Roller for White Sea Bass

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Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby SeaBear » November 18th, 2020, 11:21 pm

Title says it all for the most part. Thinking of a roller (leaning towards Pathos) in the 115cm range. I'm a smaller guy so the thought of not having to lug around a big gun around the kelp resonates with me. Any thoughts? Anyone have personal input on hunting WSB with rollers? Thanks in advance.


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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby John Hughes » November 19th, 2020, 6:09 am

I'm not a roller guy. Never used one, probably never will. In general, I try and be a watchful guy who learns from other peoples mistakes today if I can. With that being said, rollers have been around a few years now. I know lots of people who have tried them. Out of all those people (and I know a lot of people) not too many still use them. Pretty much everybody I know that has used them has to work through certain problems with them. It seems from my observation that at one point, they just give up and get rid of them. I only know of one guy who started using rollers and is still committed and happy with them but he doesn't really dive any more. Other than that one guy, I don't know anybody who has actually started using rollers and been happy start to finish. I'm not that smart of a guy, but that tells me something. In theory, rollers seem to be a great idea and have some amazing qualities. In application, from my observation over the years of my friends, they seem to be a pain in the ass, a source of frustration and guys lose a lot of fish with them.

I don't get too many opportunities on seabass and I'm a committed seabass diver who lives right on top of the fish. I dive more than most. It is true that I suck, but when those rare opportunities come along to finally shoot a fish, I don't want some stupid issue with my gun to be the reason I go home empty handed with nightmares.

Those are my thoughts since you asked.

One other thing. My main dive partner right now was diving with a Pathos roller the last year. He had nothing but headaches with the trigger mechanism. He replaced it 3 times and is still having issues with it. That gun cost him a ton of yellows in the last few months and he told me it cost him a seabass over 80 this year. Keep that in mind if you decide to go that route.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby cruzer » November 19th, 2020, 7:21 am

Great info John.

What is your gun of choice when hunting sea bass?
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby grometito » November 19th, 2020, 9:06 am

John do you know if he was using the stock mech or one of the upgraded ones on the pathos ?
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby chris oak » November 19th, 2020, 11:34 am

I built a roller gun and it's fun when it works, low recoil, longer shot etc. But the line release is more complicated than a regular gun so I only bring it out when I've shot a bunch of yellows and would not use it for a cbass gun. I know guys who blew shots with rollers on big seabass and that was it for their roller gun. With my gil gun, I load it up and point it and shoot it and it has never failed me. Most of my seabass shots are under 15 feet.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby John Hughes » November 19th, 2020, 2:22 pm

cruzer wrote:Great info John.

What is your gun of choice when hunting sea bass?


I dive Mori guns. Specifically for seabass I dive a 55" Mori enclosed track. Expensive but perfectly balanced and shoot perfect as soon as it leaves the shop. I don't like to tweak around with my guns. I leave that to the professionals.

Here's a 68lbr I shot this year with it.

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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby John Hughes » November 19th, 2020, 2:28 pm

grometito wrote:John do you know if he was using the stock mech or one of the upgraded ones on the pathos ?


Apparently, he had lots of issues with the stock mech. Then he changed it out for one of the upgraded ones and had issues with that. Then he replaced it with another upgraded one and it worked once or twice before he threw it in a corner of his garage.

I'm not here to blow up anybodies gear or company but I do value honest experience with products. Granted, this is second hand info from me but I've been on the boat with the guy numerous times while he's :angry-cussingblack: because of another missed opportunity on fish due to the issues he was having with the gun.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby SeaBear » November 19th, 2020, 4:11 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys. If not a roller, could you recommend a WSB gun that is still relatively low profile ? I'm already having headaches thinking about swinging a huge gun underwater.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby grometito » November 19th, 2020, 4:30 pm

SeaBear wrote:Thanks for the feedback guys. If not a roller, could you recommend a WSB gun that is still relatively low profile ? I'm already having headaches thinking about swinging a huge gun underwater.


