Home Tournaments Calendar Weather Merchandise Sponsors

Go Back   Spearboard.com - The World's Largest Spearfishing Diving Boating Social Media Forum > Spearfishing Gear > All About Pole Spears & Slings

All About Pole Spears & Slings What is it about that traditional method of the early hunter/gatherers under the water? These devices are indeed interesting and effective.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 20 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
Old 02-28-2013, 10:37 PM   #1
Chuuken
Mike Wilborn
 
Chuuken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Southeast, MI
Posts: 465
Homemade Hawaiian Sling

I finally got around to digging up my pictures. Now we'll see if I can get them to upload.

I spent two years in Zambia, in the Peace Corps. I lived in the Copperblet province, near lake Kashiba. Kashiba had a couple neat qualities: It is as clear as freshwater GETS, during the dry season; it is 90m deep, at the side. The middle is rumored to be ~150m deep, (or bottomless, if you like the local rumors); the locals all think it's cursed, so only children dare swim in it; and, (importantly), it is not inhabited by crocs or hippos.

I had some snorkeling stuff sent to me, and a friend sent me the book Bluewater Hunting and Freediving, by Terry Maas. After reading through that and getting all fired up, I made an abortive effort to design and make a speargun using locally available tools and materials. I settled on a simple sling instead.

Here's a picture of my favorite corner of the lake. It had a shelf that held some structure . The bottom of that tree's branches were probably around 15 feet down.

And here's the random gear that kept me in the water.
Chuuken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 10:42 PM   #2
LoGiiCz
Registered User
 
LoGiiCz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,003
Re: Homemade Hawaiian Sling

Post some pics of the sling you made. I'm a bit curious to see what you came up with.
__________________
"Look, PETA! If God hadn't wanted us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them so darn tasty!"
Stephen Colbert
LoGiiCz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 10:52 PM   #3
Chuuken
Mike Wilborn
 
Chuuken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Southeast, MI
Posts: 465
Re: Homemade Hawaiian Sling

So, in a nutshell, the sling was a captured shaft passed through the axis of a handle, with a piece of metal wired to the handle to act as a sear to retain the spear in a cocked position. Unfortunately, I don't have any good, close-up pictures of the handle, but I'll try to explain what I do have.



At the right, you can see the bicycle part I used as a sear. it fits into a notch on the shaft to hold it "cocked".
The shaft is just a 2m rod I found in a market outside of Kitwe or Luanshya or somewhere. One end is twisted into a loop, and the propulsion bands are hooked through that loop.

The bands are strips of rubber cut from the tires of mining trucks. I'm not sure where the red tires come from, but the red rubbers are remarkably more elastic and snappy than the black ones. The rubbers are held to the handle with wraps of plastic twine. In my crappy picture above, you can see the dark wire used to hold on the sear peeking out from the white twine wrapping the handle.

The handle is just a piece of hoe handle, cut to a handy(ho ho!) size. I put the end of the shaft in my brazier and heated it up until it was glowing, then fire drilled it through the center of the handle. heat it up, push it through a bit, reheat, push some more, etc...

Here's the final result, in perfect fish killin' form.
Chuuken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 11:15 PM   #4
Chuuken
Mike Wilborn
 
Chuuken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Southeast, MI
Posts: 465
Re: Homemade Hawaiian Sling - Part 3: Tips

I went through a couple different stages when trying to make a decent spear tip. This may surprise nobody here, but bamboo sucks ASS as a speartip. Thanks for that one hollywood. Here's the big ugly slip on tip I first tried.



This tip literally shattered on impact with a fish. It was the first fish I was able to get close enough to spear, and I will never forget the regret and disappointment that I felt as I watched that fish limp off through a puff of scales and blood.
So back to problem solving.


