Spearguns shafts are a key product, not only do they need to be resistant against shocks and penetrate fish, but also reliable in time. Shafts are consumables, so they need to be replaced often. Their quality, performance, resistance and, of course, cost, are key for the choice of the best shafts on the market. We have selected some key protagonist companies who have been well willing to chow their best products.
The French company indeed has a very wide range of products and has wanted to be part of the game in this “Best shafts” dossier. We have received from Epsealon 3 shafts, which do not represent the entire line, but indicate the quality of the design.
Small shark fins, Tahitian and Threaded
All made in Sandvik material of 48/50 HRC hardness, the Epsealon shafts in our hands are the “Petits Ergots” with double barb, the Tahitian with single barb and the threaded solution. Thermal treatment is applied on the Sandvik to improve resistance.
The Petits Ergots is the small shark fins shaft, in the number of 4 and 4 mm high. Epsealon also offers the “Grands Ergots“, the big fins solution. 2 out of the 4 shark fins are with holes for the line. The shark fins are mounted on the shaft with the advanced laser welding. This process reduces thermal action on the shaft and so avoids loss of mechanical properties where the shark fins are mounted.
There is no additional machining or polishing on the shark fins or holes to reduce the sharp edges. These two versions of shafts have a short tricuspid point that should better penetrate in the fish flesh and bones. The fact that the point is only 16 mm long help avoid its easy deformation due to shocks on the rocks. The barbs are 7.3 cm long. Of course also the single barb solution is available. The area of the barbs is not tapered. The point of the shafts is complete with a dedicated brass cone to improve penetration. Epsealon also sells the single cones for shaft diameter of 6.5, 7 and 7.5 mm.
The Tahitian has a single barb of 7.3 mm, positioned below. There is no tapered area where the barb closes. There are 2 notches to connect to the wishbone. Machining is applied on the shaft holes and notches to reduce sharp edges. The tip has a double angle cone design and is only 15 mm long to improve resistance to shocks on the rocks.
Finally the threaded version of the Epsealon shafts has 4 shark fins of the small kind (4 mm high), which actually is not particularly small. Again, 2 out of 4 shark fins are complete with holes for the passage of the line. The shark fins and holes are not additionally machined to reduce cutting edges. For such shaft Epsealon also offers a nice Sliptip of M6 and M7 diameter shafts to reduce risk of losing shot fish.
The French Company Imersion based in Thiers, in the central part of France, has an interesting products line, with a complete range of products for spearfishing, freediving and snorkeling. Many of the products are designed and produced internally to the company. Still, Imersion underlines how the testing phase of the products is key to finally design and produce hi quality solutions.
Imersion has sent us only two models of shafts, the more traditional E-Steel solution with double barb, and the very interesting and patented Trident Arrow Bar. All Imersion shafts are designed and Made in France.
The E-Steel shaft is made of stainless steel with no superficial treatment, which Imersion indicates as not needed. The steel used is the 1.4310, also indicated as X10CrNi18-8 steel, where the single letters and numbers indicate the elements and quantities. The 1.4310 (X10CrNi18-8) steel is a European standard austenitic stainless steel with good corrosion resistance and weldability, as well as high strength and ductility, it is widely used in the production of high strength stainless steel springs. A more detailed information can be found, for example, at this link.
The E-Steel shaft by Imersion we have received is the one with double barbs, but can also be found with single barb. These are 7 cm long measured when open from the shaft to their tip. The area at the tip of the shaft is tapered to best fit the barbs, be able to reduce their width, and so improve water and, in particular, fish penetration. The tip of the shaft has a tricuspid design, 18 m long, considered by many as more effective in penetrating the fish flesh and bones. The connection to the wishbone is by shark fins of 4.5 mm height and welded to the shaft through an automatic system. Using this solution gives more uniformity in quality compared to the manual welding solution.
The number of shark fins is equal to 2 for the shorter shafts and goes up to 3 for length starting from 140 cm. The rear shark fin is complete with a hole for the passage of the line. There is also an additional hole just behind the last shark fin, also for passing the line instead of using the traditional hole at the end of the shaft. Sometimes, in fact, the line entering the site of the release mechanism can complicate the loading phase and also get worn by the cutting edges of some not too refined release mechanism boxes.
Good details are the shark fins well machined to eliminate any cutting edge which would reduce the life of the Dyneema wishbones. The holes in the shaft instead do not have this polishing treatment.
Trident Arrow Bar MATC
The Imersion Trident Arrow Bar MATC is and extremely interesting and unique solution, and has been patented by the French Company. The system is made of a trident welded on the main shaft, instead of the traditional solution connected thought threads. The material is 304 stainless steel with no thermal treatment.
