How to Pick the Right Speargun Length For You
There is no simple answer for the right speargun length you need. There are several factors that you will need to answer for the type of diving you are doing. By answering these questions you can narrow down the right length speargun you will need for the diving you will be doing. Here are some of the important considerations when picking your speargun length.
The biggest factor in picking your speargun should be normal visibility in your dive location. Visibility is so important because it will impact fish behavior dramatically. The further away the fish can see a diver the longer the shot that diver may have to take. That means in clean water you will likely need a longer speargun to get the longer ranges. The opposite side of the spectrum is still an important to consider. In bad visibility you will want a short, maneuverable speargun to get the spear pointed at the fish quickly. Even in bad visibility it is important to be able to see the end of your speargun, the fish, and what is beyond the fish. Make sure you are practicing safe spearfishing and always know what is beyond your target.
After normal visibility conditions you need to consider the speargun’s maneuverability. Other than the physical designs of the speargun, the length is going to impact how well the speargun tracks through the water. If you are hunting reef fish that dart into hole, ledges, or caves that could mean the right length speargun for you is going to be a short gun. You may not need to take a long shot, but you will need to get your speargun pointed at a fish in a hole quickly before it hides even deeper in the rocks. Pelagic species, that stay in the water column, may give you a longer opportunity to get the speargun pointed at the fish, so maneuverability may be less important.
The Right Speargun Length for the Fish You Are Targeting
The last big consideration comes down to the type of fish you are targeting. Some species just stay far away from divers. So you need a long, powerful speargun to get the range needed to hunt them. Wahoo, Tuna, and Billfish are all great examples of fish that usually require longer shots. There are always stories about divers who were lucky enough to get point blank shots, but overall these fish keep their distance. That means long, bulk spearguns with four to six bands. That size gun loses maneuverability, and really can’t be used in limited visibility, but it is a specialized speargun for a specific purpose. Most reef species don’t need as much speargun, but it can come down to your hunting technique as well.
Picking the Right Speargun Length – What it All Means To You
You should get a speargun that has a similar effective range to the visibility where you dive. The effective range of a speargun is generally, about two to three times the length of the speargun’s band stretch distance. Notable exceptions come into play if you are targeting reef species in holes. Then you just want a speargun that has enough power to put the spear shaft through the fish. The challenge of picking the right speargun comes down to the problem that there is no single speargun that meets all of a diver’s needs. As time goes by you will collect all the spearguns you need for the types of diving you do.
Spearfishing Terminology – A Clarification of Terms
Over the years we have had the pleasure of interacting with hundreds, if not thousands, of new divers getting into spearfishing. One of the biggest hurtles new divers have when they are getting into the sport is the spearfishing terminology that are used within diving. With the combination of slang and technical terms that may vary from similar objects in other industries, spearfishing equipment can get confusing. Additionally, the diverse groups of people that spearfish can bring with it translation miscommunications. We hope to put, in plane terms, some of the miscommunications we have heard, and create some standardization in what we mean when we use certain terms.
Spearfishing is the act of harvesting fish while in or under the water, using any tool to penetrate a fish and secure it. This can be done with spearguns, pole spears, and Hawaiian slings. There have been several terms that new divers have used over the years. There is no shame in not knowing the right words to a new activity. Some of the more common phrases we have encountered are “spear diving” and “underwater fishing”. They are in their own way accurate descriptions of the activity, but the preferred term is “spearfishing”.
While we have seen some interesting terms for spearfishing over the years, it does not compare to the wide range of terms we have seen for spearguns. Probably the most interesting we have come across is the result of rough translations. The common Latin American term for a speargun translates roughly to “underwater shotgun” in most variations of Spanish. Other common searches come to some type of “underwater harpoon gun”. People also frequently come looking for “fishing guns”, “spearfishing guns”, or “spearfishing guns”. Many divers think of a speargun as an “underwater crossbow”, and new divers have described it that way as well. These are all spearfishing terms that are close enough that you can effectively communicate to someone in the dive industry, but the term “speargun” still is the best.
