Sharp blade style spearfishing tips

  • Many years ago blade type spearfishing spear tips were available that did more than skewer the prey (e.g. the Undersee cast steel bladed (4) “Mako” and (2) “Cutlass”, the Sampson 3 blade triple flopper tip), they created more structural damage on arrival that incapacitated the fish, especially when blasted by guns with significant firepower. These tips have become only a memory for some in a world of tricuts, quads and pencil point tips, but these archery tips look like they could hand out more damage if fitted to a spear. The fish may sustain battle damage which may make photography inadvisable after capture (wrt the image of the sport to the Public at large), but you (and others) get to eat the fish which is the main goal of the hunting exercise.

  • These tips present some intriguing possibilities for spin stabilized projectiles in underwater flight.

    Russian "Marlin" tip said to be a spinner in flight, but although I own one I have been too busy with shooting fish to ever consider swapping it over, always thinking maybe next time.

  • Tips used in the past using gun power and heavy high momentum shafts.

    Shot placement is of course important, but I have used powerful guns with "Mako" tips honed to razor sharp that have accounted for many fish, however my supply of "Mako" tips has ran out and I only have one or two left. If you hit a rock then they are destroyed. Being cast steel they rust out if not maintained and an oilstone keeps the cuttings edges very sharp. I have ordered some of these Asian tips as I have sufficient gun power to throw some away on spinning the shaft. Slide rings are necessary as otherwise the line twists and shark fin tabs are not useful in this context. Using 3/8” shafts which are jerked from the gun, so two hands are needed for the shot, even on the ballasted guns. When I started spearfishing everyone used "Mako" tips from Undersee; euroguns with a few notable exceptions were deemed to be too weak. Most guns were powered by 5/16" (doubles) or 3/4" bands (singles or doubles), big block V8 engines ruled the Earth and it was open slather on all species as they had yet to be depleted. Half inch rubber was deemed to be handspear rubber except for the shortest of guns.

    Edited once, last by popgun pete: removed capital F in If ().

  • I remember some of those tips back in the day, I mean the ones in the actual pics with the spearguns... I really think tri cuts are best for tough hide fishes such as cuberas or groupers... You may take advantage of the higlhy penetrating design to bust a grouper's head, superior to a pencil point, which is better for soft fleshed quarry IMO. Great stuff man, I'd like to try one of those...

    I'm a Speardiver, not a freediver

  • These tips if you cross-sectioned them in multiple slices are like four pointed stars, the points of the stars being the knife edges as they taper up from the extreme tip as the "stars" grow larger. Being cast steel the blades don't bend, the maximum "star" size at the rear being somewhat bigger than the shaft diameter. They work OK with 5 to 6 feet of 3/8" diameter shaft behind them and twin floppers riding in the slipstream of the blades as I have killed countless fish of many varieties and sizes with them.

  • These tips present some intriguing possibilities for spin stabilized projectiles in underwater flight.

    Russian "Marlin" tip said to be a spinner in flight, but although I own one I have been too busy with shooting fish to ever consider swapping it over, always thinking maybe next time.

    The idea of spinning to stabilize the shot of the spear would only work in the case of free shafting, or utilizing a tip that will swivel (thus negating the stabilization effect on the shaft it self. I really dont think the distance that spears are shot (up to 20ft/7m) will allow time enough for stabilization. Also the idea of causing incapacitating damage on a fish using a sharpened broadhead like speartip doesn't really make much sense to me. You would need to shoot a fish in the organs which is where it is most likely to cause a tearout.

    I think the true advantage of a broadhead style spear tip is bone breaking/splitting. In archery, many broadheads are designed for mainly soft tissue damage on mammals. But, if bones are in the way many of these will become damaged, dulled, or deflect off of the bone, sparing vital organs from ideal damage from sharp, intact blades. For this reason, many people who hunt thick skinned, large boned mammals, such as Hogs, feral cattle, elk, buffalo, etc..(big shit) will utilize heavy duty 3 bladed broadheads, or single beveled 2 bladed broadheads. These are designed to split bone and break it allowing for better penetration, and blade retention....AAAAAnnnnnnywhooo, I dont know how many times ive spined a good fish and had it dead to rights, but death wobble off my shaft, and out of my life forever. A speartip designed to split bone (tricut, or fluted tricut, or broadhead style tip) could potentially result in the spear passing through thick bone, rather than stopping short.

