Manny grew up in Genoa, Italy, and started spearfishing way back in 1984. In 1988 he moved to Sydney, Australia where he continued spearfishing and we chat about the contrast in conditions and difference in biodiversity. With a passion for spearfishing and innovation it was inevitable that he would begin a spearfishing business in Australia. Initially he started importing equipment from Europe, first with Omer (1993-98), then with TopSub wetsuits (1998-2009), and then in 2010 he launched his own brand MannySub with the roller speargun conversion kit. Manny was the first to produce a roller muzzle and also introduce the roller concept to many countries such as Australia, South Africa , the Middle East, USA and several other countries. His Roller Speargun conversion kits continue to be highly popular alongside MannySubs range of spearfishing equipment.
About Manny’s Spearfishing Experience
Alongside his spearfishing business Emanuel Bova has been an active member of the San Souci Dolphins Spearfishing club in Sydney since 1994. He has been competing for over 22 years both locally and abroad. This year he joins the Australian Spearfishing team again as they head to Greece to take on the worlds best. You can follow the Australian teams adventure here. Part of the appeal of Manny’s interview is hearing stories from a bloke who has dived in Italy, France , Croatia, Mexico several times (the Gulf, Caribbean, Sea of Cortez), Panama, New Zealand, Fiji, USA, Hawaii, and both the eastern and western coastlines of Australia as well as the coral sea.
Emanuel with a large Mulloway or Jewfish taken spearfishing in NSW
About Manny’s interview
This interview is our longest yet but its for good reason. Manny takes us on an equipment deep dive in his Veterans Vault where we talk in detail about; Flopper maintenance, Speargun Rubber, Dyneema vs Mono-filament as a shooting line, equipment maintenance and then we dig into Roller Spearguns with questions from us about inverted rollers and the double roller, both of which are rapidly growing in popularity with Bluewater Hunters. As Manny is a regular listener of the show he fires on all cylinders sharing stories that all of us can learn from and his Fast 5 Facts For Noobs is phenomenal. Listen into an absolute cracker interview.
For an online Spearfishing shopping experience that offers you a comprehensive range of equipment including MannySub, cheap shipping and competitive prices head over to www.spearfishing.com.au
Use the code NOOBSPEARO to take advantage of an exclusive online deal. Get $20 off every purchase over $200 when you use the NOOBSPEARO discount code at checkout. Just for listeners of the Noob Spearo Podcast!
Support the Noob Spearo Podcast by shopping with our major Sponsor. Check out Australia’s largest spearfishing range at Adreno Spearfishing Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney or shop online.
Helpful Times for Emanuel Bova’s Interview
01:20 Manny’s history covering Omer and TopSub spearfishing equipment, competing in Croatia with the Australian Team, early lessons, the beginning of MannySub, moving to Sydney and the contrast between Italian Mediterranean spearfishing conditions and Australian spearfishing conditions.
12:00 Overcoming seasickness
14:00 Yellowfin Tuna Coral Sea on the burley trail. Great takeaway lesson on observation from this story.
19:00 Heading out the day before a big competition when an opportunity that does not come to many Australian spearo’s presented itself.
Highly desirable Australian Spearfishing Species. Commonly called Snapper, scientific name Pagrus auratus
23:00 Spearfishing Hunting Technique – burley with newspaper or even toilet paper. Great rundown on how effective this technique can be. Best burley for using in shark infested water. Can use in combination with a flasher.
Boat pulling free from anchor overnight while miles out to sea.
Fiji deep diving injury – the Bends while freediving. Manny lays out his process of deduction alongside symptoms. Supporting article with more information about the bends while freediving here. Manny talks about his journey to recovery along with the advice and medical help he received along the way.
Reef shark near miss. Beware of hazards when you are a long way from home. Takeaways include the advice to be very careful spearfishing around dusk with sharks.
