• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

Clusters vs. floppers

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

Jay Styron

New Member
Aug 31, 2001
OK, this question is for the Aussies. I've been thinking of trying out one of your multi prong heads. Our "paralyzer tips" only have 3 prongs-great for small fish, but I've been reading that your multi prong(5-6) 6"-8" does a nice job on medium to large fish. Whats the advantage/disadvantage over hawaiian/tethitian shafts. Thanks in advance.
Wouldn't that have too much surface area to penetrate medium-large fish. You'd be spreading the energy of the impact over too large a surface area (like lying on a bed of nails).
It might if you just lay the fish on the barbs but w/ the force of the bands added there shouldn't be a problem. I would imagine the cross section of those smaller dia. barbs added together aren't much greater than one screw on spinner tip. I shot a 20# Jack Crevalle w/ a pole spear w/ paralyzer and it held well. I'm just wondering what the pro's think? ;)
Aloha Jay
I don't think the pros will agree but, when I switched to a 5 prong for halibut, I never had another one pull off. On long shots the accuracy will suffer, of course. You have 5 chances of hitting the spine (stoned). Easier to penetrate the head with. Even a gut shot from directly underneath stunned a 25# Sheaphead long enough to let me grab. I also tried removing two of the tines for clearer water, with limited success.
Here in Oz cluster or pranger heads are mainly used for cave hunting. Having said that, I should add that the top 2 spearos at the National Titles both used cluster heads during the comp. The species speared included open water fish like kingies..:p
Many of the comp divers I know prefer cluster heads in comp diving.

Cluster heads also have a following amongst bluewater divers who are chasing dogtooth tuna. The rigs Ive seen include Riffes and Alexander bluewater models with multiple bands and 8 inch, 6 prong cluster heads. The theory is that a good shot on a big doggie (50kg or more) will either stone it or seriously incovenience it. The holding power is probably not as good as a sliptip but that is balanced by the shock power of the head and the increased likelyhood of a stone shot.

The trick to using a cluster head effectively is to make sure the prongs are aligned properly, thus minimising the drag. On a big Riffe you may lose 2-3m in range, but a good hunting technique will make up for that.;)

Don't think I've ever seen these....

& isn't 2-3meters pretty substantial?
On the big bluewater models you'd still have a 5-6m range, even with a cluster.. Good enough for me..;) Heck my RA has an effective range of maybe 3.5m, yet I always string the fish I shoot.

Pic below is from Adrenaline website, Shane Spicer and wife.


  • cluster.jpg
    74.8 KB · Views: 459
Last edited:
6-6.5mm tahitian shaft and small euro config just work fine for small fishes. Trust me small fishes are my expertise:D
I prefer small diameter tahitian coz where you shoot there it goes.
You know, one shoot one kill style ! ! !:p
Yeah, there's generally two types of prangers in Aus... the little 5 inch ones (that make Sash jealous ;)) are more for table fish. It's the kind of head you start out with when you're a little kid... totally destroys the fish, but it's hard to miss with all those prangers...

The other head is the 8 inch one (bring it on Sven). Like Sash said, this has a big following with doggie shooters and good comp spearos... means you can take a hasty shot and still have a reasonable chance of it sticking. The photo of Shane is an 8 inch pranger.

Prangers have a bit more drag than speed shafts, but if you're into making hasty shots, or after fast moving full bodied fish...
Thanks for all the info guys. I think I'll order one this year to try out. I think I read Naomi Spicer uses one during the comps. thanks again.
only 8" ? :t Bummer for the better half eh, Loop?

I've used the prangers on a polespear for calico rockfish and while it's fine for that, I'd be pretty interested to see how it'd work on a gun... I'm thinking the weight of the thing alone would be a bummer, along with the added drag of it's size.

'Course if you bring one next month and score huge... :D

Originally posted by icarus pacific
'Course if you bring one next month and score huge...

We still talkin' bout the 8" head? :D

Three prongs

I started spearing using a pranger head. First I used six barbs, then five, then six again (due to the vagaries of supply here in Wollongong).

THEN I started making my own prangers by replacing the barbs myself. To do this, make a shroud around your oven stovetop out of aluminium foil to keep the radiant heat in. Then put your pranger on the stove element, and wait for 10 minutes for it to heat up. After the solder melts, you can pull the old barbs out.

Put some solder in the holes, and push the new barbs in. Works great!

After some experimentation I found that three barbs worked best for me (shooting luderick up to 1.5kg). Three barbs gave me about half a metre extra range, which at the time was just what I needed. Six barbs slowed the shaft down too much, so I only had one metre effective range. An extra 50 cm was an extra 50% range!

I found that three barbs would penetrate the fish so well that it was impossible for the fish to pull off, as opposed to six barbs where the combined force smacking the fish meant that the barbs wouldn't penetrate all that much.

The downside to only three barbs is the top shot, shooting down on a fish, where the barbs can just slide off the skull of the fish, leaving it with a couple of white skid marks and leaving me a bit annoyed :) I suppose that with 6 barbs the spear wouldn't have made it that far anyway.

One trumpeter that I shot from above was interesting -- only one prong hit the fish, and it only just went into the gillplate. The fish didn't seem to notice that it was shot -- it kept slowly swimming around the cave that it was in. I kept tension on the line, slowly brought the fish nearer till I could grab the spear, then heaved the whole fish out of the water onto a nearby rock shelf!

I use tahitian shafts now, I know that when I hit a fish the fish stays hit.
  • Like
Reactions: Shadowkiller
3 barbs is the traditional style in the US - paralyzer tips.

First time I used a paralyzer tip on a speargun was in intermediate school in high school. My friend invited me with his family to go spearfishing & they had a most unusual technique...


I arrived at his house & we headed down the road to the beach. Unloading the truck, he told me to leave my speargun & snorkel in the vehicle, instead handing me a small Mares pneumatic(he had a few of snub nose & shortie) with a paralyzer tip on the shaft & a pair of kneepads!!! :confused:

We went out to the grounds & I saw a large exposed reef. He and his dad took me out in the water to a favorite area, then his dad kneeled down in ankle deep water next to a basketball hoop sized hole that went straight down. Next thing I know, his dad is almost completely upside down in the hole... then pops out with a nice fish on his spear!

I tried it next & found the hollow caverns underneath were about 3-6 feet deep. No snorkel & a small gun made it really easy to get into the cracks & surprise fish that have never experienced divers in this environment. A few seconds to adjust to darkness & you could pick out what fish you wanted. Since space was so tight, a barbed single shaft would almost guarantee a lost shaft since you couldn't really go after a snagged barb on a rock.

This became one of my favorite spearfishing methods. Though I only went a few times with them, the fun I had was amazing. You never knew what you'd come across whether it'd be a fat parrotfish or a monster moray eel :martial A really different change of pace, just goes to show you that ingenuity can really pay off!
Originally posted by fuzz
3 barbs is the traditional style in the US - paralyzer tips.

First time

I arrived at his house & we headed down the road to the beach. Unloading the truck, he told me to leave my speargun & snorkel in the vehicle, instead handing me a pair of kneepads!!!


sven rofl
DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing


ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2024 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.