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Which Riffe?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Apr 13, 2003
I currently use a 1.2m Omer master Comp for most of my reef spearing in the north west of Australia (shooting Coral Trout, Snapper, Blackspot Tuskies etc) however am now looking at buying a predominantly bluewater gun. I have narrowed it down to a model from Riffe.

The new gun will be used to shoot Mackies, Big Trevs, Wahoo, Job Fish and occassionaly to knock over big Tuskies and Chinamen at long range. (The omer will do this, but at limited range so hence the reason for a more bluewater orientated gun) This will all be in open water except the later two which will be over open broken ground thus rocks arn't a real concern.

I have narrowed it down to the following three guns:

Riffe Baja Plus Standard
Riffe Island Mid Handle
Riffe Blue Water Mid Handle

If the Baja Plus or Island are selected I intend to upgrade them to 5/8 rubbers, 65" x 3/8" Shafts and Ice Pick arrangements with a break-away rig for pelagics and utilse a 72" x 5/16" Hawaiian Shaft for the Tuskies and Chinamen. I would also consider adding a fourth rubber to these when using the 3/8" shaft - Does anybody know whether this is possible with out enlarging the muzzle?

Given the fact that the Riffe Bluewater comes standard with the 3/8" shaft, Ice Pick, Break-away and 5/8 rubbers this starts to look appealing especially since the cost of the above two upgraded set ups are similar to the standard Bluewater.

I am however concerned with the bulk of the blue water when occassionaly targeting the Tuskies etc (most of the time I'll use the Euro gun). This may be unfounded as I have never had the chance to feel the Blue Water, or the other guns for that matter, in real life.

I'm also not sure how effective (Shaft could be too short) a 72" x 5/16" Hawaiian shaft will be for the reef species given the fact that the Blue water comes with a 72" threaded shaft plus Ice Pick arrangement. Obviously I wont use all four bands with the 5/16" shaft, so I am more concerned with the lack of overhang.

My gut feel is to go with the Baja Plus, but this is mainly due to the fact I am more familiar with the rear handle guns than the Mid Handle series.

I understand length for length (Baja Plus is pretty much the same stock length of the Bluewater but shoots a 7inch shorter shaft) the mid handles are supposed to be more manouverable, but by how much? Also which is easier to aim the Baja or the Bluewater?

Any suggestions or comments (other than a Euro gun or buying all three) would be appreciated to help me make my decision.



The #Baja and #4 Baja Plus can take 4 x 5/8 bands no modification required. I have a #Baja with the pizza stabilizer wing and 3/8 shaft and 4 x 5/8 bands.

Go for the Riffe Island, mid-handle can make a great positive difference especially at 140cm and longer guns. U can use 4 x 5/8 bands on the Island. Order the gun with 3/8" shaft, it is a good choice, make a fine ballistic quality for guns capable of taking many bands. Forget 5/16" shaft for any shaft longer than 55" and above. Also 3/8" shaft does not worry about long overhang, it is stiff.

As long as you can get close enough to your fish, say 7 meters for Riffe Island, most species should be penetrated with ease with 3/8" shaft and 4 x 5/8 bands. Order a gun direct with all the goodies u want, that save you money because u are swapping parts not buying extra.

Uncle Sven should come in soon to let you know his Riffe Island performance. He got 2 of them..:p

If u are used to a 1.2m Euro, any teak guns 155cm or longer is a BIG gun compared to your Euro, just a matter of getting used to the size.

