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Help me decide!

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Meowface_the_cat

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I live on a sailboat in the Med full time. I inherited a Hawaiian sling with the boat, and had a lot of fun last summer hunting bream in the anchorages!

Looking to get my first proper band gun for this season. I'll be freediving only, mostly in pretty shallow waters, hunting bream, mullet, comber, john dory, that sort of thing.

Lots of the shops here are struggling because of Coronavirus, so I can get a good deal on a few guns right now. I was looking at a Salvimar Hero 105, which I've heard good things about, or there are solid discounts on the Cressi Moicano or Yuma, at about half the overall cost. FYI gas guns are illegal here so band only.

For a first proper gun, is there much sense in buying the more expensive Salvimar and "growing into it", or should I just buy a cheap Cressi and have fun with it? I normally prefer to buy quality, but any advice would be great. Thanks!
 

Diving Gecko

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With gas guns being illegal, I think it’s meant to be CO2 guns and any gun that expels the gas during the shot. A normal pneumatic does not loose the compressed air - it just functions as a spring. I don’t think a single country in the Med has a ban on them. The only spearfishing-friendly country I have heard of with a specific ban on them is Mexico and maybe they mistook them for CO2 guns when they wrote the regulations.
So, that said, if you can find a deal on a 75-85 pneumatic I would do that. Best would be a Salvimar Predathor Vuoto since it’s already vacuum muzzled and I generally find it to be good value for the money. It will come with a good shaft and the 85 and longer models will include a reel.

It will be a bit more complicated to service but nothing you can’t deal with on a boat and I suspect you are already good at servicing your boat’s systems.

If you want a rubber gun, I too have heard good things about the Hero. If you know you’ll keep spearing and you have the money, why not buy something proper right away. If the gun is too cheap, more stuff will break and it’ll probably come with subpar parts already. The Hero on the other hand ships with a really nice shaft and has what is said to be a very good trigger.
But personally I find it a tad too expensive but with a good discount I would surely not mind having that gun.

As you can sense, I shoot and prefer airguns for the efficiency, power and lack of recoil but the last 4-5 months I’ve shot a Pathos 100 so I’m not opposed to bandguns;-)


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Meowface_the_cat

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With gas guns being illegal, I think it’s meant to be CO2 guns and any gun that expels the gas during the shot. A normal pneumatic does not loose the compressed air - it’s just functions as a spring. I don’t think a single country in the Med has a ban on them.
So, that said, if you can find a deal on a 75-85 pneumatic I would do that. Best would be a Salvimar Predathor Vuoto since it’s already vacuum muzzled.

It will be a bit more complicated to service but nothing you can’t deal with on a boat and I suspect you are already good at servicing your boat’s systems.

If you want a rubber gun, I too have heard good things about the Hero. If you know you’ll keep spearing and you have the money, why not buy something proper right away. If the gun is too cheap, more stuff will break and it’ll probably come with subpar parts already. The Hero on the other hand ships with a really nice shaft and has what is said to be a very good trigger.
But personally I find it a tad to expensive but with a good discount I would surely not mind having that gun.

As you can sense, I shoot and prefer airguns for the efficiency, power and lack of recoil but the last 4-5 months I’ve shot a Pathos 100 so I’m not opposed to handguns;-)


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Hey, thanks so much for the detailed reply! I checked and you're right - it's about CO2 guns, not pneumatic. Great insight! I've only been reading up on band guns, so I'll need to do some research - but let me know if there's anything you think i should know :)
 

Diving Gecko

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Hey, thanks so much for the detailed reply! I checked and you're right - it's about CO2 guns, not pneumatic. Great insight! I've only been reading up on band guns, so I'll need to do some research - but let me know if there's anything you think i should know :)

Not everyone likes pneumatics, they think they are cumbersome and noisy. But as long as you keep it fairly stock it shouldn't need any crazy maintenance and whatever maintenance you might have to do, involves changing o-rings and oil. It can be done in a few hours for a beginner - the only hassle is pumping the gun back up but that's a 20min job or so. And if you do this once every year or other year, you'll be totally fine. Or just run it until it may need new seals which could be many years.

I like them because they are more efficient than band guns for their size, so you can get a smaller gun with the same reach and if you get one with a power regulator, with a flick of the switch you can substantially reduce the power which is great when around rocks or shooting into holes.
If you are interested in airguns, then we have a sub-forum and a few long threads about e.g. the Predathor Vuoto. Spend some time reading those if you want - and just drop a question or two in the most relevant thread.

