Spectra VS Cable Slip-tip
Slip-tips are essential for successful bluewater spearfishing. The question is when to use cable or spectra tips. Although, both have their better applications. The species being targeted determines which type of slip-tip works best.
Cable slip-tips are best for fish with tough skin. Billfish and tuna have tough skin. If the spear shaft penetrates the fish the cable will hold well in these species. The biggest challenge that you run into with cable tips is ensuring 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 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.
Spectra slip-tips are better for fish with softer flesh. These work better on Wahoos, Mahi Mahi, Rainbow Runners, and other 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 in the fish. 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 more 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 that luck occurs when preparation meets opportunity.