Pole Spear and Hawaiian Sling
Pole Spears are normally called multiple things within the diving industry anyway. Probably the most common mix up is calling pole spears Hawaiian slings, which is another type of spearfishing tool. Other common terms are “three prong” which refers to a pole spear with a specific type of tip on the end. Most modern high quality pole spears have resorted to using a slip tip rather than a three prong. Other divers refer to both Pole Spears and Hawaiian Slings collectively as “slings” or even “sling spears”. Some of the harder terms people have used to describe pole spears have been “hand spear” and “spear fishing pole”. While some dive shops may understand what you mean it is still best to be specific with the tools you are asking about.
Terms for Spear Shafts
Spear shafts are an integral part of using a speargun. Within the industry there are a couple trees that are easily recognized as a spear shaft. Think of it like the term “soda-pop”. Some spearfishing terminology people use for spears, some people call it a shaft, other say spear shaft all together. All three are acceptable terms. As a company that ships things globally, we find shaft to more accepted by most country’s customs and boarder police from an importing without questions stand point. Some of the terms we have run into with some people are “spearfishing spear”, which usually get them close. Then we run into people that compare the spear shaft to similar objects in other industries. “Bolt” or “arrow” is common from people more familiar with archery and crossbows. “Harpoon” is a common mistake due to translation as well as from a comparison to a different tool.
There are a wide range of wetsuits available in the dive industry. Freediving and spearfishing wetsuits tend to be open cell wetsuits with camouflage patterns on the outside of the neoprene. They come in different thicknesses for different water temperatures. Some of the terms we run into that are a little off from the normal freediving or spearfishing wetsuit term include “spear diving wetsuit”, “dive suit” or “spearo wetsuit”. Spearo has become a slang word that has gained some acceptance in the spearfishing community. We occasionally run into someone that insists they want, or have bought, a “drysuit” from us. Drysuits do exist. They are used by scuba divers in extremely cold water, or cool water for extremely long exposures. Freedivers don’t use drysuits. Wetsuits work by trapping a thin layer of water between the diver and their wetsuit. Their body heat warms that water and insulates the diver.
Speargun Basics – What You Need To Know
If you are just getting into spearfishing you may have a few questions about spearguns and how they work. Fortunately, they are no overly complicated tools. There will be variations in different manufacturers designs, but the basic construction is pretty similar. We will cover some speargun basics and go over some of the common questions we get from people just getting into spearfishing.
What is a Speargun?
A speargun is any tube shaped item that holds a spear shaft which is propelled by stored energy that is released with some type of trigger mechanism for use underwater. That stored energy can be from pulling back bands that connect to the spear shaft through notches bin the spear shaft. The energy can also be stored through pushing a spear shaft through a pneumatic tube into a trigger mechanism. They work by storing this energy safely and by being able to release the spear shaft to be shot at a fish at the right time.
Are Spearguns Illegal?
Every country has their own laws. Within some countries different regions may have even more specific restrictions. The short answer is that you need to check in your area to find out if spearguns are legal. Most states in the United States are open to spearfishing. The Bahamas and Bermuda have outlawed them, but allow pole spears and Hawaiian slings.
Is a Speargun a Firearm?
No! Spearguns are powered by latex rubber bands or pressurized air. Firearms are powered by an explosion of a propellent that causes large amounts of pressure in a restricted space facing a small projectile through a narrow space. Don’t go through your local airport shouting that you have a speargun. The general public is not overly aware of the differences. So while traveling it may be best to refer to your gear as “fishing equipment”, unless you feel like filling out a lot of paperwork and getting some interesting questions from security and the airline. Many people ask about a spear rifle. This is a confused term. Rifles are firearms with a rifled barrel designed to spin the bullet as it passes through a barrel to increase accuracy at range. The short ranges of spearguns makes rifling is unnecessary.
Can You Use One Out Of The Water?
No! Can you physically load a speargun and fire it out of the water? You can if you are an idiot. Spearguns are designed to be used in an environment with water resistance. That water resistance helps with recoil and reduces the range of the spear shaft. That water resistance also helps by increasing the spear shaft’s accuracy. DO NOT FIRE SPEARGUNS OUT OF THE WATER. For more information on speargun safety please read this blog post.
What is The Best All Around Length?
There is no perfect length for all diving everything. It is a continuous effort that many builders have been trying to create from the beginning. There are good general lengths that cover most diving. As you get further into spearfishing you will find that the right tool for the job makes a big difference. You will end up collecting quite a few as time goes by. For more information on picking the right gun length for your diving check out this post as a speargun length guide.