Also, the noise issue is not really an issue at all in newer guns where the metal piston and shock absorber have long since been changed to plastic. And a good airgun shoots fast enough that the sound doesn't matter much any how.

For band guns, if I know I was bitten already, I would spend a bit more money to get something really decent.
 
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Andrew the fish

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cheap Cressi is almost guaranteed to have a very soft shaft, thin-walled barrel tube and bunch other issues. Do not buy cheap. From what I see, there is usually a substantian gain in quality with extra 100$ spent.

I can't say about Salvimar Hero, but I recently got Salvimar Metal 75cm. It is a very interesting gun, kind of on a cheaper side, cost-wise, but appears to be well made. If any of its goodness is inherited in Salvimar Hero than by all means, go for it, you will never regret.
 
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Diving Gecko

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cheap Cressi is almost guaranteed to have a very soft shaft, thin-walled barrel tube and bunch other issues. Do not buy cheap. From what I see, there is usually a substantian gain in quality with extra 100$ spent.
Good points, I once took apart a cheap Omer and was really surprised to see how thin the barrel was on it. The handle itself as fine and made it into another gun I built, but that's not the case for many other brands where they skimp on many parts on their cheaper guns.


I can't say about Salvimar Hero, but I recently got Salvimar Metal 75cm. It is a very interesting gun, kind of on a cheaper side, cost-wise, but appears to be well made. If any of its goodness is inherited in Salvimar Hero than by all means, go for it, you will never regret.

Did you get the Metal wet yet?
Reason I am asking, and I think I mentioned it elsewhere, is that it allegedly has a very, very high trigger pull - which was fixed on the Hero.
I have shot my friend's Metal, well, I have tried shooting it in pool testing and I literally thought the safety was on. So, for me, coming from airguns and having mostly shot a Pathos recently, the pull was definitely hard. Now, I have seen him hunt with it and he has nice shot placement, though he oddly also misses a lot. But that may just be some hurried shots. I do think it helps him that this is his first and only gun so he doesn't get confused about the somewhat "special" trigger.
I don't want to pee on your Metal Parade at all, I am genuinely interested in knowing how you find it? Perhaps I (and others) are overly picky or Salvimar might have silently fixed the trigger in later Metals (as it still features in the 2020 catalog).
I also agree that the gun feels well built and thought out. It's def sturdy for a Euro pipe gun.
 
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popgun pete

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Buy something made in Italy, not China. Some "European" guns are actually made in China, but unfortunately the Chinese cannot resist cutting costs and will reduce quality to what they think will still be acceptable, but ultimately is not. As mentioned spend more and you generally get what you pay for. Sometimes good guns come up second-hand as new users find spearing is not for them once they get in the water and something big comes up and looks them over or an unexpected wave rolls them over getting in or getting out on a shore dive, particularly over rocks.
 

Andrew the fish

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Did you get the Metal wet yet?
Reason I am asking, and I think I mentioned it elsewhere, is that it allegedly has a very, very high trigger pull - which was fixed on the Hero.

yes, took it out a few times already. Trigger is inconsistent. Something about either sear engagement, perhaps rough surface that needs polishing. It can shoot fine but once in a while it needs like 15kg pull force. I am not new to trigger work, will look into it. Apart from that, 75cm Metal is very accurate, ergonomic and powerful for its length. I rigged it with double wrap, wich is about 4.5 m of mono. And 50foot on the reel as well. Reel is el cheapo and small, but nice to have just in case. Yesterday I got so confident, was taking shiners from the end of range, with full penetration. Shiners are smaller fish, about 7cm thick, broadside is about as big as saucer plate. But, if there was enough mono line, shaft would fly through. I am happy. This is my new go-everywhere gun.

1590038838098.jpeg
 

Andrew the fish

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almost forgot what I was trying to say. Trigger is not acceptable on Salvimar Metal, hasn’t been quietly fixed on latest production runs. Someone has to give them sheat.

By the way, I also accidentally bought Pathos Sniper, almost in the same time. Sniper appear to be more overbuilt and overpowered enclosed track gun with two 16mm bands, which are cut short to their exreme stretch. Probably also a good choice, haven’t tried it in the water. I think Snipers are out of production, was hard to find one at 75cm length. Has some issues as well. Funny how not one manufacturer can get everything right.
 
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Diving Gecko

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almost forgot what I was trying to say. Trigger is not acceptable on Salvimar Metal, hasn’t been quietly fixed on latest production runs. Someone has to give them sheat.

