhang from the end of the speargun to the tip of the spear, whether it is flopper or sliptip.  It is important to consider the length of slip tips as well in the choice and purchase of different spear shafts.  This means that a threaded shaft will need to be shorter than a flopper shaft for the same speargun.  Often times, speargun manufactures will have recommended lengths for the specific gun in various set ups.  


Flopper vs Threads

Deciding between flopper and threaded shafts is based on targeted species. Pelagic or bluewater species often require slip tips because of how soft their flesh tends to be. With a flopper shaft, the fish can use the weight and drag of the shaft as leverage to tear the shaft out of itself. Flopper shafts tend to work better on reef fish because sliptips tend to give reef fish too much mobility to get into the rocks, which makes retrieval especially difficult.  


Spare Shafts

Keep spare shafts for your spearguns in stock. It is upsetting to go out on a dive trip only to realize your only spear shaft is bent and you don't have a spare. Remember, overnight shipping is extremely expensive.  It is always better to be prepared than to literally pay for a lack of being ready to dive.  
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