The knife never saw the water because the cord I was using got loose when wet. And I needed the knife for other things. I did, however, use the spike for a while, to decent effect!
Chuuken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 11:29 PM   #5
Chuuken
Mike Wilborn
 
Chuuken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Southeast, MI
Posts: 465
Re: Homemade Hawaiian Sling

After the catfish in that picture, I realized that the idea of a bamboo slip-on tip was kinda stupid for a metal shaft. I filed a triangular tip onto the shaft and tied some wire barbs onto it with thread.


This brought it to the final product. I loved that sling. It brought home dinner on many occasions! It was a pole spear I didn't have to spend any effort holding back. When triggered, (I pushed the hinge point where the sear was wired to the handle), it would jump forward about 6 ft, with some authority! Before I got the sear and the notch filed quite right, I had some unexpected discharges. It had enough kick, first backwards, then forwards when the end of the shaft hit the handle, that it was always a startle. After the mating of the sear and the notch, it was pretty reliable.






(Catfish Stew. With butter. Lots and lots of butter.)

If you ever get the chance to tool around the bush in Zambia, you could do worse than a day at Kashiba!

Chuuken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2013, 12:52 AM   #6
SpearMax
Forum Administrator
 
SpearMax's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 16,441
Cool Re: Homemade Hawaiian Sling

Hi Chuuken, I visited Zambia once while on a Cape to Cairo Trek I did years ago. I passed through the country on my way between Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika. That part of the world is quite fascinating. Thanks for sharing stories of your times there. Tony


.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuuken View Post
If you ever get the chance to tool around the bush in Zambia, you could do worse than a day at Kashiba!

SpearMax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2013, 07:29 AM   #7
Chuuken
Mike Wilborn
 
Chuuken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Southeast, MI
Posts: 465
Re: Homemade Hawaiian Sling

It's my pleasure, Tony!

Being in Zambia was an interesting experience over all. They really are super laid-back and friendly there. It's funny to be in a car with someone from the south (a Tonga tribesman, Cattle people), and someone from the north, (Bemba, farmers), and listen to them argue about which group is lazier. They usually settle on agreeing that a third group, like the Kaonde, (hunters, there's another story*), in the Northwest, are the laziest. They really are a friendly culture.

That's even more impressive given how many of the bordering countries are either actively fighting, coming out of civil wars, or (Zimbabwe) are being destroyed by dictators. I hope Zambia can succeed.

* So, the Kaonde. Also a wonderful group of people, but they tended to be the poor relative in any "my tribe is better" conversation. (Zambians love those conversations. There are 73 tribes in Zambia, so the topic comes up alot). They are proud of being hunters, but they don't have the best equipment. Here's a picture to conjure up in your mind. Imagine a guy in flip flops, beat up kakhis and a half tucked in plaid button up shirt. He is using an old muzzle loader almost like a cane as he meanders around the margins of a roadway. Every now and again, he bends down and picks up a small stone. He eyes it thoughtfully, then puts it to the opening of the rifle. Nope, too big. He shakes his head and tosses it aside, continuing his search for a suitable projectile.
If you haven't already recoiled in terror at the thought of shooting stones out of a rifle, you'll be interested to know these guys routinely hit and kill antelope with those crude bullets. Crazy.

** Sorry, another Kaonde story. There's a tribe that controls the Western Province called the Lozi. The Lozi are alot more serious than the rest of Zambia. Everyone else is happy go lucky. The Lozi are more likely to start fights. In the past, the Lozi came a-warrin' to the Kaonde territory. One of those scraps led to a stand off on a sizable hill. Depending on who you hear it from, this story has two versions that make up the whole scenario.
A Kaonde will tell you; We held off the Lozi from our hill. Every time they tried to attack, we would throw rocks down on them and drive them off! They were unable to defeat our clever tribesmen!
A Lozi will tell you; We chased their fighters up a hill, but then they threw a bunch of rocks down at us, so we couldn't pursue them. Our tribesmen made several attempts to get after them, but they were pretty well defended, so we said to hell with it and took their women and livestock and left.