By the way, I also accidentally bought Pathos Sniper, almost in the same time. Sniper appear to be more overbuilt and overpowered enclosed track gun with two 16mm bands, which are cut short to their exreme stretch. Probably also a good choice, haven’t tried it in the water. I think Snipers are out of production, was hard to find one at 75cm length. Has some issues as well. Funny how not one manufacturer can get everything right.

Thanks so much for your honest and unfiltered thoughts! I was a bit hesitant posting as it’s never fun spending money and then hearing “I told you so...” but as said, I was genuinely interested.

If you happen to have a friend with a lathe then Majd (SpearQ8) posted a possible fix to that trigger. I say possible since I don’t think he tried it in practice but he scanned/reverse engineered the trigger, put it in CAD software, animated the movements and found that with a slight change of the roller dimensions, the trigger should perform properly. In short, change the roller out and you may be good. I’ll try to dig up his post for you a bit later (it was on Spearboard).

Also, you might be interested in the tests and heavy mods he did on a Sniper. Basically he test shot it as it came, then with Small ID bands and then he cut off the enclosed track and shot it again. Vast improvement without the track if I recall correctly. I can’t remember if he carbon wrapped that gun as he has done with others in the past. That whole thing is on his YouTube channel.

In reg. to hot bands, my Pathos Open Pro 100 came with 16mm bands that I could hardly load - I guess Pathos likes it this way. I have 2x14mm small ID primelines on it now and it’s very manageable to load and shoot.

As for telling Salvimar: I did actually email them on some direct email addresses that have worked before. I asked if the trigger in the Hero would be a drop in replacement for the one in the Metal and heard nothing back. And I reminded them that they owe me a new slip tip for the one that I got that has the barb welded on the wrong side... I got mine from scubastore but I know more of them are out there.
I wholeheartedly share your frustrations that no one brand seems to be able to get it all right - at least not these mass manufacturers and it’s bittersweet that Salvimar are probably the ones doing the best. Though I was surprised to see the Metal still featuring in the newest catalog...

The Predathor Vuoto is a pretty sweet gun and so are their shafts, especially the Capture series and I was devastated a few days ago when, after seven years, I lost my Salvi ST knife. They do make some good stuff.


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Meowface_the_cat

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Thanks so much for your honest and unfiltered thoughts! I was a bit hesitant posting as it’s never fun spending money and then hearing “I told you so...” but as said, I was genuinely interested.

If you happen to have a friend with a lathe then Majd (SpearQ8) posted a possible fix to that trigger. I say possible since I don’t think he tried it in practice but he scanned/reverse engineered the trigger, put it in CAD software, animated the movements and found that with a slight change of the roller dimensions, the trigger should perform properly. In short, change the roller out and you may be good. I’ll try to dig up his post for you a bit later (it was on Spearboard).

Also, you might be interested in the tests and heavy mods he did on a Sniper. Basically he test shot it as it came, then with Small ID bands and then he cut off the enclosed track and shot it again. Vast improvement without the track if I recall correctly. I can’t remember if he carbon wrapped that gun as he has done with others in the past. That whole thing is on his YouTube channel.

In reg. to hot bands, my Pathos Open Pro 100 came with 16mm bands that I could hardly load - I guess Pathos likes it this way. I have 2x14mm small ID primelines on it now and it’s very manageable to load and shoot.

As for telling Salvimar: I did actually email them on some direct email addresses that have worked before. I asked if the trigger in the Hero would be a drop in replacement for the one in the Metal and heard nothing back. And I reminded them that they owe me a new slip tip for the one that I got that has the barb welded on the wrong side... I got mine from scubastore but I know more of them are out there.
I wholeheartedly share your frustrations that no one brand seems to be able to get it all right - at least not these mass manufacturers and it’s bittersweet that Salvimar are probably the ones doing the best. Though I was surprised to see the Metal still featuring in the newest catalog...

The Predathor Vuoto is a pretty sweet gun and so are their shafts, especially the Capture series and I was devastated a few days ago when, after seven years, I lost my Salvi ST knife. They do make some good stuff.


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I'm actually amazed at the amount of insight you guys are able to provide. Thanks so much for sharing - you guys are awesome. Let me know if there's a community Patreon or anything where I can give something back.
Thanks!

I feel like I'm building up an impression that off-the-shelf guns generally have pretty variable quality control / materials & workmanship. A lot of people seem to mod or go custom? But I doubt I'll be there for a few years, and Salvimar seem to generally get called out as "good example of a flawed bunch". Cressi seems to catch a lot of flak and I'll probably steer clear.

