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Big Fish Safety

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Sep 24, 2002
Big fish or strong fish of even 15-20lbs. (dogtooth tuna,jacks,etc.) will drag you under and under........
Most people realise the importance of using cable for
your shooting line for strength and mostly abrasion
reasons. Plastic coated cable is best because it won't
rip the the soft flesh of many fish(mackerel,etc.) like
uncoated cable. IMPORTANT: if you use cable you MUST
carry a tool to cut cable. You must also carry a knife to
cut the other components of your rigging if entangled and
to dispatch (kill) your fish. REMEMBER: many fish will fight for
their lives and even come to life when you get close to them
or try to grab them. It is at this time that you must be most
careful not to get wrapped or even caught in a small loop
of cable,line,etc. ALSO:if you are not using a slip tip many
divers have been speared by their own spears when trying to grab the fish.
I've dived many places in the world but rarely seen a spearo carry a tool than can cut cable if entangled. Cable can be cut by
special pliers or even special stainless steel scissors. Marine stores generally carry both. Dive shops may carry Sea Snips
(s.s. utility scissors) that also work. Like a knife your cable cutters
should be worn so either hand can grab them.
Besides self entanglement some fish such as dogtooth tuna,etc.
head for the bottom and entangle the cable or line in the coral,etc. on the bottom. I always try and carry a scuba rig (where
legal) for such occasions and emergencies. I've used scuba to
retrieve my spear in 150' on several occasions (sometimes/fish if
they haven't torn off or sharks torn them). REMEMBER: being a
purist(freediving only) is nice but you will lose alot of gear and
put yourself in dangerous situations just trying to save gear or a fish. Replacing gear or a record fish is possible if you are still in the
The above are only a few thoughts on the subject. I just hope
one or more divers will consider the above and dive SAFER AND

hi Jim

I cant agree with you more. Getting gear snagged in deep water for your own abilities is my worst fear. I hate getting fish out of the coral at your max depth cos Im always risking blackout.

Yep even little pelagics have good power, recently I shot a 30lb Spanish Mack with a poor shot, this cute little fish took all my 100ft float line racing past me and had the float under water.

Doggies are the worst fish imaginable for tangling/destroying gear as well as pulling floats under.

Hi Jim , thanks for sharing your thoughts . :cool:
I would hesitate calling fish of 15/20 lbs. big ; if it was kilo's , yeah , barely ...:hmm .
I would never use cable , prefer dyneema .
I guess I am what you call a purist as I carry nothing but my gun and prefer to spear alone . My safety is not something I worry overmuch about although I will not take unnecesary risks .
The ocean is big enough for different approaches . ;)

15-20 lb fish is monster for me.On the other hand for Abri its only baitfish to marlins.:t :D
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Oh i forget to mention. Riffe says their knife's upper edge is designed for cable cutting so you may not need scisor if you buy one of it.
It's true, my friend used the Riffe serrated edge to cut a 500 lbs coated cable, rather easy.
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You'd be amazed at what a dose of desparation will do for a dull knife and cable. But better you just appreciate the need for a small pair of cable cutters, we call 'em dykes, in the other knife pocket that holds the light. It's worked for me for years and doesn't add much bulk, but adds a whole bunch of peace of mind.

Good call Jim.

I always carry 2 things that will cut cable...that stuff is no joke. Here there is much discarded cable, long line mono, ect. that can grab you in a hurry, much more so on the rigs than anywhere else you can imagine. You only get one chance to get out and you better make it count. My sea snips have saved my ass more than once after dropping my knife into the abyss...when it comes to safety lean towards overkill instead of not quite enough.:hmm

Abri the purist spearo He He. To be Honest I don't take a knife or any gear that can cut stuff. However NORMALLY i dont dive alone but heck if the sea is flat and no one is keen to go Ill push the 12ft tinny down the beach and out by myself. Out at the reef when big fish are milling around on the bottom damn I start to do some stupid things which have got me in trouble a few times.

But Seriously like Jim said if a big Doggie wraps your gear in the coral in 100ft, and poor old me can hardly dive 70ft what do you do. Cut everything.


ps I think Abri's marlin will be eating bigger baitfish than 15-20lbs, over here some of the 1000lbs blacks have BIG yellowfin in them.
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Whahahaha..:D That means those 1000lbs beast are better spero than all of us.:duh

These are line caught I think the biggest black caught off Cairns was 1654lbs it had a 150lb yellowfin inside. As far as I know no one has dared to go out and try and spear one of those beasts including me. There out in over 1000m of water, I much prefer chasing pelagics on the reef.

What was that thing about Apnea Promoting Geneus

This one spearo i have dived with a few times doesnt carry a knife, and he almost always dives alone. i asked him about the knife and he said that if you are stupid enough to get tangled then you deserve to drown. :head
Sounds more like something Rigdvr mentioned elsewhere :
Darwinism at work :D
I admit to doing the same but dont subscribe to the attitude .
Getting tangled definitely need not be your own fault .
Have had a buddy drown due to entanglement when an ignobilis wapped him in his floatline and ducked into a wreck ; he was 22 years old and a good , keen spearo . To say he deserved it due to stupidity is pushing it a tad ...:naughty
Definately bad form Griff...never let myself get tangled before but it has a way of happening. If you have never had a close call with your shooting line you simply have not shot enough. Sooner or later it will happen...I'd reconsider diving with that guy. Sorry about your mate Abri
about knives

There are more ways to use a knife than to get untangled from lines - what if the fish catches YOU?!!!

I knew a pro lobster fisherman (Harry Menger) in the Virgin Islands that had a painful encounter with a moray. Reaching into a hole with a snare to get a lobster, a large moray latched onto his hand, biting hard on the index and heart fingers - then it tensed itself up in the hole and there was no way Harry could get back to the surface without leaving his fingers behind.

By pure and absolute luck it was the first day he wore a knife! He had to cut off the head of the moray (can you imagine doing it all in one breath?) and once back on his boat had to open the jaws with a pair of pliers.

At that time he was considered about the fifth best freediver in the world - around 1968. That probably helped him keep his calm while patiently cutting off the head of the moray. Do any of you know if there are any freediving records available from those days and where to find them?


The reason I don't use a knife is cos they are usually bulky and will cause resistance in the water. I have been tangled by a job fish once but he wasnt big enough to pull me down.

Happy Birthday.....Kapiten Rig.

Let me sing you the song :

Happy birthday To You,
You Were Born in the Zoo,
With the monkey and Kangaroo,
Happy Birthday to you ............. :D :D
Unless somebody wants to pay good money for that big meat and the Marlin agrees not to "sword" me and willing to come up to me untill 120cm from my speartip............I ain't shooting that size :D
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