Midhandle hybrid like a Wong, I think I saw one for sale here in recently
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby VangysWay » November 19th, 2020, 5:08 pm

SeaBear wrote:Thanks for the feedback guys. If not a roller, could you recommend a WSB gun that is still relatively low profile ? I'm already having headaches thinking about swinging a huge gun underwater.


Are you a rear handle guy or a mid handle guy? Personally, I would look for a 120cm rear handle wood gun that is heavy enough to handle 3 bands and a 5/16 shaft. If you're a midhandle guy, there are many options out there, but obviously a Mori gun would be a great choice and I used a Mike Novotny MAN midhandle for a few years with great success. If you like rear handles, an Abellan 120 with 2 bands and a 5/16 shaft would be another good choice. Pathos 125 is a nice gun, but I don't like the idea of using a 7.1mm shaft on WSB. I shot this #43 pounder at about 12-15' with a 120 Mantis pipe gun, 2 tight 14mm bands, and a 7.5mm shaft. I did not penetrate through the other side.

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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby chris oak » November 19th, 2020, 6:12 pm

SeaBear wrote:Thanks for the feedback guys. If not a roller, could you recommend a WSB gun that is still relatively low profile ? I'm already having headaches thinking about swinging a huge gun underwater.


A better question is what are you shooting now? If you are switching all the time between guns and makers you might have problems.

Most seabass guys aren't swinging their guns more than a couple of feet, you carry it low profile next to your body and pivot and extend the gun. I used to use hybrids all the time for shore dives as they are much lighter guns but since I shoot all wood guns the rest of the year I was having some problems with accuracy on shots longer than 10 feet.

There is also a choice on shaft sizes, most guys that shoot a lot of seabass that I know use 5/16" shafts because the impact and penetration. There is always the argument of speed with a 9/32" shaft but I like a lot of power to break big seabass spines if I have that option.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby hydroid » November 20th, 2020, 5:35 am

I have never hunted WSB as I live in the South Pacific but there's a guy in your neck of the woods that makes a pretty good shooter, Mr. Mike Novotny aka MAN Mid Handles. I just purchased my second gun from him, I will try and post pics, that gun (59.5" three band) is one of his new slim models mainly for WSB. That's also a Mike Novotny gun in my avatar but there's nothing slim about it, haha. I've had good luck with Ulusub and MAN Mid-Handles, quite possible either could fashion a gun for your specific needs. Hope this helps.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby John Hughes » November 20th, 2020, 6:18 am

SeaBear wrote: I'm already having headaches thinking about swinging a huge gun underwater.


I believe you're thinking too much. When the moment comes, you're really not thinking about your gun and how it performs. All you can think of is "OH SHIT, THEY'RE REAL!!" :rofl: All thought process pretty much stops at that point and all you can think about is the fish.

You're not diving a huge blue water cannon, you should be diving something under 60" and taking less than a 15' shot. Most gun makers can fit those parameters so you just have to figure out if you're more comfortable with a mid/rear handle. I don't see too many guns shooting those skinnier shafts other than the Euro pipe guns any more but from experience, most guys shoot 5/16" shafts on seabass for a reason.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby Alex Ray » November 20th, 2020, 9:24 am

If you're swinging your gun while diving for seabass in a way that's giving you headaches you might want to adjust your technique. It's like Chris said, keep your gun tight to your body (i.e. soldier-at-arms) and extend only when you intend to pull the trigger pretty shortly thereafter. Anything more than that and its added fatigue while presenting a larger-than-necessary silhouette for the tanker seabass paralleling you in the murk with curiosity.

For reference, I have successfully dove fairly thick kelp with a 4-band custom 69" bluewater cannon with success and minimal headaches. I've also successfully landed good fish with a 2-band stock Riffe 120X, but then again I've also passed up on slightly longer shots with it because I don't want to wound a fish on a prayer. Neither are the preferred choice for me but its proof it can be done to either extreme. However, if you're serious about seabass diving, I'd echo some of what has been said - 5/16" shaft on a well-balanced 55"-60" long gun that makes efficient use of stock length for band stretch.

