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Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Rasta Freediver
Mar 4, 2004
Hi, im new to spearfishing and im looking to get my first gun. I will be in freshwater lakes, in Wisconsin. Does anyone have a good suggestion for my first gun? I also dont have a lot of $$ so i can't go buying like a $400 gun. THanks.
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Go to eBay and see what they have. Usually some good deals there. I got a JBL Super Carbine for ~$60.
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Do you have any good suggestions for what type of gun though? I'll be in freshwater 99% of the time, in lakes.

Where you at? Jon and I are in Madison. I've been spearing for 5 years or so, all over the state. Jon started a couple years ago, but has 10 years of freediving and 20+ of scuba under his belt.

Run a search for "wisconsin and spearfishing" and you'll find lots of our old threads.

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I would recommend a wooden one, makes a big difference, and I would go with an ab biller, but i just purchased a wooden jbl and cant wait to try it out on saturday. It looks awesome. A big part of why wooden guns are great is that they float when unloaded and are neutrally bouyant loaded, but I'd imagine they will be slightly less bouyant in freshwater... still a lot better than a steel gun. Also, I'd stick with a 42" gun or bigger, little guns are a pain in the neck to load, requiring 3 bands and such. Also, hit up your local dive shop or look around the net for an auto recoil cord, they make it a LOT easier to reload, as you don't have a long cord to wind up after every shot. Good luck!
Unirdna, i live near appleton, in a little town called hortonville. My family owns 4 lake properties in Waupaca county, so i swim every day... I still need longer breathe holds tho, and a gun. Im 15, it's hard to get around.

We own 2 properties on Bailey lake.... a very tiny lake across from the chain o' lakes, its so small i can easily swim back and forth across it. It's spring fed, gets to about 40-50 ft. and there are fish EVERYWHERE. It's no motor boats, so the fish rarely get plucked..... im not even joking, i've caught bluegill and sunfish with my hands at about 10ft. depth, it's really fun. One side is extremely weedy, but that's where the fish are... and it's hard to fish it because even with the weed-block things, it still catches lures. The only bad part is visibility.... and the drop off. I can walk about 15 ft. out and it gets deep fast. Theres a small ledge about 12ft deep, and the bass are VERY plentiful... i tried catching them bare-handed too, but i can only get one hand on em :) After that it drops down to about 25 ft. and i can't get that deep because of the temperature. I have no wet suit and the spring fed makes it drop like 20 degrees, its so freakin cold. It's awesome for fishing though, that's why i want a gun.

We have another property on Long Lake, its pretty big and i see scuba a lot in the summer, It's about 7-80 ft. in the middle i think. Some big musky and bass there too... i caught an 18 inch large mouth recently. I dont like reel fishing though, it'd rather be under the water! Anyhow, my grandparents stay at that property, and i just swim there for recreation. Our other property is on Pearl lake... i havent swam there in years, my aunts and uncles have been taking care of it why we fix up out bailey lake cottages. It's got the best vis out of all 3, i think... so im anxious to go there sometime. I'm about 5'7" and 125. I'm growing fast though. Do you or jon or anyone around here have any old wetsuits i could maybe buy? I dont' have a lot of cash though, and i really like freediving!

I'm not sure if you have anything to do with the deeper blue milwaukee shop, but my cousin goes to UWM and his apartment is about a mile away or so, so i really wanted to go to the freedive clinic. I dont think im going to have enough money to do it though, for a non-working kid, $150 is gold :) I think i would need a wetsuit anyhow, and theres now way i can scrounge up all those goods. My fins suck, some U.S. Diver ones, same with my mask and snorkel. I have a purge valve on my snorkel, but i've never been underwater diving with it in months..... since we went to key west and key largo and all that and dove the reefs. I can only get like 20, sometimes 30' on a good dive, but i've heard ppl increase their holds from like 1 to 4 minutes in a weekend. That's what i need to do. Since im in the water every day, i'm pretty confident my endurance and the actual swimming shouldnt be a problem. I know for my "freediving" abilities i wont need anything great either, since i dont really know what im doing.

I'm looking for a 5mm suit, i figure that will last me like April/May-September, maybe a warm October even? It will be good for the spring fed i dive too. What suggestions do you have on a gun? I will mostly be shooting bluegill and sunfish (we have some monsters)..... i checked DNR but i forgot, can you shoot the bass in wisconsin too? I guess it would be pointless because they taste like rubber, but hey. If you could, would you please send over a link to DNR regulations and seasons and all that on spearfishing? Hopefully i can make it down to the clinic, but i doubt it.

What's the big difference in gun size? As of now i can't hold my breathe that long, and i dont want to be using 3 bands..... i dont think i'd be good at that. What guns do you use for hunting freshwater? I really need to check DNR and find out which are which, if i remember right, Almost everything is fair game. I better start paying attention in class now :) Later
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I can only hold my breathe for like 1 minute now :( so i really need to work on it.

Oh yea, Hey jon i was wondering, if i make it down to the a-palooza this summer, could you maybe take like 10 or 15 minutes to show me the ropes? I know you obviously dont want to waste the amazing freedive time with a newb, i just need a lot of help :)
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I'm going to be up there the whole weekend, along with a lot of other freedivers. You'll have plenty of chances to dive and pick up some pointers if you can make it.

