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Riffe BW too much power

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
May 16, 2003
Hi,How do you do?

This is my first writing.Please go easy.

I am a commercial spearfisherman of a little island.I always use hand spears(pole spears) at night on businness.Sometime I use speargun by day for pleasure.

I was using DIYspeargun(powerband:1x16mm/shaft:8mmx1700mm/stocklength:1480mm/stock:track grooved teak/mechanism:diveways) last season.And I got Riffe Blue Water last month!!

My DIYspeargun was very good for coral reef hunting(parrotfishes,groupers,sometime small GTs).Accuracy was very good.But I wanted more power,shaft speed&effective range.That's why I bought Riffe BW.But..Riffe BW...too much power and hard recoil.I cut my lip and the back of left hand.The recoil causes superior accuracy.I shoot coral reef frequently and pull the shaft out from rock is hard work.

I like the stock length of BW.The spearhead can get closer to fishes.And I heard that Riffe gun is very durable.Riffe gun is beautiful.I love my Riffe BW gun.

So I will change the shaft(3/8->5/16),powerbands(4x16mm->3x16mm) and the sliptip(Ice pick->hawaiian flopper).

How do you think this change?

Sorry for my ugly English.


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Hi Yuta, welcome to the forum. I'm in Ishikawa, Okinawa Island. #1, my 10 yr. old son, also named Yuta, and I reef hunt, so we are shooting the same kinds of fish. Personally, I think, of the reef fish, parrot fish make the best sashimi :). I'm using a Riffe Competitor #3XS that I modified by switching out the stock 5/16"x55" threaded shaft for a 9/32"x57" Hawaiian shaft. #1 is using a Competitor #2S with three 1/2"x26" bands that I made for him because he couldn't pull more powerful bands. The shaft he is currently using is a 5/16"x48" threaded shaft, but I am going to put a 9/32"x50" Hawaiian shaft on his gun as soon as it comes in. I like the Hawaiian shaft better for reef hunting because the slimmer profile tip seems to penetrate easier without tearing up the fish as bad as a the other points and it's easier to get the fish off over the single flopper.

I agree that the Blue Water has too much power for reef hunting. Great gun for what it's made for, bluewater hunting, but a cannon for the reef. I see that the Blue Water uses a 3/8"x72" threaded shaft and Riffe makes a 9/32"x72" Hawaiian flopper shaft for the Metal Tech #5, powered by two 9/16"x30" bands. That might be a good starting point for reducing the power of your Blue Water to a more desireable level. Keep in mind that you will be steping down two sizes in shaft diameter, so you will want to be careful not to over power the shaft to the point of shaft oscillation which will ruin your accuracy. You could, probably, get Riffe to custom make you a 5/16" or even 3/8" Hawaiian shaft, but since you want to reduce the power of this gun I think the smaller shaft would be better. The band stretch of a MT #5 is 52" (132 cm) while on the Blue Water it's 56" (142 cm). This might mean the two 9/16"x30" bands will still have too much power, but to reduce power from this point I would make longer bands rather than take one off and go to a single band.

I used a polespear for years growing up in Florida, but when I got over here I found the fish to be too wary to approach within polespear range. That's when I bought my first Riffe.:)

P.S. If you decide to change out the shaft and bands I would keep the originals in case you go bluewater hunting sometime later.
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Thankyou very much for your advise

Thank you for your advise,Mr.spearslinger.
I was surprised the recoil and found the BW's power unmanageable for me.

By the way,I'm worried that if ichange the shaft lighter,the buoyancy of gun become too strong?
but anyway i'm thinking try to order 9/32 shaft.maybe 72"Hawaiian.

As you know,speargun is crazy expensive in Japan,especially Riffe,so i have to find inexpensive way to get riffe shaft.

p.s. Mr.spearslinger,are you living in Okinawa?
If you have any oppotunity to visit Ishigaki is.,let's go spearfishing together with my little boat.
I have been lived in mainisland Okinawa for 9 years.
I agree parrot fish sashimi with soysouce&vineger is delicious,and my favorite sashimi is unicornfish in winter with sliced onion&garlic.

Please give my best regards to your little Yuta.

Sorry for my ugry English.
When I was a boy,I always got terrible grade in English class.
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Don't worry about your English, Yuta-San. My wife is from mainland Japan and I can read her English writing, which, I can assure you, makes yours look pretty good.;)

The Blue Water is an awful lot of gun. Riffe highly recommends firing their stronger guns with two hands to avoid injury. Even with my #3XS I found out that with all three bands loaded, if my elbow and wrist weren't locked out I was going to catch the butt of the gun right in the mouth. But, it took me more than doing it twice to learn that :hmm. It's a good thing they put that rubber butt pad on the gun and I had my snorkle mouth piece in my mouth or I would be missing some teeth :D.

