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Long term review of Apnea ST60, Apnea Amarok Roller 95 and Apnea New Gen Reel

Mr. X

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I couldn't find much information on Apnea Spearguns when I first came across them in the Spearfishing Store in Paignton, S. Devon several years ago but I liked the look and feel of them.

Recently I took the plunge and "invested" my own money in: two new Apnea spearguns, the most expensive of the 3 reasonably priced Apnea reels and a 50m spool of Apnea 1.8mm Dyneema cord, when they were all on sale, 30% off (as they are again now - Jan 2020).

I plan to do a long term review of the above to help address the lack of information I encountered.
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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Apnea is a Turkish company. Apparently they make spearguns under different names in some markets (e.g. Australia). SpeargunStore.co.uk, in Paignton, Devon, England appear to be the/a main UK importer/distributor(?).

I already posted some initial impressions in another thread* but will do the same here, where perhaps it will be more useful. Perhaps the information will be a little different now too.

*https://forums.deeperblue.com/threa...ndation-for-uk-waters-fish.115883/post-989418
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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I'll start with the Apnea New Gen Reel. This is the most expensive of the 3 Apnea reels offered but is still signicantly cheaper than most bigger brand reels. I've not used a reel before, I chose this one because it resembles Rob Allen's current reel, with it's open spool, which Rob says helps the line dry quicker.

PHOTO_20200111_183602.jpg


Construction appears to be mainly plastic with a metal, sliding line guide* (this feature also helped me select this model over the cheaper 2 options). I was surprised to find the reel does not spin freely, even with the drag loosened right off - it feels quite rough; I doubt if it has roller bearings (even though they are now available cheaply). Not sure if that is important yet but it surprised me. Perhaps it will run smoother in the water? There is a plastic support for the outside of the spool, opposite the line guide - not yet sure why that is necessary but it seems like it might be to make up for compromises made elsewhere in the design.
PHOTO_20200111_184221.jpg


*The metal line guide can slide high enough to jam against the outer spool rim - seems like an obvious design flaw. Jammed reels can lead to lost spearguns

The winding handle can fold flat when not in use. Like the Omer Match reels. It is easy enough to unfold for use but it is hard to fold flat again, the handle needs to be lifted quite high/hard before it can be folded flat again.

I'm not hating or lovin' yet, just reporting it as I see it. I think it may be loosening up already, just as I fiddle around with it. Haven't loaded line on it yet. It doesn't have a hole for securing the line (which I know Bill likes) so will just tie it on as for a regular angling reel.
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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I equip my spearguns with a swivel long-line clip, attached the the end of the handle, so it can be clipped to the end of my float line. I have found that the swivel is surprisingly important, it significantly reduces float-line tangles vs. a swivel-less long-line clip. It's not an original idea, all Rob Allen railguns come equipped like this.

My superlightweight Omer XXV spearguns have a plastic loop at the end of the handle, presumably for this purpose and/or a lanyard? They're not designed or intended for huge, pelajic game fishing, clearly. I use climbing accessory cord to secure the clips to the loop, which I tie with a fisherman's knot.

PHOTO_20200111_190701.jpg


Thought I would do the same with my two new Apnea spearguns but threading the polyester cord I was intending to use proved a little tricky. Then it struck me that I might be able push out the pin in each handle with a punch and fit the the clip's swivel directly into the handle without the for any cord, just like the Rob Allen Railguns, and such was the case :).

The swivel fit is a little snug in the ST but as the outside can pivot and swivel that is not s problem. The pin is fairly slim on the ST.

The swivel fit is good and loose on the Amarok, much like the RA Railguns :) The pin is somewhat thicker on the Amarok, seems quite robust/heavy duty :)
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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The ST contained a bag with 4 extra cords:

2x flecked black 1.8mm spare Dyneema wishbone cords. The white wishbone cords fitted on ST are very short and look like they could come undone when not under tension - perhaps that's why there are 2 nicer, longer spares?

The other pair of cords are thicker and mainly red with some white. They could be used as wishbones but I've added one as a "load-assist" wishbone on the Amarok roller speargun. If I don't need it, I can remove it later. While in place, it could also be used as the wishbone if something happened to the fitted flecked black 1.8mm Dyneema wishbone.
PHOTO_20200113_171045.jpg


It strikes me that the load-assist will add a little drag to the rubbers. Also the spears' sharkfins - which is a feature I wanted to try - will no doubt cause drag on the spear. The fins will also probably also act like mini barbs, which might help reduce the chance of the spear pulling out if a fish, and damage the fish more.

