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Art Pinder and Hawaiin Sling

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New Member
Sep 11, 2003
Anyone catch the article in the latest Spearfishing Magazine titled “The Art of Slinging” and then the following “The Sling and Tips from the Master”. It’s one the most interesting articles I have read in the mag since I subscribed 1 ½ years ago. Art Pinder and his brothers were amazing spearfishermen from Florida and they did it all with Hawaii Slings. Art’s 74 now and is still going. At 54 he placed 8th in the U.S. Nationals, won it several times in his younger days, with his favorite tool, the sling!

He says they used to use slings with 100lbs of pull that could shoot 25’! I would like to more about slings.
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Pinder brothers

Art Pinder still holds the Florida record for jewfish-800 lbs, I believe. He has also speared and landed tiger sharks with his sling of course. Amazing.
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I have got to go read this artcle.


I have heard of a sling that was built like a compound bow, but it is quite complex. I think compound bows develop on average 50 to 80 lbs of pull momentarilly untill the mechanical advantage kicks in. I found the only way the wrist could comfortably handle this force is from a pistol grip design. Slings must be untriggered or they are not true slings. Many areas do not allow triggered guns. Still if anyone has more info or pics of these or any sling designs that are unique I would be most interested in hearing and seeing them.

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Recently built a few slings from directions at http://www.geocities.com/freedivespearo/bricolage.html
Since I mostly dive in less than clear water I put a mono slinky on the spear. I've landed a couple of sheepshead and missed a lot more. It's more compact than a polespear and a lot simpler than a gun.
I got back from spearing Monday afternoon to find my issue of Spearfising in the mailbox. Sammydive, you're right- it was a great article. I look forward to trying some of Pinder's techniques.
Hawaiian slings work! The more you use them the better you get. Check out some Bahamian fare taken with slings, slings are all that is leagal in the Bahamas. They don't mesure up to Pinders monster but the biggest grouper was dropped with one shot placed just right. Hopefully the pics come through


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How about this one, one shot!


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Capt tom and uncle ray loose in bahamas not bad for a couple old farts. HA HA!


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Traditionally Hawaiian slings are free shafts. But some do use a tether. The site mentioned earlier geocities is a guy in california at a site called retrosub. He has an excellent article on attaching tethers. I talked to him about it he says because of the poor clarity of the water there it is nessessary. Fortunatly S. florida and Bahamas where I sling is clear vis. Ive never used a tether. I Have lost a couple shafts on big muttons though.
This is the article I was refering to.
Classic Hawaiian slings are freeshafts, meaning they do not use a shooting line. Consequently, they are usually used in clear water on fish that hole up after they are shot. On most days in Northern California, a freeshaft means a lost shaft, or if you hit, a lost fish. So, why not add a shooting line?

Some people argue that adding a shooting line to an Hawaiian sling defeats the purpose. You sacrifice the rapid reloading capability, and turn a simple weapon into a complicated one. Still, if you are stuck in murky water hunting fish that run away, you've just got to have a shooting line on your sling.

There are numerous considerations to take into account concerning the shooting line. How long should it be? What material is best? How should I rig the line? Some observations and ideas follow.

Line Length and Attachments
Hawaiian slings don't have much power so you don't need 15 feet of line. Too much line can also be a pain to manage, so shorter is actually better. A good length for line is just over the length of the spear. If you are using a 48" shaft, somewhere around 54" is about right.

To make the line easier to manage you may consider attaching a sliding lead weight to the shooting line. This will keep the line going straight down, well organized, and out of the way. A swivel-clip is also a good idea. The swivel will aid in avoiding line tangles and the clip will allow you to change (or abandon) shafts easily. I have found the best swivel-clips and weights at fishing stores (no surprise there). Unlike spearguns, Hawaiian slings do not need a bungie shock-line. The sling just doesn't produce enough power to make that a necessity.

