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    How to choose the right spear shaft for your speargun

    November 02, 2022 11 min read

    How to choose the right spear shaft for your speargun

    The Spear Shaft is arguably one of the most critical parts of your Speargun - how else are you going to land a fish?

    Did you know that the right Spear Shaft can also impact:

    • Shot Accuracy
    • Shot Speed
    • The type of species you can hunt
    • The ability to hold a fish
    • And overall gear durability!

    Luckily we've got Taylor here, to give you the complete guide on selecting the correct spear shaft for your rig.

    Here’s a quick summary of things to remember when you’re replacing your spear: 

    • Style of mechanism your gun has - is it a square or you're own notch mechanism. 
    • Spear thickness - keep in mind the species you want to chase - for a larger species you’re going to want a 7.5mm+
    • Spear Material - definitely consider how often you’re going to use it a carbon spear is going to be better if you’re an avid spearo and out there every day. 
    • Loading styles - mini fin, or a double notch
      • Remember if you have a closed muzzle, you can only use your double notch spears.
    • Point style - tri cut or bullet point
      • Which will determine if you want a flopper, double or flip tip. 

    Whether you’re upgrading or replacing your spear, there are a few basic things you need to consider. These are:

    • Whether you have a euro or square notch mechanism speargun. 
    • The fin or notch style of the loading tab and the shaft.
    • The materials used to create the shaft
    • And last but not least, the floppers or point types of your spear shaft.

    Speargun Gun Mechanisms - Choosing a shaft to suit your style of speargun

    The easiest way for you to determine what style of mechanism your gun has is to look at your current spear or old spear and look closely at the shape on the rear of the spear. 

    If it has a rectangular or square notch cut into the spear, that is your American-style mechanism.

    Typically this will be your hatch guns, your JBL spearguns, or your Riffes. 

    Otherwise, if it has a half-crescent shape, that is going to be a euro-style speargun. 

    This style is going to cover brands like Beuchat, Riffe Euros, Rob Allens, Pathos, and most brands imported into Australia. 

    If you can't work out what type of mechanism you require, potentially you’ve lost year spear, we recommend touching base with your local Adreno store or giving us a call and we can help you other from there.


    Spear Overhang - What is it and how does it impact your shot accuracy?

    Next, we’re going to have a look at what length spear you need for your gun. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole on this, but typically it’s best to look at how much overhang you need to have on your speargun. Typically, most of your manufacturers, come with a 400mm overhang from your roller guns. They may only have 100mm to 200mmoverhang, so much shorter and much more compact. Some guns will actually come with 500mm overhang. 

    There are a few different reasons why we have a look at our overhang, but it’s really going to determine the sight picture that you're seeing when you’re lining up on a fish, which ultimately does determine what length you want to have in your guns.

    Once you’ve worked this out, you want to make sure that every single one of your guns has a consistent overhang - this makes the sight picture exactly the same every time, helping to increase your shot accuracy and consistency as much as possible. So most manufacturers will come with anywhere between 200mm to 500mm overhang.

    Overhang actually refers to the distance that the spear protrudes past the muzzle. Some brands, particularly brands with roller guns like to keep the overhang nice and compact, which makes it much easier for you to travel with. If you find that you’re really accurate with a short overhang, make sure you stick with that and keep it across all of your guns no matter what the length is. Otherwise, if you find yourself shooting high quite a lot or you're losing your fish to a high shot, we recommend increasing your overhang by about 10cm or 100mm.

    By increasing that length, it's actually going to force you to tip the gun down a little bit further and bring it into line with your original sight picture that you're used to without having to change your technique so much. This adjustment will positively change your accuracy on your spear.

    How do you actually measure spear length?

    A lot of people talk about measuring your barrel length, but we believe this isn’t the most accurate way to measure due to so many guns using reverse mechanisms. If anything, a gun that has a reverse mechanism should actually increase the length of your speargun by at least 100mm.

    Rob Allens and a lot of South African guns have a standard 400mm overhang, where as Riffes Euros have roughly a 500mm overhang and Pathos comes off the shelf with a 300mm overhang. However, all these overhangs can be adjusted to suit your shooting style. 

    For example, comparing two different 120cm spearguns below:

    Pathos & Rob Allen Speargun

    A Pathos speargun engages the spear behind the trigger, so it brings your loading notches back even further. 