I didn't think about dropping down two shaft sizes changing the ballast of the gun, but your gun is big enough that it might. I don't know the difference in weight of the shafts we've talked about, but I would try it in the water with the lighter shaft and if I thought the gun needed a little more negative bouyancy the first thing I would try is running a narrow strip of the kind of metal tape that is carried in most auto parts stores, AutoBacs should have it, down the center of the bottom of the stock. The other thing I might try to add ballast to the gun is cast a lead tab of the weight I thought I would need, figure out where I wanted that additional weight on the gun and epoxy it on, or you could attach it with small screws, but I think I would be real careful about drilling holes in such a nice gun. The epoxy or the glue from the tape would be easier to remove if you wanted to later.

This guy is our local Riffe Dealer: http://www.reefencounters.org/
His name is Doug Bennett. You can E-mail him at: information@reefencounters.org
or you can E-mail Junko-San at: junkofish@hotmail.com, she works for Doug.
Doug has very fair prices on Riffe products, but if he has to order something it can take months before you get it. Contact him or Junko-San, they might have what you are looking for in stock. Tell them Charles Pulley sent you.

If they don't have it you can look for it here: http://www.divebooty.com/
or here: http://www.diversdirect.com/index.html
They both have some Riffe stuff and their prices seem fair, but I haven't ordered anything from them, so I don't know how long it will take it to come in.
I don't know if you already have this website, but if you don't it might be helpful: http://www.riffespearguns.com/

Now, I have to look on a map and find Ishigaki Island.:)

Oh yeah, almost forgot. I see where the Blue Water has four 5/8"x32" bands. The first thing I suggest doing to step down the power of this gun is just take two bands off and try it that way. You might find out you like it and don't need to do anything else.:)

Hi Yuta,
Just wanted to welcome you to the forum. I visited your island a few years ago. I must say it's a beautiful place and I'd love to go back and try some spearfishing. You've come to the right place for information. I've just joined the "riffe clan" myself w/ a MT3. Hope we can be of help and welcome.
Originally posted by SpearSlinger1
You could, probably, get Riffe to custom make you a 5/16" or even 3/8" Hawaiian shaft, but since you want to reduce the power of this gun I think the smaller shaft would be better.

I emailed Jay Riffe regarding a 3/8" Hawaiian a few months ago. He said the biggest they make are 5/16". I'm not sure why they can't make one 'special order', but I'm sure a resourceful guy could do some grinding and tapping on a 3/8" threaded shaft, and do some bending on a flopper to make it work.

And welcome Charles. Your experience with Riffes assures you'll be well received on DB :). Tracking numbers tell me that I will finally get my first teak mh on Monday.

The suspense is killing me :p

If you reef hunt you might try my Hawaiian Sling design. It has a much more effective range than a pole spear or other Hawaiian sling designs. I make it with two bores, 5/16" that shoots 5/16" and 7.5 mm shafts. I also make a 7mm bore for shooting 7mm and 1/4" shafts. You can choose between 3 different power band options that can be changed in seconds. For smaller reef fish I recommend the 7mm bore as the larger bore causes too much damage. If you are after bigger prey say 15lbs and above use the larger bore. It also has a power head option if you want personal protection or are after Mobby. It is very cost effective. I designed it for reef hunting the Bahamas where triggered guns are illeagal.
Check it out at the items for sale forum at this site or at Hawaiiansling.net.
Parrot fish sushi? I am totally not aware, Parrot fish in the Bahamas is possibly toxic to my knowlage.
Thanks for the welcome, Unirdna. I've been around a while, I just haven't posted much and I've been away the last couple of months. Business trip. You could make a 3/8" Hawaiian shaft fairly easily. All you would have to do is grind the point and drill a hole in the shaft. Riffe makes the flopper in small, medium and large and sells them with the rivet. I didn't suggest doing this because of all the guns Riffe offers with either the Hawaiian shaft or the threaded shaft, except for the Competitor #0 and the #00, the Hawaiian shaft is always smaller in diameter and a few inches longer than the threaded shaft. Besides that, Yuta-San is looking to power down his Blue Water for reef hunting and I think stepping down two shaft sizes might bring him closer to what, I think, he is looking for. As for getting Riffe to make a custom shaft. I don't personally know Jay Riffe, but I've heard from people that do, that he can be pretty stubborn about what works and what doesn't when it comes to his guns ;). At any rate, I figure Jay, Jackie, Julie and Jill all know a lot more about their guns than I do :).