I don't get a strong feeling on the band vs pneumatic debate, but I'm slightly leaning towards band because of simpler parts and maintenance (I already spend probably 20 hours a week maintaining the boat, so I'm a big believer in keeping systems simple!) - and also it seems like some airlines won't let you fly with them? I mostly cruise around on the boat but if I'm going to throw ~300 euros at some kit it'd be nice to be able to fly with it one day. Not at all essential though.

I spent some time figuring out what length of band gun I wanted to match my conditions, skill level, etc. @divinggecko mentioned you can go shorter in pneumatic - so what would be a rough equivalent to a 90 - 100cm band gun?
 
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Meowface_the_cat

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The shop here also said they can only get Omer pneumatic guns. They don't have anything in stock to look at but they could order them in
 

Andrew the fish

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...Cressi seems to catch a lot of flak and I'll probably steer clear.

...I don't get a strong feeling on the band vs pneumatic debate, but I'm slightly leaning towards band because of simpler parts and maintenance...

I spent some time figuring out what length of band gun I wanted to match my conditions, skill level, etc. @divinggecko mentioned you can go shorter in pneumatic - so what would be a rough equivalent to a 90 - 100cm band gun?

M the Cat, if you are leaning towards band guns, that would be for the wrong reasons. Pneumatic guns, although more complex and technical, are very robust and require less maintenance than band guns. For my first two or three years of spearfishing all I had was Cressi SL Star and it never let me down, not once, and required no maintenance whatsoever, grab and go.

You can travel with pneumatic gun just fine. Maximum trouble you can get is when some nosy smartas airline clerk asks you whether it has pressure in the cylinder, because technically you suppose to bleed the air, fly, and recharge it on arrival. No biggy. Pneumatic guns are actually easier to travel with, as they generally fit into normal people luggage cases. 100cm band gun, on the other hand, will fly in separate "oversize/fragile" section, in the travel case that you will have to purchase specifically for that gun.

I would say, 70 cm pneumatic would be the equivalent of 90cm band gun, hopefully someone can correct me. Hard to measure, depends on how band gun is set up. Keep in mind, pneumatic guns have shorter and thicker shafts, thus has poor hydrodynamic efficiency. While they might have more power at the muzzle, they lose more momentum for same distance.

With unbeatable goodness of pneumatic guns, I fish (and travel) with band guns now, almost exclusively. Hard to explain. It is style perhaps. Different feel of the shot, different sight picture, a possibility to adjust the power to hunting conditions. Things like that. Air guns are noisy, I enjoy the silent release of the spear on band gun. I also like loading band guns better, though the process is a bit more involved and takes more time.

Sorry for long post.
 
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popgun pete

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This seems a pretty good buy, 116 bucks AUD
or 150 bucks AUD
Ignore the description as the first version is a wet barrel, the second is the vacuum barrel, 8 mm shaft in the wet barrel, 7 mm in the vacuum barrel.

These Salvimar guns used to sell for a lot more, but the Predathor has moved them down the pecking order, yet they are basically in terms of the innards the exact same gun. 85 cm is a handy length for general purpose fishing, not too hard to load and good for aiming.
 
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Meowface_the_cat

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This seems a pretty good buy, 116 bucks AUD
or 150 bucks AUD
Ignore the description as the first version is a wet barrel, the second is the vacuum barrel, 8 mm shaft in the wet barrel, 7 mm in the vacuum barrel.

These Salvimar guns used to sell for a lot more, but the Predathor has moved them down the pecking order, yet they are basically in terms of the innards the exact same gun. 85 cm is a handy length for general purpose fishing, not too hard to load and good for aiming.

Thanks for the suggestion! I also just read your excellent post here - https://forums.deeperblue.com/threads/vacuum-barrels-aka-dry-barrels.81902/

I'll hopefully be buying something in the next couple of days. Thanks for your help!
 

gouthro

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Feb 16, 2006
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This seems a pretty good buy, 116 bucks AUD
or 150 bucks AUD
Ignore the description as the first version is a wet barrel, the second is the vacuum barrel, 8 mm shaft in the wet barrel, 7 mm in the vacuum barrel.

These Salvimar guns used to sell for a lot more, but the Predathor has moved them down the pecking order, yet they are basically in terms of the innards the exact same gun. 85 cm is a handy length for general purpose fishing, not too hard to load and good for aiming.
Once again, i have to thank Popgun Pete. Awhile i go i posted about a small pneumatic speargun found in the basement and you helped me understand what it was and how to use it. Now, I am wondering about buying one of these guns that you mentioned here. Do you think one is better than the other, or at least considerably so.

