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After a few days of light and
variable winds, conditions were beautiful for a spring dive in RI. Visibility
ranged from 15-25 feet, and life was abundant, with plenty of tog, stripers,
pufferfish and even a scup to keep me entertained.
I headed out with Aaron
Hampton of Tristate to look for some fish taco meat (tog) and hopefully find
the first scup and striper of the season. We were thrilled with the conditions
upon getting in the water, and quickly loaded up to start hunting. We were both
using Rob Allen Roller guns, perfect for clear viz hunting. Even with such
clarity, our short guns had plenty of range with the roller’s extra power.
The chop started to pick up,
but I quickly found my first target of the day, an aggressive male tog that
charged me while I ascended to the surface. I halted my ascent, turned around
and placed a shot just behind his eye from the midwater column. Aaron got
another soon after in the same size class.
About 20 minutes later, I
dropped into a school of tog and found a single VERY fat scup hiding under an
overhang. I froze, and waited as he slowly turned to allow me a shot- I string
him through the eyes.
A school of small stripers
about 100 strong were sighted a few times during our dive, a great treat in
such clear water and undoubtedly a sign of things to come.
The water is clear, the fish
are out in numbers and the bigger stripers should be here any day…. Get out
there soon!!! I know I sound like a broken record, but if you’re looking for a
laser-accurate gun, go grab a Rob Allen Roller from Mike at New England
Freedive- I don’t know many guns that can hold their own in both 3ft murk and
To start off I will say that my review of the Rob Allen Tuna Speargun is way overdue. When it comes to railguns, the Rob Allen Tuna is by far my personal favorite. I have been diving with them for some years and it is also my customers favorite and best-selling speargun at NEF Spearfishing. The Rob Allen name is world famous in the sport and known for being a leader in product development. Many of the products Rob Allen has designed in South Africa have been used and applied all over the world. His dedication to innovation and quality standards have made me a believer in just about everything with the Rob Allen name on it. So let me break down all the features that make this speargun the preferred piece of gear by many spearfisherman.
I will start with a feature I think that is the basis of this railgun design and often overlooked when divers are shopping and comparing spearguns. Everyone can pick up this speargun and see that it is a “railgun”. Meaning the barrel is designed with a full rail on top of the barrel to support the shaft and keep the path of the shaft accurate when it is fired. Where the Tuna is unique is it is designed with a thicker walled aluminum barrel than most other euro style railguns. I have reviewed and tested a lot euro style railguns that are designed with ultra-light aluminum barrels, which does make them easily maneuverable in the water. But I also see there are three negatives of a light weight aluminum barrel.
The first being they can be more easily damaged. The second is that when you get into lengths 100cm and longer the thinner walled barrels can flex when loaded with two or more bands, affecting accuracy. The third and most important in my opinion is “muzzle kick”. Muzzle kick is the result of speargun being overpowered for its design/materials and components such as bands and shaft. When the speargun is fired the bands retract and the recoil energy causes the muzzle end of the speargun to kick up. As the shaft is leaving the speargun its trajectory is changed by the rising muzzle hitting the mid to back area of the shaft…. usually resulting in “shooting low”. Some spearos begin compensating for this muzzle kick in how they aim. Many do not even know they are doing it.
This inaccuracy may not be that noticeable when shooting at close range, but frustrating in longer shot placement. One can adjust the speargun to create less recoil and better accuracy like using smaller diameter bands and thinner diameter shaft. But when it comes to hunting the larger more powerful fish, we have in most saltwater zones of the United States, a setup of 7mm shaft with two (or more) 16mm bands is really ideal for providing the proper amount of power for penetration and a shaft durable enough to withstand large fish.
Rob Allen has seemed to eliminate all that with the thicker walled aluminum barrel on the Tuna speargun. Along with the thicker walled barrel it also has a slightly larger barrel ID, which creates the correct amount of buoyancy for ballast and balancing in the water. When combined with the increased mass of the larger barrel to absorb the energy when fired and eliminate muzzle kick…. The result is a highly accurate speargun. And we have the ideal setup of bands and shaft size for the prey we are pursuing. The full shaft rail on the top of the barrel supports the shaft and keeps it’s trajectory true as it travels the length of the barrel and exits the speargun at the muzzle.