    Whereas a Rob Allen speargun, typically engages the spear on top of the trigger. 

    With the Pathos-style gun, this is going to shorten your overhang and that again changes your site picture.

    So if we compare the two guns side by side, both being 120cm spearguns, the Rob Allen would have a 160cm or 1600mm spear in it whereas the Pathos spear has a 170cm or 1700mm spear purely because of that reverse mechanism is bringing that shaft further back on the gun.

    When you're looking at the length of your shaft, what you want to do is you want to put the spear inside the gun and you want to measure the overhang past. So if you pick up a gun and it's not shooting as accurately as you think it could be because of the technique, all you have to do is adjust the spear and overhang length. 

    Spear Overhang and Slip Tips

    Another thing to consider when talking about spear overhang and overall length, is whether you are using a pranger on your threaded spear or whether you're using a slip tip. So if I'm using a slip tip on top of this, the entire length of the spear is what I am looking to measure and we want to make sure that stays within your 400mm or 500mm overhang or whatever you have predetermined you want your overhang to be. 

    So in summary, you may install a threaded spear on your gun, but you need to make sure when you're measuring that overhang past the muzzle, you are ensuring that the overall overhang includes the prang or the slip tip.

    So that means that the spear itself may be a little bit shorter and only 200mm overhanging the spear. But you know that as soon as you install that slip tip, you're going to get that 400mm or 500mm overhang. 

    Spear Materials - Carbon or Stainless Steel

    So now we've spoken about how to choose the length of your spear, we can look at the spears themselves. 

    Not all spears are made equal. There are quite a few different materials used and quite a few different heat treatments used as well. The two typical styles of spears, you have are hot and/or heat-treated stainless steel or an oil-quenched high carbon stainless spring steel.

    Now there are two different benefits to these guys. These high-carbon spears are generally more affordable and quite durable. They are also quite flexible so they can deal with lots of loads, from your standard reef fish to wahoo, mackerel, and bigger species like that. They also have the ability to spring back and hold this their original shape compared to a stainless spear that is a bit stiffer.

    Once you've bent a stainless spear, it will always have that memory within itself. You can actually straighten these, but it will never be as straight as what it was off the shelf. And once you have bent a spring steel or a carbon spring steel spear, it's pretty much dead to you. There's not much you can do with it except replace it on the spot. 

    With high carbon steel spears, being oil quenched means they’ve effectively had their finishing treatment. However over time in the water, in the back of your ute, etc - you’re going to wear that coating off which is when you’ll typically see some corrosion, or a little bit of rust. Typically that doesn't really matter, as you’re still going to have a really nice usable spear that's straight, durable, and accurate.  The biggest benefit of high-carbon spring steel spears is that they are quite flexible. They will be able to take a range of loads from different species, whether it be your spanish mackerel wahoo all the way down to your smaller snapper.

    Hardened stainless steel spears are typically more accurate because they are stiffer. They're going to have less shaft wobble throughout the shot. One of the biggest benefits for those who don't get out as quite as often as they like, these spears will not corrode and thanks to the heat treatment, they are unlikely to rust. So every time you pick up that speargun, it’s ready to go and get you some fish. Whereas these high carbon spears can corrode, and get a little bit of rust on them, as long as it doesn't affect the flopper and the freedom of that flopper movement, it will not affect your spear or your shot whatsoever. 

    Spear Thickness

    The next thing we're going to talk about here is the thickness of the spear that you want to use. When I'm thinking about replacing my spear, I'm also thinking about the species that I'm going to be chasing. So whether I'm increasing or decreasing, there are going to be a few things we need to keep an eye on, like power bands, which we can talk about another time, but effectively you have spears that come in 6mm, 7mm, 7.5mm, 8mm - you name it.                                                         

    Effectively, what you need to understand is that if you increase the thickness of your spear, it is going to be a heavier spear. So you need a bit more power if you're going down in thickness to a thinner spear, as it's going to be lighter and quicker. So with that, you want to make sure you're not overpowering that spear.

    There are a few things to keep in mind with your new spear for your gun. If it’s inaccurate it could have something to do with the power you're putting into that spear, so you may need to lengthen the rubbers. It could also be the material or your overhang. Typically, most of your spears that are under 7mm are designed more so for your reef species as they’re lighter, faster and have a nice shot point. In my opinion, they are going to be your better spears. 