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Small world.....eh, small Wisconsin, at least.

Ok, where to start. That's a lot of info to go through, young man ;). First off, a little info on Jon and I. I'm 30 and Jon is 37(?). I'm a fisheries biologist at the UW. Before that, I spent 3 years with the DNR water program. Jon is a grade-school teacher, and scuba instructor (although, he's doing neither right now because he is taking time off to raise his 1-year old daughter).

That freediving clinic you mentioned at deepblue in Milwaukee is owned by Jon's bud, Gert. Jon has recently inspired Gert to join the freediving world, and he now carries the OMER line at his shop. Jon would be the guy teaching that freediving clinic. He's certified by some organization (padi...aida....beats me - I don't know much about the bureaucratic side of the sport).

I have speared in Long Lake and Jon and I have been in Pearl Lake. Pearl lake has yielded my largest bluegill to date (11 inches - 1.3 pounds). We caught a bit of flack from a local bozo last time we were there. Hope he's not one of your relatives ;).

Long lake is used as a Musky 'growing pond' by the DNR. I've seen many 50+ inch musky in there. They drop a bunch of the Lake Michigan strain in every so often, and then harvest em out after a few years. No musky fishing is allowed. Oh yeah, on the subject of fish....you can NOT spear any gamefish in Wisconsin. Walleye, musky, pike, bass are off limits. If you get caught shooting one of these, the wardens will confiscate all your gear and slap you with a hefty fine. As far as special licenses go, a standard fishing license is all you need. But you said you are 15, so that won't apply to you for a year.

Jon has a few old wetsuits. What he plans to sell, I am not sure. Jon is 5'10", 165 lbs. I am 5'8", 150 lbs. We are both done growing ;), but I'm sure you still have a bit more to do. Take a look at your dad, and your mom's dad, and try to figure out where you're headin'. Wetsuits aren't terribly expensive, but they can be quite an investment for a 15-year-old, so do like your mom does and buy a size larger (you'll grow into it). I have a 5mm and 3mm suit. Jon has a new 6mm and 3mm, and two older 6.5mm and 3mm suits. I don't think he has seen this thread yet, so I'll drop him an email to tell him about ya.

*edit - err....figures. He finds it as I am typing.

For your first gun, I would recommend any small 'euro' gun or a JBL Custom. The Custom was my first gun and I took many many panfish with it. I now have a custom made wooden gun.

Now stop screwing around in class, and pay attention!

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Hahaha, my teacher is talking right now :) School sucks so bad right now..... anyhow, i love the water. Once i get a wetsuit, it'll be deeper waters for me :) The lake im in every day is spring fed, and it's ice cold at about 10 feet down, so im kinda of limited. My favorite thing to do though is go out by our dropoff, and crawl hand over hand down it. I usually scare some fish out of hiding, then i just chase em around until i find a turtle to swim with.... I'm glad you can shoot bullheads then, i hate those. I'm gonna kill em all!

So bluegill, sunfish, all that is fair game? If so it's going to be GOOD eating, i can catch them in our lake with my bare hands they're so plentiful. The best part is, it's no motor boats on our lake, so i dont need to worry about a float...... for now. Their are like 12 long lakes in waupaca though, im not sure if we're on the same one. I know that my uncle caught some muskies on it before. The one we have property on is really long and narrow, and it has a high dive anchored out in the middle of it. I've seen lots of DNR and divers there, maybe we're on the same page. There are tons of pearl lakes too. I havent been swimming there in years, but im going to try this summer. It's also in waupaca, and the water looks like a postcard picture!

The best dive of my life was actually in Montana..... we were backpacking in Glacier National Park, and all the lakes are pure runoff from the snow and glaciers. We kayaked most of them, and even the 60-70 ft. ones were perfectly clear, and i could see small fish swimming at the bottom. I sacrificed some body heat to swim in the icy waters but it was WELL worth it. They had some weeds, im not sure what kind that were like 20 ft. high and really thick, it felt like i was swimming through the woods. I have never seen so many fish in freshwater before! They were very curious, they prolly dont see many divers in their water :) I aslo backpacked isle royale this last summer, an island in the middle of lake superior. Every 10 miles we would stop for the day at a big cement dock. It was very deep for all the fishermans yachts and stuff to dock on, and the water was also VERY Clear. I saw some monster fish, easily over 3', but im not good with names. They were lightly colored, and they were nice sized. I went diving every day, only to depths of like 25 ft though. I found at least 300 lures in the 2 weeks i hiked. The lines would snap off and there was lures all over the water.

I would taunt the small fish by holding on to a rock at the bottom and jiggin a lure around on some line. Right when they were about to get snagged, i'd pull it away and start all over. Simple fun for when you're away from TV and the computer :). My cousin at UWM is like 5 minute walk away from the deep blue shop, and if i can scrounge up a wetsuit and $150, i will be at the clinic. Then again...... wetsuits are pricy for me, and $150 is a lot for 3 days, so who knows. Anyhow, good luck everyone, thanks for helping me out! Later.
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