What is The Difference Between a Speargun and a Harpoon Gun?
We already went over what a speargun is earlier. You mount Harpoon Guns to the deck of a boat. It fires a harpoon in order to retrieve large fish, like Tunas and Billfish. Some of the biggest differences are that harpoon guns are used from out of the water shoot into the water. You shoot spearguns in the water at fish that are also in the water.
There are a wide range of prices on the market. You get what you pay for with spearguns. There are plenty of inexpensive ones on the market, but make sure you you are getting a quality gun for the price. A cheap speargun may end up costing you more long term that the right purchase from the start. The cost of regular repair and maintenance can quickly get you ‘cheap’ speargun over the price of a quality Rob Allen or Amero very quickly. Most spearguns will cost between $260 up to well over $1000 depending on the type and quality you are looking for. There are even some spearguns on the market for well over $3000.
What is a Speargun’s Range?
Band stretch distance determines range. Most will shoot between two to three times the distance from the back of the band slot to the notch where the bands connect to the spear shaft. Roller guns are the exception to this rule, because the starting point of the bands is different. For more information check out this post on how roller spearguns work. Range is important for some spearfishing, but it shouldn’t b e the only thing you look for in your speargun. That means you need enough power to send the spear shaft through the fish. You also have to make sure you don’t overpower your speargun. Overpowering the speargun will c use major inaccuracy in your shots.
Riffe Speargun Series – A Look at Riffe Speargun Models
Riffe has been on the forefront of spearfishing since the 1970s. With decades of consistently creating quality spearfishing equipment it only makes sense that their spearguns are held in high regard. We will be taking a look at some of their more popular models of today.
The Riffe Euro Speargun is easily one of the best freediving wooden spearguns on the market. The Euro is streamline and easy to track through the water. This speargun is powered by two 5/8” (16mm) power bands that can be easily taken on or off the speargun. This wooden speargun has the power to make accurate shots at a great range. Riffe has set the trigger for this speargun near the back of the speargun to allow for maximum power for the length of the speargun. The rear handle design ensures easy point and shoot capability. Overall, this wooden speargun is hard to beat, with many models coming in both open and enclosed track options.
The Riffe Competitor Speargun series is a classic. This particular design has been around, in some form, for around 20 years. The reason it has been around so long is simple: it works! With a narrow design it is easy to see and track your fish as you are looking down the speargun. This speargun is easily hip loaded, as the trigger is located further forward on the stock. With a traditional band slot it is easy to install pre-made power bands on this mahogany wooden speargun.
The Riffe Marauder Speargun is a great design for some bluewater spearfishing. The laminated mahogany stock helps prevent warping. The cuttlefish body design adds mass, while still allowing the speargun to track easily through the water. The added mass reduces recoil, allowing for more power on the speargun. The added power translates to more penetration through fish from further away. This makes the Riffe Marauder a tempting option. Available in three lengths, there are plenty of options for success.
Changing Rigging and Tackle in Spearfishing
One of the key elements to landing big fish is to make sure your equipment is in pristine condition and that means changing rigging and hardware. That does not mean you need to change every piece of gear you own for every single dive trip. It does mean you should keep track of the condition of your dive gear and replace it well before it breaks. It is not the two pound snapper that is going to test your dive gear, but the big fish that are what we all hope we will see out there that will put your dive gear to the test.
Changing Rigging and Hardware
There are pieces of equipment that need to be replaced periodically. Any metal that is exposed to salt water should be given careful consideration, especially before big trips. The idea of spending thousands of dollars to travel to a foreign country, in addition to thousands of dollars on spearguns, shafts, slip tips, floats, floatlines, and bungees, and then having a trip ruined because you didn’t want to spend the money to replace a rusty tuna clip, shackle, or swivel. It is worth the 10 minutes and a few dollars to change rigging and hardware out on your float, floatline, or to replace your floatline adaptor.
Shooting line can be a very sore subject for many divers. If you dive a lot in your home town, your shooting line probably looks terrible. All divers have a tendency to become complacent with their shooting line, but it is one of the most important elements to landing your catch. Old shooting line is often freed, which reduces its strength. If you use monofilament, the crimps corrode over time once exposed to water. This also reduces the strength of the line’s ability to hold tension. Stainless steel cable rusts. If you are diving several times a week this is a gradual reduction that you don’t notice. The problem comes in when a big, strong fish, tests your equipment. That is when the shooting line breaks.Save yourself the trouble and change rigging and hardware, like your shooting line and crimps.
