One of the key elements to landing big fish is to make sure your equipment is in pristine condition and that means changing rigging and hardware. It does not mean that you need to change every piece of gear you own for every single dive trip. It does mean that you should keep track of the condition of your dive gear and replace it well before it breaks. It is not the two-pound snapper that is going to test your dive gear, but the big fish that are what we all hope we will see out there that will put your dive gear to the test.
Changing Rigging and Hardware
There are pieces of equipment that need to be replaced periodically. Any metal that is exposed to salt water should be given careful consideration, especially before big trips. The idea of spending thousands of dollars to travel to a foreign country, in addition to thousands of dollars spent on spearguns, shafts, slip tips, floats, float lines, and bungees, and then having a trip ruined because you didn’t want to spend the money to replace a rusty tuna clip, shackle, or swivel. It is worth the 10 minutes and a few dollars to change rigging and hardware out on your float, float line, or to replace your float line.
Shooting line can be a very sore subject for many divers. If you dive a lot in your home town, your shooting line probably looks terrible. All divers have a tendency to become complacent about their shooting line, but it is one of the most important elements to landing your catch. Old shooting line is often frayed, which reduces its strength. If you use monofilament, the crimps corrode over time once exposed to water. This also reduces the strength of the line’s ability to hold tension. Stainless steel cable rusts. If you are diving several times a week, this is a gradual reduction that you don’t notice. The problem comes in when a big, strong fish tests your equipment. That is when the shooting line breaks. Save yourself the trouble and change rigging and hardware, like your shooting line and crimps.
Most experienced divers share the opinion that it is important to tune your flopper shafts. It is true that a properly tuned flopper shaft helps land fish. If you are unfamiliar with the term “tuning a flopper shaft”, we mean tightening the flopper on the spear. This is done to the point that once the flopper is forced open, it remains open until forced down manually. Tuning a flopper is somewhat delicate and precise. If you over tighten the flopper, it will not deploy on the other side of the fish. If the flopper is too loose, the fish can struggle and the flopper can close and pull out of the fish. The best way to do this is to use a small ball peen hammer. Put the shaft and flopper on a hard surface and make small adjustments until it is just right.