Line Material
Since you won't be hunting 100lb fish with an Hawaiian sling, you don't need a super heavy shooting line. The line you choose should resist the elements and abrasion, should handle easily, and have minimum drag. Some candidates are:

Monofilament (weed whacker line for the budget-minded, Jinkai for the rest)

Spectra (a.k.a. Dynema)

Nylon (the best stuff has a thin braid)

Kevlar (from Riffe)

Mono is easy to handle in the water as it doesn't tangle easily. Its also very low drag so its a really good choice. Although it sounds like a lot, 200lb test is a useable size. The other lines are all braids and share some of the same disadvantages: they cause more drag, they can saw through the flesh of a fish, they are limp in the water making the line difficult to control. Still, braided line, especially hardware-store-variety braided nylon, is cheap, easy to work with, and readily available. Braided nylon comes in different grades, the best I have found (resembling the tight braid on Riffe Kevlar) was called "Contractor Grade".

Here's what Rob Allen at the Dive Factory says about mono and Spectra. He's talking about heavier line than you would use on a sling, but the information is still valid.

We've run many tests on Spectra, mono nylon, crimping and knots. We have found if crimping mono, use the double barrel type crimp. This must be fitted with the correct crimp tool. A standard barrel crimp, crimped with a cable type crimper will damage the line and weaken it. The design of the double barrel type places an equal pressure all around the mono. When crimping the mono, do a load test. We test the break strength of the crimps on the 300 lb mono and have managed to get around 200 lb break strength when the crimp is crimped correctly. You will always loose break strength at the crimp or at knots. We have found the crimp to be stronger than knots on mono and has a lower profile. Mono is good because of its stretch, ease of handling and costs. It also does not absorb water and slow the spear down like all the multi-fibre type cords.

Spectra or Dynema as it is known here, has a much higher break strain. Dynema, 10% thinner than the 300 lb mono, has a break strength of 570 lb. If knotted, you loose up to 50% of the break strength. Having no stretch also means that it is important to fit small bungies on the shooting line. Disadvantages are the cost and the difficulty to handle in the water. To maximize the break strength, it is best to sew it together rather than tie. This keeps the break strength at its full break strength rating and is low profile. Abrasion wise, we have done bench tests on sharp/rough objects and found the Dynema to be much better than that of the mono nylon.

Rob Allen

Dive Factory 181 Gale ST Durban RSA
Tel: +27 31 301 2241
e-mail: divefac@iafrica.com
Website: http://www.divefactory.co.za

"Euro" Style
Most European spearguns have their shooting lines attached this way, so that's why its called "Euro" style. When rigged this way the shooting line is attached directly to the end of the spear. The main requirement is that the barrel must have an opening wide enough to allow the spear and the line to pass through without catching. The minimum size for this is about 1/2", though larger is probably better.

Drill a 3/32" hole towards the rear of the shaft. If you are using mono, crimp it and be done with it. If you are tying a knot, drill a larger hole (3/16" is about right) over the first hole about 3/4 of the way down. This larger hole will hide the knot. Chamfer the edges of the small hole so it won't cut the line. Feed the line through the hole and tie an overhand knot. Depending on the line you are using you may need to melt the end of the line to keep it from fraying/pulling through.

Slide Ring
Slide rings are often used on American spearguns, like A.B. Biller and JBL. You can buy slide rings from various manufacturers, with the best ones (for this application) being the lightest ones. The best slide rings I have seen come from Riffe and are meant for their slip tips. The slide rings are a bit on the expensive side ($13), but the lightweight design and superior quality offset the expense. They are available in 4 sizes so they should fit whatever shaft you have (unless its metric or 17/64").

Making a slide ring is pretty easy, too. A 1/4" nylon spacer can be converted into a fine slide ring by cutting a small band around the spacer to attach the line to. These same spacers make great shaft cups, too. Instructions for that are covered in the section Inexpensive Hawaiian Slings.

A slide ring must have some kind of bump that the slide ring will stop against. One easy way to make this bump is with a rivet. You don't need a full length rivet, so if you ground the rivet off a flopper (and didn't throw it out) that will do fine.

Start by drilling a 3/32" hole (the standard size for flopper rivets) just ahead of where the butt of the spear engages the cup. Slide the slide ring on the shaft and then install the rivet. Bang on the rivet to make it as flush to the shaft as possible. Important: Before you set the rivet make sure the slide ring really is on the shaft.