    This being said, has anyone seen the video of the guy shooting walleye with tpost shaped spears. Those would probably do the job.

  • My comments are not idle conjecture, I speak from experience over forty plus years of spearfishing. The point of this post (no pun intended) is to find tips that replace those which I used for many years, but like everything wear out and are lost or damaged beyond regrinding. Gut shots are no good as a fish will make good its escape with guts trailing behind it like so many tattered rags, until the predators catch up with it. As for spinning the shaft that was just a comment based on the curved tip shown in the photos. There is no way of knowing if the shaft spins or not, so I am not holding my breath on that outcome. Shafts are stabilized by their length, so no need to spin anyway.

  • I have little experience with spear tips that screw on to a spear (other than slip tips), and generally use a simple single barbed spear shaft, with either a tricut or pencil tip. I definitely do not doubt your experience Pete, I just wanted to include my opinion on why these styles of tips would or would not be effective. I defintely think that fluted, or bladed tips do have their pros, as mentioned above. But will they last in salt water, will they hold up if shot into rock or coral, and how much does their advantage in performance outweigh their cost? Opposed to using a simple single barbed spear.

  • They hold up OK except for hitting rocks as when I started spearfishing virtually every spear had a screw threaded end and a screw on double flopper tip, some with the floppers staggered on two pivot pins and sometimes there were three flopper tips. Pneumatic guns like Nemrod had screw on points and a single flopper tip pinned on the shaft, but integral tip shafts only gained popularity with the first Tahitian spears which were small diameter and fired from small guns with a lot of overhang on the shaft, those being the first Tahitian guns which were made of scrounged up ex-production parts or were home-made. The spears were fast through the water as there was next to nothing to them and enabled a bead to be drawn on the fish using the length of the shaft on often downwards shots. Then more shaft sizes switched over for shooting non-reef fish and that is when guns began to be offered with either screw on or integral tip spears with the Hawaiian and Tahitian spears which differ whether the flopper is on top or on the bottom. Basically it is easier and cheaper to make integral tip shafts and that is where we are today. The cast cutting edge head tips were even more expensive to make, they had to be fettled, ground and drilled and tapped and had to run true on the shaft when attached, but in the old days were like all spearfishing gear relatively cheap until costs began to go up and rationalization meant that the quad and tri and bi blade tips disappeared. They did not disappear for any other reason as they were very effective on all types of fish.

  • Incidentally the three blade tips have arrived and are slightly smaller than I thought they would be, but are very sharp. It may be possible to use them as the point on a tri-blade body with a rear section not much larger and screwing them on until the blade edges line up on both sections. Then if you clip a rock you just have to screw on a new point. This method has been used on pencil point “coke bottle” body tips in the early days of diving, the front threaded point, the spear tip body and flopper with a female threaded nose and then the rear thread for connection to the shaft often being a male thread going into a female thread on the shaft, the reverse of what we have today.

  • Pete, incidentally I was on a dive last week and shot a parrot fish, perfect just behind the gill plate, should have been in the bag. But.... the flopper did not engage and the fish got off. This puzzled me, until i pulled my shaft up. My spear (with a very sharp pencil point) had punched through two large scales. I believe that these scales had gotten stuck on the flopper, holding it down, allowing the fish to get off. I think if my tip had been either a tricut, or just a bit duller, the scales would not have been punctured but rather pushed aside or through the fish, allowing my shot to hold. I realize on probably 99 out of 100 shots on a fish like this the fish would have been mine, but in this instance my needle sharp pencil tip was not a good thing. Oh well, learning from experience.