77:00: Funniest Moment. The dive spot for a date deal
84:30: Whats in Manny’s Divebag. Speargun MannySub 90cm and 1100cm inverted for clean water chasing bigger fish. Salvimar Noah mask, DiveR fins, custom made smoothskin wetsuit. Special round rubberized dive weights (look like a hand grenade). You can screw them on and off as needed.
87:45: Fast 5 Facts For Noobs
If you want to get good at spearfishing join a club, if you want to get really good – start competing
Dont try and learn too fast. Respect the learning curve.
Reels, not on big fish and not in deep water. Statistically Reel guns have been involved in lots of shallow water blackout incidents.
Prepare properly on the surface. Close your eyes, focus on your breathing and replicate the feeling of going to sleep.
Get a good nights rest the day before spearfishing, especially the big days
Join Manny on Facebook or check out rollerspearguns.com for more information about him.
DIY Roller Speargun. Guide to converting your Gun.
#Video of the entire DIY Roller Speargun conversion process at the bottom
Step 1. Read the DIY Roller Speargun instructions before you start. Yes, all the way through!
Step 2. Remove the screw holding the original muzzle. It may be corroded in so you may need to use penetrating lubricant. Mine was so tight I had to use a block of timber and a hammer to tap it out.
Step 3. Mark the barrel for the required length reduction. Skip this if you’re not changing the barrel length.
Step 4. Cut the barrel to the required length. It is important to make sure the cut is square to the barrel so the power head fits properly. If using a drop saw make sure to use an aluminium blade. Otherwise a hacksaw will do the trick.
Step 5. Sand the inside of the barrel to remove any oxidation or foreign matter to ensure a good seal. It is also important to file any sharp edges to prevent damaging the plug’s “O”rings upon insertion. Filing the outside edge of the cut will prevent any annoying sharp edges.
Step 6. Lubricate the inside of the barrel and the power head plug with marine grease before installing into the barrel.
Step 7. Use a twisting motion to insert the the Roller Power Head into the barrel. Twisting will prevent damage to the “O” rings and ensure a good seal.
Step 8. Align the Roller Power head with the rail. I used the spear in the trigger mechanism to make sure everything was aligned. The power head may sit proud of the rail but this will not affect accuracy or flight path.
Step 9. Turn the gun over and measure 8mm back from the conversion plug. Mark the hole and use a centre punch to get started.
Step 10. Drill the 3mm hole.
Step11. Screw in the provided screw and the muzzle is fixed into place.
Step 12. Remove the screws either side of the handle and and drill out the holes with a 5mm drill bit to accommodate the new handle-pin and anchor bushes.
Step 13. Drill out the screw holes with a 5mm drill bit for the new threaded handle pin. This pin will hold the line anchor bushes.
Step 12. Put one of the line anchor bushes on the threaded handle pin then push the pin through the handle. Next put the other line anchor bush on and tighten the nut with and 8mm spanner. Cut the remaining handle pin off flush with a saw and file smooth.
Handle pin and line anchors in place and your DIY roller speargun is done.
The front end of the DIY Roller Speargun with Manny Sub Roller Power Head installed rigged and ready to go.
So, there you have it, a converted 1.2m Rob Allen Tuna. Now a 1.1m Manny Sub Roller Power Head. It’s a simple process and the plans are very clear but it’s important to read the whole document before you start.
Here is the entire Roller Speargun conversion video guide
Roller Power Head conversions hanging out with their primitive counterparts in the Coral Sea
So I thought I’d add a part two to my Roller Power Head conversion post. In the first article I covered what’s in the box when you buy the Manny Sub Roller Power Head conversion kit. And yes I was extremely impressed with the design and quality of everything that came but I hadn’t had a chance to really let loose on some fish and use the gun repetitively. Since writing that post I have returned from the Coral sea where I was able to test the Roller Power Head setup in some of the best spearfishing grounds in the world and I wanted to share the main points I learnt, both good and bad.