A slide ring gives you the option of using a slinky cord. Instructions for making one are in the section Making a Slinky Cord.

We're still working on which way is the best way to rig a shooting line. Probably there is no "best way", as it just comes down to personal taste. Stay tuned for preliminary results.

Update: If you are using a nylon spacer for the slide ring, install a washer behind the spacer, otherwise the spacer may jam on the rivet. Also, to attach the mono, crimp a small loop ahead of the spacer. You do not need to attach the line directly to the slide ring, as the mono will slide down the shaft just fine.

Update: I got a letter from Mike Messina in Florida. He rigs his shooting line through the front of the spear, so that the line does not need to go through the tube. My initial instinct was that this may be less accurate. But for most shots, which are probably five feet or less, probably it makes no difference at all
Hi all,

It is fun to see good stuff on slings. In the right place, it is one heck of a weapon. My seahornet is a good gun, but a sling is better in the right conditions. Freediving in the Bahamas, on grouper, hogs or some of the snappers, it is much more effective than a gun and a heck of a lot more pleasent to carry around. If you have a reasonably strong arm and use it regularly, it can be deadly accurate and effective range goes out to 15 ft, more if you are a gorilla. I used to figure that anything inside of 12 ft was in the cooler for sure.

Thanks for the posts and pictures.

slings rock!

nice pics! i could spot honeymoon harbor from a mile away:)

the pinder bros are legends. i met Art about 8 years ago in bimini, what a great guy with some crazy stories! those guys have done it all and the best part is they used slings!

my buds and i all use slings. if you saw my sling you'd fall on the ground laughing because it looks like such a piece of crap, but it works awesome for me and its lasted for 6 years . as mentioned earlier, when you dive in nice south fl/bahamas water, a good sling setup is unbeatable. i coundn't count the number of times i have gotten running grouper to hole up only because i was able to take shots at them from afar to scare them, then grab the shaft and shoot em. or other times i have shot at a ruuning fish and missed but been able to grab the spear, reload and shoot the fish. with a gun i wouldv'e been left high and dry. as a matter of fact i can only remember one or two times in my life saying " if i had a gun i would have gotten that fish". i should mention we don't use off the shelf slings either. we make all of our slings custom to that person. arm span, strength, shaft size, and flexibility are all taken into account. once you start using a custom sling that feels right for you , your gun will start to collect dust because there is nothing like them and you will be having to much fun. i have some pics posted on our website www.reefriderz.com , it's a site we made dedicated to the sling. it's got some old pics and we've neglected it lately but it should have a lot more stuff in the next couple weeks. by the way we don't sell slings but if you want one made i'd be glad to help any of you out. just pm me

Yup its honeymoon harbor I allways stop here after crossing from the Abacos, Berries or Exumas. There are some nice fish to be had from this area in 25 40 feet. I checked your site. Looks good keep it up! I will add a link from my site to yours if it OK with you. I would be interested in your sling designs, got any pics or info? Using anything new or unusuall? I make and sell a new design but I can't mention it here as it violates the advertising guides on this forum. Email me for details.
Keep Havin fun its all that really matters!
How do you attach a string onto the spear. I am getting one of these bad boys tommorow.:p
80 lb Grouper

I just got this picture of a giant grouper taken recently in the Bahamas with a Hawiian Sling from www.hawaiiansling.net This is the biggest fish I have seen taken with the sling to date!
What do you think?


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Nice black, but the picture makes him look just a hair bigger than he really is. What did he weigh?

I have pictures of several 50-60 blacks and an 80, all taken with slings.

I was told it was 80 lbs. I would like to see your pics, got them?
The biggest I have see was about 50 lbs ( taken with slings ) Prior to this one. Hopefully the guys who got him will log on with the details.
Black Grouper

The fish in question was 61 lbs. Ray's equipment was very effective. We've landed other blacks in the 50 -60 lb range with slings but the new design is so comfortable I'm a customer for life.
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