In the end, everything can be summarized as the following: Find a gun you trust implicitly and use it exclusively. Or, for more detail, here's one of my favorite hot-takes from our resident salt-encrusted whale barnacle Nate Baker:

Nate Baker wrote:For seabass I like my 61" Riffe, unless it's really dirty, in which case I like my 61" Riffe. But when visibility gets over 20' I'll switch to my 61" Riffe.

But that's just coastal diving for seabass. When the yellowtail get more plentiful I usually change it up and bring my 61" Riffe. Same with island diving. I usually need at least a 61" gun for that cleaner water but find anything longer to be cumbersome. So I usually compromise and use my 61" Riffe or my 61" Riffe.

I'll save my Baja preferences for another post. I don't have time at the moment to list all the guns I use there.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby Bill McIntyre » November 20th, 2020, 12:05 pm

VangysWay wrote:
SeaBear wrote:Thanks for the feedback guys. If not a roller, could you recommend a WSB gun that is still relatively low profile ? I'm already having headaches thinking about swinging a huge gun underwater.


Are you a rear handle guy or a mid handle guy? Personally, I would look for a 120cm rear handle wood gun that is heavy enough to handle 3 bands and a 5/16 shaft. If you're a midhandle guy, there are many options out there, but obviously a Mori gun would be a great choice and I used a Mike Novotny MAN midhandle for a few years with great success. If you like rear handles, an Abellan 120 with 2 bands and a 5/16 shaft would be another good choice. Pathos 125 is a nice gun, but I don't like the idea of using a 7.1mm shaft on WSB. I shot this #43 pounder at about 12-15' with a 120 Mantis pipe gun, 2 tight 14mm bands, and a 7.5mm shaft. I did not penetrate through the other side.

Image


It's been so long since I shot a seabass that I'm not sure I should contribute to this discussion, but ignorance never stopped me before.

I share Seabear's concern about swinging big guns. Alex has pointed out that you shouldn't be swinging, but even extending big guns is awkward for me. Maybe its because I'm only 5'-8" after losing a half inch to disk compression in the last few years, but anything over 60" is more than I like. For many years a 57" Wong hybrid was my go-to gun. But since I have to keep trying new stuff, I recently got an Ulusub 160 mishandle, 63" long. I think its the best handling big gun I've ever tried, but it still may be a tad longer than I prefer. If I'm still diving next season when I'm 82 I'll get back to you.

Now about that shaft thickness thing. I can't remember the details now, but when that 57" Wong arrived I didn't have a 5/16" shaft for it and was leaving for San Clemente Island the next morning, so I put a 9/32" shaft in it. I shot two sea bass and penetrated to the other side on both of them. Not wanting to mess with success, I stuck with the 9/32" shaft ever after that. I've never understood why people say it doesn't work. I punched through gill covers and toggled on the far side. Maybe its because the smaller diameter slip tip compensates for the lighter shaft? Or that the lighter shaft is going faster? When I discussed this with Daryl, he drew an analogy something like this. If you are trying to punch a hole in the hood a a car, which will penetrate better with the same force- an icepick or a #2 Phillips head screwdriver?

VangysWay made some good suggestions for guns, one being the Abellan 120. I have one and I agree that its a great choice for a rear handle gun. The name is deceiving since it has 130cm of band stretch. The gun is 57" long, which puts it in my preferred size for short guys. I wish I could tell you about the sea bass I've taken with it, but I didn't even see a sea bass this year. All the kelp beds from Dana Point south where I usually hunt were gone this year, and all the guys from up north who are glad to ride on my boat when its good down here forget my phone number when its good at PeeVee. :) But in the pool its amazing, shooting flat over 20 feet from the tip with good penetration. And I have taken sea bass with the Abellan 110 in murky water, so the 120 probably works too.

Which leads me to more pontification. We've always felt like we needed at least three 16 mm bands for a sea bass gun but those Abellans and some others get by with two 14.5 mm small ID bands. Why is that? I don't build guns but I think part of the answer is gun design. These guns have a handle mounted high up closer to the band recoil and the bands are channeled up one top of the gun parallel to the shaft. The energy is more efficiently directed to propelling the shaft.

