Spearfishing equipment 'Speargun, Carbon Fiber Blades, Wetsuit', right? We spend hours thinking about powerband/shaft combinations to optimize our speargun performance but sadly other items which can make a huge difference to your performance or even save your life are left neglected.
Below we've outlined three bits of kit that we think deserve more attention.
1. Dive Knife:
“Ah I’ll just get a cheap one”
This was my motto for a long time. When it comes to a dive knife or a filleting knife, quality should come before price every time. Buy the correct tool for the task and skip my mistakes.
Why do we use dive knives for?
- To cut line when entanglement occurs. This could be your rigline around your ankle in a big fish run or becoming caught in old fishing line or netting.
- To dispatch fish effectively. A spearo’s knife is used to stab the brain or brain stem which preserves the eating quality of the fish, ends the struggle and gives you the ability to remove your spear.
- To gut fish or at least bleed the fish.
- To burley or chum on the surface.
Common Issues with knives
- Corrosion. Salt water kills everything steel. A freshwater wash at the end of every dive day is critical no matter what knife you get your hands on but also buying the right steel will give added life to your blade.
- Size. Don’t go too big for your main knife. Look for a 2-3.5 inch or 5-9 cm blade. If it’s too long it’s awkward to be able to properly dispatch your fish and becomes unwieldy.
- Tip. Blunt tips = bubble blowers. Sharp tip = spearo. The tip often needs to penetrate a small amount of cartilage or bone to turn the lights out when you brain the fish. For this reason don’t get a knife that’s too thick either.
- No back-up. If you get tangled, can you reach your knife? This is a good reason to carry a second knife. A secondary knife could be a little bigger to help with burley and other jobs and you can mount it on your arm or leg.
- Crap holsters. Cheap and nasty plastic clips and covers will last a few months at best after which time your knife will shake loose and head for Davey Jones Locker.
Surface time is relaxation time and the best way to do that is with some nice steady, relaxed breathing. This is hard to achieve if your snorkel bore is too narrow or wind chop keeps filling the top of it. Despite these common problems we often don’t put any thought into choosing one.
Try a few different styles next time you stop in the shop because this can make a huge difference to your dive day. Don’t listen to rubbish about purge valves being no good either. Loudly clearing your snorkel spooks more fish than the small amount of noise the new style purge valves cause. Also, a bulkier snorkel won't make too much difference to your hydrodynamics provided that you have it secured to the side of your head correctly. Spend a bit of time choosing this – huge winner if you get it right.
3. Signal Device
Mirror, float, flag, whistle, blow up fluoro sausage. These are signal devices. We don’t think about these items until its too late. It’s when you are frantically searching for divers that you wish your buddies had this crucial bit of kit. Spend just a little bit of money and time putting a plan into place for dealing with these situations.
Reelguns are great, but the boat needs to know where you are as do other water users. While having a float and flag or even a flasher float and flag is not always possible, you can have some alternative strategies. A blow up safety sausage tucked away somewhere or a mirror or a whistle or even better all three will give you some options if you get separated from the boat. Don’t rely on the boat to always be there keeping other boats at bay. If a diver brings a tangle to the side of the boat, the skipper might not be able to look up for a minute. In a big swell it's so easy to disappear.