Most experienced divers share the opinion that it is important to tune your flopper shafts. It is true that a properly tuned flopper shaft helps land fish. If you are unfamiliar with what the term ‘tuning a flopper shaft’ means, we mean tightening the flopped on the spear. This is done to the point that once the flopper if forced open it remains open until forced down manually. Tuning a flopper is somewhat delicate and precise. If you over tighten the flopper it will not deploy on the other side of the fish. If the flopper is too loose the fish can struggle and the flopper can close and pull out of the fish. The best way to do this is to use a small ball peen hammer. Put the shaft and flopper on a hard surface and to make small adjustments until it is just right.
Essential Spearfishing Gear – What is in Our Dive Bag
Every new diver has some important questions about essential spearfishing gear. What are the pieces of gear that you need in order to spearfish? This blog will go over the basics of what you need to start spearfishing. We also go over what you may want as you get more into the sport of freediving and spearfishing. This is what you will find in a Neptonics Staff dive bag for a normal day of diving.
Masks, Fins, Snorkels, Booties
These are some of the most important pieces of basic equipment. Getting a quality mask and is one of the keys to having a good dive day. Fins make a huge difference in a divers ability to dive efficiently. Snorkels are under appreciated for being essential spearfishing equipment. Booties protect your feet and make multiple days of diving safer.
Getting the right mask is critical for enjoying your dive trips. If you can you should try on the mask to make sure it is comfortable. If you are freediving or spearfishing it comes in handy to get a low volume mask. Low volume refers to the amount of air space in the mask. The lower the volume of the mask the less air you have to use from your lungs to equalize the mask. Comfort is the most important element of a mask. When you try on the mask make sure to push the mask against your face to see where the frame of the mask would come in contact with your face under pressure. If there are any uncomfortable points of contact with the mask on your face you should consider a different mask. A mask that fits well is essential spearfishing equipment.
Fins are the only piece of equipment that can instantly improve a divers ability to dive deeper or more efficiently. Currently there are three types of fins available on the market. These types are differentiated by the type of material the fin blade is constructed of. Those types are plastic fins, composite fiberglass, and carbon fiber. If you are just starting out in the sport you may want to consider the plastic fins as a starting point. They are durable. Plastic fins are more efficient than your standard snorkeling fins or scuba fins, but there is room for improvement on efficiency. That is where composite fiberglass and carbon fiber fins come into the conversation. For a break down of kick cycle tests check out this other blog post. Do your research, and if you can test out a few pairs of fins if you can.
Freediving snorkels are generally pretty simple. You can get a snorkel that is more expensive, but there are some features you should be aware of. A purge valve has its benefits on a snorkel, but is is a moving part that wears out over time. Many manufacturers offer replacement parts for these types of purge valves, so it is not a huge hassle to replace them, but it may be worth keeping a spare in your dive bag if that is a feature you prefer. Many Freedivers prefer a simple j-snorkel that does not have a purge valve. The way you clear that type of snorkel is to just use more force from your lungs to force the water out of the snorkel. These a simple and inexpensive.
A good pair of booties can save your feet from terrible blisters. Booties can also help fill in an ill fitting pair of footpockets on your freediving fins. Ideally, your fin blades are an extension of your foot. A proper fit with booties can make that happen. Booties prevent blisters by keeping a soft padding between your feet and the abrasive rubber of a foot pocket. When you are swimming you are putting a great amount of force on your feet and any give in the foot pocket and your foot can cause chafing and blistering. This is compounded by your skin getting soft while submerged for an extended period of time. If you want to keep your feet in good condition booties are without a doubt essential spearfishing gear.
Wetsuits and Weight Belts – Why They Are Essential Spearfishing Gear
Spearfishing wetsuits do a lot more than just keep a free diver or spearfisher warm. They also keep us protected from abrasion in the water. Divers spend a surprising amount of time on the bottom of the ocean. There are rocks, corals, and countless other things that can scrape up a diver. If you are spearfishing there is also the consideration that fish themselves tend to be pointy. Most fish have spines that can be very painful on a divers, which fish have a way of wriggling while being handled that always seems to guarantee getting stabbed by the fish with its spines. A thick neoprene wetsuit helps prevent that. Wetsuits also help to ensure buoyancy. Proper buoyancy is critical to diving safely. A diver should be positively buoyant at the surface, and a wetsuit can help accomplish that. All of these reasons make wetsuits essential spearfishing gear.