If I seem to be pushing the Abellans, its just because I own two of them. I know a guy who is deadly on sea bass with a Pathos 125 and I'm sure there are other good rear handled choices. I'm not even sure you can get an Abellan now anyway. Since Harry K moved production to the US I haven't heard any news. But if I didn't own the Abellan 120 I'd buy the Ulusub 145RH. The damn labelling is so inconsistent and misleading, but that gun is an almost exact twin of the Abellan 120, same length, and band stretch and same two small ID bands. A friend has one and does well with it and its sure cheaper than an Abellan, comes with two shafts included, has a choice of two good Ulusub reels, and and is available now.

Damn, that was exhausting. Time for a nap.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby John Hughes » November 20th, 2020, 8:15 pm

Alex Ray wrote:

In the end, everything can be summarized as the following: Find a gun you trust implicitly and use it exclusively. Or, for more detail, here's one of my favorite hot-takes from our resident salt-encrusted whale barnacle Nate Baker:

Nate Baker wrote:For seabass I like my 61" Riffe, unless it's really dirty, in which case I like my 61" Riffe. But when visibility gets over 20' I'll switch to my 61" Riffe.

But that's just coastal diving for seabass. When the yellowtail get more plentiful I usually change it up and bring my 61" Riffe. Same with island diving. I usually need at least a 61" gun for that cleaner water but find anything longer to be cumbersome. So I usually compromise and use my 61" Riffe or my 61" Riffe.

I'll save my Baja preferences for another post. I don't have time at the moment to list all the guns I use there.


That is the funniest quote I've heard in a long time :bowrofl: :eusa-clap:
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby Bill McIntyre » November 20th, 2020, 9:23 pm

It was classic.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby Donzi Paul » November 21st, 2020, 10:59 am

I just pissed my pants...that is some funny shite.

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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby 32juan » November 22nd, 2020, 9:10 am

Mike Novotny (MAN Midhandles) makes a great gun. He's currently making a few guns, and one is right in the size range you'd want. 59"

Here is a video of my personal best Yellowtail using a 59" MAN Midhandle. It was a long shot in less than ideal visibility, and it worked great. I've shot a lot of fish with it, and it's my go to gun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4fCqH8l7Tg
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby gringo sushi » November 22nd, 2020, 6:37 pm

I got excited about the roller gun thing and jumped on the bandwagon, wasted a year or so futzing with it and loosing fish, then sold it for about half of what I paid.

What helped me to give it up was taking delivery of a long awaited Mori 51 to compliment my Mori 65. Other than a reef gun for halibut, calicos, etc the two Moris are all I need from WSB to BFT.

When concerned about manuvering or "swinging" a big gun (especially if concerned about kelp being an obsacle in close quarters WSB hunting) don't count out the advantage you get from having a midhandle. The distance from handle to tip on my Mori 51 is the same as my pathos 82. Same check on my Mori 65 is only about 6" longer than my pathos 110. I find them more ergonomic to swim with and like the control that comes from having the tail stock to work with.

Good luck with finding your "Happy Place" gun. Once you've found it you'll know it and never want to change.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby dam » November 30th, 2020, 10:43 am

Man, I hate to resurrect an old thread but that quote by Nate is just too good. He does leave me wondering what his Baja setup is like... :bowrofl:. Thanks for sharing, Alex.

Seabear, heed the words from these grizzled old farts. At least 3 band gun that can sling a beefy shaft. I can't believe some guys are still recommending 2 band 100-120cm euro guns for wsb. Everyone has stories of taking down huge fish with a lesser guns, but you don't hear about the ones they lost due to inadequate gear. :angry-cussingblack:
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby chris oak » December 1st, 2020, 12:44 am

dam wrote:I can't believe some guys are still recommending 2 band 100-120cm euro guns for wsb. Everyone has stories of taking down huge fish with a lesser guns, but you don't hear about the ones they lost due to inadequate gear. :angry-cussingblack:


This is HUGE. Noobs always are talking about their 100-110 cm euro guns taking down seabass with floppers etc. You don't hear the stories about the fish they lost. When I started I used a 120cm rabitech almost exclusively and I put down a few big seabass with it. Most of these shots were at closer range and I was lucky. But as you go along you start noticing that the euros don't pack the punch of a bigger gun with a bigger shaft. If you look at a seabass spine, it's THICK. I bounced a shaft off a big seabass once and that was enough for the railguns.

