Shafts (Spears) & Shooting Line
Shafts range from 6mm to 9mm, and are manufactured out of stainless steel, spring (hardened) stainless steel or galvanized steel. Stainless steel is the best of these materials for resisting corrosion, but it is also the material that bends with the least amount of force. Galvanized steel is stronger, but even galvanized steel will rust after a short period of exposure to salt water. The best compromise is hardened stainless steel. Usually these shafts have a brownish color obtained when the metal was heat treated. This color can be polished off and the shaft will look shiny like stainless steel and remain less prone to bending.
The most common tip for a shaft is the single barb (flopper) style with the points milled directly into the shaft. Shafts with these tips are commonly referred to as either Hawaiian or Tahitian flopper shafts. Hawaiian refers to shafts with floppers on the bottom, and Tahitian refers to shafts with floppers installed on top. These differences do impact the trajectory of the shaft, so the best option varies from gun to gun and is often based on personal preference. The stainless steel flopper is generally about 3 inches (7.6cm) long and is installed about one flopper’s length from the tip of the shaft. The flopper itself provides holding power by “flopping” open (or “engaging”) after penetrating the far side of the fish and then resting perpendicular to the body of the fish and stopping the shaft from pulling back through the hole.
There are also threaded shafts that will accommodate an array of spear tips commonly available on the market. American made shafts have a 6mm metric thread, while some European shafts have a 7mm metric thread. Hawaiian and Tahitian flopper shafts are the most popular shafts, as they are light,accurate, easy to remove from fish, less expensive than threaded tipped shafts, and provide minimal drag.
The line attached to the spear shaft is called the shooting line. Shooting line may be attached to the gun, a gun-mounted reel or a floatline. When considering a shooting line, weight is critical, as lighter line means less drag. Shooting lines are commonly available in nylon, Kevlar, monofilament, and stainless steel cable. Other options include braided, waxed and coated. As a rule of thumb, stiffer lines prevent tangles. The strength of shooting lines generally varies between 200 and 1000 pound (90.7kg and 453.6kg) test. Keep in mind, the weakest link in a shooting line is always the point of attachment. Nylon and monofilament shooting lines work well in most situations. They are durable and will last a long time. Although cables may rust or be damaged before nylon and monofilament, cables are a must for big game