Weight belts are the other side of wearing a wetsuit. Divers should be negatively buoyant at the bottom of their dive, and neutrally buoyant at about 30 feet (10 meters). This desired buoyancy is based on shallow water blackout statistics. You need to ballast your self with lead weight to dive effectively and efficiently, especially with thicker wetsuits. New 5mm and 7mm wetsuits are so buoyant that it is almost impossible to dive underwater without ballasting from a weight belt and lead.
Spearguns and Pole Spears -Essential Spearfishing Gear
Obviously you need some type of device to actually harvest your fish underwater. That is where spearguns, pole spears and Hawaiian slings come into the conversation. Nowadays there are so many different options that one blog post simply cannot cover everything. This will be a simple overview referencing some other articles you can check if you want more information on specific types of spearguns.
There are countless options for spearguns available. Broadly speaking they can be grouped into a few categories. There are Euro Style Spearguns, which are streamlined, but tend to lack power. There are American Style spearguns, which tend to be bulkier, but are more accurate and have more power because they can be powered with more bands. Then there are roller spearguns. Rollers are new to the game, but are increasing in popularity because they increase a spearguns range while keeping the speargun shorter in length. Spearguns are popular all over the world. Overall, spearguns are essential spearfishing gear for most of the world. There are a few places where spearguns are illegal to use. Because of that, and an interest in increasing the challenge of hunting, other options have become popular.
Pole Spears and Hawaiian Slings
Over the past several years there has been a dramatic increase in the use of pole spears and Hawaiian slings. There are several reasons this may havre come about, but undoubtedly some of these reasons include the creation of a separate category for world records take with pole spears and Hawaiian slings. That shift is only of the leading factors in improved pole spear technology. Now there are pole spears on the market with the range of a 45” (105cm) speargun, and more power than that same speargun. There is little doubt that we are currently living in the golden age of pole spears and Hawaiian slings. In places like the Bahamas, where these tools are the only legal options, pole spears and Hawaiian slings are essential spearfishing gear for sure.
The Dive Bag Itself
Dive bags are an often overlooked piece of essential spearfishing equipment. Having the right bag keeps you organized and efficient from the start of the day to the end of the day. The Neptonics Speargun Bag is the ultimate solution to traveling with all of your dive equipment in a protective bag. The bag is designed to take up to three spearguns, all of the shafts, wetsuits, fins, and all of your other dive gear anywhere in the world. It is even meant to be taken on the boat to keep all of your equipment organized. These have been tested all over the world from Belize to Tanzania and everywhere in between. They are used on Pangas to mega yachts. Keep your essential spearfishing gear safe in the essential travel bag. Paired with the Tri-Fold Rigging Bag there is no better way to keep all of your equipment organized.
Picking the Right Speargun Track
Enclosed Track VS Open Track Spearguns
Spearguns can be divided into an endless collection of categories. One of these splits is enclosed track and open track spearguns. Divers need to pick which style speargun track they prefer. Divers can have strong opinions on what they prefer and why. We will be breaking these down and looking at the benefits and problems with each. Both have their place and value. Choosing one compared to the other can have big impacts on how the speargun shoots, and how a dive has to aim.
Enclosed Track Spearguns Benefits
Enclosed tracks are more accurate than open track spearguns. This is the result of shaft whip. Shaft whip is the result of the back of the spear shaft trying to catch up with the front of the spear shaft as soon as the trigger is pulled. With an enclosed track the shaft has nowhere to flex. All of the energy is force to where the speargun is pointed. These benefits are increased as more power/ bands are added to the gun. So, once you have three or more bands it becomes very important to have an enclosed track. That is why most bluewater guns have enclosed tracks.
Problems with Enclosed Tracks
There are only a few problems with enclosed tracks. One of the biggest complaints is that they are harder to load than open track spearguns. This really only applies to starting the loading process. Once the spear shaft is in the track it slides directly into the trigger mechanism. The other issue can be an actual issue with the function of the speargun. If you are using an enclosed track speargun in confined spaces you need to make sure the spear shaft clears the entire track when you pull the trigger. If the spear shaft is still in the track and inside a fish the track can get busted apart by a struggling fish.
