F.A.Q. How To Rig A Spear Gun To Your Float

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F.A.Q. How To Rig A Spear Gun To Your Float

Here we will discuss the various ways of rigging your spear. There are a number of different ways to achieve this goal and we will look at the main styles you may wish to use to suit your style of spearing. Remeber you also need to take into account the fish you intend to target and the waters/areas you plan to hunt.

The four main ways to rig your speargun are as follows:

  1. Hardlines:The most common rig is to have your spear attached to the muzzle of your gun and to run a thin rope/cord from the handle of your gun directly to your float on the surface.
  2. Bungees: A slight modification of the above, and involves the use of a rubber bungee which can be inserted between your gun and normal hardline or can replace the hardline altogether.
  3. Reels:Use of a reel. Which means you don't need a line or float at all making you much freer in the water.
  4. Slip Tips: When targeting bigger fish the use of a break away slip tip is preffered for penetration and retaining the fish as well as minimising damage to your gear.

Whichever method you choose here are a few golden rules to follow:

  1. Never, ever attach anything to yourself.
  2. Always have a line attached to your spear that is at least as long as the depth you are diving. This is so if you shoot a hard-fighting fish or a fish holes up, you are able to get back to the surface without dropping everything.
  3. Make your shooting line the weakest link. This is so if something breaks you only lose your spear.
  4. Think about what you are going to do with your fish.


The simplest, and probably the best, rig is a hardline or floatline. This is simply a length of rope attached to the handle of your gun and a float, usually with a swivel and fish threader at each end.  This system is strong, very simple, creates very little drag and gives you a good way to store your fish. The rope used is usually static meaning that you can keep control of how much line a fish has to play with.


Bungies come in all shapes and sizes and can be inserted between your gun and normal hardline or can replace the hardline altogether. The two main benefits of a bungy over a static line are that they don't tangle and, because they stretch, they absorb some of the strain of a fighting fish putting less strain on the rest of the system and the fish's flesh.

Bungies can be made from various materials but the most common are rubber or a synthetic polymer. They must be hollow and air-filled which makes them float and allows them to be cored with some sort of line so that if the bungy is cut on something, such as a rock, you don't lose your gear.

Short Bungies

Designed to be mounted from the end of the speargun muzzle to your shooting line which then connects to your spear. They are designed to keep tension on your line when the gun is loaded and will give some assistance to playing your fish.

Medium Bungies

Are categorised from 1-5m long and are inserted between the gun and a normal hardline. These are almost exclusively made of rubber. They typically have a stretch ratio of between 1:3 and 1:5 so they musn't be too long or you will lose control of your fish. These simple bits of kit can make a big difference when shooting larger pelagic fish, such as kingies.

Full Bungies

Designed to replace your hardline altogether. Rubber or other non-uv resistant materials are unsuitable for full bungies if you want them to last any length of time (you can imagine what will happen to a piece of rubber floating in salt water and bright sunlight for several hours). These are excellent for blue-water style diving where two or more divers are diving close to each other, in deep water targeting game fish. Bungies are however generally considered unsuitable for normal day to day use. This is because they have considerably more drag through the water and are easily cut on rocks (they are cored so you won't lose your gun but they are unrepairable). Because of their stretch they can make it hard to keep a big fish off the bottom.

Bungies are ideal for blue-water diving for gamefish.


The use of a reel means you don't need a line or float at all making you much freer in the water. The freedom of a reel when spearing cannot be beaten.

A spearfishing reel doesn't work the same as a fishing rod reel, in that you don't wind the fish in. You still play the line through your hands like a normal floatline. You shoot the fish, swim to the surface, letting line off the reel, then grab the line and pull it in. Then you need to do something with the fish and wind the line back in. What to do with your fish is probably the number one drawback of using reels. It is worth noting that reels are most popular with European divers as they encounter very few sharks and it is no problem to swim around with their catch attached to their belt. It is definately NOT recomended in our waters here.

There are several types of reels on the market made of different materials and sporting very different features so what is best? The two main materials used are plastic or nylon and metal. Obviously the metal ones are stronger but they are also usually several times the price. Although the metal ones are marketed as "blue-water" reels they are never really all that good for gamefish. Good plastic ones are usually more than strong enough for the fish reels are best suited to. The hardest thing when using reels is preventing tangles. These usually occur when the fish makes a strong run and the reel starts free-spooling. To prevent this from happening the reel must have a drag system. This is usually just a nut and washer. The other way, especially when dealing with bigger fish, is just to use the palm of your hand. Obviously you can't do this with an enclosed reel.

Like with floatlines, it is best to have the absolute minimum amount of line on your reel necessary. This will prevent tangles and stop the line from "jumping" out of the spool and jamming.

Remember not to drop your gun!!!

Reels are best suited to shallow water and small fish.


Slip Tips are extreemly popular for divers who are targeting Bigger Fish. There are many differnet styles produced on the market today and it is very important to note that some styles/brands work MUCH better than some others.

Rob Allen was quoted as saying:

"We have found that the vast majority of spearfishermen have at one time or another used or tried a drop head (slip tip). They virtually all change back to a single barb for a variety of reasons, the main reason being accuracy. Here we have found that it is very difficult to get the drop head to sit on the tip of the spear without any play (basically sideways movement). If you can get it to fit without play, then invariably it is too tight to come off resulting in the head pulling back through the fish and the fish being lost. The very tip has to be perfectly stable and central to maintain the straight flight of the spear. Even a very small amount of play will cause the spear to be inaccurate. This is because the extreme tip is what keeps the spear travelling true. A slight movement to one side or the other will cause a varying degree of inaccuracy depending on the amount of play. To show this you just need to sharpen a spear, which has a fixed barb, slightly off center, and you will see how much the accuracy is affected. Another problem with a drop head is the hassle. Slightly too loose and it falls off when you dive down, to tight and it stays on and pulls back out of the fish. This can be most frustrating. In terms of drag the drop head is bad, since the diameter is greater than the spear."

Having tried many of the brands available on the market today and experienced their limitations, we know only use and recomend the Rob Allen Slip Tip Tube. So effective on large pelagics and so different from conventional slip tips that they had to patent the unique design. It allows accurate shooting with Euro style guns and avoids the compromise that previously had to be made between a loose fitting tip for deployment and a tight fit for accuracy. The spear extends right through the tube, the spear is guided by the solid spear tip and accuracy is guaranteed.

The weight of the Rob Allen spear being 8mm thick provides plenty of impact and penetration. We suggest using 3 rubbers when powering this shaft.

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