55-60" all wood with a minimum of 3 bands (I prefer 4 on my 59") and a 5/16" shaft. If you are still hot on the roller, borrow one and shoot it 20 times. If it never botches and you still like it you have answered your question.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby Bill McIntyre » December 1st, 2020, 6:53 am

So what is it that a roller gun does wrong in 20 shots? I’m not about to try one at this late date but I’m curious. I keep reading that people have problems but I’m not sure what the problems are.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby rene » December 1st, 2020, 9:59 am

I'm very surprised this tread is not flamming :greetings-clappingorange: Thanks for this list where civility seems to be the rule!

I built a lot of guns in the last 15 years, and I was curious about rollers. I tried about a dozen from the market from 75 to 110 cm (all single standard rollers), they were fun but nothing magical. Anyway, I made two (finishing my second this afternoon, a single roller 130) and I've used exclusively the first roller I made since April. I really like it.

My conclusions are as follow (it's my personal experience) :

Good :
1- They are fun to shoot : low recoil and good range.

Bad
1- Takes longer to reload because of the line passage and band setup. I would not use one in a competition (not talking about blue water).
2- The setup is a little more cumbersome for reel placement.
3- They shoots high (you get used to it but it's a bit confusing when you also shoot standard guns).

Overall very similar to standard guns in performance.
1- No obvious extra range.
2- No obvious extra penetration.

I really like them but I can get same results with standard guns of the same lengths, and rollers don't compete easily with heavy guns. Inversed rollers (the one with pulleys) may do better in that regard. I'm making one later.

I did a little comparison video this summer, obviously it's not all rollers and all setups that were tested. The roller you see has one tight ass band (coef of 3.7). It's a little more powerful with a 16 mm and all that jazz, but it's not as well balanced with 16 mm.. anyway watch this :

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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby Bill McIntyre » December 1st, 2020, 10:50 am

rene wrote:I'm very surprised this tread is not flamming :greetings-clappingorange: Thanks for this list where civility seems to be the rule!

I told you so. Chris is a bad ass, sort of like Mark Barville on the FDL. It's refreshing after Spearboard.
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Re: Roller for White Sea Bass

Postby John Hughes » December 1st, 2020, 8:54 pm

rene wrote:I'm very surprised this tread is not flamming :greetings-clappingorange: Thanks for this list where civility seems to be the rule!

I built a lot of guns in the last 15 years, and I was curious about rollers. I tried about a dozen from the market from 75 to 110 cm (all single standard rollers), they were fun but nothing magical. Anyway, I made two (finishing my second this afternoon, a single roller 130) and I've used exclusively the first roller I made since April. I really like it.

My conclusions are as follow (it's my personal experience) :

Good :
1- They are fun to shoot : low recoil and good range.

Bad
1- Takes longer to reload because of the line passage and band setup. I would not use one in a competition (not talking about blue water).
2- The setup is a little more cumbersome for reel placement.
3- They shoots high (you get used to it but it's a bit confusing when you also shoot standard guns).

Overall very similar to standard guns in performance.
1- No obvious extra range.
2- No obvious extra penetration.

I really like them but I can get same results with standard guns of the same lengths, and rollers don't compete easily with heavy guns. Inversed rollers (the one with pulleys) may do better in that regard. I'm making one later.

I did a little comparison video this summer, obviously it's not all rollers and all setups that were tested. The roller you see has one tight ass band (coef of 3.7). It's a little more powerful with a 16 mm and all that jazz, but it's not as well balanced with 16 mm.. anyway watch this :



Appreciate the comparison and video. It's nice to have another perspective on the board here, welcome!
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