Have Fun,


First off, welcome and props for the name. So you want a canon huh? One of the first things you will notice is that it is definitely a canon. Compared to a euro set up, the wood stocks are just plain huge. Be prepared. Secondly, watch the recoil on these things. I Shoot a 66 inch enclosed track custom gun similar in design to a Wong Ono pick. I shoot a 65 inch 5/16 shaft with an Alexander slip tip, powered by five 5/8 bands. I have no problem with shaft whip, or lack of penetration :D , but occasionally have my stabilizing hand hit me in the mouth when firing. Yes it kicks like a mule but the recoil is coming straight back into your arm and not pulling the muzzle up causing the shaft to drop. How tall are you and do you have long arms? The reason I ask is that Riffe mid handles tend to have a really long butt. My friend has an Islander and I am afriad to shoot it because the end of the butt is so close to my face. He also uses a 5/16 shaft (I think 72"), four 5/8 bands and an Alexader slip tip. He has no problem with shaft whip or penetration as long as the fish is within range. The fifth band does give it a bit more range but may overpower the Riffe. Adding a pizza stabilizer is a good idea as is wing kit. Be carefull about using a too big of a muzzle stabilizer. My friend has these huge stabilizers on and it feels like a freaking canoe paddle in the water. Side to side tracking is okay but forget about up and down stuff. He also says that he has trouble holding the gun level underwater becuase these paddles aren't balasted. Interestingly, a very well known diver designed and installed these. In any case, welcome and enjoy your new toy.

Brad :martial
just a personal opinion...Iya get ready for this one:D ...I am over the 5/8 bands and 3/8 shafts. I am now shooting a 65 inch 5/16 shaft with aimrite slip tip powered by 4 9/16 bands. Still have great power and range and accuracy is improved greatly. Go figure.:duh
if youve never seen the riffe bluewater, you can begin to understand its massiveness - unless you are hunting SERIOUSLY large fish i wouldnt even consider this, its like taking a log underwater, esp with the wing kit (which is pretty much neccessary by the way)...the price tag will also kick you in the pants....

metal tech 4 or 5 with muzzle kit + wing kit and 5 or 6 bands will have you sly on anything youre going to find and shoot, and less money too - if you dont want metal, get the island...just my 2 cents
My two cents...

I agree that the bluewater gun is massive. It will be overkill most of the time and expensive and I opted not to buy one for those reasons.

I own three Riffe guns, a metal tech #3 and #5 a 55 inch mid-handled No Ka Oi. The #5 has the enclosed track and shoots 5/16 shaft. (enclosed track cannot acept 3/8 shaft) I use 4 5/8 bands with the standard muzzle and yes you can squeeze them in if you try really hard. It is extremely accurate and has more range than I intend to use. Did I mention it is the quietest gun I ever heard shot? I had a buddy next to me when I shot a kahala (amberjack) for target practice and he didn't hear me fire he just saw it dead on the shaft. The new generation metal techs are more quiet than earlier versions and are more quiet than the wooden mid-handle line. I also own 55 inch Wong carbon fiber hybrid and custom hybrid with Riffe parts and thery are not near as silent as the my new #5. Anyway, back to answering your question...

I think the #5 or Islander would be a good choice because it has excellent range and less bulk than the bluewater. The #5 will be a lot cheaper than the Islander and Bluewater and you can use the enclosed trackon it! Also metal techs handles are not as far forward as the mid-handled series which I prefer. I prefer not to have the butt of a cannon so close to my face.

As for the the Baja plus I can't really comment because I haven't shot or handled one. Since you are used to using rear handle style euroguns you may find this gun easier to shoot right of the rack. Again wood guns are more expensive.

What ever you decide, just practice! As long as the gun funtions properly it is always up to the trigger man!!!

Hope this helps.
Did you used 9/32 shaft and 2 5/8 bands on you no ka oi?
Can you make comparision between 55 inch carbon hybrid and No Ka Oi? Are their tracking differs REALLY much?
Your needs have Riffe Island written all over them. Pick it up with a 3/8 shaft and 5/8" bands if you want to go hurtin' from the start, but those fish you're talking about will end up skewered a lot easier on you with 4- 9/16 bands and a 5/16 shaft and a slip tip like an Ice Pick. Get some time missing and reloading, moving the gun around and getting it's chi and then you can go from that point.

