Friday, September 12, 2008

Action-reaction - the birth of a CO2 speargun

Going through the garage last night I looked over the forest of spearguns and spears against the wall and lifted off the heaviest of the lot, my mothballed CO2 gun and as contemplated the cause of its existence a smile broke out over.

Back in 1991 I swam out to "the caves" at Cape Receife. It was September, high tide and the sea was quite clear. I had swum out about 600 m to a spot I liked - the water was only 6 m deep. I dropped into a few holes and under one ledge I saw the thick white lips of a black musselcracker(poenskop). The fish saw me and steered calmly toward the nearest exit. I had a 1.2 m gun with a short 22mm amber rubber. To allow me to load the gun I had put a 6 mm steel pin through eh barrel so I could use my legs strength to push the gun away while I hung onto the rubber and hooked the cable wishbone into spears groove.
I also had a mid handle for maneuverability and managed to steer the gun toward the departing poensy and squeezed the trigger.

Thwak!(spear)

DuFF!(fish)

Despite the short powerful rubber the spear hit the fish far back and removed a single scale. I had shot from too far.

On leaving the water that day I was focused on nothing else but how to solve that problem. I arranged to see Ken Crellin, one of Tony Dick's divebuddies and had a long chat and closely inspected his CO2 guns on the bar wall.

Three weeks later I had this to show for my efforts:



I would go to public pools to test the range and often had to talk for considerable periods to gain entry after explaining what I wanted to do. The spear was 1.5 m long and the barrel was 1.2 m, I added neoprene rubber to increase the buoyancy. The CO2 cylinder was poached off my mom's Sodawater generator and I got into some trouble for that in addition to the noise made in the folks garage after 12 at night.

At the time I stayed in a houses basement with a wooden floor overhead. My flatmate was my very own twin brother - the other half of the apparently destructive entity that was once called "the terrible twins". Most of the time our landlady was happy with us.
My brother and I have many homemade muskets when we were kids on the farm and very soon this CO2 speargun was employed as a large bore pellet gun. Once my brother wanted to test how hard it shot a sinker - well the sinker drove through a telephone directory and then through a 25 liter oil drum, with rather loud report.
The landlady banged on the floor asking what was going on. Later my brother took to running the 25 HP motor breifly in the basement - luckily the landlady was absent.

Having passed all the pool tests(the sprear travelled 9-10m) the gun was ready for the ocean.

On its first outing I took a bronze bream.
The next trip I bagged a 5 kg shad, still my biggest.

An so it was that I decided that equipment was not good enough and focussed on that rather than on improving my own ability - that would have to wait.

To be continued...

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