No.1 Learn how to load them
My setup as I have mentioned is 1.1m barrel length, 7.5mm spear with 18mm rubbers. When I arrived to the Coral Sea I couldn’t load the damn thing all the way back to the final loading fin. The rubbers are under tension the whole length of the barrel and the final loading notch is further back making it even harder to load. Add to this my Rob Allen doesn’t have a loading but so the final loading tab is very close to my chest. I’m not the biggest bull in the paddock but I can easily load guns with a 20mm rubber no problem but with this I was struggling. So what did I do? I persisted and adapted. I had to change my loading technique. With the Roller I load to the first loading fin on my hip which is easy and I can then reach the rubber with ease and place it on my chest for a conventional load. However I still couldn’t get it all the way back until I gripped the rubbers overhand which seemed to make a massive difference and made the load quite easy. I now find this gun easy to load and have no problems and when you think about it, all that extra power can’t come for free, you still need to power it up using your own strength.
No.2 Don’t mess with the math.
Roller Gun setup is quite particular and I think incorrect setup is one of the main reasons people fail with them. I went through major setup woes of which all were my own fault. My problem was I found the gun too hard to load so I tried to change my setup. I found some old 16mm rubber, a 7mm shaft designed for a 1m gun (incorrect overhang) and I attempted to modify it. As it turns out it was easier to load but just did’t perform the way it should have due to the spear diameter, rubber diameter, spear length and pretension ratio being all wrong. I then consulted the Manny Sub guide and basically reverted to the original recommended setup and started shooting fish almost immediately.
Manny Sub have done the math for you and take it from me, you should stick to the recommended setups. Much work has gone into fine tuning the correct setup options and it’s best to pick a setup option that suits your hunting and stick to it.
No.3 Double wrap reef trap
The double wrap allows you to take advantage of all that extra power but it also gives fish extra time to run into the reef before the slack is taken up on the shooting line. It is important to be quick in grabbing the line and pulling them up before it’s too late.
This little Spangled Emperor made full use of the extra shooting line.
No.4 Your long shots aren’t so long anymore.
The visibility in the coral sea was 40m or better, so the extra range was perfect but in my mind I was still shooting my 1.2m Rob Allen. I was getting way closer than I needed to be. I learnt that with the Roller Power Head I can be further away but still be accurate with this gun. It’s never a bad thing to have a little extra length especially when you’re targeting flighty emperor species. I don’t think I’ll ever be one to shoot to the maximum range of the gun consistently but it is nice to have all that range at your disposal.
No.5 It’s not that complicated
Double wrap shooting line, anchor points, pre-tension, it all seems overwhelming at first and because you don’t know the gun you might start to question it. Why wouldn’t you if you’ve been shooting fish just fine with your simple single or double rubber rail gun. My suggestion is to stick with your roller gun. I had all the teething problems that are possible and even invented a few of my own, but now I could never go back to a standard speargun. It all becomes second nature.
No.6 Recoil? No thank you sir I’m a gentleman!!
After shooting a roller gun for a couple trips I suggest shooting a regular gun again. You won’t believe the kick they have and you won’t believe you ever put up with it. I find the lack of recoil means I don’t need to grip the gun as hard and I’m more relaxed when I shoot. I used a little 1m rail gun at the end of the trip to compare and the kick was the first thing I noticed.
Roller Power Head loaded to the second notch still had the power needed to land this Mackerel
No. 7 So you’ve got a little one hey?
When you get a Roller gun it’s generally going to be a little shorter than your mates conventional railgun but don’t worry it will shoot further and you’ll be able to maneuver it much easier due to the reduction in length.
I particularly like seeing videos of large slabs of timber with fists full of rubbers hanging off them being arm wrestled through the water and I think to myself “how primitive”. It does take a bit to get used to, the fact that a little 1m roller will outperform your old 1.4m rail gun.
My Roller setup is quite a heavy duty setup and I think I can go even shorter for my local conditions. I think a 90cm setup would still shoot everything in my local area and be an absolute dream to use. What I like about Rollers is that you start to think smaller. For years we have been buying bigger and bigger guns to shoot further, now we don’t have to.
No.8 Stainless is a Spearo’s best friend.