While it's all nice and bitchin' to be able to have 4- 5/8 bands and all the fixin's, it's a bear to start out with and you'll end up hating life and the gun. That happens, call me. ($$)

My Islands have the stablizers up front to help with the recoil from those looong WSB shots in the kelp forests, cable and breakaways. I use 9/16, 5/8 and 3/4 bands depending on what I'm doing and they will accomodate 4 of the 9/16 and 5/8 bands no sweat. I don't even wanna thinkl about 4 3/4 bands... They also have a whole lotta tweakin for fun on them and they are just plain great to use, but I've had them, well one of them forever. And it'll last that long if you go slow and learn the tool. But there are worse things to do, right?


The No Ka Oi was the first speargun I have purchased. It came with 3 9/16 bands stock and 9/32 shaft. I use different bands for according to the type of diving I going to do. For reef I will usually use two 9/16 bands and a 9/32 shaft with the hawaiian barb for most days it is enough even for large Ulua if you are close. (I dive with this set up 95% of the time to work on stalking and drawing fish.) If I know I will be hunting larger reef game or wary fish sometimes I will use 3 9/16 bands and a 9/32 shaft or sometimes a 5/16 shaft. Before I bought a Metal Tech #5 I used a No Ka Oi and the 55 inch Wong carbon fiber hybrid for bluewater with 3 5/8 bands and 5/16 shaft because those were the biggest guns I had. I found that the 9/32 was a little to whippy for my taste with 3 5/8 bands. Later I switched to 3 9/16 mean green bands with worked well. With 5/16 shaft I use the Kitto slip tip. (With 55 inch guns I've taken 6 Ono's with the largest being 48 lbs. and a 55 lbs. Ahi swimming out from shore.)

As for a comparison between the No Ka Oi and the the Hybrid there are a few differences. It a matter of personal preference really. The main difference aside from the barrel material is the trigger, a Riffe vs. an Aimrite. The carbonfiber barrel does track better though. Tracking is not usually an issue for me because I try to shots a very close range and try avoid chasing as much as possible. I try to gett he fish to swim in front of the gun and try not to over track and spook the fish because If you have track fast, it is likely the fish is already spooked and then you are taking a desperation shot. I never really have had the need to swing around a gun fast where I thought would I need to get a gun based soley on that characteristic. Where I do notice a difference is in the type of hunting are doing, in shallow surgy water I think the barrel type will be more of a factor as opposed to open water. As for another difference is that the Wong mid handle is 2 inches further to the rear of the gun. The butt of the Riffe is closer your face. I think 2 5/8 bands and 9/32 is a good all around set up for the reef. Hope this answers your questions...sorry if the reply was long winded.

On another note I just ordered a pair of the #3 Waterway blades. Does anyone have a pair of #3's to give me an idea of what to expect?

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If the price difference between the metal tech #5 and the island is not taken into account... can you see any reason you would want the island over the metal tech? (other then looks)
I think it is more about personal preference. Metal tech's handle is about 4 inch more to the rear than the wood mid-handle. Meaning that the butt of the isn't as close to your face but may not track as well. MT's have an enclosed track kit, but the enclosed track will not fit a 3/8 shaft. Wood is more buoyant than the MT. The MT is substantially more silent than the wood versions in my oppinion. The wood guns need more maintainance i.e. rubbung with teak oil. Those are some differences off the top my my head.

What characteristics are most important to you? Point is that nothing is free, what may be gained one area can be lost in another. Bottom line, both guns will do the job but practice will overcome most short comings.

Thank you for your reply. What about their accuracy with 2 5/8 bands and 9/32 shaft?So both are good for reef fishes.

"Tracking is not usally issue for me" Why......????

May be your preys are too lazy to swim but you have to see those med. sea freaks
:D :D :D rofl rofl

Sorry for the delay, but haven't had time for the forums lately.

I have had no problems with accuracy 5/8 bands and 9/32 shaft and would not forsee any; unless you may have a very long shaft overhang.
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