Parrot fish could have ciguatera, Ruppst, but cig being cumulative, I think the predators on a reef, grouper, snapper, etc. would be more likely to carry it. I'm from Florida too, originally, but I never really started wondering why everybody there eats the grouper and snapper, but not the parrots, until I got over here. Avoiding the barracuda I can understand ;). I've seen your Hawaiian sling design somewhere else recently. I think it might have been someone talking about it on another forum. Looks good, yes sir, looks real good :cool:.
Thank you for a lot of replies

Thank you for a lot of detailed and kindly replies.

In fact,I made 3/8"x72"Hawaiian shaft by myself.Made of special high carbon spring steel shaft for concrete pile for foundation construction.
This high carbon steel shaft is elastic and maybe stronger than tempered stainless steel shaft.It is dificult to bend.so almost commercial spearfisherman in Ishigaki Is.make theirown pole spear by this highcarbonsteel shaft,and paint anti-rust-zinc.

The pile shaft is lighter than riffe shaft.The inertial mass is a little smaller.So,It relieve from hard recoil a little.but not enough.
And this shaft have grooved spiral line on the surface for stick to concrete.I found it will injure BW's track and make water resistance.

And i made looser powerbands.I felt it worked very good.but 4bands take long time for set up next shot.

So I will change the shaft 3/8 -> 9/32",powerbands 4 -> 3 or 2 and looser than original.

I heard that ciguatera poison is from their food.
In okinawa Islands,It is famous that some painted coral groopers,some spotted parrotfishes,and almost red snappers(twinspot snapper?) have ciguatera poison.
I have a fisherman friend who don't care that.He was poisoned by red snappers frequentry.I know he got on ambulance two times.And He is still eating.

He said to me "red snapper is the best sashimi fish.ciguatera poison is in their spinal cord,so sashimi is ok,but soup is dangerous."
I cant believe his behavior.

p.s. thank you Mr. Ruppst.
but When I spearfish at night on business.I need flash light in left hand.And polespear is useful for the place where shallow and super strong tide current.I can swim with the spear like a stick.I tried to use speargun on bussiness,but it was not so useful
because it take too long recharge time when i can see a lot of quick fishes,and i cant use it like stick for swim.(thats why the buttend looks bad my DIYgun).
but thank you.daytime,hawaiian sling sounds fun.

im afraid that this writing is too long and difficult to read.
is this writing containing impolite sentence?

small photo(from left) :
shaft with double hawaiian flopper for my DIYspeargun made of about 5/16" pile shaft
Riffe 3/8 shaft with ice pick
DIY3/8 zinc painted pile shaft with hawaiian flopper(also right two shafts in large photo).

And the polespear for business at night(left one large photo).Flopper or sliptip make damage our commodity,so no flopper.(We have to kill fishes by one shot or shoot and hold down.).but the rusty grooved spiral line catch the gill plate of fish.it is good for no flopper polespear.


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Hello Yuta-San,

So good to hear a Japanese on the board. Welcome.:D I am in Indonesia, Jakarta and only 6 hours by flight. I think you heard of Bali, the Japanese loves Bali for holiday.

Your BW Riffe is too powerful for reef fishes and it sure is too long. Next time you may want to get Riffe #Hawaiian, very light and swing so fast. It is 127cm and it is very powerful when set properly. It should be able to shoot reef fishes from 5-6 meters easy if you use the 5/16" (8mm) Hawaiian Shaft single flopper and 3 x 9/16" bands (14mm).

Anyway have fun hunting. I think Japan water is very cold.....brrrrr. I fear cold water.

Is there any special permit for speargun in Japan ?
What are the fish species u hunt commercialy and why at night ?
How much is a BW Riffe in Japan ? I can only imagine how expensive it can be .

See You.

I thought u are getting an MT0, looks like you are getting a teak one.....he he he. The suspense of waiting is beautiful...:D

Hello Mr.Iyadiver

In Japan,speargun is not permited in almost local law.polespear is ok.and if it is permitted in local law,however we need licence for spearfishing.but to get licence is very difficult for general people.virtually,only commercial fisherman can get the licence.

in my island,polespear is legal,licence is unnecessary,speargun is legal,but we need licence.but in this small island,everybody don't mind such small thing:D.only coast guard and spiteful commercial fisherman.

