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float-line: floats too much

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2004
I've tried to use a float line with my Riffe gun (a 30m long, 6mm width transparent tube, with some 2mmnylon in it);
of course the line floats;
and the deeper I dive the more the gun floats;
is there any solution to this;
must I add some led to the gun or to the float line?
Make a lot of cuts to the transparent tube, make a lot of little pieces instead of having just one whole tube. This will make scape all the air bubbles trapped inside and it will float less.


huh? :confused: I think...

The floatline is going to be a literal drag wherever and whatever the depth. One source of your grief might be your float, rather than the floatline.
Are you finding that the back end of the gun is being pulled up by the float line and its generally a cow to handle underwater because the line is so bouyant? I found the same problem too. My latest solution (care of Yakdiver) has been to make up a nylon webbing harness about 1' long with a tight loop at one end that the floatline pulls through, the other end attaches to your weight belt and in the middle, one of those plastic trident buckles with the lobes filed down so that it will separate at about 5# - 8# of pull. the idea being that there is only a short pull free bit of floatline between the gun and you; the buckle is a safety widget just incase your line gets snarled up so even in a panic it will separate (fingers crossed). It works a treat for me, I dont notice the floatline at all when I dive, even when deepish. Be carefull with the buckle though it took me a couple of them to get it right, file to much off and it will come apart at the slightest pull, or to little and it wont pull apart at all :(
Another thought, what about one of those rubber breakaway setups on your belt? similar idea??
Hi Spearos,

Here in Hawaii where it is the Law to have a float and dive flag, actually a dive flag, most divers drag a float around. I would say the majority of them attach the floatline to their guns by a small loop in the rear of the stock.
Our group of divers drag a float around but we don't attach the gun to the floatline. When you attach the gun directly to the floatline it can be a real pain in the butt to swim and pull the float along with your gun. Not including the drag there is when you drop down on fish or are doing the hide and wait game on the bottom. Especially when there is any type of current or surge, it will pull against the gun. To alleviate this we attach the floatline to our belts with the biggest brass wivel snap. The snap is small enough that it doesn't clip around the belt and can easily be slipped off the belt when we need to attach the gun to it. This helps us in a few different ways.
1. If a shallow water blackout should occur, we know where the diver is because its on his belt. And if its in water too deep for the rescue diver, he can pull the diver up with the tagline.
2. you get rid of the pull on your gun when laying in wait and also when swimming.
3. it is a lot easier to drag a floatline and fish with the floatline attached to your belt than by pulling it with thte gun in your hand.
4. Here in Hawaii, there are very few fish that can take the gun out of your hands, and if you think you may see a big ulua or fish under a ledge, you can always quickly snap on the clip to the gun before you shoot.
It is so easy that I don't even clip the gun when I check out the big ulua houses so I won't have to worry about the current or surge pulling on the gun. I usually have the clip in my other hand ready to clip the gun if I shoot a big fish.
If you have a hard time imagining what/how we do this, I'll send apicture tomorrow of the floatline and clip we use. The clip is your every day brass clip that can swivel. It is in every hardware store.
This may help take care of the floating gun, it works for us.

Aloha, Daryl
100% with Daryl here...
I don't know whether this is applicable for your case, especially when big fish are real rarity where I come from. We have our floats attached to the belt, but when reels weren't available we used a simple solution, which is slightly different than Daryl's in a way that the line attached to the gun won't pull on it:
Use simple 50-60cm piece of thick fishing line and attach it to the end of the floatline. Attach/tie firmly some kind of ring (or use one of those aluminum clips the alpinists use - dunno the right name in English) to the shooting arm side of your belt. The line should pass through the ring/clip. The end of the line is attached to the gun.
Now the trick here is that there should be some kind of stopper on the line between the gun and the ring/clip.
A simple diagram of the line:
L to R: Float, small ring attached to the belt, stopper of larger diameter, clip of larger diameter attached to the gun...
When you dive the stopper reaches the ring/clip, but doesn't pass through it, leaving this way the piece of line between the stopper and the gun is always loose. Because of the stopper, the float or the line won't pull on the gun, but on the belt. When a fish steals the shaft/gun you'll be able to surface directly to the float.
Two important issues - the stopper must be made of some soft material - rubber or soft plastic - otherwise it will make noise when hitting the belt ring and you don't want that when spearfishing. The other one is that the clip attaching the line to the gun should be of bigger diameter of the ring/clip on the belt. That way the diver could be pulled up as Daryl mentioned in p. 1.

Hope I understood the problem and this thing helps...

Forgot to mention that the clip moving freely up and down the line between the stopper and the float is a much better solution safetywise, compared to the small ring (earlier designs :D ). That way you can detach the floatline from the belt.


