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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.

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Old 08-06-2007, 08:20 PM   #1
Chad Carney
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Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

Happy B-day Stephen!

Your enthusiasm for pole spears is obviously infectious. This whole section is all about polespears.

I have used quite a few over the years and own 2 but I far prefer a sling in clear water.

I'm jones'n to get back to the Bahamas and do some slinging again soon. Last time I was there I only shot video and photos of the other slingers... of course it was an opportunity I could not pass up, since the others included Art Pinder and Sheri Daye!

It's the freeshaft aspect of slinging that I like. I find I have increased range and accuracy.

I've been working out a lot and plan on trying one of Art's famous double banded slings pretty soon.

Chad
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:42 PM   #2
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

Hey Chad, first off I stopped by your shop awhile back and it was nice. I am interested in getting a sling and trying it out. Any suggestions on what to look for? Do you think I could make one myself easily?
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:31 AM   #3
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

Chad:

Thanks for the kind thoughts. Had a great birthday. Since it was the opening day of lobster season it was a "no brainer" what to do. A couple of 20 lb. gags came home with me, but the lobster were few and far between out of Sebastian.

Sounds like you are infected with slingitius. Very hard to cure once you are diagnosed.

There is no question you have more range with a sling than a pole spear, expecially if you use a double band. What diameter rubber will you use?

This may sound crazy, but I wonder if there would be a way to make a compound shooter for a sling instead of using two rubbers?

I have to admit that I never really learned how to use a sling. I have always used a pole.

We can both agree that the Bahamas is the place to be be. I can't wait to get back down there in November.
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Old 08-07-2007, 08:18 AM   #4
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

T2K, you can easily make a sling. (But I'm not that Chad.)

After diving with Art and some of his buddies I found out that the old style wood slings had many advantages over the "new improved" models. Most of the new ones were made to sell by companies... not by experienced slingers.

I video taped Art teaching Sheri how to use a sling, which included tearing one down and rewrapping it to match her reach. I showed that video in my booth at the Blue Wild Expo and found that many people were interested in slings. I'm thinking about polishing up that video and making it available.

The spears are as important as the sling itself. You need the right diameter and length for your arm strength. They are available in 1/4", 9/32" & 5/16" and from 48" to 72" long. 9/32" x 60" is a pretty good average.

Stephen, I'll have to research the rubber diameter, but I know all of my slings had the heaviest rubber I've seen available for any sling or pole. You probably know the size off the top of your head. If I can't handle double bands I'll just have to keep working out until I can.

Look at the difference in Art's sling on the left, and his cousin Charlie's on the right. This photo was of the Florida team in the 1953 CA Nationals, where Art won the AAU Helms Athlete of the Year Award.

Chad
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Last edited by Chad Carney; 08-07-2007 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 08-07-2007, 01:31 PM   #5
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

Chad:

The Bahamians I dive with each winter also use different lengths of shafts as well as different diameter shafts, depending on what they are hunting. I would love to know where the people in the Bahamas get their shafts and what the metal is that they are using. Every person I know who spends time in the Bahamas swears that the shafts they buy there hold up much better then the ones they get in the states.

You might not agree with this, but I still think a shaft with a double flopper would be better than one witn only one flopper.

It looks like Charlie has opted for the larger diameter and longer sling as opposed to Art's smaller diameter, 2 bands, and a shorter pull.

Don't think in terms of the rubber that is available for slings and poles. Usually this rubber has relatively thin walls and a large hole in the center as compared to the rubber used for spear guns. I have changed over and am using the 1/2" rubber that would normally be put on a speargun. It has much thicker walls and only a pinhole in the center. This really increases your power. If you are already using this type of rubber, then I would think you are going to have to go down in diameter if you want to use two of these "speargun rubbers".
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Old 08-07-2007, 01:59 PM   #6
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

The shafts that my Uncle gets over here are just spring stainless steel in 5/16 or 9/32 diameter. I think he just gets them from a local hardware store. They hold up pretty well and I haven't really had one bend on me until this past weekend. I usually prefer the 72'' 5/16 shaft unless I'm shooting under ledges or in a confined space that would require a shorter shaft. As far as the double flopper, I don't think it is necessary as I rarely lose a fish due to it coming off the tip of the spear with a properly tuned flopper. The only real issues I have seen are the fish managing to come off the back end or if the spear doesn't penetrate fully. I think a double flopper might affect your penetrating power too much for it to be worth it, especially on the longer range shots. I also use the 1/2" rubber on my sling but with not quite as small of an ID as speargun rubber. I would be curious to see if using two rubbers with larger IDs would generate more power than one with a smaller ID using the same amount of stretch and load force.

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Old 08-07-2007, 08:06 PM   #7
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

CM:

I agree with you about how interesting it would be to find out how to get the maximum power because it would apply to pole spears also.
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Old 08-08-2007, 10:14 AM   #8
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

Stephen,

I don't know of anybody today using a double band sling. I believe the Pinders had a large internal bore similar to the HD rubber we have today. Small bore speagun band material never seemed to have the stretch, but maybe only because most humans can't pull it with just one arm!

I have to agree with cmfish about preferring single floppers, even on guns, but definitely for slings.

I guess I'll just have to experiment.

Chad
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Old 08-08-2007, 10:38 AM   #9
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

Here's my .02 years ago i used 5/16" spring steel free shafts in my sling with a single flopper. This was high carbon spring steel and the rust helped keep the fish on. A little work with some emery cloth and wd-40 keeps the rust in check. Still have some of these shafts form the 60's they are in fine shape. High carbon spring steel used to be cheep; havent priced it recently.
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Old 08-08-2007, 10:08 PM   #10
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

dr. ed,

I remember the rusted tines of old paralyzer heads on pole spears helping to keep bugs from escaping, in the Bahamas.

But I'll stick to spring stainless for my sling spears... my old cold rolled shafts got too nasty for my liking.

Chad
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Old 08-09-2007, 07:03 AM   #11
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

Chad:

Experimenting is half the fun!

I agree that the speargun rubber does not have enough elasticity to be able to pull it back by hand if you are using a relatively short piece such as you would have on a speargun or even on a shorter pole spear.

My pole spears are 9' to 11' long and I like to make the rubber long so that I get maximum stretch somewhere around 7 feet or more. When using 1/2" dia. rubber, this length allows you to pull it by hand, hold it for the necessary amount of time, and get a lot of power.

Too bad we don't have samples of the rubber that Art and his cousin were using. I keep looking at the picture and I still think his cousin is using longer and a larger diameter rubber. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell what diameter the wall thickness is on that rubber.

I don't think I could hold two of them, though, and would have to really work out the arms before I tried.
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Old 08-09-2007, 07:39 AM   #12
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

OceanEd:Where do you get your 1/2" diameter rubber? I was going to upgrade the rubber on my Gat-ku per your suggestions a month or so ago.

Thanks-
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:41 AM   #13
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

Matt:

I bought it from a local dive store. You could probably order it from Flordia Freedivers. I am sure Mike has it in stock.
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Old 08-09-2007, 06:43 PM   #14
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

The 1/2" OD speargun tubing that "OceanEd" mentioned he uses has an 1/8" ID.
You can get tubing from McMaster Carr that is made by Primeline. Primeline supplies most of the tubing to speargun manufactures.
Tubing comes in all different ID and OD sizes you should be able to find something you like from McMaster Carr. http://tinyurl.com/2ap92m
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Old 08-10-2007, 04:23 PM   #15
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Re: Poles are fine, but I want a sling!

Aaron:

Thanks for the information.
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