Having a smooth operating and reliable speargun is something desired by all spearfisherman. The Tuna is designed with a simple, strong and maybe one of the most dependable trigger mechanisms in the industry. The trigger mech is housed in a removable cartridge that sits in the world famous Vecta handle. It features a stainless line release and trigger sear and rugged acetal trigger. The mechanism cartridge is held in the handle with one pin and can easily be removed. All three pieces of the trigger mechanism can easily be removed as well, each held in place with one pin. The design is simple, which is probably what makes it so reliable. I have never had a customer tell me they have experienced a problem with their Tuna mech, which is a component on other brands which can fail over time.
This “South African” made railgun does not come stock with a loading butt on the back of handle like most euro style railguns do. Rob Allen designed the shape of the Vecta handle to be easy for most divers to load without a loading butt. However, they do offer a replacement mechanism cartridge that has a loading butt in the design. *I do prefer loading it with the loading butt and use it on all of my Rob Allen Tunas and offer this feature to my customers as well. It is a simple switchover of the mechanism components from the standard cartridge to the “Custom Loading Butt” cartridge. The cost is about $32 for the blank cartridge and you/I can switch over the mechanism. Once installed, the loading butt falls in line with the design of the speargun and allows for a perfect line of sight aiming.
A stainless line release is positioned on the underside of the handle, forward of the trigger guard. This keeps the shooting line situated along the side of the barrel and anchored underneath on the line release. Each Tuna speargun4 inch tuna clip mounted in the handle for an attachment point for your float line. If you prefer to not have the tuna clip on the handle, simply remove one screw to separate handle and it removes easily.
Rob Allen offers the Tuna in both open and closed muzzles. I only stock the Tuna spearguns in an open muzzle because that is the more desired setup for American spearfisherman, but I will gladly special order one for anyone who desires one. The bi-directional rigging design of the open muzzle on the Tuna speargun allows it to be rigged for either left or right-handed use when loading. Due to the placement of the line release on the underside of the barrel, one can simply run the shooting line down the left or right side of the barrel.
Next, we come to the rigging. The Rob Allen Tuna comes rigged and ready to hunt fish with two 16 mm bands with spectra wishbones, 7mm diameter shaft, and 400 lb. black mono shooting line which is connected to a muzzle bungee (shock absorber) at the muzzle. One should note that the Rob Allen shaft is one of the strongest on the market. While it is a notched shaft (notches in the shaft where the band wishbone loads), the notches are designed with smooth edges, as to not cut the spectra wishbone. This is a cool feature I love about these shafts as using spectra wishbones is preferred for safety over using wire or metal wishbones many other spearguns are designed with. The shaft also comes with a “Tuned Flopper”. Flopper tuning is something we usually do when buying other brand flopper shafts to optimize when the flopper should stay open for better holding grip after penetrating a fish. This shaft is already tuned, you can go straight to diving with it.
While the Tuna speargun does not come outfitted with a reel (common for almost every railgun) , it is designed with reel mount installed on the speargun so you can easily add one. *I highly recommend the Rob Allen Vecta Composite Reel as it is designed to be a perfect match for the Tuna speargun. However, the universal dovetail style reel mount will accept many other brands. Like the entire design of the Tuna speargun, its reliability is made possible by the simplicity in design and quality construction. It features a drag that is smooth and strong for putting the brakes on tough fish. Spool this reel with 50 meters of 1.8 to 2mm spectra line and you are ready to go.
If you start looking to purchasing a Rob Allen Tuna with a reel, have a look at my NEF Spearfishing Rob Allen Tuna RTS (Ready To Shoot) Speargun Package. I offer a complete package with reel, reel line, upgraded stainless muzzle line guide and gun rigging to your desired setup at a great discount compared to purchasing all the components separately. All you have to do is dive and shoot fish.
With the Rob Allen Tuna spearguns being available in a wide range of sizes (70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150, and 160 cm) it offers a model capable of taking on anything that swims.
If you want the Tuna in longer length like 130cm and larger for hunting pelagics, a Rob Allen threaded shaft to use with a slip tip is also an available add on. They are popular here at NEF Spearfishing as I offer the Tuna in Bluewater Package with 1 flopper and 1 threaded shaft, slip tip and shafts rigged with breakaway rigging. Contact us if you are interested.
I hope this helps any spearos looking for info on this popular speargun. You are always welcome to come into NEF Spearfishing and see one for yourself. If you think I missed something or would like to add your input on your experience with the Rob Allen Tuna Spearguns, please leave a comment below.
Conditions were tough for TriState’s annual Tog Blast
tournament, but a handful of divers out of the 23-man field weighed in some
respectable fish, including a beastly 12# Tog from Eric Faust!