This is a picture of the one used by Yakdiver (sorry my digi camera went bt=y the way in Sri Lanka) the difference between mine and this one is no metal fittings but the idea is the same as Daryl and Ivans except the line is permanantly attached to the gun or shooting line (via a breakaway). Personally I would prefer the option of it coming apart relativly easy and not risk a SWB than having a means of being hauled up but I suppose its down to personal prefference in the end. Still the idea's are the same by putting the drag of the line onto your belt rather than your arm :)
we use special 0.5kg float anchor. We either anchor the float and hunt around it or if there is a big fish we clip the anchor to the butt of the gun. While swimming we keed anchor (0.5kg) in one hand and gun on other hand.Either way it works...
I'm sorry but I havn't been very precise:
I use the float-line attached to the shooting line.

But I've read some interesting answers here.

Alison, I havn't really understood your first solution.
Sounds like you are shooting with a breakaway system. I used this system for several years while reef diving and it proved to be more of a pain in the butt than anything else. Breakaways on the reef have their place. Like what Daryl said, it is very useful especially when shooting big fish. I used to atttach my floatline to my 55" Wong (thanks Daryl) and have watched it get pulled around. The anxiety of losing a good fish is bad enough but couple that with the thought of having your $400 gun reduced to splinters is not very appealing hence the breakaway. For blue water the breakaway system is a must. At least you have a big piece of lumber to poke the sharks away with. Then there is watching about a $1000 worth of hardware speed away. Not fun. Since the breakaway is a must for bluewater, I usually hold the bungee in my left hand, pull some slack in it so the attachement to the shooting line goes from there, forms a loop behind me, then to my left hand, then to the floats. In essence I have a small loop of bungee behind me, and the rest of the line attached to the floats tugging at my non shooting hand and not my gun. When it is time to line up and fire I can let go of the bungee in my left hand and it will drift back joining the rest of the trailing bungee. Did that just make sense? Anyway I have found that this also gives me sufficient slack in the line to dip over and begin my descent without much resistance. As far as reef diving, I have switched over to using a euro with a reel attached. I still pull a float with a dive flag and attach either a 1 pound weight or my pole spear to it to act as an anchor. The weight works better as it will hold the float in place in strong current or surge but I also like to bang small reef fish with the three prong so having it close by really helps. Sorry about the long post but I hope it makes sense.

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rifmaniac said:
Alison, I havn't really understood your first soluion.
Sorry Im not very good at describing stuff (even less so after a bottle of wine but here goes ;) )
Attach your float line to the end of your shooting line and break away setup as normal, so when you shoot the shooting line breaks loose of the gun with the float line attached. then that widget in the photo: the belt clip sticks onto your weight belt as per Daryl's instruction and instead of that big metal ring, have an eye stitched into the webbing about the same size at the diameter of your float line (a tight sliding fit); so your float line goes through this, giving you a controlable bight length of float line between your gun and weight belt :) Now that trident bukle in the midle is just that a plastic harness clip available anywhere but with the lobes of the trident filed down so as to give an automatic emergency release should the fish or line get snarled up. So at the end of the day, you have a float line connected to your spear, the float line connected to your weight belt to take up the drag and an inbuilt break away should the need arise.
I hope that answers your question a bit better, if not pm me and I'll get some drawings together or try and get a digi camera from somebody to take a proper picture :)
Guys I am not really sure how your securing the floatline to your belt... but if it is a fairly slow removal it might not be the best idea...

When diving around bombies, rocks, ect in australia I have found even the floatline that floats more then any other seems to find a way to get tangled on the odd bit of coral or rock... if you have just had a long dive and your heading up this could stop you surfacing if you can't undo the clip...

if your getting a "tugging" motion on your gun butt it may actually be partially due to the swell touching your float or yes it could be the floatline...
If you were to put a 1M-5M odd bungy on the float side of the line it may help a little.

When I am swimming up here I use a breakaway which means I have to heavily consider the abount a float or floatline is going to budge the breakaway or it will just release... what i do now is put the floatline vertically down the handle... this means the pressure from line/float is directly on my hand rather then the gun butt... it is not the bees knees but it does give you better control.

ohh... and avoid the breakaways on the reef unless you have a lot of money and like buying new shafts and gear... or your into pelagics ;)

I use a floatline as you described and find the floatation of the line itself not to be a real problem however if swimming into the wind or against the current the float does pull on the line to reduce this effect for your dives try pulling the float up closer to you while resting - breathing up on the surface, I do this on my deeper dives to avoid using more energy than neccessary on decent as Rob said be cautios of clipping line to your belt unless your ready to dump everything in the situation of hooking up to a rock or a big fish that wont let you get some air.
Regards Peter
Dogmatrix said:
Guys I am not really sure how your securing the floatline to your belt... but if it is a fairly slow removal it might not be the best idea...

