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Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2002
This forum gives this newbie a chance to ask a question... :D

Some of the hunting threads discuss floats, different ways of constructing floats, and the like. Since I don't understand most of these discussions at all, I'd like to know-

What does a float do (besides floating, obviously)
When do you need one?
How much does it cost to build one?
And of course, feel free to tell me anything else that I might need to know about them,

Thanks all :)
3 main uses:

1. A warning to boats that a diver is in the water.
2. When a big fish is shot, you will not be able to surface with the gun, so you let go of the gun and play the fish with the aid of the float. Big fish will pull the float under too, so you have to wait for it to pop back up.
3. After having shot a fish you can string it onto your floatline and it will hang below the float. This keeps it away from you, giving you room to move if a shark takes an interest in the fish.
The float I use is one I found washed up on the beach. It's a large net type float like commercial fishermen use; hard, closed cell foam, oblong shape, round in cross section with a hole through the center of the length. The float #1 (11yr. old son) uses is an inflatable Stearns Sea-Safe that someone gave me as a gift. This was my first float and when I got it I was scratching my head for a couple of days wondering what to do with it when, finally, the little light came on. It's a collapsible PVC cylinder with a hard plastic screw-on lid, an inflation valve and two tie points on each side. We take these floats every time we go spearing. I don't think they're big enough to fight a large fish with. If I decide I need a float for that I plan to go with a break-away rig and this rescue can: http://www.patiostore.com/lifeguardeq.html
I have both floats rigged with 15M of 9mm polypropylene three strand twisted rope. I wanted 6mm for this, but at the time the local hardware store only had the 6mm in 200M rolls. When I made these into spearing floats I rigged the line to run the length of the bottom of the float then hung two stainless snap links through the line, the first about half-way back for the goodie bag and the other all the way aft on the float for the fish stringer. I don't remember how much it actually cost to build these, just the price of the line and snaps.

One thing I did find out when I was building these floats is to use a line that has positive bouyancy. The first line I tried to use was about 15M of the wife's left-over clothes line, but since it sank it had a very irritating habit of fouling on the reef every time I would dive.
Even a floating floatline :hmm can snag if diving in an area with big reef outcrops , specially if there is a current . For my reef gun I use a little cork attached about 3 m. behind the gun butt , keeps the line running straight up .
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Good idea with the little float.:)
I finally got my hands on two 20M lengths of the 6mm line I was looking for. On both float rigs, rather than cut the 9mm off the float I left the float rigged with the 9mm and cut it off 1M ahead of the float, then did a short splice to join the 6mm to it. Once that was accomplished I short spliced another 1M of 9mm to the other end, because the 9mm fits so perfectly into the hole in the butt of a Riffe that all I have to do is run the end of the line through the hole, tie a figure eight knot and the gun is secure to the float rig.:)
Bat & Spear slinger
If you rig the float as spear slinger has said but add a shark clip or tuna clip - (the type used to hold the short lines with hooks onto long lines by profesional fishermen) onto the short rope on both your gun and float you can detach the float rope at either end easily you just splice a loop on both ends of float rope and fit either a speed stringer or a spike onto the end of the float rope you att to your gun this way when you have a fish on your spear you can killit with the spike or your knife then unclip the floatline from your gun thread the spike or stringer through the fishes gills or mouth push him a few feet up the rope and reclip your gun onto the rope then just continue swimming and the fish will be pushed back to the float, at the end of your dive unclip the float at tail end of rope and pull fish off. this gets your fish secured fast and keeps them off your body as Shadow said.:)
Good point poacher .
Clips on both ends of the line are essential . IMHO anyone diving without is inviting eventual grief . Same goes for a small clip attaching the spear line to the gun .
Yeah good point abri this clip on the gun is a good thing too especially if you have shot through a cave or gap in some coral etc and your spear is stuck on far side you can unclip gun swim around and pick up the spear instead of trying to drag it back and get flopper stuck in the cave, also if you have had the spear go right through a fish sometimes it can be hard to feed spear back through the fish and easier to unclip and pull line through the fish. you can fix a small clip or a swivel with a pigtail to your gun for this it can also be on a small bungy to keep tension on spearline as on Riffe guns.
Hey again! I have decided to resurrect this thread because, try as I may, I haven't become an active spearfisher yet. Therefore I still have much to learn.

