Tuesday, August 14, 2018
  • Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 40,000+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 496,000+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,300+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

New to spearfishing in socal looking for a suitable speargun

Harv

New Member
Jul 31, 2018
1
0
1
38
Southern California
#1
Hi everyone,

I'm new to spearfishing and would like to get some advise on a suitable speargun to buy for local calico, sheepshead, and white seabass hunting. I've heard longer speargun makes it harder to weave thru the kelp traffic, but I'd like to be over prepared than underprepared when and if I see that wsb while hunting for sheepshead, calico, etc. I've also heard wooden speargun are more quiet after the shot vs the aluminum, but how much of difference does that have? I'm leaning getting a medium length speargun powerfuly enough to hunt for that wsb. What type of setup would you recommend? floater line vs reel.

I have a boat in san pedro area and plan on boat dive in local coastal water first to get the feel. Looking forward to meeting some of you and to be able to share knowledge and head out together. Thanks.

Harv
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
6,982
1,306
418
Sunny Britain
#2
Hi Harv, I moved thread to USA regional area, so you get more focused attention. Left a temporary link in the Beginner Area too though. Staff member Bill McIntyre is in your area and a font of knowledge and experience on spearfishing in your area & white bass. ;)
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
6,982
1,306
418
Sunny Britain
#3
As nobody responded yet, I know Bill likes wooden spearguns, esp. those made by Darryl Wong in Hawaii. If that is out of your price range/preferences you might want to consider a South African-style railgun by the likes of Mako, Rob Allen, Rabitech, Orcas, Hammerhead, etc., etc. Most are well set up for the larger fish you mention, with heavy duty hardware.
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Supporter
Jan 27, 2005
3,036
844
218
79
San Clemente, CA
#4
Well hell, I can’t believe I missed the chance to be an expert.

As Mr X said, I’ve been using Wong spearguns for well over 20 years, although I’m partial to the hybrids rather than all wood. Google it and you’ll see what I’m talking about. For White Sea bass and yellowtail I’d recommend a gun from 55” to 60”. If you hunt in coastal kelp beds with poor visibility then you might prefer the shorter end while if you hunt at the islands in generally better vis than you might prrfer the longer. For years my go-to gun was a 57.5” Wong. I tend to be wishywashy and have trouble with commitment. But it’s so much personal choice. A friend gets far more fish than I do with a 50” hybrid while another friend puts me to shame with a giant RIFFE Blue Water Elite that I consider to be impossible to swing the kelp but suitable for paddling home if the engine won’t start.

But do far I’ve just mentioned mid handled guns. Those rail guns mentioned by Mr X are an entirely different kettle of fish and I haven’t used one since the early1950s. They handle different and aim different and are a hell of a lot cheaper and many people who do much better than I do use them. It’s not just the material but the fact that they are rear handle rather than mid handle. I think
mid handled guns were pretty much invented in SoCal to to provide a lot of power in a gun that is easy to swing in kelp and poor vis but long enough to penetrate big fish. But in the last few years there has been a big swing back to rear handled guns by young guys that don’t respect their elders.

In my old age I’ve compromised by trying rear handled guns but sticking with wood. I have Abellan Denton 110 and 120 guns and I think they pretty much cover the SoCal scene with the exception of bluefin tuna. They are much more expensive than rail guns. However I think that little details of design let them have more power and range than rail guns of equal length.

If you wanted to drive to San Clemente I’d be glad to show you guns and rigging, show you how to tie bands and otherwise show off, all for just a 6 pack of Goose Island IPA.

A more practical solution might be to attend a meeting of the Long Beach Neptune’s or the Los Angeles Fathomiers. Some times they might seem a bit standoffish at first but if you mention that you have a boat it will be an ice breaker.

Please ask me any questions that you have and I’ll do my best to help.
 
Last edited:

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Supporter
Jan 27, 2005
3,036
844
218
79
San Clemente, CA
#6
One more afterthought in case I don’t remember tomorrow. Go see Dave Freeman, manager of the South Bay store of Spearamerica. He used to dive with me a lot when he lived in Orange County and had a less demanding job, but now I never see him. He is one of the most talented spearfishermen in SoCal and should be able to give you great advice. Just tell him I want my 5 percent of any sales to you.
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Supporter
Jan 27, 2005
3,036
844
218
79
San Clemente, CA
#7
Reels vs breakaway float lines. Breakaway float lines have an advantage when shooting big fish in that if a fish takes all your line, it doesn't take your gun. Reels are easier to deal with getting in and out of the boat. And if you shore dive over the rocks at Palos Verdes, which is one of the best white sea bass spots in SoCal,. a float line can get washed around the rocks in the surf and be a real mess.

For many years I used a reel most of the time, but in my old age I've switched to float lines because I feel that they are safer. When you are trying to follow your line down through the murk and kelp to your fish which is wrapped up on the bottom, a float line is much more visible and you are less likely to get tangled up in it. And when a big fish is taking line, its much easier to grab a thick float line than a thin reel line which might cut your glove and hand. If you use a reel, it should be large enough to hold at least 150 feet of line that is 2.5 or 3 mm in diameter. That let you grab the line to put pressure on the fish and gives you enough length so that you can probably make the fish tie up before it takes your gun. But you should have a knife that you can get to quickly in case you need to cut the line and save your gun.

