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To reel? or not to reel?

Trebla

Member
May 19, 2016
10
4
8
36
Ontario ca
Ok, I'm using a cressi comanchi 90mm. I only used it once. I shot it a few time and the mono came off the shaft. I placed an order for a mono/crimps kit that should be coming shortly. As I was or ordering the kit on Amazon the "suggestion box" showed a reel which I thought would be pretty bad ass. Now mind you I have only shot the gun about 6-7times on one dive. I was able to shoot one opal eye. Now I just started so I'm working on how the gun shoots/aims & so forth. (& dont worry I ate the boney fish) Now I plan on HOPEFULLY shooting bigger fish in the near future. Would getting a reel help make my shot go further? & would it be easier to reel in a fish? I'm currently diving in 20-30ft if that makes any difference.
 

Pinniped72

Well-Known Member
May 18, 2013
391
207
83
Hampshire
Ok, I'm using a cressi comanchi 90mm. I only used it once. I shot it a few time and the mono came off the shaft. I placed an order for a mono/crimps kit that should be coming shortly. As I was or ordering the kit on Amazon the "suggestion box" showed a reel which I thought would be pretty bad ass. Now mind you I have only shot the gun about 6-7times on one dive. I was able to shoot one opal eye. Now I just started so I'm working on how the gun shoots/aims & so forth. (& dont worry I ate the boney fish) Now I plan on HOPEFULLY shooting bigger fish in the near future. Would getting a reel help make my shot go further? & would it be easier to reel in a fish? I'm currently diving in 20-30ft if that makes any difference.
Do you use a surface float that your gun is attached to? If you don't and shoot a big bigger fish or a fish that goes into cover, you could find that you loose your gun so a reel would give you more line to surface and catch your breath, more than one diver has got into trouble staying under to get a fish when really they should have surfaced, the fish have one up on us under the water! ;)
 

Broseidon

Lord of the Brocean
Aug 13, 2007
1,897
577
153
Somewhere
I'd attach your gun to a surface float - then you can drop it at a moment's notice. I drop my gun all the time: when I'm dealing with fish, letting a fish run or if I've found a lobster or crab - in murky water, it makes a great marker.

Reels look cool but in my experience, can be a pain - jamming, unravelling and generally not doing their job!
 
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Mr. X

Forum Mentor
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We tend not to use reels in the UK, not really necessary here usually but they seem quite popular elsewhere. It won't make the gun shoot further but I suppose it might allow a little more range that regular rigging but that's not its purpose, as Pinniped72 already explained. It is possible to "double-wrap" your rigging, so that you have more spearline without need of a reel - but I wouldn't recommend, especially for beginners as it's more hassle. There is even an obscure technique for a 1.5 wrap.

The fact that your spearline broke and so soon suggests to me that it probably wasn't rigged properly - for details on how to rig your speargun (an essential skill to learn) see our "Dummies Guide to Spearfishing"-thread and study it carefully - or that the line was damaged. I would not expect a Commanche 90 to break its spearline if rigged properly. Your spearline should usually be about 1.65mm diameter or more. Thicker spearlines (e.g Rob Allen Mako line or 2mm+ weedwacker line) tend to be a lot more resilient to accidental damage such as nicks & cuts but they might be overkill for your needs.

Like Broseiden, I tether my speargun to large, flagged surface marker buoy (float) using a float-line. It seems like the simplest/safest way to start to me but other approaches are possible.
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
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Jan 27, 2005
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Its my impression that you are diving in Southern California. If so, I would recommend that you get a reel eventually. If you progress to our larger game fish, white sea bass and yellowtail, you are going to need either a reel or a break-away float line at least 100 feet long. A large flagged float is just fine in the UK and many other places, but you are eventually going to be diving in heavy kelp, even if there isn't much of it around this year after being killed by last summer's warm water and torn out by this winter's storm, and you can't tow a float through kelp.

On the other hand, you are unlikely to be shooting big fish with a 90 cm gun, so maybe the reel can wait until you step up to a bigger gun, but a reel can help even with small fish and your small gun. For instance, you say that you are diving to 30 feet. If a fish got into a hole or tangled in kelp on the bottom, your present set up would require you to release the gun to get to the surface. In poor visibility and/or current, you might not find it again. A reel would permit you to get to the surface and them let you follow the reel line back down.

A reel will not let you take longer shots. Your shooting line should be as long as the range of the gun so that no line is pulled from the reel. Pulling line off of the reel will slow the shaft dramatically.

The guys who shoot big fish in Southern California are evenly divided between breakaway float line and reels, and they constantly argue the relatively merits of those choices. Just two days ago I was engaged in a good natured argument on a smaller forum where So Cal spears hang out. I used reels for many years before switching to the float line a couple of years ago in my old age. I think its safer to be dealing with a thick highly visible float line down in the kelp as opposed to a spider web of thin reel line, but many people disagree with me, and that discussion is probably better left to the future when you have more experience. If you want to see discussion of breakaway float lines, I think a search will reveal posts by me and others.

In the mean time, I'm going to post a couple of photos showing why kelp makes it impossible to use a large flagged float.
jeffkelp.JPG
 
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Trebla

Trebla

Member
May 19, 2016
10
4
8
36
Ontario ca
Beautiful kelp bed! Iwas finally able to to rig up my gun and shoot it with comfort yesterday. We headed out towards the back side of Catalina to Church Rock. One of the guys was hunting for White Sea bass and it was said to be spotted around there. I noticed the pics were taking in San Clemente which was big talk yesterday. Will most definitely take your advice once I start upping my game. Thanks for your feedback and detailed Opinion.
 
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Trebla

Trebla

Member
May 19, 2016
10
4
8
36
Ontario ca
I'd attach your gun to a surface float - then you can drop it at a moment's notice. I drop my gun all the time: when I'm dealing with fish, letting a fish run or if I've found a lobster or crab - in murky water, it makes a great marker.

Reels look cool but in my experience, can be a pain - jamming, unravelling and generally not doing their job!
I attached a float line to it yesterday and it worked out great! At times when I needed both hands I felt comfortable letting go of the gun. Thanks a lot for your feed back. I really appreciate it!
 
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Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
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Jan 27, 2005
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Beautiful kelp bed! Iwas finally able to to rig up my gun and shoot it with comfort yesterday. We headed out towards the back side of Catalina to Church Rock. One of the guys was hunting for White Sea bass and it was said to be spotted around there. I noticed the pics were taking in San Clemente which was big talk yesterday. Will most definitely take your advice once I start upping my game. Thanks for your feedback and detailed Opinion.
One pic was taken at San Clemente Island and the other at San Clemente artificial reef. The bed at the artificial reef is gone rhis year.

There is normally a big bed at Church Rock but last Tuesday I went by on way up the back side and it seemed to missing. It seems that most of the kelp at Catalina is gone.
 
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Trebla

Trebla

Member
May 19, 2016
10
4
8
36
Ontario ca
One pic was taken at San Clemente Island and the other at San Clemente artificial reef. The bed at the artificial reef is gone rhis year.

There is normally a big bed at Church Rock but last Tuesday I went by on way up the back side and it seemed to missing. It seems that most of the kelp at Catalina is gone.
Yea we were looking for kelp as well but nothing. We were a little surprised ourselves. This was our 1st time going to spear there & we heard great stories & somewhat expected the same unfortunately no kelp. Still KD a good time regardless. CHEERS!
 

Broseidon

Lord of the Brocean
Aug 13, 2007
1,897
577
153
Somewhere
I attached a float line to it yesterday and it worked out great! At times when I needed both hands I felt comfortable letting go of the gun. Thanks a lot for your feed back. I really appreciate it!
No worries buddy - great to hear it worked out so well for you! :)
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
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Jan 27, 2005
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San Clemente, CA
Speaking of Church Rock- last summer a friend of mine was hunting yellowtail in the blue water just outside the rock. He was carrying a GoPro and looked up during a dive at his buddy on the surface. A big great white shark swam up right behind his buddy, but his buddy never saw it. It was captured on video though.

I just wanted you to feel as nervous as I do diving there.:)
 
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Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
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Jan 27, 2005
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And speaking of reels, I forgot to mention one thing. A speargun reel is just a line storage device. When you shoot a fish, you don't fight it with the reel like you do with a rod and reel. You should pull a big fish up hand over hand with the reel line, being careful to swim forward so that the reel line doesn't gather around you so that the fish can pull you back down. After y0u get the fish in hand and brained, then go get the gun and wind the line back on the reel. Many times when I used a reel, I just swam the fish back to the boat with the gun trailing behind me and then would wind the line back on after getting the fish and myself into the boat.

Obviously, this isn't an option if you are shore diving. In that case, you will want to wind the line back on to the reel before swimming to shore.
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
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Jan 27, 2005
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I'm not sure whether I should cross post this. Its from a good friend of mine on another forum, so no one here can respond. I'm just cutting and pasting. But since I'm a float line fan, I thought I should show the other side of the argument. The advice I give to SoCal divers is often very specific to SoCal conditions. Its not the same advice offered by UK or Red Sea Divers, and it shouldn't be. In an international forum like this, we have the advantage of hearing from people all over the world, but that can be a disadvantage some times when we don't realize that the people offering the advice dive in very different conditions. Unfortunately, there aren't many of us SoCal guys here, so you don't get to hear from people who disagree with me. Here is one who does:

I've been meaning to get this started for a while now. I'm a dedicated reel guy for many reasons but mostly just because I hate using a floatline for a multitude of reasons. We can get into pros and cons if you like but mostly I want to open a thread to discuss various reels, techniques and most of all safety. Lots of people know I'm a reel guy so I get calls over the course of the year from guys asking about all sorts of stuff regarding manufacturers, line, line guides, styles etc.. etc.. I'm hoping to open up some discussion to help the newer guys and also learn myself. If you've got a question post it up and we'll do our best to answer or argue the point


For now I'd like to point out the pros and cons that I experience from using a reel.
Pros. Freedom is key. I love being self contained on a boat, on a shoredive and on paddies. I love jumping into big gnarly surf entries and not having to worry about my floatline getting tangled in the rocks behind me. I love having my gun always connected to the fish. Whether in the kelp or in the blue, I can shoot my fish and toss my gun not having to worry about my gun getting lost in the kelp or current. It's always connected. I love not having anything in my legs while I'm diving or constantly having to be conscious of anything other than pointing and shooting. Another pro is it's one less thing I have to remember to bring on a trip as it's always on my gun and doesn't take up any more bag space. I love trimming down and not showing up with a ton of gear when diving other people's boats. Reels help me minimalize.

Cons. The only cons I experience is there is a chance of jamming or tangling if you don't play the game right and in certain situations you have a limited line capacity. That's about all I can think of at the moment and the inherent hazards with a reel IMO are far outweighed by the freedom and pros I get by using one.

This is not a thread to convince you to use a reel. This is a thread dedicated to reels and a discussion surrounding them. If you are not comforatable with a reel YOU SHOULD NOT USE ONE. I'll update this as time goes by but for now let start with a story.

Let me tell you a quick fish story about how I became a reel guy. I was in Baja and the yellows were big. 30-35lbs big and the current was SCREAMING. I was using a 62" 4 banded Mori gun and a floatline with a breakaway set up. I shot numerous fish with that gun that day and at one point I blasted a 35lbish yellow and threw the gun on my arm as the floatline broke free of the gun. The fish raced back up on the reef I was drifting over and became straight up and down in only about 20' of water. As the fish was spinning me in circles and I was trying to avoid getting tangled in my floatline (same thing happens with reels but it's probably more dangerous) I noticed my gun was not on my shoulder. I looked down current and there was my gun floating away. I tried to swim down to get it even as the determined yellow was racing upcurrent trying to bury itself in the reef. The boat was nowhere in sight and I almost didn't make it but eventually I regained my gun.

