After a goodnight sleep and true to my word i woke up and jumped into the water, the vis was okay and the temp was a fresh 12 degrees. I manged to bag a nice pollack then shortly after taking a tasty bass too with either a skilful or incredibly lucky upside-down rushed shot. Once i had these two i headed out of the water and stumbled across a pair of ray bans… Nice. I got onto the rocks and began filleting, still wet i began eating the pollack as sashimi dipping in soy and wasabi as i pleased. The Bass was saved for dinner as a pan fried meal with a side of freshly harvested sea lettuce salad. I had made my way to another beach and was excited knowing that from that day onwards the winds should drop off and i should be onto fishier waters. I settled down for the night enjoying a perfect sunset.
A healthy brekky, packing up and on route early morning, the sun got its heat on quick. Todays agenda was to cross an esturary at low tide otherwise i would have become stranded and have to wait until the next day. Foraging some plants and having a veggie dish for a change as i didnt have time for spearfishing, i found an excellent beach to camp at and settled down for the night with the goal of spearing at first light 30m from where my tent was pitched.
The start of an Adventure, Setting off into the wilderness for 10 days of adventure, coastal spearfishing, foraging and wild camping. The day starts well with a good feed for lunch enjoyed with a view tucking into spearfish, seaweed and coastal plants, i then make my way off along the path to discover a ferry was closed due to covid so i had to get some unexpected miles under foot and walked until nearly dark. Setting up camp in a beautiful valley at the edge of a farmers field.
Sam Clothier “I started just south of Plymouth and finished at Hallsands both inside the county Devonshire, on the South West Coast of the UK.
Three highlights of the trip for me were;
The Freedom – Of being free after an intense UK lockdown with no mask, no curfew and social distancing for fun not as a requirement. With no set schedule or place to be, enjoying my own company and time.
Connection to the Wild – just hiking the coastline where i grew up and seeing that it is just as i remember, with plenty of nature, wildlife and good wild meals to be had.
The Challenge – testing my foraging and spearfishing capabilities, proving to myself that i have the survival knowledge and skill to keep myself healthy and fed in the wild. All whilst hiking with all the gear i need.
Although this is one of the most primitive methods of fishing, there seems to be a ton of gear you should (or may want!) to have when you head out to the water.
Understanding the difference between all the gear can be downright mind-boggling. One of the most commonly used weapons when it comes to spearfishing is the Hawaiian sling, often referred to as a pole spear. When it comes to the Hawaiian sling vs. the pole spear, don’t worry – it’s essentially the same thing. Although you might hear either term used, they are more or less interchangeable concepts. That said, there are a few key differences between the two to be aware of.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is the Difference Between a Hawaiian Sling vs. Pole Spear?
A Hawaiian spear is more or less the same thing as a pole spear. However, a pole spear generally has a sliding grip that moves with the pole, while a Hawaiian spear does not. Hawaiian slings and pole spears both use a band or sling to fire your spear shaft, but they operate in slightly different ways. The Hawaiian sling uses a wooden shooter (other materials are sometimes used, though wood is the most common) and a high-powered rubber strap to fire a spear shaft in a forward trajectory. If you’ve ever used a bow and arrow, the concept is more or less the same. You’ll hold the shaft in place while you prepare to shoot with a connector (spear holder) on the tubing. You can use this to attach to the end of your spear.
A pole spear, however, has a tough band or sling that is remarkably durable and resilient. This band is attached right at the end of the spear and meant for launching. Often, pole spears are referred to as three-prong spears. They are usually made out of fiberglass and have rubber tubes at the end for added durability. You may also be able to find a hybrid pole spear, which is made out of two different kinds of materials (usually aluminum and one other kind of material to provide durability along with flexibility).
Both tools are known for being lightweight, but Hawaiian slings are generally a bit more lightweight. Also made out of fiberglass, they can also be carbon fiber which occasionally adds a bit more weight.
