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First Pole Spear Build

Nama

New Member
Aug 19, 2020
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0
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Hello everyone my first post and first attempt at a pole spear build.

Last week I went spearfishing for the first time with a $10 1.5m pole... it was garbage but I could get a few fish for the bbq, have fun and learn.

The main flaw of the pole was the plastic cap that was used to hold the power band. The cap was riveted to the shaft, the band was crammed through a hole and tied in a knot (inside the shaft) so it couldn't come out. The rivet broke which allowed the shaft to press against the band and cut it over and over again.

The shaft itself was weak and bent easily by hand but it didn't cause a problem this time.
The tip was a 5 prong trident... It did it's job but not exactly great.

One issue I had was not enough power. When I finally found a large fish (40cm ish - large for where I am) I made a nice solid hit but the spear just bounced off the fish. A second time with a good size rock fish the spear just pushed the fish. I think I need more power and longer/less prongs (either 3 prong trident or single spike). The prongs were sharp at least.

So I need a new spear and enjoy building things in my free time.
My design idea so far is two 1m sections for easy travel, also it's useful being able to use the spear at half size too.
The fish species here are usually smaller, so 15-20cm would often be a good catch, and 50-70cm would probably be the upper limits of what I find.

At the moment I'm checking what materials are available to me vs what is commonly used by other people.
For the shaft good aluminum pipes are not easy for me to find (I live in Japan, try to find anything at a hardware store here and you will understand the pain), but stainless pipes are easy and cheap.... however I haven't been able to find much information about using stainless as the main pole.

Yesterday I found a post where someone showed a photo of himself and a DIY spear made from 5' of stainless and 60" of something else, so I figured it's worth asking directly what are the pro's and con's of a stainless pole?

Hopefully this thread can grow as the build progresses and I can get some general input as well.
Thanks!
 

Nama

New Member
Aug 19, 2020
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sorry I posted in the wrong section and can't find how to move the post.
 

Andrew the fish

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2010
524
134
83
I built a polespear once out of stainless tube. Turned out not good at all. Pipe was too thin and therefore soft, was easy to bend. Bigger diameter, like 1/2” or so, would be too heavy. I think aluminium pole is probably the better choice, something the size of hiking stick maybe. I thought about building another one, but honestly, it is cheaper to buy nicely built polespear, than trying to build. Another problem with building a polespear was that I needed a lathe machine if I wanted to make a proper joint between two halves and for the tip. Without lathe you will need to use epoxy or something like that.
 
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Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
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You can build a lathe out of some wood and a drill. It won't be good enough for milling a steel brick to a refined shape, but for drilling a perfectly centered hole in an aluminium rod it works just fine. Insert a threaded rod in one side and tap a thread in the hole of the other side. It'll probably give some scratches on the alu, but with alu that's not a problem and happens in use anyway.

* Someone with a wood-working lathe might be easier to find than one for working steel. (your local table-maker has one). Wood working lathes can be used for aluminium without issues.

Buying and making both have their upsides. Buying is way faster, but if you made it yourself then you also know you can repair it yourself.

Or perhaps do both. Buy one and make one too!
 

Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
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the spear just bounced off the fish.
This could be a result of many things. First is the mass of the spear. For a given band strength and spear diameter, a lighter spear travels faster, but loses energy quickly due to water resistance. A heavier spear travels slower but keeps its energy longer. So a solid rod penetrates the fish better than a hollow pipe of the same diameter and material. Most aluminium pole spears on the market are solid 12mm aluminium.

But a heavier spear is slower, unless you also add a stronger band. A light spear with a strong band probably just bends like hell and will still lose energy quickly. So add mass!

Another is the frontal surface of the spear. If your spear has a 6mm single point with a flopper its frontal surface is huge, so you need a lot of power to penetrate the fish at range. A 3-prong of 4mm tines is about the same frontal surface as a 7mm single tip with flopper! For most fish a 3-prong paralyzer with 2mm tines would already give enough holding power, but with less than 1/3 of the frontal surface compared to one with 4mm tines. So 1/3 of the power is needed to penetrate the fish. 2mm tines bend easily, but they're also straightened easily.

You could ask for aluminium rods at the workplaces where they make windows and doors. They often have. Otherwise look around for a steel supplier. Here in Greece it's the same thing, aluminium is about as rare as gold, while the country is a big exporter of the stuff. So I have to get my material from directly from the suppliers too. They require to buy ateast 5m per shipment, but also at a cheaper price than would be at a store. If you ask nicely they might even drill the needed holes for you.
 
Last edited:

Nama

New Member
Aug 19, 2020
4
0
1
37
I built a polespear once out of stainless tube. Turned out not good at all. Pipe was too thin and therefore soft, was easy to bend. Bigger diameter, like 1/2” or so, would be too heavy. I think aluminium pole is probably the better choice, something the size of hiking stick maybe. I thought about building another one, but honestly, it is cheaper to buy nicely built polespear, than trying to build. Another problem with building a polespear was that I needed a lathe machine if I wanted to make a proper joint between two halves and for the tip. Without lathe you will need to use epoxy or something like that.
Thank you for sharing.
I will have to keep the bending point in mind, the tube I found was surprisingly light but felt stronger than the cheap aluminum spear I bought so there was some hope it could be ok.
If I build a spear I figure the pole would be about $10, band and tips are consumable even if buying a nice spear so price is not so bad... bigger issue is not having a good selection available here. Importing would cost $60-90 for shipping alone.
 

