This probably sounds a bit strange but hear us out! Spearfishing requires every single aspect of your equipment to be in top working order – and the flopper on your spear is no exception! Your flopper essentially holds the fish onto your spear once it has been shot and it therefore needs to be working correctly – but how do you know if this tiny piece of steel is doing its job?
Take your spear, hold it horizontal with your flopper facing up, and hit the spear about half way up. This should cause the flopper to lift up from your spear and, if it is working correctly, the flopper should stay up! We tried it on a few shafts in the shop and the Adreno and Rob Allen shafts worked perfectly every time. However, some of the European floppers were very loose and would just fall straight back down. The flopper should stand up like this once the shaft has been hit:
The reason for this is that once the spear goes through the fish you want the flopper to stay open. If the flopper doesn’t stay open then the fish can sometimes go slack, even if stoned, and cartwheel/shiver straight off your spear! So how do you fix this?
The problem has a simple solution. Adreno suggests taking a pair of pliers and gradually tightening the top of the flopper (where it is joined to the shaft). Do it gradually, repeating the hitting process, until the flopper stays up when the shaft is hit. The flopper should lay flat on the shaft and easily open at first, but become stiffer as it is opened further. It is important to note that the flopper will often loosen after a few dives – so be sure to continue checking regularly.
Another tip with floppers is one that Adreno learned off seven time Australian Spearfishing champion, Ian Puckeridge. Ian sharpens the point of his flopper into a sharp point, and kicks it up a little at the end. The idea behind this is that when your shaft penetrates the fish, engaging the flopper, as many fish will cartwheel attempting to escape the sharp point will dig into their flesh, giving a better hold – simple, and yet so ingenious! We did note that this may cause soft fish, which lack large scales, such as wahoo, to rip their flesh – however, Ian hasn’t had those problems and he has shot his fair share of large pelagics! The other benefit of the sharpened flopper is that you can easily dispatch/spike smaller fish with it as opposed to getting your knife out for the job.