The average Hawaiian sling will be around five to eight feet, although there are some oddballs out there that can be a bit shorter or longer. You can also modify your sling, as you gain more experience with spearfishing, to be a bit longer. Shorter Hawaiian slings have their place, though, as they’re excellent when diving into close, compact areas. A lot of people don’t use Hawaiian slings and prefer to use a speargun when going after large fish, as a hawaiian sling doesn’t have quite enough chutzpah to make a difference. That said, pole spears aren’t the biggest either, so you may have to consider whether either of these tools is ideal for the fish you plan to go after at all.
How Are Hawaiian Slings and Pole Spears the Same?
Both Hawaiian slings and pole spears are popular fishing tools if you plan on freediving near reefs or along the coast. Both are also easy to use and convenient to carry around with you. Neither are very expensive, so they offer a great way to start spearfishing if you’re on a budget. Both Hawaiian slings and pole spears are great for beginners. If you’re new to spearfishing, both of these tools will help you get off to a good start by themselves. You can also use them as a supplementary weapon if you have more experience and just want a bit of backup.
Tips for Using a Hawaiian Sling
Using a Hawaiian sling is easier than you might think.
Fit your spear shaft into the shooter with the tip facing away from you. Put the dull end of the shaft into the holder on the rubber sling. Avoid stretching the sling until you’re ready to shoot. Once you’re ready to shoot, pull back the rubber and shaft with one hand while your other hand holds your grip on the shooter. Hold steady, just as you would draw the string of a bow. Release and the shaft will propel itself forward, hopefully into the fish that you’ve been aiming at. Then, you can pull the string back to retrieve your kill. Be careful not to pull your rubber too far down toward the spearhead. This can cause unnecessary bending in your pole, which can lead to inaccuracies when you’re shooting at fish. You need just enough tension to get a good shot but not so much tension that the spear starts to bend. Remember, you’re going to be using this tool just like you would use a bow and arrow.
Neritic Blue Bantam Pole Spear
Tips for Using a Pole Spear
Pole spears are also quite easy to use.
You will hook a rubber loop or sling onto the butt end of the pole spear, using your thumb while also using the fingers on the same hand to reach up the shaft toward the spear tip. This movement will create tension. Try not to place your hand too high or you’ll bend the spear, which can cause issues with your aim. Grip tightly, holding tension while you aim. Then release to shoot and pull back the spear to retrieve your fish. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that pole spears are equipped with replaceable tips that need to be swapped out from time to time. This is because the constant wear and tear on the spear can really take its toll. Fail to maintain your spear and you won’t be able to shoot quite as accurately.
You can choose from a variety of spear pole tips, including single and three-barb units. With both a pole spear and a Hawaiian spear, you are going to want to avoid holding your pole cocked and ready to fire. Instead, keep the band looped around your hand yet not stretched out entirely. Although there’s nothing technically wrong with doing this, you’ll be wasting energy that you should be saving for the rest of the hunt.
Which One is Best – Hawaiian Sling vs. Pole Spear
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you choose to use a pole spear or a Hawaiian spear. Both should get the job done nicely for you and both are relatively easy to use.
Deciding which one to use will come down to your personal preferences and skill levels. Neither is necessarily easier to use, but some people have an easier time with the Hawaiian sling while others much prefer the style of the pole spear. Hawaiian slings often have better range and are more enjoyable to shoot – at least, that’s what most of their enthusiasts say! That being said, pole spears are often viewed as more effective when you’re fishing for larger species in deep water. No matter which kind of tool you choose for your first (or hundredth!) spearfishing experience, make sure you practice before you head out into deep water. Ideally, you should spend some time practicing in shallow bodies of water to get used to the techniques involved in the craft. With both of these tools, you’re sure to have a lot of fun. However, it’s also easy to get hurt if you don’t have enough practice and you aren’t careful.
With a little bit of practice, you’ll be spearing fish (and having a blast doing it!) in no time.
First Responders Guide for Treating Major Haemorrhage
Hey Isaac I felt compelled to reach out and contact you after recent tragic events. I wrote this little guide on controlling limb haemorrhage originally intended just for my little spearo crew. It’s been shared on a few forums in the last few days. It’s attached below. Feel free to use it and share it however you want. I’m happy to help out in any way to share this message.