Talking of which, the barbs on both spears were loose (as they were on my Omer spearguns). A little careful peining with a medium-small hammer and anvil sorted that out, now they are just right :)
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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The Apnea Amarok 95 roller speargun struck me as very heavy when I first held it. Significantly heavier than the non-roller Amarok 95, as best I can recall, having handled one a few years ago. And much, much heavier than the superlightweight, superslim , carbon barrelled Omer XXV spearguns that I normally use. Not a good sign. Although I think most UK spearos would likely opt for the smaller 75cm or 80/82cm version, which could cover the majority of normal UK conditions and should be easier to wield.

However, I haven't tried it in the water yet. The cuttlefish/oval-shaped polyurethane coated aluminium tube barrel might yet balance well enough in the water - TBD. By the way, the spear-line flipped off the poly urethane coating next to the line fins near the trigger mech, which then tore! :( The wife wanted me to send it back but I opted instead to just glue it back in place, no big whup.

I've moved the muzzle bungee from the thin wire reel-line guide, where it was fitted when it arrived, to the more substantial pulley axle. Surprised there isn't a dedicated, substantial anchor point for the bungee.

The muzzle line guides are not as good as I would have expected on a powerful roller speargun, where a double wrap will be the normal configuration. Also the metal line release on the side is similar to that on my Omer spearguns (good) but smaller (bad) making it tricky to load the second wrap, for which there is barely room - a really annoying and unnecessary design deficiency. Loading a rollergun and loading a double-wrap is complicated enough without having to deal with tricky/marginal line guides & line release. :(
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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I tried loading up the Apnea New Gen Reel with 20m of 1.8mm reflective para-cord (about £1.40 inc. shipping off Amazon, readily available on eBay too). The cord looks good enough for UK fish but unfortunately only available in 20m lengths.
PHOTO_20200118_190137.jpg


The line looks good on the reel, had a little trouble getting the mushroomed end of the cord through the 4mm hole in the reel's metal line guide. The reel capacity looks to be about 30m-35m of 1.8mm Paracord, so maybe 25m-30m of 2mm cord?
 
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Mr. X

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The Apnea New Gen Reel loaded with Nitehawk 3mm all polyester para-cord.
PHOTO_20200124_174149.jpg

I removed the pin and spare cleat from the reel and fitted it to my Apnea ST 60cm.
PHOTO_20200124_174750.jpg


It made the previously light speargun feel significantly heavier and significantly more muzzle heavy - but that's out of water of course.


PHOTO_20200124_175245.jpg


Perhaps it would make more sense on the big 95cm roller speargun but the combined weight...phew.
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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A few words in praise of spearfishingstore.co.uk.

Eco-packing:
I was pleasantly surprised by how well my recent order was packed and with so little waste. A large cardboard tube housed one speargun and the barrel of the other one. The smaller speargun was it it's Apnea factory bag the other not - no room to spare. The tube appeared to be the only new packing material used by the store (and it may have been recycled).

At the bottom of tube, a small, reused box perfectly sized to hold the rest of my eclectic order with only a single crumpled piece of newspaper required to fill the one small void.

Set-up
The Roller-speargun came fully set-up, for which I was most grateful. Having never set one up before, it was good to see how it should be set-up. Although I question the choice of tying the bungee to the wire-line-guide; I moved mine to the much sturdier pully axle.

The smaller speargun was not rigged but came with everything required (crimps, line, bungee rubber already set-up with braid), making it straight forward.

There were also a few extra cords in the bag, which in hindsight seem particularly thoughtful. The thick cords are, I think, intended for use as a load-assist for the roller speargun. They could probably alternatively be used a heavy duty wishbones but I think the thinner cords are intended as spare wishbones. The 2 wishbones on the ST speargun were white and very short and the knots (sheet bends) seem to come loose a bit too easily for comfort. The spare cords are longer, a little more supple perhaps, and visibly the same as Apnea's 1.8mm Dyneema cord.

"Bricks and mortar" stores like this have offered the best service in my experience.
 
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Mr X - I'm enjoying reading your reviews of the Apnea kit and of the South Devon Spearfishing store in general but just to let you know I placed an order with them today and their website states they are now only web based, they must have shut the bricks and mortar store.

I got myself an Apnea ST 75 late last year off them and since then I have also purchased an older 90 cm Beuchat off my work colleague which needed new rubbers and a spear so their shop was my first place of call for the bits needed ! I was very impressed with the time the guys in store spent with me and my mates explaining things and even though the shop may have closed I know they'd still be helpful if I needed more advice !

It's just a shame we here in the south west haven't had any calm weather for months now : ( I've been out swimming most weekends this winter but at 0 visibility, I'm aching to take the spearguns out and seeing what I can do !
 
