As I mentioned before in a previous post, I hoped that my design for a sling bow that could fire underwater would work. During my recent trip to Port St. Joe, I had the opportunity to play around with the sling bow a little bit.
I was surprised that it not only worked, but worked better than I had expected. In the video, I’m using just the standard rubber bands that come with the sling shot. It managed to shoot the arrow, but shot it very slowly. What I plan to do in the future is using 1/4″ tubing that I bought at a local dive shop and fix it to the sling bow. By using some tar line or para cord, I should be able to make a string to nock the arrow on and make shooting the sling bow a bit easier. I’ll be sure to make a step by step post if it actually works. Really, all the sling bow needs in order to fire underwater is a heavy rubber band. And I mean heavy.
One won’t be able to shoot nearly as far as someone with a spear gun, but with a heavy rubber band, one ought to get into the same range that is effective with Hawaiian sling. Another important thing to mention is that I’ve yet to figure out how to attach a reel or some sort of device to retrieve the arrow. Like the Hawaiian sling, the sling bow has the problem with firing an unattached spear. The spear (arrow) sticks the fish and the fish might be able to swim off with it.
All in all, I think that the sling bow will work underwater to take fish. However, it might just be easier to buy or build a Hawaiian sling. With all the modifications that are needed, one is essentially turning the sling bow into a Hawaiian sling that fires a lighter arrow.
Another thing that I was extremely excited about trying was my old pole spear. I’ve had the thing for a few years and had never been successful with it. I recently switched out the big heavy rubber bands that were on the spear for some smaller, lighter bands. This gave me the chance to actually walk my hand all the way up the spear and get off a very good shot. With my new bands, weight belt, flippers, mask and snorkel, I started my hunt for the elusive, crafty, and nimble mullet.
Really, mullet are a dumb fish. Possibly one of the dumbest. They’re like…pigeon dumb, and I’ve even noted them in the past as ‘pigeons of the sea’. In fact, if someone was to ever refer to you as a mullet (or pigeon for that matter), you should take personal offense and probably slap them. Anyways, it is the mullet’s brilliance that makes them a perfect target for the newbie spearfisher.
It wasn’t long after I began snorkeling around a sand bar that I started seeing mullet and within just a few minutes, I had my first shot. My three pronged spear slammed into the side of a big fat mullet and made the fish begin doing underwater cartwheels with the spear head still attached. I swam over, grabbed the spear and…the fish came off. Not only did it come off…IT SWAM AWAY. Like nothing happened. I lost the fish in the grass and it was gone forever. Little did I know, this process would repeat itself at least 10 more times over the course of two hours. I felt terrible every time a mullet was shot and got away. The fish were mortally wounded, and surely died soon enough. But the thick grass made finding them literally impossible. Luckily, not ALL of the fish I shot got away and I managed to put five of them into the cooler.
I also managed to kneel down on a sea urchin and got a big spine stuck in my palm (ouch). As always, the sea life in St. Joe, like this cow nose ray, was spectacular and I wish I had taken time to snap more underwater photos rather than chase mullet around.
This little excursion successfully got me hooked on spearfishing and I’m itching to go out again and possibly target other, smarter, species. I told someone working at the local dive shop about my fish escaping and they suggested I switch to a single headed spear tip with a hinged barb. Apparently the three headed spear tips are used for gigging things on the bottom, not shooting fish in the middle of the water column. Learn something new every day I suppose. Next time I’ll head out with a different spear tip and maybe change my success ratio.