If you use a float line in the kelp, it should be least 100 feet long. My line is 125'. In open water you can have a large float capable of stopping the fish, but you can't drag a large float through the kelp. Many divers have nothing at all on the rear end of the float line, but I use a small egg float that serves as something to grab when all the line has been pulled through my hand. At least twice that I can recall that little float saved me. A lot of beginners think that if they dive in shallow water, they need a line barely exceeding the depth. That might be true in Florida, but in California the fish goes under, around, up and back and forth through the kelp and you can't get right over the fish. I'll attach one photo to illustrate two points. That fish took every bit of my 125 foot line and was pulling me under. I grabbed that little float and struggled back up for air three times and was on the verge of turning loose when the fish finally tied up. The water was 45 feet deep, but the fish was wrapped in kelp about 4 feet below the surface. Without the little float to grab that line would have disappeared through my hand before I realized it, and without the 125 foot length I would have been forced to turn loose. 62wsb.jpg
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Supporter
Jan 27, 2005
3,036
844
218
79
San Clemente, CA
#9
You didn't ask, but do you need a slip tip or a flopper? Floppers are fine for calicos, sheephead, etc. And even though yellowtail are larger and stronger, they have tough skin and flesh and floppers are usually OK. However white sea bass are much softer and their first run is very strong, so you really should use a slip tip unless you think, you will always get perfect stone shots. There are many different slip tips, but the best are made by Masahiro Mori in Los Angeles. Many dive shops carry them. They come with a choice of cable or spectra and Spectra is what you want unless you are hunting giant tuna. Cable tends to get kinked and slow down your shot and hurt accuracy, and it tears the flesh of the fish.
morislim3.JPG
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Supporter
Jan 27, 2005
3,036
844
218
79
San Clemente, CA
#12
Well then it wasn't for nothing. It discourages people from taking the time to reply to questions when the guy who asks the question never comes back. DB gets very few questions about SoCal diving where I have something to offer, but this one was pretty specific. I can't offer much help with rail guns for the UK or pneumatic guns for anywhere, but I thought this one was right down my alley.

Oh well, maybe someone else will ask the same question and I can refer to this thread. :)
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
6,982
1,306
418
Sunny Britain
#13
I enjoyed it Bill. Your Japanese sounding (but American made) slip-tips particularly caught my attention, as I've been watching youtube videos of a Japanese polespearo recently - very interesting, inspiring even. He uses a 13ft Japanese-made polespear, made of carbon fibre and titanium, with a slip-tip. He doesn't need a speargun.

Interesting that you recommend the Spectra version, in my ignorance I would have likely opted for cable.

It has been such a long, dry Summer this year I wonder if we'll start seeing more exotic species here in the UK? Hopefully not Makos tho'! Saw some of the more normal fish on a trip to the coast recently, not of great size unfortunately but in a location that has always looked promising but which has previously failed to deliver anything other than spider crabs and few small fish (bass & pollock) caught on line and returned alive. It's a nice spot though, with a reef to explore.
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Supporter
Jan 27, 2005
3,036
844
218
79
San Clemente, CA
#14
Glad you enjoyed it too.

Masahiro Mori is an American of Japanese descent, a member of the Long Beach Neptunes, and a maker of some very nice spearfishing gear. His shafts and tips are considered to the finest available, but he also makes very nice and very expensive custom wood guns. He goes by "Mori" and I doubt that many people who know him know his first name.

The Spectra tips took a while to catch on, but now its been years since anyone has brought a tip rigged with cable on my boat. The Spectra is very strong and hard to cut, and it improves range and accuracy. Cable kinks pretty quickly and is a mess. We have another run of big bluefin tuna down toward our southern border this year and I think people are still using cable for them, but even for the tuna a lot of people use Spectra. The main problem I've heard is that if your shot goes through the spine of a tuna, the Spectra could get cut by the bone.

Speaking of warm water- last Friday the water temp at Scripps Pier near San Diego was 78.8 F (26C) which was the highest recorded since they started measuring in 1916. The kelp beds are disappearing fast, just in time for me to need them. On April 17 I had a skin cancer removed from my shin and the surgeon had to go clear down to the bone to get all of it. The original plan was to cover the wound with a skin graft, but he said the blood supply that deep was insufficient to support a graft so he had to leave it open to heal. While I waited, I was warned to stay out of the water if I didn't want to risk an infection that could cost me my leg. Today I went for another followup, and the doc said I should be clear to dive in about one more month. Whoopee! I just hope I can find some surviving kelp, perhaps out at San Clemente Island, 50 miles offshore. Here are the photos from the day of the surgery and today. Quite a difference. Apr 17.jpg 9:7.jpg
 
Last edited: