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All Other Gear Tanks, BCDs, Regs, Fins, Stringers, and all other gear we use in Spearfishing.

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Old 06-29-2016, 09:59 PM   #1
j_c_w
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How to narrow down starter gear?

Hello ladies and gentlemen:

After 3 years free-diving, I'm finally ready to start out spearfishing in LA/OC. I've also just taken the brand-new FII spearfishing class, which was a big eye opener for me.

Having borrowed my buddies' gear thus far, it's time to buy my very first set of starter gear, so I have some questions that I hope you vets can contribute to. Please feel free to link me to previous postings if any of these questions have been answered earlier.

1. Is a mini speargun (< 50 cm) worth buying, or so under-powered that I should stick with pole spear or Hawaiian Sling instead?

2. Many guns are sold w/o reels. Is there are standard, conventional amount of line mono line they come with? If so, what lengths are typical? I'm trying to find out if I really need to buy a separate reel or not if I'm just starting out.

3. To best preserve your catch, but avoid attracting sharks to your body, is it really enough to simply tie a stringer to any standard float, or keep them inside a long fish bag, maybe atop an inflatable mini-raft like the Beuchat Argo?

4. Any good glove recommendations? I don't have any feel in my 3mm, but nobody sells .5 mm anymore. Maybe Nitrile, Spectra, or Dyneema gloves from Home Depot?

5. Best ways to practice? Underwater fish decoys for target practice? Other ideas?

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Thanks,
Jon
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Old 06-30-2016, 12:49 AM   #2
apexdiver
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

1.No,unless you are hunting exclusively in holes.Stick with a pole spear until you become comfortable stalking fish.Doesn't have to be for long even a few times out with a pole spear will be helpful.

2.Reels will normally have a set line capacity such as 50m,70m,100,etc.Also most of the time speargun reels are spooled with spectra or dyneema and not mono.

3.Stick to bare essentials at first and use a stringer on the belt or on a small float.Adding unnecessary stuff will just complicate things and ruin the experience especially at first.Add incidentals as you go on and feel they become necessary.

4.I use mechanix gloves and they work great.

5.Just dive.
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:50 AM   #3
Chuuken
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

As a chronic over-planner, Tony's number 5 is the main thing. Get out there and do it.

As for gear, start with what you NEED.
mask, snork and fins (BASICS)
wetsuit, gloves (EXPOSURE)
Gun or Pole (FISH)
Float/Flag (LAW)

From there, you probably want a float line to keep the float with you, unless you're going to be diving in kelp and plan on clipping it off. If you can get away with it, I'd suggest a float line over a reel.

You also should consider a knife or line cutter for safety.

Stringer: get or make a simple line stringer and leave it on your float. Then get some fish before you worry about choosing the best stringer for you. Especially if you go with a pole over a gun, that will make you learn to be a better hunter and give you some experience with which to make a better decision.

good luck.
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:24 AM   #4
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

A 50cm is too small. If you can't afford a bigger gun go for the pole spear and get a gun later. For LA/OC waters I wouldn't go below a 70cm. Maybe if it was exclusively a hole gun. If you get into the sport you will start acquiring different guns for different fish.

For a beginner I would stay away from the reels for now. A float line is a good option. If you were to drop your gun it would make it much easier to find. Small float, not the raft. Chuuken mentioned float and flag combo for the law. I don't believe we have that in CA, but it is not a bad safety consideration. You don't want to get hit by a boat.

You will be freediving so do not get the metal loop stringer. A simple mono stringer is what you want. The metal looped stringer is noisy. I keep mine on my belt (since there is no such thing as sharks no concern). I used to keep it on my float, but those harbor seals are always looking for a quick easy meal so I keep it on me to preserve mycatch.

If you're not digging the neoprene gloves I have buddies that use mechanics gloves. Just need some protection for your hands.

Keep it simple, as mentioned above. Wetsuit, mask, snorkel, fins, weights, belt, tool (gun, poles pear, hawaiian sling), gloves, socks, and one thing that you did not mention, at least one knife. You will need that knife in more ways than you could think. Cutting out of kelp, dispatching the fish, gutting the fish, and many more scenarios.
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Old 06-30-2016, 08:59 PM   #5
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

Hi guys:

I am a little surprised by how relaxed you all are about keeping stringers (ideally non-metal) on your weight belts. I know sea lions are pests, but an injured fish still bleeds enough to attract sharks and 'cuda, right? How do you deal with them safely? If I'm swimming out from shore, do I just have to head back in after I got 1-2 fish wiggling on my stringer?

I appreciate all your perspectives. I will look into getting at least 70 cm long guns or stick to pole spears. I already dive with a good size abalone float, so I'll look into attaching my gun to it, but include an kelp clip with the gun because kelp is still pretty common around fish here in LA/OC.

I'll look into mechanics gloves and knives, but the other gear I'm set. Thanks for the reminders.


