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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