During our Coral Sea trip I didn’t once wash my gear in fresh water for the entire trip and then I didn’t wash my gun for another week when we returned (I was busy alright). The Manny Sub stainless steel spear looks the same as when it arrived. It’s still has a shiny polished surface and doesn’t have the white corrosion of the coated spring steel shafts or rusty tip syndrome of the oil quenched spears after they’ve hit the rocks a few times . Not to mention the tri-cut is the sharpest I’ve encountered despite being put in the reef.
No. 9 The hype is right
Everything they say about rollers is true in my opinion. They are a little more complicated but like everything it’s just about learning and mastering your craft. Roller guns do shoot further, they are more accurate due to the lack of recoil and you can use a smaller than normal gun to shoot the same fish. With guys like Chris Coates and Tanc Sade using them you know they’re the real deal and I’m now converted 4 LYFE! If you would like to know more about the technical aspects of Roller Guns then Chris Coates’ article gives a very in-depth look at setup options.
I would love to hear about your experience with Rollers in the comments below and if you would like to get yourself a Manny Sub Roller Power Head you can get one here. Just remember to use the noobspearo code at checkout to save $20 on purchases over $200.
Manny Sub Roller Power Head conversion first impressions
So I’ve finally done it, I’ve gone roller. After interviewing Emmanuel Bova from Manny Sub and shooting my mate Champ’s roller gun it was time to give it a go. So here are my first impressions after unboxing, fitting and one dive with the Roller Power Head Conversion.
The instructions are detailed and easy to follow and they include charts that outline spear diameter, rubber thickness and pre tension ratios. Very helpful stuff and I suggest you squirrel it away.
What I ordered
The Roller Power Head Kit. The rubber on the left is the extra power band that clips onto the screw heads on the muzzle.
Roller Power head conversion
Pre made 18mm rubber
16mm clip on assist rubber
7.5mm stainless steel spear with triple loading fins (two of)
8mm stainless steel spear with triple loading fins
First and foremost I want to start with the ordering process. What I like about the Manny Sub process is that the kit is customisable. You choose the length of your gun or desired length if you’re cutting it down, the thickness of the rubber 14mm, 16mm or 18mm to suit your strength and conditions, and the diameter of your barrel so that you get the correct conversion plug. Manny Sub have taken a lot of the guess work out of it which I really liked as there are a few nuances to roller guns that are best left to the pro’s in my opinion. For me I just wanted to fit the kit and start shooting fish.
The Roller Power Head
I’ve looked at a couple of different models but I like this one the best so far. It’s simple, robust and finished off nicely with glass bearings that won’t corrode in the marine environment. I have used other rollers without bearings that use bushes and the bearings definitely make a big difference. The roller bearings make for extremely smooth loading and spin easily when flicked. The molding of the head is simple and provides good line of sight. All of the line guides work and there’s even a bit of carbon fibre which looks nice.
I ordered 18mm pre-made rubbers. First of all they look fast because they’re red, everything red is fast but besides being red the rubbers are a work of art and everything works beautifully. Manny Sub have taken a lot of pride in getting these right. The knots are neat, the dyneema is of a high quality and the rubbers are tapered to fit into the roller head around the rollers. It’s plug and play at it’s best. This gun is powered up to shoot blue-water pelagic’s so I also ordered the 16mm clip on power assist band. The end of the power assist bands have a small loop of dyneema which attaches over the ends of the roller axel. I liked this as it means I can take them on and off when needed with ease making the gun very versatile.
Keep in mind that the Roller Power Head kit usually comes with the rubber and dyneema kit so you can make your own rubbers as per the instructions. Champ did this and it was really quite a simple process and a good skill to learn.
The tri-cut on the 7.5mm Manny sub Spear is extremely sharp and I have not seen a better tuned flopper.