I living in small island.this island is in the territory of Japan,but i think the culture,the custom are quite different from mainland Japan.maybe southeast asia(indonesia,phillippines) rather than Japan.located most southern part of Japan.my island is floating on a big warm current from equator.climate is subtropical.coral reef island.so perhaps we are chasing same target.

my commercially target ...
purple headed parrotfish,flame parrotfish,long nosed parrotfish,red spotted parrotfish,tattooed parrotfish,black spot tuskfish,napoleonfish,emperor fishes,trevallies,groupers(especially coral grouper,saddleback grouper),longnosed unicornfish,octpus,kattlefish,spiny lobsters(need licence),sometime turtles(need licence)..etc.etc..detail is on my web site(but Japanese).

mainly i am aiming at parrotfishes,groupers and spiny lobsters on business.

we can catch them easy at night.and in my island,night spearfishing is traditional way of spearfishing.its called"dentou moguri"(straight translation sounds funny:electric diver)and there is another traditional way of spearfishing called "sunkariya"(dragged spearfisherman).it is interesting.spearfisherman dragged by boat and while searching fishes,he can control his boat.the tiller,clutch lever and throttle lever are set outside of boat.my boat is sunkariable.

90 percent commercial spearfisherman in my island use compressor and air line regulator.5 percent scuba,and 5 percent(include me) freediving.

Riffe BW in Japan...about us$1400-1500.

thank you for your reply Mr.Iyadiver.
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photo : the catch of my commercial spearfishing at night
left : octpus night
right : fish night


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Hi Yuta-San,

I love Tako ( Octopus ). In fact I love Japanese food, shushi and all. Yum Yum...:p :p I love Uni (sea urchin ), salmon eggs and bluefin toro.....makes me hungry.

There is one restaurant which charges US$100 per person and you sit by the suhsi bar. The Japanese cook will serve you and in most cases you will be full, so much food.:p

US$100 is a lot for Indonesia, that is the 1 month salary of my wife's driver. For Japanese this is a fair price.

The BW Riffe is very expensive in Japan...my God !! I think the licencing is what makes it so expensive. In Singapore you can buy a Riffe ( or any speargun ) but the shop will ask the Police to sent it to the airport, you can't touch it. I think you must pay US$200 for the police escort alone. They will hand it to you when they make sure you have checked in and leave Singapore...wha ha ha, such a strict law.:D

I see the point on night fishing because all the parrot fishes are sleeping.:eek: We have A LOT of parrot fish here. I think there is no faster way than a pole spear for such night work. I can draw you something so that you can attach a torch light to your pole spear.
If your hands are free, you can work better.

I used to hunt at night for red groupers ( my favourite ) years ago, they are all sleeping too. I can't find them in the day time they are too shy and too fast and no big ones, I wonder why.
What I use was a pneumatic Scubapro and Mares at 85cm long. I attached an Underwater Kinetic ( UK ) MiniQ40 torchlight on the side. I also wear a UK Mini40 torch on my mask. I adjusted the light beam on the gun to point where the shaft will shoot. For up to 2 meters it is like a laser aiming system....:D :D. Good for cave work even in day time. As my big light I use a UK1200 ( 8 D batteries and much better than the Toshiba 4D batteries ). I scan with the big lights and when i spot something I use only the two small miniQ40 lights, work like magic. If visibility is 10 meters or better, these small lights is a miracle. I love those pneumatic guns a lot, so short and good for reef fishes. All of my (6) Scubapro and Mares Stern are destroyed now. I bought a new Mares 850 Cyrano for memory sake but seldom use it, I go for open water (pelagic ) fishes now. All my guns are Riffe also, I love it.

One day I lost one pneumatic gun because of a Tako (octopus), my first catch of such species. It grabbed my mask, regulator and so on. I was in panic, I don't know to handle it. I unscrewed the speartip and that is when the slide ring slide free and bye bye gun. That was 10 years ago.

If you can scuba, next time come to Jakarta, I will bring you to my dog tooth tuna secret spot, that is where your Riffe BW belongs. I have a Japanese friend in Mitsubishi Trading Company based in Jakarta but now he is located somewhere else. He likes to dive with me for fun too.

Jakarta have a lot of Japanese expat working here and there is a LOT of Japanese restaurant, you will like it here for a short holiday.

I will try you recipe for the unicorn fish, there is a lot of them in my hunting area but I thought they are not nice to eat.

Nice writing to you Yuta-San. Keep posting.

Yuta have you perhaps considered using 3 bands and only loading them on the rest tab? or if this is still to powerful perhaps 2 bands loaded on the rest tab...?

