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Speargun reel questions

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2001
I need a speargun reel for an application other than spearfishing.

It needs to have a very stiff drag OUT, while still allowing freespool IN. So far the only reel I have heard of which does this is the RIFFE carbon fiber nylon reel. Are there any other reels which have this feature? The RIFFE reel looks like it is not made of very strong material; it looks like the screw-hole mounts could break off if you hit the reel. How hard can you set the drag on this reel? Can you basically lock the spool with the drag on max?

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada

None of the spearfishing reels i know of has that ability. I did experiment with a salt water fly fishing reel. They have the ability to have a very tight or locked drag and still be very "free" when you reel in. Basically, the retrieve pressure is exacltly the same where you've got a light drag or whether you've locked the drag. Some points to remember with salt water fly reels:
- they're made of alluminuim and doesn't rust easily
- they normally have a ball bearing in, so a thorough wash after each dive is advisable
- if you're using spectra or dyneema on the spool, tape the knot onto the spool, otherwise the line will simply slip and pull off even against a locked drag:eek:

The bigger salt water fly reels are very solidly built. They're designed for catching big game fish. When looking at makes, Shimano reels are very good. Very good quality at a reasonable price.

Hope this helps


Hi Eric.

Speargun reels are relative junk at best. Nothing at all like deep sea reels. They have no precision, no drag settings. Most will begin to tighten and lock up inadvertantly as the line runs out because the spinning reel drags slightly on the under engineered friction "drag" and engages it inadvertantly. Many divers have turfed their guns and catches when this happens after trying to reach the surface with a big fish pulling them back.

Probably the reason for this under-engineering is the fact that the thing is submerged in corrosive salt water all the time. Probably cost is a factor too but try diving with a Penn or Shimano or Abu and you will have junk in no time too.

What about a ratchet ? Like the type used for winching the boat onto its trailer ? Its winds in smoothly but can locks up positively in the out-spool / in-spool direction. ( depending on which way you wind on your line.) One can also disengage the ratchet so it spools freely in each direction. These things are strong and cheap big or small. You can use any line, webbing etc.
There is no intermediate drag though. Its either free both ways or free one way and locked the other.

They also have a decent handle for winching in. The best you will find in a speargun reel is a little nubbin for reeling in slack line at no more than 1m per 5 seconds or so.

Having said this the Riffe speargun reels are i believe the best and relatively very expensive and do feature some kind of intentional progressive auto drag ( out )
You do get all metal ones. Surely stronger than carbon in resisting a torqueing moment on its mountings.

Perhaps if you say what you want it for someone will come up with a good suggestion.

Or, perhaps if enough of us complain about the quality of spearfishing reels, someone in the business will listen and make a better one. That's the nice thing about forums like this one; where consumers gather and gab, manufacturers are likely to listen. I'll bet Riffe cruises through here now and again, if only to bask in the nice things people say about his product.:D
I'm building a new type of freediving safety system. I had investigated a ratchet winch, but many winches use gravity for the ratchet. Some have spring mounted ratchets. The problem is, if the ratchet lock fails, you die -- so I need something which can lock a spool reliably, and work underwater without much maintenance. If you know a good winch with a strong, reliable ratchet spring, let me know.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Thought this may be what you were after. In this case strike the words "speargun reel" out of your mind.

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