Both sides tell this story with a straight face and declare victory. I love Zambia.
Chuuken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2013, 07:33 PM   #8
CanDo
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 62
Re: Homemade Hawaiian Sling

Great stories, thanks for posting!
CanDo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2013, 06:09 AM   #9
lordyaussie
Sam G
 
lordyaussie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 151
Re: Homemade Hawaiian Sling

I love it, this is what life is about.
Thankyou for sharing and happy travelling.
lordyaussie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2013, 08:00 AM   #10
florfreediver
Registered User
 
florfreediver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Palm Beach Florida USA
Posts: 1,662
Re: Homemade Hawaiian Sling

Chuuken,
Its nice to read your stories.
Sort of makes me long for Africa again.

I had a stretch in Malawi, which (for others knowledge) is too the north of Zambia. I worked in a sugar mil there.
Did a lot of diving in Lake Malawi. In places the viz was incredible.
So long as you kept away from the river delta's in the lake, crocs were not a problem. Had more of a problem with Fish Eagles and Otters trying to take the fish off my float.

Those bream you caught look very much like the so called "Chambo" of Malawi. Very good eating and easy to shoot. However I used a RA so it is easy for me to speak. More challenging on the Hawaiian Sling you made! Congratulations.

The eel-tail barbel you caught. Not the best food.
Did you ever see the fish-tailed barbel which are similar to the American Cat-fish.
Lighter in color. I cannot remember the Malawi name, but they were also reasonable to good eating.
There is also a bass type predator which was a challenge to stalk and shoot but, great eating.

Thanks for the story.
Mike.
__________________
Florida Freedivers.
https://www.flfreedivers.com/

Last edited by florfreediver; 03-17-2013 at 08:10 AM.
florfreediver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2013, 10:32 PM   #11
Chuuken
Mike Wilborn
 
Chuuken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Southeast, MI
Posts: 465
Re: Homemade Hawaiian Sling

Thanks guys!

Mike, I didn't know the proper name for the barbel. The locals have names for the fish, but they don't really differentiate as far as taste goes. (At least, I never had someone turn their nose up if I offered them an extra fish).
I'd say there were two local prep methods: Fresh or dried (gutted and tossed on a tin roof until dried). I admit I didn't see alot of barbel in local cooking, but when I did see it, it was in the form of young fish, maybe 2 inches on average, dried for storage and fried up in tomato and onion when cooked. They looked like giant tadpoles. I cooked that one up using a catfish stew recipe. It wasn't the best fish I've ever had, but it beat the hell out of my normal rice and beans or soya pieces.

That was the only Barbel I speared. I saw others, but they tended to swim a bit deeper than the bream, unless the water was murky from rainy season runoff. I ran into one once; vis was arms length and the water was emerald green. I dove away from the shore a bit to see what it'd be like to not see any reference points. As I was rolling over to look for the surface, I saw a big ol' ugly barbel mug come out of the murk straight at my face. I think we both flipped out and went the way we came at speed.

The bream seemed to be either the same species or similar enough for me not to notice. The lake doesn't have any feeder streams, but it does get alot of runoff in the rainy season. I think the influx of new fish is pretty low.

I don't think I ran across any other species in that lake, both in the water and hook and line fishing. I would like to have seen the bass-type fish you mentioned. (and chased it around for an afternoon).

Mike
Chuuken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2018, 03:14 AM   #12
Diving Gecko
Shooter & Shooter
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 790
Re: Homemade Hawaiian Sling

Hi Chuuken,
Sorry for digging up this old thread - I was researching slings for a friend.

Just wanted to say thanks so much for a cool read! I love when it's not only about killing fish! I am documentary photographer and naturally curious so though I don't really share that part of my travels here, I often find that the time spent with local people just learning about their lives is as rewarding as time spent in their oceans.
Thanks again
Diving Gecko is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2018, 07:40 PM   #13
dreamer
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Crystal river
Posts: 21
Re: Homemade Hawaiian Sling

slight resemblance to bass
dreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:38 AM.


The World's Largest Spearfishing Diving Social Media Forum Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2002 - 2014 Spearboard.com