Your english is not bad, I can understand you fine and your words are not impolite. in fact your spelling is better then mine... :)

Best of luck with your blue water... if you decide it is to powerful and you want to sell it cheap cheap... just give me a call :D

Welcome to the board. I'm Japanese too, yonsei (4th generation) here in Hawaii. Don't speak much japanese but will definitely finish up a plate of sashimi, sushi, miso soup, and a few bottles of cold Asahi. Haven't tried raw parrot fish yet. Maybe my next one will be sashimi.

I occasionally dive with a Riffe Island with small wings and ballast. On my first dive, I shot it like I shoot my 55" rear handle guns, the Riffe hit me in the mouth. Luckily I didn't loose any teeth. I use a 5/16 shaft with double flopper and 3 - 5/8" bands. This gun is too powerful for reef diving.

For reef diving, I use a 55" KES rear handle with 2 - 5/8" bands. Single band for hole shooting, and a 9/32" Riffe Hawaiian shaft. This gun is perfect for my style of diving.

I also dive for tako (octopus). We use the raw tako for bait when fishing for ulua (Giant Trevally). Do you eat trevally sashimi?

Thanks for sharing your pictures with us, please send more. And by the way, your English is fine.

As the guys have said use less bands and get a thinner shaft. I have an island with two shafts, the stock one with a slip for blue water (I wish I could use more but the blue water scene around here is tough) and a 9/32 tahitian with a rest tab as a back up reef gun in case something happens to my comp3x. I would only load two bands if using the tahitian. The c3x is ideal for the reef it is slimmer and shorter but every bit a riffe.
shoot em up

thank you everybody.

I often have chance close encouner with 10kg-30kgGT,20kg-50kg napoleonfish,Dog teeth tuna,and usually 5kg empelorfish.last DIYgun was good for reef hunting.but it cant shot them.because the gun have only one band and shaft is hawaiian 9/32".last season,i shot about15kg GT and i lost the shaft.I wanted more power.BW's length(between grip to spearhead) is similar to last gun.at first,i thought order hawaiian,hawaiian is good for reef but not so good for bigfish,so I orderered 72"-9/32" threaded shaft and 72"-5/16" threaded shaft,each shaft with icepick adaptor/slidering,and one icepick sliptip.today,i got them.I will try to shoot and check each size of shaft.I think 9/32" shaft is light for BW.maybe buoyancy is too strong and it will need lead weight.so,I'm thinking how to attatch the weight without tappingscrew.
anyway,i will check the buoyancy tommorow.

compairison of buoyancy (only on my calc.at fresh water)

-------------------------------------------wgt---vol(wo Icp)---boyancy--b.compr w 3/8

3/8" x72" (9.52mmx1828.8mm) w Icepick...1100g v=130.18(cc) b=-969.8(g) 0(g)

9/32"x72" (7.14mmx1828.8mm) w Icepick... 650g v= 73.22 b=-576.8 +393
5/16"x72" (7.94mmx1828.8mm) w Icepick... 800g v= 89.64 b=-710.4 +259

by the way,in my island,DIYgun is very popular.these photos are DIYgun for reef(length same as BW,2bands,9/32"pile shaft)made by my friend T.i cant make such beautiful gun.if i made suchgun,it would be very expensive gun.so i thought BW is cheaper than myDIYbig ugly gun.some of my friends make spearguns very well and inexpensively.for example,the aluminum track is made by curtain rail,buttend rubber is from leg of ladder.and painted strong urethane.the paint is for floor of gymnasium.


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this is another friend M's gun,painting now.this guy made a lot of beautiful guns.but he didnt satisfy.he is keeping a teak block for next gun already.a lot of his guns are covered with dust in the corner of his room.


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Beautiful guns Yuta!

Dai suki desu!

The weight of the shaft is a definite consideration, but you should also look into ballasting your gun - adding lead in certain parts of the gun stock to balance the gun laterally as well as for buoyancy.

Another big factor is what type and number of bands you are planning on using to power your shaft. You mentioned going from 4 bands to 2 or 3 looser ones... this will drastically reduce your range, so you may want to figure out what's more important - ease of loading or range & power.

today I tested BW by 5/16"x72" and 9/32"x72" shafts.
both 5/16" shaft and 9/32"one didn't need lead weight.
5/16" on BW was perfect buoyancy.9/32" was very very slight +buoyancy,but front is heavier than buttend,so it was no problem.

looser 3 bands and 5/16" was good.but 9/32" with looser 3bands,too much power.

I saw the 9/32"shaft which bended by 3bands fall like folk ball.

the track of the shaft was very strange.

I understood what is shaft whip.

the catch was steephead parrotfish and Lutjanus rivulatus(scientific name.i don't know english name.we call them"Banbalar".)
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