Benefits of Open Track Spearguns
The main benefit to open track spearguns is that you don’t have to worry about shooting a fish at close range and the fish damaging your gun. Open track spearguns can be easier to load than enclosed track spearguns. With that being said most loading challenges are easily overcome by being familiar with your own equipment. Newer divers will take longer on any type of equipment they are reloading, where experienced divers will be quicker, especially with their own equipment.
Open Track Problems
Spear shafts flex on open track spearguns. This is called “shaft whip”, and is similar to archery in its mechanics. Basic concept is that as soon as the trigger is pulled, the back of the spear shaft toys to catch up to the from of the spear shaft before the spear starts to accelerate forward. As it straightens the shaft can be pointed in a different direction than where you initially aimed the spear shaft. This issue gets compounded on more powerful spearguns, meaning spearguns with more bands. Shaft whip is why larger spearguns, with more than two bands need an enclosed track. The exception to this is spearguns that take extremely thick spear shafts. Some spearguns take 3/8” spear shafts, or even 10mm spear shafts. At that point the rigidity of the spear makes shaft whip less of an issue.
Koah Speargun Comparison
Koah has become an established brand for spearguns over the past decade. They are widely used throughout Florida, and have been gradually expanding their influence throughout the United States and the world. Koah builds high quality teak spearguns with enclosed tracks. The epoxy coating sets these spearguns apart from other teak spearguns. The epoxy coating gives these spearguns a refined and finished look that makes these spearguns last, and look good on the boat and even on the wall of your home. All of the different Koah Spearguns have a wide range of different length options based on the model. To get an idea of the right length speargun for you check out this blog post.
The Battle Axe
The Koah Battle Axe Speargun is the flagship speargun in Koah’s line of guns. The Battle Axe is the best scuba spearfishing speargun on the market. There are several purists out there that would say spearfishing on scuba is cheating compared to freediving. That is an opinion you are entitled to, but if you choose to spearfish on scuba this speargun is designed for you. It comes stock with a spare shaft and spare shaft holder. The Battle Axe is designed to be a hip loading speargun.
The biggest challenge with spearguns designed to be shot freeshafting is how difficult it is to put a line on the spear should you need a line. The Koah Battle Axe solves this problem with a quick and easy to use slide ring. The line and slide ring are retained in a streamline way on the underside of the speargun. If you need a line shaft you can quickly put the slide ring over the tip of the spear shaft. This becomes very important shooting cobra or amberjacks.
Koah Euro Spearguns
Koah’s Euro Spearguns are designed around freediving. The Koah Euro still uses American shafts with shark fin tabs and has an enclosed track. The speargun is streamline for easy tracking through the water. The Euro design comes down to the spearguns trigger being set so far back on the speargun. That makes this speargun have as much range as possible for the length of the speargun.
Koah Bluewater Speargun
The Koah Bluewater Speargun is a beast of a speargun. It has the mass needed to compensate for the power of all the bands it holds. Powered by four bands this speargun has the power and range to take down most bluewater water species. The Bluewater Standard series has more wood behind the trigger to make hip loading easier on such a large speargun. The Bluewater Mid-Plus has a pushrod that sets the trigger further back, to make use of the full length of the bluewater speargun.
Roller Speargun Series
The Koah Roller Speargun, or the Reef Roller Speargun, is Koah’s design for a roller speargun. This speargun comes standard with a single roller band to extend the range of the speargun. The roller band has a multi-stage load making the actual roller band to load initially, then you flip the speargun and tighten the band on slots on the underside of the speargun. The kicker band helps initially propel the spear keeping the spear accelerating quickly on the trigger pull. In a pinch you can just use the kicker band if you need to reload the speargun quickly.
Koah Fatback Speargun
The Koah Fatback has become a very popular Koah speargun model. It functions a bit in between the Euro and the Battle Axe. The Speargun is narrow and maneuverable in the front, but a bit more bulky in the back to deal with recoil. It has the standard option, which has the trigger further forward for hip loading. Alternatively, the Mid-Plus has a push rod and puts the trigger further back for more range. You need to chest load the Mid-Plus. It does not come with spare shafts or shaft holder like the Battle Axe.