Nama

New Member
Aug 19, 2020
4
0
1
37
You can build a lathe out of some wood and a drill. It won't be good enough for milling a steel brick to a refined shape, but for drilling a perfectly centered hole in an aluminium rod it works just fine. Insert a threaded rod in one side and tap a thread in the hole of the other side. It'll probably give some scratches on the alu, but with alu that's not a problem and happens in use anyway.

* Someone with a wood-working lathe might be easier to find than one for working steel. (your local table-maker has one). Wood working lathes can be used for aluminium without issues.

Buying and making both have their upsides. Buying is way faster, but if you made it yourself then you also know you can repair it yourself.

Or perhaps do both. Buy one and make one too!
Thanks for all the information, it will help me figure everything out.
I have metal mills and lathe at work I can use and at home I have wood working tools and a mini lathe so being able to build the parts should be no problem.

Most aluminium pole spears on the market are solid 12mm aluminium
This in particular is good to know. Mine was a thin wall hollow aluminum tube, so probably no penetration power. I will search and see if I can find rods instead of tubes.

People don't really build or do anything themselves in Japan so finding materials is not easy. Steel is easy because people use it to hang shower curtains or laundry, but the average person doesn't use aluminum, so unless I consider a cheap broom stick its expensive.

What is the size and weight of the spear you use the most?
 

Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
400
221
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What is the size and weight of the spear you use the most?
Haha, well mine is only 1 metre! But it's a spear I made specifically for lionfish. I really want to make a long spear too as using a spear instead of a gun feels so natural to me.
 

CCspearo

Well-Known Member
Jun 2, 2014
78
50
58
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hi Nama
I have been using pole spears for decades I have owned wooden, brass stainless steel, aluminium and fibreglass handspears(as we call them in Australia). Stay away from the Aluminium spears they are too light and therefore do not hit hard enough to penitrate the fish well they are also flimsy and bend easily. The best handspear I have owned and still own is a heavy walled brass one l found on the bottom of the ocean in 1970. I have never seen another one like it, they may have made them in the 60s or it may have been a diy model that fell off a boat. the brass was covered in black plastic which made it harder for the fish to see. This may give you some ideas for your home made spear. I don't think they make stailess ones any more but if you are considering buying a spear I would recommend the solid fibreglass ones made by land and sea you can get them on ebay.
cheers Mal
 

Royal13m

New Member
Mar 18, 2021
1
0
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23
This in particular is good to know. Mine was a thin wall hollow aluminum tube, so probably no penetration power. I will search and see if I can find rods instead of tubes.
 

Markusfugit

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2011
47
7
48
hi Nama
I have been using pole spears for decades I have owned wooden, brass stainless steel, aluminium and fibreglass handspears(as we call them in Australia). Stay away from the Aluminium spears they are too light and therefore do not hit hard enough to penitrate the fish well they are also flimsy and bend easily. The best handspear I have owned and still own is a heavy walled brass one l found on the bottom of the ocean in 1970. I have never seen another one like it, they may have made them in the 60s or it may have been a diy model that fell off a boat. the brass was covered in black plastic which made it harder for the fish to see. This may give you some ideas for your home made spear. I don't think they make stailess ones any more but if you are considering buying a spear I would recommend the solid fibreglass ones made by land and sea you can get them on ebay.
cheers Mal
 

Markusfugit

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2011
47
7
48
I've been shooting fish for quite a while, using an aluminum pole spear, and more recently got a fiberglass one....heavy and slow. I recently built one from two carbon golf club handles, joined at the thicker ends. With a three-prong paralyzer tip, it is about 7 feet long. Shot fish with it the first time out. I'm in Costa Rica. I'm working on another using two carbon cross-country ski poles, and it will be about 10 feet long. It was hard to make the paralyzer tip, but I think I figured it out. I'll post some pics, but right now I'm at work. Pura Vida!
 

Markusfugit

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2011
47
7
48
hey Nama
have a look at my DIY roller polespear it may give you some ideas. Here is the link https://forums.deeperblue.com/threads/homemade-roller-polespear-handspear.116097/
The prongs of the paralyzer tip on mine are made from "piano wire". McMaster-Carr sells all sizes in 12 inch lengths. The inside bevels make the prongs spread as it enters the fish, increasing the holding power even without barbs. The base of the tip is some stainless tubing that started life as part of a pendant light fixture, and came in several threaded lengths. The punch marks to keep the prongs in place were made with a cold chisel, then a few drops of epoxy. I didn’t make a threaded connection for the middle of the spear because I live close to the beach. The halves were aligned nicely by using another golf club handle of smaller diameter as an internal sleeve, and epoxied. I don’t think it’s too light, and more weight could have been added during construction by pouring in a bit of lead bird shot with some epoxy.
 

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CCspearo

Well-Known Member
Jun 2, 2014
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The prongs of the paralyzer tip on mine are made from "piano wire". McMaster-Carr sells all sizes in 12 inch lengths.
looking good Markusfugit
I found old oven racks a good source of strong steel they do rust but if you wash them in fresh water and apply Vaseline they are fine(the vaso also helps penitrating the fish). I weld a piece on at about 30 degrees and grind it into a barb. I found that part of an old speargun rubber bridle screws on to my fibreglass handspear so I soldered the prongs into that. I have made a single prong for spearing crabs, a shaft with a flopper for larger fish and I am in the process of making a 5 prong paralyiser for average size fish. see the pic below
20210322_094713.jpg
 
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