After resting for a bit, I switched to my smaller 55" Mori gun that was outfitted with a reel. And then the fish got bigger. I started shooting yellows over 40 and my biggest were a few 44lbrs that day. What a dream that reel was. I'd dive down, blast the fish and let it take a tearing run out to open water as I drifted up. At that point, I'd toss my gun and fight the fish off the line that was already spooled out between me and the fish. It was wonderful not having to worry about my gun and not have it on my shoulder throughout the battle. If the fish went on another huge run as sometimes they did, they would eat up the reel line in the water and my gun would come right back up to me and I'd use the same technique that day as I do today. I would catch the nose of the gun in my fish (like making an OK sign) and hold tight as more reel line would peel of the reel back behind me. When the fish would back off I'd pull it in and let the line spool up beside me as I slowly swam upcurrent (keeping all the reel line on the surface away from me.) When I finally had my fish in hand and under control, I'd either put it on my stringer and respool or throw it in the boat and respool there which is always preferable.

After shooting numerous yellows over 40 that day on the reel and feeling those burning runs I knew a reel could handle just about any of the normal game fish including big seabass that I normally hunt. That was around 6-7 years ago and from that day on I've been converted.

Here's the reel I was using and still prefer to all others that I've used. I'll go into why I like this reel later and the advantages I see in it.




Here's what the fish box looked like that day as we finally called it quits.
It is spearing forum so pictures of dead fish with your reels will be appreciated

 
Last edited:

DafyddRees

Well-Known Member
Jul 2, 2008
533
264
103
Chester
Unfortunately, there aren't many of us SoCal guys here, so you don't get to hear from people who disagree with me. Here is one who does:
Bill, I always looked out for your stories and was fascinated with the insights you gave into your world both passed and present so please don't stop posting them!
 
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Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
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Jan 27, 2005
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I really shouldn't have cross posted that thing on reels. The argument has raged on for two days with no sign of abatement, and of course I can't very well paste all of the posts in here. Surprisingly its been civil, but then its a pretty small forum in which most of the guys know each other.

But since no one can argue with me, I will mention one thing I said. :)

Many times I've watched my buddy disappear down into a murky kelp bed and after a while thought it must be time for him to come up. I look around and there he is, 10 yards away on the surface and I'm relieved. But what if he hadn't come up? If he was using a reel, I wouldn't even know where to start looking. If he was using a float line, he is probably at the end of it.
 

Danny.c

Active Member
Jan 23, 2015
123
47
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qld
Quoted from Bills mate.
"I love having my gun always connected to the fish. Whether in the kelp or in the blue, I can shoot my fish and toss my gun not having to worry about my gun getting lost in the kelp or current."
This makes no sense to me.I have a float and when I shoot fish,I am always connected to the fish and I can even drop my gun anytime I want.If you are going to drop a reel gun,you will loose it .It is not connected to the diver or a buoy.
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 27, 2005
3,234
992
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San Clemente, CA
Quoted from Bills mate.
"I love having my gun always connected to the fish. Whether in the kelp or in the blue, I can shoot my fish and toss my gun not having to worry about my gun getting lost in the kelp or current."
This makes no sense to me.I have a float and when I shoot fish,I am always connected to the fish and I can even drop my gun anytime I want.If you are going to drop a reel gun,you will loose it .It is not connected to the diver or a buoy.
Most of us who use flat lines in Southern California use breakaway float lines. The shooting line is connected to the float line, and the gun is out of the chain after you pull the trigger. So what to do with the gun is a valid concern. If you just turn loose it will float away. If you have a buddy, you can hand him the gun while you fight the fish. Another option is attaching it to a clip on the rear end of the float line.
carrotyellowtape.jpg
 

Danny.c

Active Member
Jan 23, 2015
123
47
43
41
qld
Yeh I have yet to try a break away.I would try a longer float line before going that way personally.
My biggest and well only problem with a float is that when I want to swim back to shore and I'm a fair way out,its like dragging a rock around once loaded with fish and cray.It makes my heels blister.I have not had too much trouble with king fish and my setup,good enough I think.
Your Idea of attaching gun to float is what I would do.
I actually have a 40cm phematic attached to mine for cray collecting.
 
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