When diving around bombies, rocks, ect in australia I have found even the floatline that floats more then any other seems to find a way to get tangled on the odd bit of coral or rock... if you have just had a long dive and your heading up this could stop you surfacing if you can't undo the clip...
That the idea behind the filed down buckle, it comes apart given enough pull (which is up to you how much you file off) and its a better solution than tieing the floatline to you (like I used to with nylon cord :eek:) That said, one can always drop your weight belt with little more than a flick of your wrist and if the link is stronger than the one I use like Daryl's you can always pull up your belt later with the float line. I think it should be up to the users common sense and local conditions as to what kind of set up is used but yes I agree there are times that it is definately not a good idea to be attached to your float line
Dogmatrix said:
Guys I am not really sure how your securing the floatline to your belt... but if it is a fairly slow removal it might not be the best idea...

Rob, you made the old lawyer draw pictures! Shame on you! :D

I thing the float attached to the belt is the best safety idea ever invented in spearfishing after the one-touch belt buckle. Actually those are the only two safety ideas... Where there are laws for using the float attached to the belt, the lawmakers also made provisions for the distance the boatsmen should keep off the float. It's usually 30-50 meters. By having the float attached to the belt, it makes sure that the diver actually is within that perimeter. The idea of the float to be used as anchor/marker for the big game in bluewater hunting actually comes after it's original purpose to mark the diver and provide safety to him. One application should not exclude the other in my opinion.
Besides, if you panic and you cannot unclip the floatline from the belt if it gets entangled - just drop the belt! You can always pull it up or get down the line to retrieve it....
Sorry to be a bit off topi here.

I think this clumsy thing posted below explains my idea of how the line might be attached to the belt and also the stopper that kills all the tugging. Guess it should work with a breakaway too?...

If Leonardo was alive, he would have made a trip to Sofia just to kill me very slowly as the nastiest spot on the face of the designer's proffession... Here's why:
P.S. - I forgot that I shoot with my left hand.. That's why the on the drawing the line is on the left side... :)


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Dogmatrix said:
ohh... and avoid the breakaways on the reef unless you have a lot of money and like buying new shafts and gear... or your into pelagics ;)


And why is that?

I've tried using the float line on small amberjack and dentex while reef hunting with no problem.
Generally a breakaway on powerful fighting fish is very good... a fish like an amberjack I could also see it being useful on.

Reef hunting over here mainly involves trying to nail coral trout, cod, (similar to "grouper") and a variety of other fish. Where a breakaway can become a pest rather then an advantage is if you have it set up as an automatic breakaway (eg as soon as the fish pulls on the spear it detaches (riffe/roballen/ect) in the initial lets say 2 seconds your not putting as much pressure on the fish as you could be if you just reefed your gun back and grabbed your shooting line.

This often gives the reefies enough time to lodge themselves in a cave, under a coral ledge ect. I havent shot an amberjack before but I have shot a few trevally, mackeral and other dirty fighters off the reef, generally with these fish they first give a burst of speed and then will resort to trying to bust you off (less with the macks, they generally just run)... by the time they start thinking about the bomby, the ledge or the bottom of the reef you generally have the floatline in your hand and your ready for the fight! This is why I love to use breakaways so much... I don't generally wory about shooting "reef fish" this doesn't mean I don't shoot fish off the reef... I do... it means I shoot the macks and other pelagics ect that come to the reef to eat the baitfish... I think amberjack although they school around a reef ect still come into that pelagic category for me due to the shape and type of fish they are...

An interesting fish I find is the green jobfish... I am still not sure which box to put them in! their a lovely fish!

To conclude you can certainly use any rig you feel comfortable with! I just prefer not to use a breakaway on reef fish as by the time your fighting the fish it is often to late and your shafts on it's way to the pretzel factory :ko hehe. It is also slower using a breakaway in that you have to put it back when you reload... not a huge factor but time can be important...

I missed having a shot at a Spanish mack around 25 to 30 KG the other week because I unloaded the gun (shot it off) then took to long to load it when the fish swam in.

Wishbone! thankyou very much for the effort :) it doesn't look like a bad rig at all! I recon it would work with a breakaway... it would just be a little slower thats all!

Can anyone remember if it was Abri or who it was that had the railgun with a second trigger mech attached to the outside of the handle? he used this as what i would see as just about the ultimate breakaway... it functions as a normal setup unless you pull the trigger which detaches the breakaway... Brilliant thinking... their might be a post around somewhere with it.

That is great advice bro, saved me the asking. I have just one other question though. I am buying some of the RIFFE floating line, how much of it do you recommend? It makes sense to me that if your diving 60ft then you need 60ft unless you want to drag your float down and around. Does this common sense apply or am I missing something. Mahalo in advance.
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