Mike Meyer and myself headed out mid morning. Strong winds
from the NW and the heavy rain from the day prior left me with low expectations
in terms of visibility. Sure enough, our first stop out front was tough, with a
strong ground swell churning up the bottom enough to reduce viz to less than 5
feet. Past a depth of 40 feet, it turned impossible to see anything. I ended up
shooting my personal best black seabass, a 3.8lb specimen who holed up and took
nearly 30 minutes of effort to extract from the rocks. Without Mike, I would
have had to cut the line and call it a loss- just another reason a good buddy
is important to have while diving.
Over an hour into our day, and we still hadn’t seen a tog
big enough for a chance at the tournament podium, let alone had a shot at one.
We pulled our anchor and shot up inside the bay, straight into the wind and chop
in my small zodiac. We had better luck here, with about 8ft viz in some spots.
I took one healthy male tog, weighing in at 7.8lbs, just enough to earn 3rd
place in the tog blast. Mike took a nice male as well.
The fish are certainly in, and in decent numbers. As long as
the swell and wind continues, thetoughest part in the coming weeks is going to be finding clear enough
water to hunt them.
Thanks again to Mike Meyer and Mike Landau for putting on
another awesome tournament, and congratulations to Eric on an awesome fish to
Results, top 3 fish.
Eric Faust - 12.0 lbs
Eric Cadorette - 9.7 lbs
Dave Gleeson - 7.8 lbs
This past Saturday, August 4th, 2018 NEF Spearfishing Co again had the honor of being a sponsor for the Tristate Skindivers 8th Annual Species Meet. I could not be any prouder to be a part of this fantastic event as it has grown into the premier spearfishing event in the North East. With 98 registered divers/competitors coming together to raise some money for a fantastic charity and compete in the North East’s largest tournament. This event raised approx. $3,000 to be donated to Dana Farber in Boston MA and brought together our New England spearfishing community.
Special Thank You to the incredible field of sponsors for this event which donated many prizes and spearfishing gear for the raffle. It is such a fantastic way to put spearfishing gear in front of divers to check out and almost every diver gets a chance to win something from the sponsors. It adds such a special spirit to this event.
Spearos and Spearas came from as far away as New York to New Hampshire, and I’m sure a few from other locations. The “Species Meet” format offers a higher level of competition while promoting sustainable fishing ethics. Divers can weigh in only 1 fish from each species as part of their tournament stringer and receive 10 points for each qualifying species they weigh in and 1 point per lb up to a maximum of 20 lbs per fish.
With two categories for the competition being either Boat or Shore/Kayak, this competition offers a way for everyone to compete on an even playing field for their desired hunting method for the day. Every year we see many new faces get involved and compete and this year was exceptionally good. I was stoked to see so many new NEF customers and friends who just started diving this year compete and weigh in fish, outstanding !
The weather decided to throw us firkin knuckleball with 5-6 ft seas and thunder storms. But, as a competition of this level often does, the best divers always rise to the top. With some familiar faces on the podium this meet also witnessed some new faces earn a winning standing that day. Congratulations to all the winners for both Categories. Below is a list of the top 3 divers in each category.
Category – Boat:
1st Place – Fran Bonadies – 113.8 points
2nd Place – Brian Jessurun – 96.3 points
3rd Place – Kelly Gillette – 82.1 points
Category – Shore/Kayak:
1’st Place – Adriano Rodriques – 86.2 points
2nd Place – Hans Roser – 84.6 points
3rd Place – Aaron Hampton – 56.8 points
Some really impressive stringers given the weather and the sea's conditions for the day, congratulations to you all !
Another special Thank you goes out to South Shore Pangas who brought up the new 22.5 ft Corvina Panga from New York to compete in the competition and give divers a chance to check out one of the worlds favorite dive platforms. Pretty cool that South Shore Pangas is bringing these to the North East. Check out the pic of the 22 ft below then contact them to see one!
I am often telling people that New England is blessed with one of the best spearfishing communities in the country. With a varied field such as this one all coming together again this year to compete, share experiences and help others…. once again this is reinforced. It is good for the spirit of everyone to have access to such a dive community and the fact that we are part of one of the best is a compliment to you all. Thank you.
group photo credit: Kate the Great Tolmie
Fantastic job done by club organizers Mike Landau, Mike Meyer and Josh Brouwer ! Club foounding fathers should be very proud of what their vision has turned in to over the last 8 years. Well Done everyone.