Many inexperienced spearos tend to ignore the benefits of a float line when they look around for spearfishing gear. For them, a float line is an unnecessary accessory at best or just a luxury they wouldn’t like to or can’t afford to waste money on. But, boy, can they get any more wrong?
A float line is just an important part of your tools. It’s a safety measure against losing your speargun if it falls to the bottom. If the gun gets stuck in rocks or crevices, you can use the float line to yank it out. And if you’re going after large pelagic species, a float line is definitely indispensable.
As you can imagine, float lines come in all shapes and sizes. They’re made from different material and each has its own usage. This comprehensive guide answers all the pressing questions on your mind and gives you a clear idea of what float lines are and why you’d need them.
What Is The Purpose Of Spearfishing Float Line?
A float line can get you out of many sticky situations. If during the scuffle with the monster fish you’re targeting, you happen to lose your grip over the speargun or it slips out of your hand and disappears in the murky depths, a float line ensures you’ll retrieve your gun easily.
Other times you might get your gun stuck. If you like to explore shipwrecks, reefs, or caves the way all spearos do, then you must have found yourself struggling to free your speargun. The gun gets stuck in a crevice and there’s no way for you to free it. But a float line takes care of that. It gives you a good grip over the speargun as you dislodge it.
The float line also prevents the large fish from taking off with your spear. In cases where you miss the sweet spot and your shot doesn’t kill the fish but wings it, the monster will turn and disappear with your spear. You need a good quality float line to keep the spear tethered to your gun and help minimize the impact of the spear.
As you can see a float line is a necessity not a frivolous accessory. So which is the right float line to use? Let’s explore the various types, weights, and lengths.
Spearfishing Float Line Weight
How much should the float line weigh? There’s no right answer for that. However, the golden rule of thumb is the lighter the better. The last thing you’d want is to have a heavy float line that hampers your movement underwater or interferes with your aim.
That said, there’s no clear cut or ideal weight. It all depends on how much weight you can carry and the size of the speargun. A light float line makes it easy to carry the speargun. It also means it won’t sink in the water or drag you to depths you didn’t intend to sink to. You have your weight belt for that and any extra weight will be counterproductive.
Plastic or nylon lines are usually lighter than bungee-cord lines but this comes at the cost of the tension resistance that makes bungee lines a favorite among professional spearos. So it’s a trade off and you will need to try a few types to decide on the best one that works for you.
Spearfishing Float Line Length
The length of the float line is determined by many factors. The depth of the water, the type of fish you go after, and the material the float line is made of. Naturally the deeper you want to dive, the longer the float line should be.
That said, the average length you should aim for is 50 feet. Depending on the type the float line (more on that later) that length could stretch to 60 feet underwater. That extra length comes in handy when your target is a huge fish and the impact of the spear is too great. A long line absorbs the shock and reduces the tension.
Some spearos prefer to have a line longer than the depth they intend. For example if you’re going to dive in a 50 feet depth, one and a half line length would be ideal. Remember the fish doesn’t just dive down, but horizontal as well. And when your spear is stuck to the fish’s dorsal spot, you want enough float line to protect you against the tug of the monster on the other end.
What Color Should I Choose For My Spearfishing Float Line?
Color is another aspect that spearos like to split hairs over when it comes to float lines. You’ll find some spearos who swear by having a translucent line while others prefer a certain color. Now each school of thought has its own arguments and we’ll try to cover them real quick here.
For the colorless spearos, it’s all about not giving away your location to the fish. Now this makes sense if you’re going after small and skittish types of fish. The ones who detect any large and unspecified blobs in the water as danger. But large fish don’t scare easily and no matter who bright or flashy your float line they won’t disappear when they see you.
The spearos who prefer a certain color maintain that a flashy line can actually attract the fish. Some fish are curious by nature and seeing a bit of color in the murky waters is usually associated with food. Many fish have flashy colors and instead of scaring off your target fish, the colorful float line might act as a lure and bring the fish closer to you.
As you can see the experts differ here. Each side has their own argument to make. Feel free to go with dull green or black colors as they make you harder to detect under the water.
Type Of Spearfishing Float Line
The market is full of many brands and it’s easy to get dizzy wondering which one is the right float line for you. Well, we’re here to help. They all boil down to 4 types. Here’s what each type has for and against it.
One of the most common float lines and many spearos of different levels prefer them. They are cheap and come in handy when you’re hunting for small fish. They don’t stretch under the water and become taut real fast so you can’t use them against large fish species. Another disadvantage is they get tangled up easily so you’d usually like them short to make them easy to coil and uncoil.
Foam-filled Ski Rope
That getting tangled thing about ski ropes put some people off. And also their weight. So a foam filled ski rope fixes those problems for you. The stuffed foam makes the line lighter and easy to float. It also prevents the tangling issue since the line isn’t heavy enough to make it unwieldy or drag you down. Go for this type if you’re on a budget or not fishing in deep waters.
Dyneema PVC Coated
These float lines are usually more substantial both in girth and structure than the previous two types. This makes them less likely to get entangled or come in the way when you’re going after a large fish. The PVC gives the line good buoyancy and makes it easy to float. However, after a while the PVC wears off allowing the water to fill up the line and make it sink. These float lines are also more expensive than the other types above.
One of the most versatile float lines if not the most expensive out there. Made from top quality bungee cord, these float lines are ideal for fish over 65 pounds and more. The extendibility of the line means less strain on your gear and the prey less likely to escape. You should use these float lines with billfish, yellowfin, and bluefin but not with dogtooth tuna.
Choosing The Right Spearfishing Float Line
We already covered what makes a good spearfishing float line. However there are still other features we haven’t talked about. While the color and type matter, you also need to know which one works for you, how to set it up, and how to get the most out of your float line.
On average you should go for a float line that is longer than the depth of the water you’re fishing in. Some experts recommend using a float line one and a half times longer than the depth of the water. A short line can put your life in danger or risk losing your whole rig.
Your float line should also be made of good quality materials, doesn’t sink, and doesn’t give away your location. A black or dark green line isn’t easy to detect by the prey and allows you to lurk in the water without scaring off the fish.
Your target fish also determine the type and material of the float line. Some types such as the bungee-cord are not the right choice when you’re hunting dogtooth tuna. They’ll drag the float line and break it with their sharp fins.
Reel Or Float Line
Some spearos prefer to use a reel while others swear by the float line. But to be fair they’re both different and used for different situations. While reels work in shallow waters and are more suitable for small fish, a float line is needed in deepwater spearfishing especially when you hunt for large species like tuna.
Reels are more handy when you get into the water and they make it a whole lot easier to breach the surface as well. Reels are also easier to coil and uncoil, store in the boat, and get them out of the way.
A float line on the other hand is the right choice when you dive in bluewater. It is sturdier than reels especially those made from bungee-cord and can handle a lot of weight and stress. Not to mention that the float line secures your rig and makes retrieving your speargun a lot easier if you happen to lose it in the nooks and crannies of the ocean.