Pre-season checklist! With the long winter now loosening its grip, the fish are starting to move back into shallower waters. And we’re all eager to get back to our favourite spots and catch some fish. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, just yet! That diving gear has likely been sat around unused and unmoved for a few months. So before we rush into the water and realise that somethings wrong, let’s go over a basic pre-season checklist to avoid your first dive of the year being a write-off!
#1 – Spearguns:
Checking your Spearguns is quick and easy, and something we should all do regularly. But this first check of the season is by far the most important! So here are the main things to look out for:
- Band Deterioration: The bands on your Spearguns are likely going to have suffered an amount of deterioration over the winter. The degree of severity can depend on whether you washed the salt off after your last dive! At the start of every season it’s always important to check these to avoid a band breaking during one of your dives. Something you especially don’t want to happen the first time out after a long wait!
- Crimp Rust: The crimps used on your gun line will have likely become rusted to some degree. Again, this depends on the condition your gun was first stored in, and on the humidity in the area. As the crimps will likely be the coldest surface on the gun, moisture will gather and eventually start to develop rust.
- Spear Line (Mono)/Dyneema: The actual line securing your spear to your gun needs to be checked at least annually. Over use this will naturally weaken, and potentially develop damage. This can happen particularly in the bends or around crimps.
#2 – Wetsuit:
If you’re like me, you wash and dry your Wetsuit before storing it for the Winter. It will then sit in in your kit bag for months unused waiting for spring. If you’re diving over the winter months this doesn’t necessarily apply to you as much. But for fair weather divers like myself, I will always recommend checking your Wetsuit before using it for the first time. The water will likely be significantly colder now than it was during your last dive of the season. So making sure your Wetsuit doesn’t having any holes in is a must. To do this, just try your Wetsuit on at home. I don’t recommend doing this in the shower! That’s a disaster waiting to happen. But try on your Wetsuit at home, giving it a good inspection as you go. And make the water extra soapy too! This will help identify any smaller holes as the soap will bubble through. If you’re unlucky enough to discover some holes, or even if you’ve just manged to put a tear in it then pick up some Black Witch Neoprene glue. It’ll fix you right up:
#3 – Float Line:
Earlier when we brushed on checking your Speargun line we spoke about how the crimps and bends in the line can deteriorate and break down over time. Well, the same thing applies to your float line. In comparison to your Speargun, your float line may not seem like a priority. But if you know anything about Spearfishing by now, you know that safety is always the priority! So this is arguably the most important part of this pre-season checklist. Your float is your signal to everyone above sea level that you are there. They probably won’t be able to see you, but they can see the float. Now, if your float line were to unexpected break during a dive that float could sail off into the distance which ever way the tide takes it. At that point your dives over. But we can avoid this by taking the time to look over our line, access the weak points and examine the crimps before that first dive of the year.
#4 – Knife:
Like the rest of your diving gear, your knife has most likely been sat in a shed or garage all winter getting cold and old. Your knife is one of the most important pieces of kit you’ll own as a Spearo. A lot of people purely use theirs for dispatching fish. And that’s hopefully the only thing you’ll ever have to use it for in the water. But the knife, like the float, is one of the few safety tools we have at our disposal. That means that if the moment ever does arrive where you need it, it needs to do the job. So, check your knife for rust build-up, and make sure it’s nice and sharp. This is something you should keep an eye on regularly. But by doing it at the start of the season you already know you’re setting a good foundation for the rest of the season.
#5 – Gloves & Boots:
This is one that will often escape us in the excitement to get into the water again after the long winter. You’ve got your gear on, you’ve made it down to the shore and you’re just getting into the water when you feel a freezing cold flush slinking around your toes. You take a look and sure enough, there’s a hole in your boot. Now, this isn’t going to ruin your dive entirely, but it is going to make it more uncomfortable. The same goes for your gloves. A hole in a glove can make for an uncomfortable session. Especially is if it’s your gun hand getting cold. So, let’s avoid this by just taking the time to put them on quick during the rest of our gear checks.
Well there you have it! That’s our basic pre-season checklist that should help keep you on top of all those things that could go wrong and spoil your first dive. There are obviously going to be other things worth checking. But here at least we feel we’ve gotten the basics to help make those early season dives more enjoyable. And most importantly, help to keep you safe! If you liked this and want to check out more of our Spearfishing gear articles, click here!