Spears, I’ve had good ones and bad ones in both stainless steel and spring steel and until now I’ve been hard pressed to find something as good as the Rob Allen spring steel shafts. So how do the Manny Sub spears stack up? The new Manny Sub stainless steel shafts are by far the nicest spear I have ever seen or used. It’s a big call but I just can’t fault them in any way. The tri-cut tip is extremely sharp, the shaft has a super smooth polished surface, all of the line connection points are rounded and smoothed to prevent line damage. The flopper is tuned to perfection and locks off solidly. The flopper is thick and strong with no sharp end, and the pin is fitted perfectly.
What I really like is the loading fin arrangement. Manny has really thought about this and how to place the fins to suit roller guns. Traditionally loading fin tabs are stacked three in a row towards the back end of the gun. Manny Sub have changed this up with the first loading fin placed half way down the spear, the second one in more of a traditional location towards the back and the third right at back of the spear just before the flat section enters the trigger mech. This means loading can be done in stages and I have the option of powering the gun up and down depending on what loading tab I choose. It’s a simple yet elegant improvement to a piece of equipment that has seen little improvement in a long time.
I’ve been happily using a Rob Allen 1.2m Tuna for a long time and it’s suited my needs perfectly so I really took some convincing to change. I used my mates 1m roller gun with 16mm bands last year on a reef trip and loved it. I got to experience the power, range, maneuverability and lack of recoil. Also on literally my first go I took one shot and nailed a Coral Trout, I never loaded the gun or had much to do with the setup though so my experience was somewhat incomplete. With my setup I have found a few points worth mentioning. Roller guns particularly longer guns of 1.1m and up with larger bands are somewhat different and harder to load as the rubber is under tension direct from the muzzle. This took me a bit to get used to and ultimately change my loading technique. With this setup I hip load to the first loading notch then re-position the gun to my chest to finish the load. It’s not a major change and I find this method quite easy. I don’t think this would be necessary on shorter guns or guns with smaller bands.
The next thing I noticed was once I’d shot the gun, was loading it and dealing with the double wrap. I’ve never used double wrap before and in the beginning it’s messy. Once again it’s something that can be overcome easily with time and by the end of the day wasn’t much of an issue for me. I don’t think anything will be as fast to load as a single wrap, single rubber gun but then again a single wrap, single rubber gun will never perform as well as a roller gun.
The muzzle itself doesn’t seem to impede the view of the fish and the accuracy is fantastic. The complete lack of recoil means the shaft flies true. The fish that I shot on our testing day were small but both were strung on the shooting line demonstrating the range of the gun. This is further exemplified by the spear reaching the end of the double wrap and then taking line off the reel! I didn’t even have the rubber at full pre-tension yet it was still outperforming my standard 1.2m Rob Allen and it’s clear Roller Power Head has the power to penetrate big fish even at long range.
So, is all the hype true? Well yes, it’s night and day in performance. My gun now shoots further, is more accurate due to lack of recoil and is shorter than it was before so it tracks better. I’m very impressed and I can’t wait to really get to know this gun on our Coral Sea trip.
I would love to hear about your experience with Roller Guns, hit me up in the comments and if you would like to get yourself a Manny Sub Roller Power Head you can get one here. Just remember to use the noobspearo code at checkout to save $20 on purchases over $200.
This episode covers an overview of the basic spearfishing beginner setup. We cover the speargun, rigline, speed spike, float and flag setup every new spearo should be using. This episode is right back to basics and is all about helping new spearos to keep it simple. The temptation in spearfishing is always to over-complicate your equipment, in this episode we try and layout the reasons why you should keep it simple and how that basic setup will operate.
Hard vs Inflatable. Overview of the pro’s and con’s. We also chat about counterweights, comp or boat floats and more. We even talk about the brands we started with. Multiple anchor points are a great idea on your float and also having a float that can support your body weight is important for when you get tired.
Reds gear after a successful shoredive. Image courtesy Breathless Addiction
Alpha and Diver Down Flag. Pictured below are the two flags used by spearo’s in different parts of the world. USFA have put together an article here about why all spearos should have and use dive flags and also educate the boating world about what they mean.
