Spearfishing is an age-old sport dating back thousands of years. The ancient tribesman would hunt fish close to the shore or in fresh water lakes with hand made spears. These spears would usually have a sharpened end, a series of prongs on the end, or a sharpened rock attached to the end of the spear.
These days we are a lot luckier to have spearguns to hunt fish with. There are two types of spearguns that are used worldwide. They are the rubber speargun and the pneumatic speargun.
The rubber speargun works by inserting the spear into a trigger mechanism attached to the barrel of the speargun and then stretching one or several rubbers down onto the spear. When the trigger is pulled, the spear is freed and the force of the stretched rubbers propels the spear through the water. The rubber speargun is usually preferred over the pneumatic speargun due to the ease of maintenance and extra power. Rubber spearguns are generally made out of carbon fibre these days, however there are some plastic and wooden spearguns made by certain manufacturers.
Pneumatic spearguns work by using air compressed in a chamber to fire the spear. The speargun is pumped up to a pressure of around 325 psi before the divers go out to give the speargun enough power to shoot a spear through a fish. The only real advantage to having a pneumatic speargun over a rubber speargun is the ability to fire quietly. This is handy to avoid scaring away other nearby fish. Maintenance on pneumatic spearguns can be an issue as the guns get older. The internal rubbers and 'o' rings tend to wear out and leak resulting in a loss of air pressure. A loss of air pressure will mean the spear will not be shot with a lot of power.
When someone has to decide between a rubber speargun or a pneumatic speargun, the main criteria they decide upon are:
1. Price – The major factor when buying anything is price and with the price of some spearguns this is a limiting factor for most people. For similar sized spearguns the pneumatic ones are usually a bit more pricey.
2. Size – Pneumatic spearguns are really good if a small gun is all that is required, however if the diver wants to chase bigger fish or use a bigger speargun than the rubber spearguns are generally more effective.
Overall, the rubber spearguns are usually more popular than the pneumatic spearguns. They are easy to use, easy to maintain and offer more power for their size.