The best bluewater gear is both safe and efficient. The chapter on survival in the bluewater explains why you need to look at every piece of your equipment with a view toward safety.
For example, when you evaluate a float line ask, "Is there a potential for this material to throw a knot around me?" Or a fin: "Will my foot come loose from the pocket deep into my dive?" Or a weight belt: "Does the release mechanism work smoothly and dependably?"
The chapter on ethics explains why every shot you take is important. Once speared, an escaping bluewater fish is unlikely to survive. Every shot you take and every piece of your gear should guarantee your catch. This chapter first covers spearguns and terminal gear (lines and floats attached to the speargun), and ends with a discussion on special modifications bluewater hunters make to their freediving gear, including masks, fins and weight belts.
No other item provokes as much controversy among bluewater hunters as the speargun. Speargun design brings out the staunchly independent nature of many spearfishermen. Imagine the most accurate and advanced speargun, researched and developed by NASA. Give this ultimate speargun to five bluewater hunters. I guarantee, in one month's time, these guns will be modified_or, rather, "improved," in the eyes of their owners.
Southern California freedivers Harry Davis, Steve Alexander and I have a combined 82 years experience in the design, construction and use of spearguns. Both Harry and Steve bring a scientific approach to their craft. Harry built a 32-foot test tank to examine spearhead dynamics. The tank is equipped with a video camera capable of capturing a spearshaft in mid-flight. Steve tests different spearheads for their relative ability to penetrate fish, and they both test the power potential of different batches of speargun band material.
Despite our attempts at science, most of what we know about spearguns is empirical in nature. Speargun design will continue to improve, but I am confident that our current guns have reached the point where they are adequate for any bluewater fish. Use the best gun possible to help fulfill your ethical obligation to make every shot count.
Some say successful bluewater hunters, with their trophy fish, are lucky. I define "luck" as the meeting of opportunity and preparedness. Create your opportunity by carefully studying fish and their habits. Prepare yourself and your gear for that one chance at a big fish.
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Copyright © 1997 Terry Maas, BlueWater Freedivers