Take the time between trips to check your spearfishing gear. The spear gun bands always should be the first object to get your attention. Most divers donít consider getting new bands until the bands show cracks and splitting on the outside cover. One problem: Thatís way too late. The latex rubber starts deteriorating (oxidation) as soon as the rubber is made. Pulling back the bands and swimming around for lengths at a time without shooting the spear gun also wears out the bands. By the time you see this cracking, the bands might have lost between 25 percent to 35 percent of their original power. The bands are like gunpowder in a rifle cartridge. All your spear gun power comes from the bands. Imagine how inaccurate a rifle cartridge would be if once a week you removed a little gunpowder from the cartridge? That would surely affect your rifleís accuracy. The same thing happens when your spear gunís bands start aging. Students in my underwater hunter classes ask me when is the right time to replace the bands. I tell them that quality commercial spearfishermen replace their bands every day that they dive. Once a day is extreme for the recreational diver. I replace my bands four times a year, but I spear year-round. If you only spear in the summer, replace them at the beginning of every summer and twice a year if you dive all year.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and [email protected]