Reels and Floatlines

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Reels and Floatlines

Postby chris oak » May 20th, 2017, 10:08 am

We have this discussion come up every once in a while, but it's always good to bring it up again for the new guys. Keep it civil, If you start attacking each other we will delete your comments.

There are obvious advantages for each. Reels are fantastic because you don't have that floatline dragging around you when you are diving and everything is streamlined on your gun. The only disadvantage is that reels can jam up or tangle or can get spooled which means you might have to drop the gun. The other disadvantage is that it is harder to put pressure on a big fish with a reel. If you are using a reel you might want a OSB bungee that Mori makes, it's a short bungee lined with dynema that stretches a lot, heres' the discussion thread:
Floatlines are great because you can put a lot of pressure on a fish, if you are doing breakaway you also get to detach the spear from the gun so if something happens you only lose the spear and not the gun. The disadvantage is they make a mess on the boat, are more difficult to carry on a shore dive and are prone to tangling when you are first getting in the water. You have a limited amount of line at 50-120' depending on what kind of fish you are hunting, and if you don't throw the gun over your shoulder or clip it off when you are fighting a fish it's easy to lose the gun. They are somewhat annoying as you can get them hitting your fins as you go under.

When I'm spearing seabass I use a 120' floatline, either a neptonics one that has an integrated bungee in front or a red triangle dark waters 120' skinny combo floatline which you can put pressure on and it stretches almost like a bungee. Both are backed by dynema core. Gannet also makes a really good one. When guys are first starting out or poor we always tell them to use a floating poly rope from home depot, they work fine but are a pain in the ass because they tangle up all the time and because they are rough on the outside will catch on your fins and make scratching sounds on the kelp. A good floatline is expensive will last a long time and doesn't tangle or tie up.

I'll try to take some pix of my floatline setups when I get home. I know ulusub has a big reel that holds a ton of line and the aussies have one too.
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Re: Reels and Floatlines

Postby dariian » May 20th, 2017, 10:37 am

Dang it, now I want an OSB.
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Re: Reels and Floatlines

Postby rhyne » May 22nd, 2017, 7:57 am

The OSB does sound like a worthwhile piece of gear... great idea.
I used to prefer reels, but have made the switch on guns larger than 120cm, or anything meant for larger fish. I do prefer a reel for reef guns though. Stopping a WSB with reel line isn't the easiest way to work the fish and then tracing down that much line is a pain. offshore, paddy hopping, sometimes I like having a 120cm with a reel for most of the dorado/yellowtail we find out there... but there's just too many times where that 120 isn't enough when a once in a lifetime tuna/wahoo/etc... swims in front of a diver and the pea-shooter with a reel just isn't the right tool.
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Re: Reels and Floatlines

Postby Bill McIntyre » May 22nd, 2017, 8:18 am

I used reels for at least 10 years. Its a lot less hassle getting in and out of the water, you never have a float line catching in the kelp, etc. But then a buddy shot a big wsb and had his reel jam and then be torn off the gun- the inserts were pulled out of the wood. So then I started using an OSB for a while, but then decided it combined the disadvantages of both systems. You were still trying to stop a fish by grabbing a relatively thin reel line, and you still had to get a float line in and out of the water. So now I'm using a 125' float line instead of a reel.

In theory, a reel has the advantage of having more line that any float line you would be willing to carry. But in practice it usually isn't that way. When I used a reel I used 3 mm Spectra line so that I could grab it without it cutting my glove and hand, and it takes a very large reel to hold a lot of that line. Almost all the reels I see on my boat are not that big, and are filled with much thinner line. Its harder to stop a fish with that thinner line, and its harder to see that line down in the murk and kelp when cutting out a fish.

Edit: I don't shore dive but I'm sure a float line would be a real mess in the rocks and surf. Also, those big reels Chris mentioned might be the way to go. I saw one of those ulusubs on my boat and it was huge.
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Re: Reels and Floatlines

Postby 32juan » May 25th, 2017, 3:31 pm

The main reason I use floatlines is for visibility. I rarely (if ever) shoredive, so the hassle of dealing with a floatline in the surf is a non-issue. I dive a HIGHLY trafficked area, so having a float can mean the difference between getting run over or not. Also, I prefer all my dive buddies to use floats as well, since getting blown off a spot is a very real hazard. Being able to see your buddy's float in the water is a great advantage as well.

I've never really minded reels, but for me, the choice is clear.
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Re: Reels and Floatlines

Postby BeauG » May 25th, 2017, 4:17 pm

I'll also add that using a floatline rigged breakaway (without a float or with a small kelp carrot) is much easier to deal with after shooting a fish in thick kelp. You might spend 15 min untangling 120' of reel line, while with a breakaway floatline, you just reload the shaft and start hunting again.

I've also been using a 120' Darkwaters/Red Traingle Spearfishing skinny floatline paired with a Herranan kelp carrot the past couple seasons and really like it. It's far less noticeable in the water than a standard diameter floatline, plus it has about 30'-or-so of stretch which is nice for those stubborn fish that get you all of the way to the end of your floatline and still won't tie up. This is now my go-to setup for sea bass diving, but ive also tested out the skinny floatline on yellowtail and really liked it too. It's got great action with that 30' of stretch that really lets you put the brakes on and tire out the fish.

