There are basically two methods for how to aim a speargun, the point and tilt method and the instinctive method. In this article we will take a look at both styles and provide some tips to improve your accuracy.
The point and tilt method – Turbo’s Preference
The point and tilt aiming method is in my opinion the best place to begin with your spearfishing. It gets you into a routine and it’s replicable which allows you to adjust and work out where your gun is shooting. The point and tilt aiming method is where the hunter points the tip of the gun at the target and then brings up the handle of the gun so that the gun is pointing exactly at the target. The hunter uses their vision to align various points on the speargun. These points can include the muzzle, spear, spear notches, rubbers and handle to help aim. These points depend on the speargun style and hunters preference.
For example when using a Rob Allen closed muzzle speargun, align the v created by the back of the tensioned rubbers with the hole in the muzzle. This should provide you with consistent accuracy.
There are slight discrepancies between all guns so a systematic approach to testing the gun in a pool or the shallows is a good approach. A weighted thong (flip flop), piece of foam or even a plastic bag can be used for target practice. Position yourself at different distances and each time make a mental note of what you did and where the spear went. Repeat until you can replicate your shot placement consistently.
The instinctive method – Shrek’s Preference
Turbo – “The instinctive method is like shooting from the hip. The hunter through practice can point the gun at the fish and hit the target. I’ve not been able to do this yet so I stick to the point and tilt method.”
To recognise whether you use the instinctive method think about the last time you shot a good fish. Did you focus on your speargun and sighting down the barrel? or did you focus on a precise spot on the fish, then lift your gun and fire in a connected motion? If you sighted down the barrel you are probably like Turbo and you follow the point and tilt idea. If not there’s good and bad news for the instinctive style shooter. The bad news is that when your accuracy is out, discovering what is wrong can be more difficult than following a more methodical technique. For example; a ‘feel’ shooter will spend more time focusing on the fish rather than watching the flight of the shaft to see if they are shooting high or low. A feel shooter will also have more trouble adjusting to a new handle/style of speargun as they rely on the consistent performance and feel of their regular speargun. The good news for ‘feel’ shooters is that they can shoot fish from lots of different angles and it takes less time to manoeuvre and fire. Read below for further tips to improve accuracy.
Why you may be missing fish
Turbo – A few years ago after upgrading from my little timber gun to a 1.2m Euro I went from being a “dead eye” to not being able to hit the the side of a house and I just couldn’t work it out. I then stumbled across a document written by Rob Allen that explained what can affect the accuracy of a spear gun. Through experimentation Rob found that recoil was a major problem affecting accuracy and that lots of problems stemmed from grip pressure and overpowered rubbers. On a right handed shooter the recoil of the gun tends to send the shaft high and to the right whereas a left handed shooter will shoot high and to the left. Rob found that a soft grip and or overpowered rubbers exacerbated the problem greatly.
Turbo’s Tips for Improvement
Manufacturers have a formula for keeping their guns accurate. This will consist of rubber diameter, rubber length and spear diameter. Replication is the key to keeping consistency.
Keep your shoulder,elbow and wrist locked out when shooting to prevent recoil. Two hands is becoming popular as well.
Replicate your method so it becomes second nature. The less thinking and the more doing the better. It really does help to get some pool practice in. When you’re method becomes second nature you’re less likely to lose your head when that trophy fish swims within range.
In large schools of fish pick out the one fish.
Pick out a specific spot on that fish to aim at.
Make sure your safety latch is turned off before you dive. There’s nothing worse than getting everything right then having nothing happen when you pull the trigger.
Choose your gun and stand by it. The more you use it the better you will become with it. If you are going to have several lengths of gun then make them the same gun at different lengths.
Try a roller gun. Rollers have less recoil and are extremely accurate. You can read more on roller guns here.
Being able to aim your speargun and shoot accurately is vital to hitting fish cleanly and making good holding shots. To shoot a fish a poorly and have it tear off only to die is a waste of good fish and to be blunt, it’s cruel. It happens to everyone from time to time and is a part of hunting but just like our counterparts on land we too need to hone our skills and become better hunters
Turbo and Shrek