I have been playing around with the Riffe pole spear for a couple of months now and ooh my… it was really back to basics. It´s a learning process. It requires getting closer to the fish than with a speargun, how to aim and more. One of the hardest parts was not getting closer to the fish. That was super fun and I was able to improve fast. The hardest part really was how to handle the pole spear in the water and the aiming.
While diving down, I hold the pole spear in the middle, aligned with my body. When I get closer to the fish I move slowly with one hand to the band and keep the pole spear in position using two hands. I tried many different ways to go down with the pole spear, but concluded that this is the way to go. With the other ways I tried, there was drag or the band was ticking against the pole (noise).
The current over here in Mexico is difficult. When you wanna make a turn using the pole spear it is not as easy as with a gun. So when I see I will have to make a turn, I will keep the pole spear aligned with my body, until I reach the right position. Then I will hold the pole spear with two hands, etc. The hardest part then is that you will have to move when you are close to the fish. Also, I found out that when you twist the pole while getting ready to shoot (so the band turns around the pole) you shoot more precise than just pulling the pole backwards. Anyhow. Challenging.
I started to leave my gun at home and started to do the trips using my pole spear. I shot Permit, Barracuda, Horse Eye Jack, Snapper, Grouper, all with the Pole Spear. It gave a complete new dimension to my spearfishing adventures. Love it so much!! Me with my big mouth thought I was ready for the big ones with the pole spear. WRONG.
This week I came to the conclusion that there is two parts to being successful with a pole spear. I changed the regular tip into a slip tip with a break away system so I was able to go for big fish. First one. >20 kilo Black Grouper. Shipwreck. Around 50ft. The Grouper is on the deck of a shipwreck. I approach it from the front and it gets curious. I turn away my head and from the corner of my eyes I see that the Grouper is not moving, it stays in position. Now I am 1 ft above the deck and slowly pull the pole spear backwards. Grouper still there. I wanna make the shot and the Grouper moves. My tip enters the Grouper, but not completely. Lost the fish. Apparently I should have been closer. I thought by myself “Leo, Leo, Leo, with a speargun you could have had this one soooo easy.” But I also thought. “No. Keep on learning! Don´t give up.”.
Next day. Open water. A big school of Horse Eye Jacks, 15-20 kilo fishes. Got ready and dove down. Found the path to end up right in the school. Did not move. Pole spear right beside me. When I got in the school of Horse Eye Jacks I realized that they were really big. Even with a speargun this would be a super catch. Focus Leo. I kept my head calm, pulled backwards the pole spear and turned my body so I did not have any drag of the pole spear. Now I was facing the current. One right in front of me. Absolutely bingo. But I waited for the biggest one of them to get close. I moved a bit and again it came. With a gun I would have shot straight through the whole fish. I waited more and was sure it was in shooting range. I let go of the pole spear. Yes! Got it! Yeaahhh. But pooh noooo. As soon as we pulled up the fish, the slip tip came out.
So I learned my lesson. With the regular tip on the pole spear you got more power to enter the fish. With the slip tip less power so you need to be even closer. Solution could be attaching a float line to the pole spear while using the regular tip. But I like a challenge. Will be continued.