To provide some background, I’m a doctor from the Sunshine Coast and a specialist in both emergency medicine and pre-hospital and retrieval medicine. I split my time between the hospital and the local helicopter rescue service. I’m also a passionate spearo and waterman. We’ve lost a couple of local spearos in the last 12 months.. Matt Tratt who died on sat was also part of our local “pressure project freedive group” and my colleagues from the rescue helicopter tried in vane to save him. I didn’t know either of them personally but they were both friends of friends. Its always a reminder of the dangers we face when something happens close to home.
Without any criticism of anyone (who I’m certain did their best and bravely came to Matt’s aid on the weekend), a bite to the limb should be something we’re all prepared to deal with. Someone should hopefully never die of any isolated limb bite. I deal with life threatening emergencies and complicated medical procedures everyday in the field or in hospital. We train for and visualize how we will approach these crisis. I try to bring this same approach to our sport. We need to have thought about and visualize how we are going to solve any crisis well before it happens.
Another example – I once had a trout brick me under a ledge. After an unsuccessful extraction and at the end of my breath hold I headed for the surface only to become entangled with my float line around my belt. I panicked and instead of simply dropping my belt I went to cut my way out. We always buddy very tightly but of course this was that sneaky little dive you do while my buddy boated a fish. Two simple errors which could have cost me. I’ve since thought about my approach to entanglement and I’m prepared. Hope this info helps someone. Rob
This First Responders Guide for Treating Major Haemorrhage might save someone’s life.
It’s also another good reason to always dive with a buddy. We all dive around sharks all the time. Sometimes we get complacent. People with massive bleeding from the limbs are able to survive if we act quickly.
There’s 2 ways to stop a limb bleed
Direct Pressure. Use a small as possible pressure point right into the spot that’s bleeding. In physics pressure = force/ surface area. Ie A large pressure can be delivered if it’s applied over a small area.
Tourniquet. This will stop all blood supply to the limb. It can stay on for hours if required. The key is it must be really tight. If it’s too loose then it will still allow arterial blood supply while blocking venous supply. This would be just like when you get a blood test. It can make you bleed more! Don’t do this.
Options for what to wrap the wound with
If in the water on a shore dive, then use a float line.
If on a boat dive, then use a bandage if one is handy.
You can buy arterial tourniquets really cheap. To get a tight tourniquet one needs a windlass. Some sort of stick that you wind up really tight (hopefully you’ll see the bleeding stop- if not go tighter). The tricky thing is finding what to use as a windlass. You could try a dive knife but there’s obvious issues with that. I’ve got a fish stringer on my float that would work. Once the windlass is wound up you need to stop it unwinding. Try tucking it under some other rope.
Hey Isaac. I did a bit of messing around today with tourniquets and took some dodgy photos with my phone. I’m no Boy Scout so I’ve improvised knots which is exactly what people are going to do if they’re making a tourniquet out of their float line.
Where do I apply the tourniquet? Some teaching suggests as far down the limb as possible so less tissue lacks blood supply. In saying that It can be harder to compress the vessels below the knee or the elbow because there’s 2 bones instead of one. It probably doesn’t matter. Just get it on there. If there’s a bleed really high up the leg and you can’t get a tourniquet high enough then add direct pressure to the wound plus try and compress the big femoral vessels in the groin. Feel where your own pulse is for a guide. Once again remember a smaller object pushed onto a vessel will apply more pressure. Something like a small ball shape pushed onto the vessel. Find something to wrap round the leg or pelvis to hold it really tight or hold it in place with all your weight.
This post is an email that Don sent me with regards to taking his two boys (Max 10 and Ben 12) spearfishing. There is a heap of practical and actionable advice in here for anyone wanting to take their kids spearfishing. Don goes on to share a great poo story at the end (my fav). Enjoy!!
I hadn’t been in the water for 20yrs since instructing to which I was a master scuba diver trainer with PADI, a Nurse at work asked me if I wanted an old OMER caymen 75 she’d found in her garage. I’d been wanting to get the kids in the water for some time and so dragged out my old gear. When the kids started it was incredibly basic; an old torn 2mm steamer each, old rubber fins from the 70’s and a yellowed silicone mask each out of a moldy gear bag. I also took my old Tecnisub pneumatic gun with us and was surprised the old girl still worked. They were keen as to give it a go although somewhat nervous and we took a trip to Kaikoura. After gearing them up I jumped in and coaxed them in and we swam around in some shallow calm water, two wide eyed leaches stuck to each side of me, it turned out to be really fishy and hands started pointing everywhere and I had to stop every meter to decipher “Sorkillian” or answer questions or look at something someone was yelling about.