Picking the Right Rob Allen Speargun For You
Rob Allen has always been a great manufacturer of Euro style spearguns. With nine different size options in the arsenal, there is a speargun option that will work well for any spearfishing. Rob Allen Spearguns have legendary durability, which has always set them apart from other “Rail Gun” style spearguns. These spearguns are manufactured in South Africa. They are designed for a tough environment, and even tougher fish. Rob Allen Spearguns are the standard for a streamline, and durable euro style speargun all over the world.
These spearguns are measures by the millimeter. That means the Rob Allen Tuna 700 has a tube that is 70 centimeters in length, and the Tuna 1500 has a 1.5 meter tube. The model number corresponds to the length for all the models. Rob Allen has a number of models of spearguns, but over the years we have found that the Tuna Models are our favorite.
Short Range Rob Allen Spearguns
The short range spearguns have maneuverability as a priority. They give up some range because they are shorter. Just because these spearguns are short doesn’t mean they lack power. All Rob Allen spearguns are powered by two 16mm bands. That means they store approximately 220 pounds of force to launch the spear shaft. Here is a breakdown of the shorter range spearguns in their arsenal.
The Tuna 700 is the shortest speargun Rob Allen manufactures. It is one of the most maneuverable spearguns on the market. This speargun still has the power and range you need for large fish in limited visibility. The Tuna 700 is particularly useful while spearfishing under ledges or in holes. The maneuverability makes this a lethal hunting tool in tight spaces.
The difference between any two adjacent speargun lengths is minimal. Ten centimeters is just under four inches. Typically a speargun’s range is determined by its length. Most spearguns have a range of two or three times the distance from the back of the band slot to where the band wishbone connects to the spear shaft. That means with each increase in a Rob Allen Speargun Model you may add about a foot of range. As spearguns get longer they become less maneuverable. So as you are picking the right Rob Allen Speargun for you you need to weigh your options for the diving you are doing. The Tuna 800 is solidly in the middle of the shorter range models.
The Rob Allen Tuna 900 speargun is really the end of the short range spearguns in the Rob Allen line. With a maximum range of eight or nine feet (2.5 meters) it still counts a maneuverable, but can be a little much for tight spaces under ledges and rocks. In challenging visibility you can be stuck with not being able to see the end of your speargun. From a safety perspective it is important t be able to see beyond the tip of your speargun. You need to be able to identify your target, and what is beyond it. If you are frequently diving in about ten foot of visibility and shooting fish in the column, or in the open on the reef the Tuna 900 makes for the perfect combination of range and maneuverability.
Mid-Range Rob Allen Spearguns
The Mid-Range Rob Allen Spearguns are some of the best all around spearguns on the market. Because these spearguns are so streamline they track well in the water. The tracking helps get you on target quickly and accurately. These spearguns also have the range and power to land larger reef fish and even smaller pelagic species.
The Rob Allen Tuna 1000 can still be used as a short range speargun in a pinch. This is a great starter speargun length. It is a bit long for shore diving in limited visibility, and it is a bit short for landing amberjacks or cobia. With that being said, it can do both with some luck and skill. The Tuna 1000 will teach you to be a skilled hunter, while allowing you to learn what else you may want in your next speargun.
The Tuna 1100 is probably the best all around speargun in the Rob Allen line of spearguns. With a maximum effective range of approximately 11 feet (just over 3 meters) just about everything on the reef is a possibility. The Tuna 1100 still is streamline and maneuverable. This is also a popular length to convert to a roller speargun. Converting the Rob Allen Tuna 1100 starts to tuna this model into the start of a bluewater speargun. It increases the range another four to five feet. By using the Manny Sub Roller conversion kit you have the option to turn it into a single roller, or a double roller. It really is the best Spearfishing Railgun for spearfishing on the reef, or even bluewater spearfishing with a few modifications.
The Rob Allen Tuna 1200 is where these spearguns start to get a bit long. It is a great speargun for reefs with clear visibility where closing the distance on fish can be difficult. On reefs where you need the range these are great options. The challenge with these spearguns at this length and longer is that they become hard to load. The tigger mechanism on the Rob Allen spearguns are very far back on the speargun. This is great because it allows you to get the maximum range for the length of the speargun. The challenge with the trigger mechanism being so far back is that you need to use specific loading techniques to properly load the speargun easily. For a demonstration please look at this post and video. Adding the optional Rob Allen Loading Pad is also a method to make it easier to load the speargun.