Diver Down (left, used in the USA and other countries) and the Alpha Dive Flag (Right, used in Australia, NZ) – Image borrowed from boat-ed.com
Sharkclips – Pictured below is a popular shark clip available from Adreno, link here
Floatline or Rigcord. 15 m or 50ft of telecom line here in Australia is great for starting out and definitely wont break the bank. Pictured below are a few options from Adreno at a variety of price points, hardware stores also have some similar braided line that is fine for starting out. Ski rope is also a cheap alternative and many spearos talk up the benefits. The next option up is the hard plastic coated line that have dyneema running through the centre. These lines are sealed with swivels at each end and have a point to clip onto. We discuss the pro’s and cons’ of these options along with the top of the line expensive stuff. We also talk about all the practical advantages of using a floatline and why we recommend it. Also here is a video tutorial from Adreno about how to choose a float line.
Also mentioned was a How To Tutorial about shortening your floatline for shore diving by Chris Coates. Check that out here
For all your Spearfishing equipment needs go to www.spearfishing.com.au or visit their stores in Brisbane, Sydney and now – Melbourne.
Big Birthday Sale on Now!
Use the code NOOBSPEARO to take advantage of this exclusive online deal. You get $20 off every purchase over $200, this is a discount code just for listeners of the Noob Spearo Podcast!
Check out Australia’s largest spearfishing range at Adreno Spearfishing Brisbane, Melbourne (just opened!) and Adreno Spearfishing Sydney or shop online
Speed spike. Pictured here (discussed in more detail in the episode)
Speargun. What size speargun and why for starting out shorediving. We go over Ian Puckeridges setup and emphasize the simplicity. We neatly avoid the wood vs alloy vs carbon fibre style guns as this is more about personal preference and the type of speargun spearo’s start with tends to be the type of speargun they stick with forever.
Managing your setup. Float-line awareness, from duck-diving to taking a shot on a big hard running fish.
If you would like to check out some of the equipment mentioned in this episode go here
Daniel Mann started spearfishing 10 years ago and in that time he has seen more fish than lots of us will ever see. From serving as president of the Gold Coast Tweed Spearfishing Club to his work filming and editing high quality spearfishing footage with the boys at Spearfishing Downunder magazine, Dan has lots of good info for the Noob Spearo Community. In his Veterans Vault section we dig into how to make your own spearguns. We talk components, materials, cost, entry level mistakes and share tips on where to get more information. Chatting with Dan has inspired Turbo to start his own Gun build project, so to stay up to date with his plans check out the Noob Spearo email newsletter.
Moreton Island Snapper – an elusive spearfishing species
Noob Spearo is stoked to bring this interview to you in partnership with Adreno
For all your Spearfishing equipment needs go to www.spearfishing.com.au or visit their stores in Brisbane and Sydney.
Use the code NOOBSPEARO to take advantage of this exclusive special. You get $20 off every purchase over $200, this is a discount code just for listeners of the Noob Spearo Podcast!
Check out Australia’s largest spearfishing range at Adreno Spearfishing Brisbane and Adreno Spearfishing Sydney or shop online
Absolute Tank Purple Cod
For fast navigation through Daniel Mann’s interview, here are some major moments…
2:00 Getting started, humble beginnings Sea Hornet + first mentors
03:00 Early obstacles, detailed equalization issues information.
09:00 Memorable Fish – a shore divers bounty
13:00 Dan’s Hunting Technique and Advice. Minimizing time in unproductive areas.
17:00 Scary Moment, a capsized boat 7km from land, setting off flares + EPIRB and waiting for rescue.
23:00 Funny Story, Boat Ramp Fails
26:00 Veterans Vault, a good session with Dann on how to build your own speargun.
We talk wood/carbon fibre/components/resins and more. We hear some of the lessons learned from 100+ DIY spearguns built at home. He even talks about his first gun that was made using PVA glue (oops). Dan’s session must have been good because now Turbo’s on his own speargun build project. Check out the photos below featuring some of Dan’s spearguns.