A bit further on the monster was created; I smacked a huge Butterfish right in front of them. They went apeshit, I was forced back to shore to swap guns and hell or high water they were going to have a go. I gave them a quick how to and took them out one at a time holding onto their elbow and they swam over many fish but I just went with it. The older boy Ben managed to corner a big banded wrasse and let fly. He was stoked and still talks about that fish, he shot another before it was wee Max’s turn. With a mask half full of water and his fins coming adrift max shot a tiny blue moki. I didn’t have the heart to take his fish off him so we got a quick photo before I had the chat to them about under size and shooting fish they can’t use. So it wasn’t wasted we jammed it in a crack with juvenile crays. we just dived unarmed for the rest of the weekend and I was able to show them heaps of sea life, the end of every dive they were shivering, blue but still took some getting out of the water.
Max and Ben practicing Ike Jime. Don “boys decided that they wanted to take care of own fish, caught them killing pumpkin, bloody great idea as about same thickness as fish head 😂😂”
As they seemed keen I got some better gear, good 5mm suits, modern fins and a decent mask each. We did a trip to Dunedin and went for a dive in the harbour no fish shot this time and Max was mesmerized by a small octopus, I never let on to him but a bloody big stingray was mesmerized with Max. I didn’t turn him around for a look in case to put him off. At this stage I was still holding on to them and swimming them around mostly where they could stand up if needed, next day we happened to go to shag point on a simply epic day and both boys totally transformed. They started swimming beside me and in deeper water and shot 4 big butterfish each. Both boys were still surface dwellers at this stage with Max having a life vest over his suit.
A holy shit moment came when I was quietly following Ben when he dived down kicking like mad about 2m and I heard the gun go off, next minute he’s wrestling with a nice blue moki. That fish wasn’t going anywhere he was clinging onto it and I tried to help; it was like trying to get a piece of chicken of a cat. We did a few more trips around the area with Philip Van Zijl and learnt heaps, he’s awesome. We were still very much noobs, Ben was now weighted and reloading himself and both boys were starting to be comfortable with rougher and deeper water.
In December of that year I did the unthinkable and took them up to Auckland and Darren Shields took us out for the day, the kids had never been on a boat before let alone dive off one. This trip locked in the monster, they soaked up everything and they regarded themselves as real spearos. Ben had spent his pocket money on some wettie reef freedive fins and simply took off dropping down 3-4 spearing and securing fish. He would have shot a big kingfish that look an interest in him if I hadn’t headed back to the boat with the gun to unload a fish. Both boys got 3 parore each and got a photo with a big snapper that Darren shot. Next day we headed out to Goat Island reserve for a look and it was a nightmare getting them out with all the snapper around.
I ended up getting a wee Mac360 boat with a 15hp and they keep soaking up the knowledge. They entered the Kaikoura big 5 spearo comp as their own team I was just safety diver. We aren’t really comp folk but I wanted to get them to start working as buddy team, I limited them to a fish each to weigh in and they did really well, it was quite funny these two little guys rock up among all these experienced spearos. They got called up to get photos with the winners who handed them part of their prize winnings, a new gun and a catch bag. It was a very cool gesture. Ben wanted to get another species that weekend and did a perfect breath up and drop to 7m, I saw him aim at something and came up as cool as a cucumber with the blue moki in the pic I sent through.
Ben and Max spearo kids!
A FEW NOTES ON GEAR AND RULES FOR KIDS
Got to be warm, a warm comfortable kid won’t be put off easily, can be 7deg in south
2mm open cell vest plus open cell suit
Creases or folds mean water flood in
Cold days we dump warm water from a hot water bottle in before getting in
wettie do full range of kids suits
Correct size gloves to be able to feel / use trigger well
Get them into freedive fins as soon as you can, I though they may be too much to handle but they seem to do well with them, saw a big transformation. Ben immediately started dropping to 15-20ft comfortably
Problem is smallest is usually 6-8 uk not sure who does smaller to suit kids or women
Allows them to power 25m pool lane underwater, gives them a big achievement.