Long Range Rob Allen Spearguns
The Long Range Rob Allen Spearguns are very specific tools for a narrow range of divers. These rail spearguns have the ability to do some bluewater spearfishing for some very specific species. Because of their low profile in the water they are ideal for deeper dives wile bluewater spearing. They do have their limitations. They lack enclosed tracks, and are limited by only having two bands. Having more bands would cause greater inaccuracy due to overpowering, but the two bands limits the penetrating power of the speargun. There are several pelagic species that these guns have enough power to get through. Other species, like billfish and larger yellowfin or bluefin tuna may need a larger speargun to have a good chance of hanging them.
The Tuna 1300 is a great introduction too bluewater spearfishing. It has the range to start targeting pelagic species in a serious way. It is not an easy speargun to load, but it is certainly the easiest of the long range Rob Allen spearguns. If you are specifically targeting bluewater species you may want to look at a longer speargun. If you do some diving on the reef and have to take long shot this speargun will still work for some spearfishing on the reef. You do need clear water to use the speargun effectively.
The Rob Allen Tuna 1400 is a big speargun. It is a long speargun to move through the water. It is still streamline, just like a of these spearguns, but it is still long. The handle being so far back does make moving such a long object through the water. There are some tricks to make it easier. IF you keep the speargun tucked up under your body as you dive it gives you the leverage necessary to close the distance on your fish, then use the motion of pointing the gun to get on target and further close the distance on your target.
If the 1400 is a big speargun this one is just a challenge. At some point is is just hard to transport spearguns while traveling because of their length. The Tuna 1500 takes a 190cm spear shaft. Trying to transport a 2 meter long bag around the world has its challenges. It gets expensive. This speargun has some ridiculous range. It can launch a spear shaft approximately 16 feet and punch through most fish. It doesn’t have the power to do Billfish, but Wahoo, Mahi, and even Dogtooth Tuna are all possibilities with this beast.
Choosing the Rob Allen Spearguns You Need
There is a lot of information about all the different lengths available above. When it comes down to it they all have their place. As a diver you just need to identify what your Neds are and find the right gun that meets most of your needs. There is no single perfect speargun that is great for shallow dirty water, but will also land wahoo from 20 feet away. Fortunately there are affordable spearguns, like Rob Allen, that are also sturdy and reliable.
Choosing The Right Speargun Grip For You
A speargun grip is an often overlooked piece of gear that can dramatically impact your spearfishing. Having a grip that fits well in your hand is an underestimated value when diving. A textured grip can enhance your dive experience. Additionally, different color options can help differentiate your speargun from your dive buddy’s spearguns that may be similar. There are a bunch of reasons why a quality grip can be useful. Any speargun that uses a Neptonics Handle Base, Neptonics Rear Handle Kit, or Neptonics Mid-Handle Kit can accept a wide variety of interchangeable handles, to provide you with the perfect handle for your diving needs.
Textured Speargun Grip
Textured grips, like Hogue grips, have been increasingly popular in spearfishing. The textured grip allows the diver to have that much more control over their speargun. It may seem like a small difference in the feel of a speargun, but those small differences can add up. A grip that feels good in your hands can make the difference between a confident shot and a complete miss. With that being said, the standard A2 Grip is still a tried and true classic that has been used by the military for decades. There is something to be said about a simple grip that is tried and true under challenging conditions.
Keeping Consistent Across All of Your Spearguns
An important consideration for any speargun grip is that you will want to keep consistent. You should have the same or a similar grip on all of your spearguns. You do not want to have to mentally adjust from one speargun to another. That means if you are using the Hogue Rubberized Grip on one of your spearguns you should consider upgrading all of your spearguns to match it.
Identifying Your Speargun with a Grip
One of the biggest benefits to upgrading your grip is to make your speargun more identifiable. That may sound like a strange reason to upgrade your grip, but it can be important if you and your dive buddies all use similar spearguns. If you are about to hop off the boat and your speargun is under the gunnel with three other Super Amero Spearguns it is nice to be able to say “The one with the Hot Pink handle” to get in the water that much quicker.