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hteas

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I'll vbe interested in hearing about how they work on fish, and whether you continue to use them, or go back to RA and the XXV
 
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Mr. X

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Hi hteas, we're currently in Corona lock down in the UK, with PM Boris still in critical care. It has not yet peaked here. The peak in the South West will likely be several weeks after London. So it may be some time before I get to play with my new toys :(

I'm watching a lot of spearfishing and woodworking videos on YouTube. For spearfishing particularly JoePK in the southwest UK - reminds me of what I am missing :( - and Daniel Man of course, who is/was living the dream, spearing around the world :). Also some very good Spanish (esp. Canaries) and French (esp. Marseilles/Calanques) videos. For some reason youtube is not serving up Italian or US videos to me currently and I got very bored of Greek grouper fishing, very deep but also very dull.

I see my new Spearguns toys supplementing my core Omer XXV spearguns, which seem near perfect for the UK (a reverse trigger mech would be the only future improvement I could suggest but that would require longer spears, which would be heavier and might upset things). No need for a rail, less mass and drag without - and significantly cheaper :)
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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I love RA gear and always carry several pieces but can't see getting another railgun unless I get to go spearing abroad, somewhere with big fish and good visibility, which seems unlikely now. They are just so big and heavy for the UK and currently much more expensive than in the past. A 100, 110 or 120 carbon barreled railgun with the new drop flopper spear would be cool though :)

I have been thinking of rounding out my Speargun collection with a carbon barreled 110cm. But probably something like an Omer Invictus carbone or Cayman carbon but the price is way too high currently and I have little need for it or the reel it is packaged with currently.

It is more important to get back in the sea currently.

"Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there"
 
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hteas

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Sitting here on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington, under No travel rules, wondering what water feels like, and why do I have all these spearguns and pole spears and no place to play?
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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Coincidentally I was just looking over my new Apnea spearguns.

The neoprene glue I used to fix a small tear in the barrel covering of my Apnea Amarok rollergun did not adhere to the rather nice PU barrel cover. So I just re- glued it with UHU Power from the Pound store, unlike traditional UHU contact adhesive it is somewhat elastic and urethane or PU based.

Looking at the smaller Apnea ST-60 I noticed that the spear appears to be at least 1cm too short. I guess this Speargun is intended for confined spaces and poor viz so I can understand them foregoing the normal 40cm overhang but I think they went a little too far. The spear line, where it crosses over the spear to secure it to the open muzzle lifts the barb! I tried re-routing this muzzle loop of spearline, which helped reduce the amount of lift but did not entirely eliminate it.
PHOTO_20200411_085014.jpg
 
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Mr. X

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I only just realised that the metal spearline release hook is on the left handside, unlike the Amarok and my Omer spearguns. Not a big deal but it seems a bit random. The ST's ergonomic handle and safety though appear to work equally well for both right and left handed use - well done Apnea!
PHOTO_20200411_145044.jpg

I don't use the safety, on the basis that a bandgun is only safe with slack bands. The ST's safety is near the trigger but a bit awkward/stiff to change - however it is unobtrusive, which is good. The Amarok has an neat safety slider on the top right and top left - for lefties and righties. It seems to work well and I like the design.
PHOTO_20200411_144852.jpg


Although the Amarok's lovely ergo handle is intended for righties only it seems. And sliding the safety on one side forward occasionally only slides the other side part of the way forward - is that safe or unsafe/fire? It usually works fine though and may just need to bed in. Again it is thankfully unobtrusive. Best not to depend on safeties. ;)
 
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Mr. X

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Looking down the barrel of the Amarok roller Speargun, the deep V-notch in the butt, when aligned with the flopper tail and 3 sharkfins makes a neat, excellent, long distance sniper sight. That's not how I usually spear but I think it might be the type of long speargun technique to use with this relatively heavy, powerful speargun: find a hidden position overlooking a likely target area, carefully point the speargun and wait for a good size fish to pass directly in front of it :D (a popular technique featured in many YouTube videos). Can't wait to try it out :)

The ST-60 on the other hand feels light and nimble, despite its robust construction: railed aluminium barrel, 6.6mm double sharkfin spear (no need for the Amarok's rest sharkfin in the middle of this particularly short spear) and all metal trigger mechanism and line release. Thankfully, as expected, this small speargun still handles like a small speargun should.

The ST also has a deep V-notch in the butt - a really nice feature I think. Although this short version is intended for fast/close shots, careful aiming may occasionally prove useful.
 
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Mr. X

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Hteas, you're on the Olympic Peninsula? There are worse places to be holed up but I guess it is frustrating having the coast all around. I lived near Seattle for several years and miss the varied, often beautiful scenery: islands, lakes, snow capped mountains, forests, beaches. I recall a beach on the Olympic Peninsula with a large Rock off shore which was very picturesque.
 

hteas

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Yes, the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula is pretty amazing.; lots of pretty extreme nature, like the 200 ft tall fir trees, very green mountains, and lots of water. Major issue is the almost complete lack of fish here. To find good spearing I have to head 130 miles west to Neah Bay.

On the 60 spear length;
 
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