The first aspect is that the trident will always be positioned perfectly vertical on the speargun. The trident has many more special features. The three tips see the central one longer of more than 7 cm compared to the two lateral ones. They all have a special design which starts with a round section and than shifts to a more complex tapered one to host the barbs. The latter are not the traditional solution, but are made of a U shaped designed steel rod passing in a hole. This solution has a great blocking effect on the fish, and makes the Trident Arrow Bar MATC perfect for fishing in the lairs, very practical for rock fishing or for catching fish hidden in the wrecks under the steel plates.
Excellent is also the possibility to flip over the barbs simply slightly widening the steel rod. In such way the barbs open up fully positioning themselves along the shaft tips and permitting the easy release of the fish. The shaft is designed with notches.
The Imersion MATC Trident is available also to be mounted on threaded shafts and is offered also in Titanium. Total dimensions of the Trident are 7.6 cm large and 25 cm maximum length.
No need to say that Pathos is one of the best known brands for what regards shaft. The line is complete with single or double barb, threaded, roller solution, shark fins and notches. All the tips of the shafts are with tricuspid design, of 10 mm of length, considered by the Greek company more effective in penetrating the fish flesh and cutting the bones. The very interesting offer by Pathos is the possibility of having 3 different height shark fins, large, medium and small. Not much info by the Greek Company on the technical details, except that all shafts are in Sandvik.
Shark fins shafts and roller solution
The shaft line by Pathos, as anticipated, includes solutions with 7 (large), 5 (medium) and 3 (small) mm high fins. The total number of shark fins is always 3 in this kind of shaft, with the central one complete with one hole for the passage of the line or mono-filament. The barb length is 7 cm for the shafts with shark fins of 7 and 5 mm height, while for the 3 mm solution the barb is shorter, 5.6 cm.
The line includes double barbs or single barbs, the latter being positioned both on the superior part or in the inferior part of the shaft. The shark fins and the holes on the shaft for the passage of the line are all smoothed to avoid excessive wear and cut of mono-filament and line during the use. On the double barb solution the area is tapered to best position the two barbs, reduce the width of the barb and improve penetration. On the single barb shaft there is no tapering of the area. On no Pathos shaft the cone at the tip of the shaft is or can be applied.
The Roller shaft solution follows the design of the other shark fins shafts, but has an additional one advanced at mid length. This one is the traditional Roller shark fin to serve as support for the loading phase of the Roller system.
The welding is well executed even though Pathos does not specify which system they utilize. The shark fins is welded only in the are that is inserted in the shaft, while the advanced part is free. This is most probably done to reduce the thermal impact on the shaft which can reduce the resistance on Sandvik material.
Shafts with notches
The simplest solution of shafts with notches is also available in the Pathos line. The notches are present on the shafts with single barb and with threaded tip to add a harpoon. The notches and holes in the shaft are not machined to eliminate sharp edges. This is not a problem for the notches, as they are usually utilized with steel wishbones, while the hole in the shaft for the passage of the line could be better finished by the spearo eventually. There is no tapering of the shaft on the area of the barb.
Picasso is one of the most important companies designing and producing shafts. The Portuguese company has given us very detailed information about their shafts, showing confidence, high professionality and know-how. Picasso has a huge line made of tempered Sandvik or PH 17-4 steel, called Platinum, or made of Spring Steel, called Gold. The barbs are made of tempered AISI 304 steel, while the shark fins are in AISI 304. The welding process is TIG.
The Platinum shafts line is really full of options. First, the connection of the shaft to the wishbone can be with America shark fins, 5 mm high with holes, or Euro shark fins of 3 mm height and no holes. Shaft diameters available are 6, 6.25, 6.50, 6.75, 7, 7.5 and 8 mm. Barbs, of 8 mm length (measured, with the barb open, from the shaft to the tip of the barb), can be single, double and double staggered. The latter is the Ultra Safe model by Picasso, offered in the diameters 7 and 7.5 mm.
Most of the barbs are designed with a central reinforcement line. Shark fins can be in the number of 4, 3 or 2 (4SF, 3SF and 2SF). This depends on the diameter and length of the shafts. For shorter than 130 cm ones there are only 2, for longer shafts there are 3. In addition, all 7 mm and above diameter shafts have all 4 shark fins. On the 2 shark fins versions (both America and Euro) the barb is shorter for best use among the rocks, and is 6.5 cm long. Even the threaded version by Picasso is available with shark fins, in addition to the more classic solution with notches.
The Gold shafts include diameters of 6.5, 7 and 7.5 mm and are in the Hawaiaan (barb down) and Tahitian (barb up) versions. The connections to the wishbone are with type America (high) shark fins or round notches.
All Picasso shafts, except evidently the threaded ones, have an almost needle pin, but with a double angle cone design. The length of the tip varies from 16 mm standard to 20 mm. The shark fins are very neatly polished to eliminated sharp edges and improve resistance to rust. The notches are instead not machined, but again, the steel wishbone utilized normally on these connections does not suffer such solution.
