I have been sick with the flu the past week or so, and unable to dive or do anything for that matter. I keep meaning to beef this site up more, but it tends to get neglected. Google has drastically cut back on the amount of traffic I get, but I really don’t want to let the site go. I get a lot of return visitors on the site although it makes next to no money it is probably my favorite website out the hundreds I own.
When I first put this site up a while ago, I wrote some spearguns reviews. I got a bit of traffic off that, which was good but at the same time I kind of felt under qualified writing them. Maybe I should write more?
I am going to talk about some gear specifically reels. For a long time I kind of viewed people who use reels with skepticism. Most the locals use float lines, once in awhile we would get a visitor who would come with a bunch of fancy gear including reels. They would usually look really cool but shoot way less fish, and less quality fish then the locals and often spend big part of day in the boat untangling their reels. Then I dove with Cory Rodgers and Stoker Larson who both used reels and were great at shooting fish, so I saw the potential there but still didn’t get into them.
Then one day I borrowed a small Andre with a merou reel on it and I was kind of hooked. I was diving Joe’s tug and no float line getting caught on the moorings was great. Plus Joe’s tug is like 60 or 65 feet feet deep, which usually means I have to add a second piece to my normal float line. When I dive with a float line I try to use the shortest line possible, so I usually use like a 75-80 foot line which is good to around 55 feet, maybe a little more if there is no current, but after that depth I need more line. So anyways it was pretty great.
Shortly thereafter I had Stoner build me a 110 cm rear handle custom gun which is freaking awesome by the way, and started shopping for a reel. I found there is an issue with reels, they break. Now I go diving a lot, I used to think I just go a little bit more then average. I have come to learn that the average diver outside of the keys and south florida does not go diving very much. Another thing is if you dive a lot you destroy gear, a lot of diving gear is junk to be honest. When I noticed that I was tearing through gear that lasted other people “forever” , at first I thought that I just didn’t know how to take care of my stuff. Over time I have concluded that this not really case.
In fact I have come to find that if someone says something like “my <insert some gear name here> is awesome, its lasted me 5 years”, then they in fact probably almost never go diving.
Anyways this has been my experience with reels, they can be designed to go into free spool on their own or not. Now if you are diving deep or shooting soft fish like mackerel having the reel go into free spool is fine but in a lot of other cases I don’t want the reel to go into free spool. In fact in a lot of cases I want the reel to give almost no line. If shoot a triggerfish or a yellow jack on the reef, or a hogfish in 20-30 feet of water, I don’t want to give them any line at all. For one it takes longer to get the gun loaded again, two if it gets tangled in the reef it really takes longer to get loaded again. There are tons of reel which do this, one hard tug and they go into freespool, for me this is useless. But a lot of other people love this type of reel so I guess you have to choose based on your diving style.
Another consideration is if you want to palm the reel fighting the fish, it seems palming the reel will eventually break most reels. Personally I prefer it rather then grabbing the line but that is personal opinion as well.
This is the first reel I tried and I hated it. I guess spearmaster makes the reel and then other people put their logo on it. It goes into free spool when you shoot a little fish, hell it even went into free spool from the force of the shaft pulling on the shooting line if you shot into space. I fished this for a minute and then get rid of it.
This is reel is kind of awesome except for a major weakness in the frame. The drag on this reel is the best for my purposes. You can put into freespool with a flick of the dial, or you can keep it locked down where is smoothly lets out line with moderate pressure. You can’t really lock the reel down but so far I have found that unnecessary. I loved this reel for a bit then the frame broke. The spindle for the spool is just spot welded on to the main frame, I had shot a lot fish with reel, numerous amberjacks, big cudas and 50# cobia and had fought them all by palming the spool. The frame broke, I had bought the reel at nautilus spearfishing in Miami and he replaced it no problems, but I decided to keep trying reels and I sold the replacement.
Then came the riffe reel, it costs almost twice as much as the others so it must be better right? It was big and goofy but the drag knob was pretty cool you could lock the spool down and then switch it to free spool at first it worked great. Over a little bit of time though the nut that was holding on the reel kept coming loose and then the reel would free spool. I found if I cranked the nut on then the reel would never go into free spool which was ok for diving shallow, but was not acceptable for deep diving. This got worse and worse, I had to adjust the nut a couple times of day, so I sold the POS.
The Ulusub “bombproof” reel is what I have been using now. Its frame is strong I can wrench fish out of structure and palm the reel all I want. The drag keeps giving resistance if I turn it up, or I can make it go into free spool as necessary. There has been draw backs with this reel though, first the early models have a drag knob with plastic threads these of course stripped off after a couple intense fishing trips. I emailed ulusub and they said they would send a new knob with metal threads which totally fixed this problem. The next thing that happened was I had shot a big cuda and it was taking line heading into a wreck and I palmed the reel and the knob broke off. I contacted Pete from Ulusub and he sent me a new reel no questions asked. I told him that I was going to stop using reels fishing around wrecks and for jacks because they seem to break the reels and he told me to fish the reel as hard as possible and tell him what breaks on it and he would warranty it. So I guess I am sticking with the Ulusub, although I think they need to reinforce the knob on the reel, perhaps run a bolt through the spool.
Well it took a few months but I broke the ulusub, first I wore out the drag washers so the drag was not working properly. Then I actually broke the axle or whatever you call the metal piece that the reel turns on. I didn’t get the whole thing warren-teed but Pete sold me a new assembly for the reel for cheap . I think I am going to stick with this reel. Even though it did eventually break down, you can’t really expect a $60 reel to last forever.