  • The spear tips that I am talking about have a wider head than the floppers which sit down in the "shadow" of the blades so to speak. I have shot heavy scaled groupers with these tips and punched right through them behind the gill plate as that area armours the most delicate part, its gills. Sometimes the fish took off for the nearest hidey hole, but we always carried the necessary artillery to get them out. The eyes are the windows to the soul, but they also connect to the brain, so shots in there incapacitate them if you are shooting them head on. Some of the ensuing results were not video material and the fish were butchered into foodstuffs lest the average Joe thought we were heartless monsters, which of course we were. (there was no video of course and only film cameras such as the Nikonos; but no photos, no evidence!)

    Heavy 3/8 shafts over 5 feet long have a big hit when they connect the softer spots, but can still bounce off gill plates, etc. The tips sometimes got busted when the fish dived into the hole with spears sticking through it and bent shafts in the process being soft 316. They could be straightened, but never as good as new, so were used for more close up work. I made my own shafts out of rod lengths purchased from a steel warehouse and some rods I bought from Sandvik, all threaded to take Undersee Mako heads, some with breakaway cables.

  • I note that JBL have an arrowhead in their range which I have not noticed before.

    By the way I bought the NOS Undersee "Mako" quad for the starting bid price, so saved 20 bucks. Now I have three, but once I had a dozen or more of them and regret tossing them away when I busted them as I should have kept the floppers. Over the years I have gone through many tips as I had a box of them as you never want to run short of ammo.

  • I had been waiting for the twist pattern tips to arrive, but they are a no-show and a pack of two blade arrowheads arrived instead, which I never ordered! I guess these are intended as replacements and on reflection may be more useful anyway. I will take some photos once I find my camera's memory stick.

    Here you can see the twin blade and tri-blade arrowheads alongside some of my spearfishing tips. They are too small to be tips on their own, but could be integrated into a larger spear body tip made as a "carrier" for supporting these "points". They are inexpensive at four heads for 7 bucks!

  • I have some arrowhead and mako style tips that came with vintage 1960's seahornets I've picked up over the years. I have never used the tips because I thought they were irreplaceable. Thanks for the post. Good stuff.

  • I have some arrowhead and mako style tips that came with vintage 1960's seahornets I've picked up over the years. I have never used the tips because I thought they were irreplaceable. Thanks for the post. Good stuff.

    The cast tips are irreplaceable, however the pencil point style are still available from other manufacturers and the Chinese have copied the Sea Hornet "Mako" tip, only they have the wrong shaped bend in the floppers at the ends. Easily fixed with a hammer! For good measure they have copied the Sea Hornet "Magnum" and "Sportsman" timber stock guns "lock, stock and barrel", only the timber is replaced by an alloy extrusion.

    Hard to believe when I first saw them, these "Shooter" spearguns are from China and they are an exact copy, the only thing they left off were the molded logos on the plastic components, for obvious reasons!

    Edited once, last by popgun pete: added a photo of Chinese clone ().

  • Here is the external view of the tips, illustrated here is a quad blade, but it could be a tri blade or a double, the rear carrier section carrying on the shape of the arrowhead tip which is expendable and replaceable.

    Edited once, last by popgun pete: added longer version of tip ().

  • Because they are more commonly used today slip tips have gained a status as the detachable tip to use, however once the tip dislodges from the shaft its angular motion to catch and tip over to secure the prey with a T-bar on a short cable is very limited. If it does not catch and the spear has not penetrated or the tip jams then it will not toggle on the fish. In the old days slip tips were broad flat arrowhead shaped plates held in a slot on the shaft mounting and they pulled out and jammed in the fish, but the modern cylindrical slip tip has minimal transverse surfaces to catch. As a comparison double or twin flopper tips on a breakaway head spread the floppers out as they reverse and they create a much larger T-bar acting on the fish and provided they are streamlined with the floppers in the flow shadow of the broad fluted head are a much better proposition for a powerful gun to kill or secure a big fish. The current use of cones on integral tips is merely emulating the flow of the broad fluted heads such as the old Undersee MAKO which in cross section was a tapering four pointed star and a cast and then edge ground steel product. The purpose of this thread is to suggest a modern version with a replaceable point and a double flopper carrier to hold that point.

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