Picasso has also a very interesting offer of accessories for shafts, and in particular the Bluewater and Reef slip tips.
Once a manufacturer and supplier of spearfishing shafts, the Italian Company Salvimar has always designed and manufactured such products. The Made in Italy know-how of the Company based in Casarza Ligure is then excellent and the shafts express the maximum quality possible. Capture, Folgore, Pacific, Capture Tricuspide, Pacific Filettata and Tahitiana are the complete line of shafts by the Italian Company.
All the shark fins on the Salvimar shafts are laser welded for best mechanical resistance of the shaft itself. Visually, the weldings are of unbeatable quality. In addition, shark fins are made with MIM (Metal Injection Molding) technology, a way to produce metal components with extremely high and constant quality. The material used is 17-4PH thermally treated stainless steel, which is an excellent material used by many companies and it is also more easily machinable than Sandvik. The only Salvimar shaft made in Sandvik is the Capture Tricuspide.
The Capture is a top of the line solution, available with single (inferior) or double barb. The barbs are 7.3 cm long and are scaled for additional resistance according to Salvimar. They are mounted on a tapered area of the shaft to improve penetration. The shark fins are 3 of 4 mm of height and they all have holes for the passage of the line. The tip has a double angle cone of 21 mm of length or a tricuspid of 14 mm of length on the Capture Tricuspide. Shark fins and holes on the Capture shafts are machined to eliminate cutting edges.
The Pacific and the Folgore shafts are similar to the Capture, but the area of the barb is not tapered. The Pacific has 4 shark fins of 6 mm of height, while the Folgore has 3 of them 4 mm high (measured by AP). Both the Pacific and the Folgore are offered only with single inferior barb, the one of the first being 8 cm long, the second being 6.5 cm long. The Folgore has the same scaled barb profile as the Capture. The tip of the two shafts is a double angle cone profile and it is 21 mm long. The Pacific is also available with threaded tip.
The Tahitiana is available with single flopper on top, double flopper and threaded tip. The main characteristic of these shafts is that they have 2 notches. The tip has a double angle conic profile and is 21 mm long. The best quality of the Tahitiana line is the value for money.
Sigalsub is definitely a company focused on the design and production of metal parts through numerically controlled machining. Shafts are most probably the most famous products by Sigalsub. Still, many other components, including reels, muzzles, release mechanisms, wishbones and elastic bands are definitely extremely appreciated by the market. The Nemesis speargun, also in its Carbon fibre version, is extremely appreciated in Italy, but also internationally. More is to come on the market, such as carbon fiber fins blades.
All the Sigalsub shafts are in Sandvik, but they differ for the connection to the wishbone: shark fins (HRC), pins (Evolution) and notches.
HRC, Evolution and notches shafts
All made of Sandvik material of 48/50 HRC hardness , the Sigalsub shafts line sees the HRC version with shark fins of a single height, equal to 3.5 mm. The shark fins are laser welded on the shaft. This solution is excellent to reduce thermal impact on the shaft thanks to the precision of the welding which limits the heated area. Such reduction of the thermal impact avoids the weakening of the Sandvik of the shaft in the areas of the shark fins.
The Sigalsub HRC shafts are available with single barb, positioned in the inferior or superior part, or double barb. The barb is 7.4 cm long measuring the useful area from the shaft to the tip of the open barb. The barb area on the HRC shafts is tapered to reduce section and improve water and fish penetration. The cone on the tip can also be present to improve penetration in the water, but in particular in the fish. Sigalsub also sells brass cones (2.5 gr) separately for 6.25 to 8 mm diameter shafts.
The shark fins on HRC shafts are 4 and all have holes for the passage of the line, a very good and useful solution. The height of the shark fins is 3.5 mm. All the shark fins and holes on the shaft are perfectly machined to eliminate sharp edges and reduce wear and cut of the line for an final extremely high level solution. The tip of the shaft has a needle design and is 27 mm long.
The Evolution shafts by Sigalsub follow the same characteristics as the HRD, such as the Sandvik material, the design of the tips and the barbs. The difference is in the connection to the wishbone, which is made with pins of two different heights, 4.5 mm and 2.0 mm. The total number of pins on each shaft is 3. Both versions are available with single or double barb. On the Evolution shafts a preload pin is possible. A brass cone can be added on the barb area. All the elements such as pins and holes on the shaft are machined to eliminate sharp edges.
The shaft with notches designed and produced by Sigalsub also follows the design of the others. The material is Sandvik, the tip has a needle shape, even though in the shaft we received it was more of a double angle cone design. A brass cone can be added. Still, the barb is only 5.3 cm long and the notches are 2. The holes in the shaft and the notches are machined to eliminate sharp edges.