Ok, floats. Obviously it floats, and it attaches to the speargun. It can be made of a floating device, such as boat bumper, and it helps to display the diver flag. My question is, is there any advantage to a float upon which objects can be placed? Is there any disadvantage? The reason I ask is that I've seen one that was shaped like a small inner tube with a tarp stretched over the top. It provided a surface outside of the water, more or less. What do you guys think?
a boatfender is a cheap way to get a float. one of the 8"x20" ones is nice. or a slightly smaller one.
Hey Batray,
Sheesh! Me neither. Either the weather's no good, I can't find anyone to dive with or there's too much to get done this weekend. However, this Wednesday I'm going to the Neptunes meeting without fail. I'll ask around for some beginner places to go. I've already got a float and since I'm still at the polespear stage, if we can get a day we can both go, you can borrow mine.
Alison said:
If your really thinking about a boat fender, consider how far you might have to carry the thing, they get awfull heavy after a long walk,

they weigh about 2kgs

G - Y - M :)
Amen, Allie! Better than strong like bull, smart like tractor!
This is the set up that I use for scuba fishing for flatfish on the gravel banks of the Channel Islands. Deep water, fast tides, lots of boat traffic.
Dan buoy type float made with 2 commercial foam "dan" floats. Plasic tube core with lead in the base (not enough to fully cock it) and a flag on top. 2lb cocking weight on 10 foot of line to base of float. 3 lines each 50ft long. One line is 8mm sinking nylon which always attaches to the cocking weight. Other 2 lines are 8mm polypropolene (floating) rope and one or both are used dependent on depth. The business end is a wood handle/ali head spear with a detachable stainless swing barb tip. A thin line goes from the tip to the polyprop rope. Everything is held together with stainless long line snap links. The bottom one with a swivel.
The float is mainly out of the water and hence offers little drag but it's got lots of reserve boyancy if you gotta haul on it. You can see it a long way off and it's not easy to confuse it with other marker floats.
Okay so this is not exactly a small scale freediving set up but maybe some of you will pick up some pointers.
Stay safe, be seen
Haha 2kgs doesn't make any sense to me anyway, being a standard-measurement person.
The float that you could put stuff on wasn't too dependable. One of my footpocket keepers got lost when I left it on there, so I don't trust it much anyway.
Thanks for the pics, Dave. That's quite a setup. It helps to see it because I'm a visual person and it just makes more sense. Now I have a better idea of what's involved. Pardon my ignorance, but what is a dan float?
Hi BatRay
Where I am all static fishing gear over a certain length has to be marked at either end by a dan buoy. This means strings of pots (traps), long lines, nets etc have this marker which looks like a flag on a flagpole sticking out of the ocean. The flag can be any colour and the pole any height. Typically the visible pole is 5 to 8 ft high. The pole is usually plastic pipe and there is another 2 to 4 foot under the surface with a lead collar to balance the top bit. To make it all foat "dan floats" are positioned on the pipe. These floats are about 18 inches long and 9 inch in diameter, made of high density closed cell foam with a 1.5 inch hole right through. Look at my float where you'll see two. I'll post some pic's tomorrow and that should help. You need to buy dan floats from a commercial fishing equipment supplier, never seen them in chandlers etc. Hope that's helped.
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So a float is basically a floating device to which you attach a diver's flag and to your speargun? It can be more complicated, but that's the basic purpose, right? Still trying to figure it all out... pardon my slowness.
The float does a whole series of jobs. Numero uno has to be as a visual safety marker. Your little head bobbing just above the surface can only be seen by others from a few tens of feet. A decent float can be seen from at least half a mile.
If you’re aqualung diving then the boat follows the float and if you’re free diving the main job of the float is to mark your position for boats and especially the dreaded wind surfers. If you get creamed by one of those loonies at least with a float your loved ones can sue.
When tired or cramped floats can also act as an improvised life preserver.
You can hang stuff off your float and one of my mates used to store his cigarettes/lighter inside a hollow float so during long spearfishing comp’s he could climb on a rock for a quick smoke. A place to hang your catch is more usual.
Attaching your float to your spear line can help you land really big fish, in fact that is the only way with really big ones.
Lastly here’s the pic’ of that commercial long line dan buoy.