    Once you’re looking at a 7mm+, you're starting to look at bigger fish, bigger species, bigger backbones, and bigger scales. And with that, we're looking for penetration. So the biggest differences in thicknesses are going to be white versus spade first penetration.

    However the heavier the spear, the slower it’s going to be but the better your spear penetration on bigger species.


    Loading Mechanism

    The next thing we're going to talk about is the loading style on your spear. We need to determine if you have a closed muzzle gun or an open muzzle gun. If you have an open muzzle gun, you're in luck as you can use any spear on the market.

    If you are using a closed muzzle gun like the Rob Allen Nomad, you're pretty much cornered into only using double-notch spears. Now, when we're talking about double-notched spears or notched spears, because they do come with three and four notches in them, we're talking about slits that are cut straight into the material.

    These are quite compact and quite low profile, so they can be a little bit hard to get in there, especially if it's an older spear. So typically the notch spears are going to be used on closed muzzle guns, but people can use them in open muzzles as well.                                                                    

    If you’re using loading notches, you want to make sure that your gun does not have a closed muzzle on it, as what you'll find throughout the shot on a closed muzzle gun is that your spear will wobble and sometimes hit your closed muzzle, snapping the muzzle off. 

    We also need to look at the size of the entry into your mechanism. On some spears, we're talking about the thickness of the spear itself and the entry on the tank between the two different styles, notch, and mini fin. My preference is the mini fin just because of how easy it is to load and because of how much larger that surface area is. Whereas a double-notched spear effectively won't take anything thicker than 1 mil dynameter, to me is a weak point. I have seen them snap there. It's not common, but it can happen. And you don't want that happening on the fish of a lifetime. 

    The size of your entry mechanism is also going to dictate whether you can rig your shooting line to the rear of the spear or to a hole further up the spear. If you have a narrow entry to your mechanism, like a RIFFE, you will not be able to put the spear as well as mono or shooting line into the mechanism. A RIFFE euro or a mechanism is an example of a narrow entry mechanism, and typically comes with spears made for this gun. You’ll see at the tie at the end of these spears has just been ground in for you. And it will allow for you to have a couple of mms, whether it's mono or dyneema. This allows you to rig to the rear of the spear, but also actually let it engage properly. 

    If you're finding when you're putting your spear into your gun and it's quite hard or stiff, or you're finding it’s misfiring, it may be because you have too much thickness at the end of the spear and not allowing it to actually enter the mechanism freely. I would cut the mono off and chuck it back in your spear gun - if it engages, that's your problem. 

    So what you can do with a spear like this is either grind it in or go out and get yourself a spear that has that done for you. 

    Spear Tips Styles plus Floppers, Threaded Tips, Slip Tips and Drop Barbs.

    Now we’re going to move on to the business end of your spear. We're going to talk about a few different points and a few different flopper styles that you'll typically see on your spears.

    The most universal spear in Australia is a standard single flopper, a spear typically with a tri-cut point.

    You can also find a double-flopper spear. I really like these guys and it puts a little more drag on your shot while having an extra flopper or weight at the tip of your spear. I know if I get two floppers through the fish, it’s going to hold no matter what. 

    We’ll move on to the threaded tips. These two styles are opposite ends of the species lists. If you're going for a heavy spear with a threaded tip, you're typically putting a slip tip on it, and you're going to be chasing yellowfin tuna, southern bluefin marlin, wahoo, and fish of those species. 

    If you're using a 6-7mmmil spear, you're going to have a prang on which will make chasing species like flathead and whiting a lot more efficient and easier.

    A Drop Barb Spears is effectively a one-piece integrated drop barb that replaces a slip tip or threaded style of spear. These are typically used for larger pelagic species like kingfish, southern bluefin, wahoo, and fish of those types.

    Spear Tips - Tri-Cut vs Bullet Tips

    The biggest difference we have here is a tri-cut tip versus a bullet point tip. Now when we're talking about the tri cut itself, you will see that tip itself is shaped like a pyramid. These guys are the most durable and have the best penetration, especially through the backbones of fish.

    Whereas your bullet point style is going to be much easier to bend the tip itself and it can cause your spear to be less accurate.