Jon
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:41 PM   #6
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

Your fish should not be wiggling on your stringer. Once you have shot them you want to dispatch them right away (ikijime/send your knife through their brain). Here is the way I handle my fish:

Shoot, ikijime, pull gills (bleed), gut, then put on my stringer (on my belt). Sometimes it is pull gills then ikijime.

So no wiggling on your stringer. They're already dead. The blood and guts is almost like chumming so now you have more fish coming to your area. As far as attracting sharks, it's something you deal with and not so bad in CA. You should be on alert while you're in the water with or without fish on you. The grey tax man is going to come if he is going to come. Just make sure to always keep your eye out and if you see one don't turn your back. If you want to know more about sharks that's a different topic that can be discussed. As far as barracuda, bring it. If there is a nice sized one it will be added to my stringer.
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Old 07-01-2016, 01:10 PM   #7
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

One more thing regarding the gun. Keep in mind a 70cm is a small gun. That would be a reef gun. So don't go out there expecting to shoot a yellowtail or something big like that.
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Old 07-02-2016, 03:58 AM   #8
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

Hi FreediveCA, Chuuken & apexdiver: Thanks for the tips!

How do you hold a fish steady enough to do a full gutting in open water? I can't imagine you guys cradling a grouper under one arm, knife in the other hand...or do you????


Thanks,
Jon
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:22 AM   #9
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

Get a 70cm mako predator pro 3G, or a 75cm Pathos Pro Alum gun.


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Old 07-05-2016, 07:20 PM   #10
j_c_w
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

Hi Apneaddict:

I'll look into both those guns.


Thanks,
Jon
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Old 07-05-2016, 07:35 PM   #11
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

I'm sure some other members will continue to provide you good advice.

Generally a floatline and float (and dive flag) combination is safer than using a speargun reel, because it eliminates the chance of a reel binding up. So probably better to begin with a floatline, plus if you have to tow a dive flag in your area, it makes even more sense to consider a floatline.

A 70 cm predator gun is a great choice for limited visibility.

As you do your homework, please take a look at my site. I only sell direct - by avoiding the sale to dive shops, I eliminate the middleman and can pass on significant cost savings.

Also we have a very broad selection of gear and we also have a few package deals within which, we have combined several of our more popular items - saving you even more $$.

If you have specific questions, give us a call during normal business hours and we are happy to make sure you get the gear that matches your budget and needs.

Thanks!

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Old 07-05-2016, 09:56 PM   #12
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

Hi J_C_W

You should make the drive down to Spear America at
17801 S Main street
Suite E
Irvine, CA 92614

We are the largest spearfishing shop in LA and OC with over 10 brands of guns to chose from ranging from $90-$500.

I will most likely be in the store and I can go over all the equipment with you and what you need and what you don't for California diving. We can discuss areas that you can fish at and species to target.

You will be able to try on several kinds of gloves and find which one fits best and I do not mind if you go online while at the store to compare pricing.

Same goes for guns of course and any other piece of equipment. We can set your equipment up the right way and get you ready to go shoot fish.

I can go over a few techniques with you like I do with most customers of mine.

Take care,

Petros
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Old 07-06-2016, 11:21 AM   #13
FreediveCA
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyprus_Spearo View Post
Hi J_C_W

You should make the drive down to Spear America at
17801 S Main street
Suite E
Irvine, CA 92614

We are the largest spearfishing shop in LA and OC with over 10 brands of guns to chose from ranging from $90-$500.

I will most likely be in the store and I can go over all the equipment with you and what you need and what you don't for California diving. We can discuss areas that you can fish at and species to target.

You will be able to try on several kinds of gloves and find which one fits best and I do not mind if you go online while at the store to compare pricing.

Same goes for guns of course and any other piece of equipment. We can set your equipment up the right way and get you ready to go shoot fish.

I can go over a few techniques with you like I do with most customers of mine.

Take care,

Petros
Petros knows his shit. Definitely worth the trip. Trying on gear and picking his brain, best way to start off.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:40 PM   #14
Chuuken
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_c_w View Post
Hi FreediveCA, Chuuken & apexdiver: Thanks for the tips!

How do you hold a fish steady enough to do a full gutting in open water? I can't imagine you guys cradling a grouper under one arm, knife in the other hand...or do you????


Thanks,
Jon
I don't think most people clean the fish in the water. Most people just rip or cut the gills to bleed the fish, and stick it in the brain to kill it. Once the fish is dead, it's on the stringer and back to hunting.

Where I am, we have no predatory fish worth worrying about, but the fish I like are so soft fleshed that they NEED to be dead before I leave them on the stringer or they will absolutely tear themselves to pieces and fall off.
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:43 PM   #15
j_c_w
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Re: How to narrow down starter gear?

Hi Mike:

Thanks for clarifying. That makes more sense to me now!


Sincerely,
Jon
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