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Re: Reels and Floatlines

Postby One_drake » November 8th, 2017, 7:47 pm

I dive with both and try to use the one that best fits the diving I am doing. Without fail during a dive I will wish I had one vs the other. Here are a few of my 98% absolutes.

1. WSB only hunting with fish limit one: REEL

2. Wide open YT in deep water: FLOATLINE

3. Shore diving: REEL

4. Live boat island end (point) drifts : FLOATLINE

If I dive with a reel, i try to keep a carter float or blow up float with me to attach to the gun if the current starts ripping and i need to get back to the boat and the fish is tied up deep. You can also work the float down the line to get the line straighter up and down in current to help get un stuck.
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Re: Reels and Floatlines

Postby Behslayer » November 9th, 2017, 10:29 am

As much as I'd like to use a Reel for Everything.. They just are not the best match for Tuna over 50lbs. So, as much as I hate using what is curretly available in Float and Floatlines.. I'll clip a Floatline onto the back of my gun if there is the possibility of a Tuna showing up or, if I'm diving For Tuna, I made a gun with no Reel so I wouldn't be tempted. It's easy enough for me to unclip my reel, and clip onto my Floatline on the fly. Takes about 3 seconds.

One thing I do want to comment on is Reel lines. Bill mentioned 3mm Lines above. Lately I keep seeing thinner and thinner diameter lines. A Reel line is a Reel line. A Shooting line is a Shooting line.. the ideal for each is very different. The reason it gets on my nerves is that it invites Line Burying... You shot a few Mahi or Rainbow Runners or AP or whatever.. they took off some line and you reeled it back up. Then a Nice Wahoo swims by and you slip her the Steel and she takes off at 70mph and even with little drag on the reel, a thin line will easily bury into the spool. And then you are open to all sorts of dangers. It's much harder for a thicker line to do this. Still you always need to take time and be very conscious respooling your reel after fighting a fish. One thing that I've seen happen is having someone elese on the boat who might not really understand respool the Reel.. they might not make it tensioned and flush, they might even reel it backwards etc.. Do it yourself. I'm still waiting for the right time to ask the family of my friend Nico the question, but everything I've heard so far is pointing to the cause of his death being that his Line buried in the spool of his Reel and in trying to solve the problem he lost track of his depth and O2 consumption. I have also heard of several stories of guys using 1.6mm, 1.8mm Reel line burying and causing problems.

Another thing you need to agree to using a Reel no matter how big the reel is that you may need to pass up on a fish if it's too big or too deep for you to take it responsibly with a Reel. If I'm out diving for Wahoo and Mahi and a 50lb Yellowfin shows up I'll plug that thing. But I learned my lesson.. if a 150lb Tuna shows up.. I will not take the shot with just a reel. No matter how good of a shot I have. The other day I heard a story of a guy who had a 3-400lb Marlin swimming around him for 10mins. He only had a Reel and in the end he took a Really good shot.. but.. even with that great shot, the end result was a broken line, a lost shaft, and most importantly a disrepected Dead marlin somewhere feeding a large shark. That being said... Different fish have different Characteristics on average of what they are going to do.. Most Wahoo will swim big arcs making it possible to land even large Wahoo with a Reel as long as you have the line capacity to absorb the runs and swim with the fish. But.. every now and then one will divebomb for the bottom.. and if it's deeper than the amount of line you have.. Sayonara. Tuna go straight down. Mahi, even giant Bulls are a good candidate for Reels. etc.. there is an element of character of prey to consider as well as conditions such as depth, currents, sharks, structure, etc.
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Re: Reels and Floatlines

Postby castronova » November 9th, 2017, 1:10 pm

Great stuff. I believe something that doesn't get mentioned much (it may be above but I haven't visited this thread in a long time) is that you should cross your reel line over itself as much as possible when loading the line. Most people try to load the line like a fishing reel, spooled perfectly and slowly from one side to the other. This is the best way to get the line to dig and cause problems like Jon mentioned above. I try to make the steepest most aggressive crosses when loading my line. This way there are no perfect grooves for the line to run into. I have been doing this for years now with no issues and use reels 9 out of 10 times I'm in the water.
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Re: Reels and Floatlines

Postby John Hughes » November 9th, 2017, 7:46 pm

The points above are worth listening to. I'm glad JP mentioned the cross over on the reel line and the hazard of burying your line in the spool. Lot's of points I'd like to follow up on in regards to reels but maybe at a later time when I've got more opportunity.

I've got reels on every one of my guns including my new 67" bluewater gun coming from Mori. With that being said, I've found that using a floatline in certain situations is the only way to go. Obviously tuna which I don't really like to hunt. Grouper diving would apply for me as well as I'm not a super deep diver and floatlines allow you to put more pressure on the fish initially but you still can't really stop them. Another reason I'll use a floatline and float these days is safety in open water or at the islands. My friend Brian likes all his divers to have floats so he can keep tabs on them from the boat and it's sound reasoning. You really can't argue with having more visibility for yourself when diving crowded island waters so even though I'll still be fighting all my fish off the reel, I'll clip a floatline and float to the end of my gun to make the captain more comfortable and have some visibility from other boaters.

I'm sure as I get older I may switch more to a floatline/float combo and let the float take the fight out of the fish more but for now, the whole rush for me in fighting bigger fish is in the mano a mano battle. Just pay attention to where your reel line is at all times and swim up current as you're fighting if you can. Also, reel line maintenance is critical. If your reel jams, just let go! The gun is not worth your life.
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