Big safety rule: you don’t go into sea without fins, fins are control. Fins go on before weight belt and must stay on until weight belt is off on any boat
MASK AND SNORKEL
Must fit well, leaks will make them uncomfortable and anxious, you want them concentrating on what they are doing rather than what gear is doing.
We have drifted away from purge valve snorkels especially on shore dives, it seems to only take 1 or 2 grains of sand to cause a large leak and have a choking kid.
No snorkel in mouth during dive
Touchy subject for a spear fishing parent and a serious one to weigh up, kid to kid
They must be taught every possible thing about guns, and most of all what they are capable of doing.
Like a firearm they must be pointed in a safe direction at all time when not aimed at fish
We don’t use a pole at moment, hard to control length in even small surge, keep getting pushed into rock, kelp.
No pneumatics, you are tensioning using the spear than pulling band on to licked in one, also too easy to turn in on yourself eg foot or buddy beside you. Length is good.
Max uses 3x 10mm bands very easy to load for a kid.
Learn to re set spear and line out of water. They fire a shot at a fish then they need to be able to re load, Darren shields recons they won’t miss as much because it’s not easy.
Big ?????? On this one, we don’t use safeties. Max has an angry story about one of the biggest butterfish I’ve seen. Finger on trigger only when shooting. Some say safer in turbid conditions, basically if there kid in a dangerous situation where there could be an accidental discharge you probably shouldn’t be banded up anyway.
RULES FOR KIDS
Point in safe direction
Be selective as what you shoot, our limit is two fish each. It also allows for more outings as you run out of fish sooner.
Practice aiming at home using straight locked arm using anything long, stick, vacuum cleaner pipe ect
Practice taking care of fish, iki them, gutting. Pumpkin perfect tool for iki practice.
GENERAL SAFETY AND STUFF
Kids are smaller so get cold quicker
Although smaller size does allow them to get closer to fish it does put in the back of your mind that bitey creatures may have a go at them before the big target. With this in mind I always swim on the open water side of them, so kids are on reef or shore side if possible.
One child at a time in the water in case there is a problem.
If possible teach them basic blackout and rescue stuff, how to drive boat. CPR is also a great idea and most kids even at ages 7-8 can perform effective CPR. They should never have to do this but you never know, they may be able to guide an untrained adult.
Heaps of pool work makes a big difference. Put a $2 coin on the bottom of the dive pool and show them how to equalise, they soon get it.
Hopefully some of this info may be useful.
Now what you’ve really been waiting for!!! Poo story.
When I was instructing bubbles, myself and a mate got invited onto a luxury launch. This boat was pristine, the owners basically handed us white soled shoes as we boarded and followed us around making sure nothing was touched, even re-arranging magazines we had read to the original position and layout. We were terrified to go to the toilet on this boat, but after 3 days things were backing up. On the third day I said to hell with this, I need a crap, 3 days worth was satisfying to get rid of. When I came out my mate pushed past me saying look out this is going to be huge. Little did we realize that my effort had blocked the system! He came out very white faced saying “it won’t flush, it won’t flush “panicked we came up with a plan and proceeded to covertly undo the back of the system to clear around the shredding fan that cuts up everything and sends it out the bottom of the boat. This was done with a piece of wire we found. All was going well until all of a sudden the blockage cleared and shit and paper started pouring onto the floor. My crap was fine but when my mates came through I started to dry reach and leant on the wall hitting the switch that activated the still exposed flush /fan. Within a split second there wasn’t a square inch of that pristine bathroom that wasn’t covered in shit, except of course for two human outlines on one wall. It was everywhere and we were covered from head to toe. We both calmly walked through the boat and past the magazine woman in the galley who promptly threw up in the sink. We carried on to the back of the boat and jumped into the sea to wash and let thing cool down a bit. While we were in the water listening to the yelling on board my mate said “gee that woman’s got a soft gut hasn’t she?” We did help clean up and that was the end of our trip.