I have another beginner question as well if someone can answer. Where i sill be snorkelling is a very rocky shore. I need some kind of boots to walk over the rocks and then be able to put my fins over when i get out. Easy off and on would be nice, too. Appreciare in advance for all suggestions. This store looks pretty good even when you consider the shipping
Thanks G
 
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popgun pete

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Hard sole boots are good for reef walking and getting in and getting out off the rocks. I used Moray zippered hard sole dive boots for many years and went through 2 pairs, the neoprene around the zips gave out eventually. With them I used open heel Beuchat Jetfins and later Farallon FaraFin II spring heel strap fins. One of my most used guns is a Scubapro Magnum 95 which is what the Vintair is a reissue of, so they are good guns and for me the sculpted finger grip suits me fine. Depending on the fish being hit is what determines your shaft size. As I like the hitting power of 8 mm shafts during reef hunting for heavier bodied fish that means I would choose the Vintair Plus with the wet barrel. Shooting slim bodied fish on the wing then the 7 mm shaft equipped Vintair Vuoto would do, but really the guns can be used on anything as for many years all pneumatic guns used 8 mm shafts until the long snout Cyrano arrived with its 11 mm inner barrel.
afterdivewash2.jpg

afterdivewash7.jpg

afterdivewash6.jpg

With thick neoprene for cold water you need a lot of lead and walking on rocks the hard sole boots save your feet.
afterdivewash8.jpg

The Oceanmaster dry snorkel is for shore diving as once some kids throwing stones scored a hole in one down my snorkel bore just as I was breathing in. Normally I use an open top snorkel of a similar layout.
 
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gouthro

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Pete,
Thanks very much for the detailed description of your gear. It got me thinking about my own gear and I wonder if you might comment on my ideas and questions?

1. The boots and fins. I have a pair of light fins that are just for putting over your bare feet, I suppose. I use them often. But, I also have a large pair of US divers fins somewhat like yours, from years ago. With the long and willowy fins I see people using these days, I thought they would be out moded. But, I see you use some thing like that. Could I use these, do you think? I also have a pair like this at the cottage which are much longer. If either is good, which would be best.

2. I imagine I can use those boots, as well. They are a little small and hard to get on and off but it is doable.

3. You say you need more weight with a wetsuit for cold water. i am in cold water. And I am a little portly, about 220 lbs. What kind of weight would I need?

3. The speargun. What kinds of fish would that bigger gun be good for. I will have striped bass, cod and sea trout, If You can get them?

4. Also with the spear gun. I have the smaller version. never used yet. I have been wondering how you organise the line so that it is not in your way and yet is able to follow the spear? If I get a new line, what type of line is best?
thanks a lot if you can give me any help
G
 

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popgun pete

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A quarter inch wetsuit and 3/16” boots makes your feet buoyant, so you need heavy fins to keep your blade tips submerged. Floating fins are no good in this respect. Zip sided boots are not that hard to put on, but you need to buy a good pair as cheap boots last no time at all.

To find the right weights you just add them until your buoyancy with all gear but your gun has you floating vertically in the water with your eye level just above the surface. As your suit compresses during a descent you need to make sure you can get back to the surface, so don't overdo the lead. At 100 feet your suit thins down, so you avoid finding yourself looking for a ladder to climb back up. Deeper diving thinner suit, less lead.

A pneumatic gun of 85 to 100 cm will take care of most fish at about 12 to 15 feet away with the gun pumped up to your best loading effort. Hit them in the head or shoulder and they will be yours. Wait for fish to check you out, they often turn away and then turn back for a second glance which is when you shoot them. When they look well hit throw your gun aside and grab the fish to finish it off as soon as possible, familiarise yourself with drawing your knife without having to look for it, your hand should be able to secure it instantly.

The line is all stacked on the gun in wraps or partly on a reel if you use one. Use only as much line as you need and with regard to the depth you are operating in in case a fish holes up on the bottom and you need to go back up. For me this rarely happens as the fish are either dead or feebly swimming after damage to their swimming capability and doing the jitter dance. Shooting close is better than long shots as you drive the shaft tip right through them where the important structures are.

Line choice depends on the underwater terrain and the obstructions that may part your line if the fish can make it to the reef structure. Open water mono backed by dyneema reel line works best, otherwise all dyneema.
 

Meowface_the_cat

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Pete, you're a goldmine of information! You should write a book, seriously.

This is probably a really dumb question (!) but when you say "throw your gun aside..." - can you help me understand how that works? Do you wait until he stops struggling first? Because if he swims off in a panic - won't he drag the gun away with him (or dive, and bind up your line on the bottom)?

I learnt with a little Hawaiian sling, so it wasn't really something I had to deal with!

Thank you
 
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