There are 2 factors that need to be considered when purchasing your first speargun. Where will you be hunting, and what fish will you be targeting? There are three different areas you’ll likely be hunting for fish: shallow reef/hole hunting, deep reefs and wrecks, and blue water. Here’s a closer look at the type of guns you will need for these three different types of hunting.
When hunting shallow reef or shallow rocky areas, typically under 30ft in depth where fish can be in holes, you’re typically targeting fish on the smaller end of the spectrum, meaning you won’t need a very big or powerful gun. Using a big gun that is cumbersome can be difficult to maneuver, and when you’re hunting in tighter spaces, you’ll need a gun that is easy to deal with. Generally, you want to be using a gun that is between 60 and 100cm in length. At shallower depths or shooting into a hole, it’s not necessary to have the power or range that is needed at deeper depths. So, what gun from the Cressi lineup might be the right match for this type of diving?
If you are looking for an entry level price point, the Cressi Apache might be the best option for you! This gun will get you in the water and hunting fish without breaking the bank. We recommend the Apache 60, 75, or 90 for this type of diving. Even with the Apache being a great gun at a great price, there are some limitations to it. The gun has enough power to tackle any size fish in the 10-15lb range, but that is where you’ll start maximizing its capabilities. The Apache is not easily upgradable and really is just meant for this caliber of diving. If you’re looking to stay in this range, it’s a great fit.
The next step up from the Apache is the all new Cressi Cherokee Exo. The Cherokee Exo is available in 60, 75, 90, 100, and 110 lengths. Again, we would still recommend using between a 60 and 100cm length for shallow reef and hole hunting. The Cherokee Exo comes with a bigger band and shaft than the Apache, meaning it has a little bit more power, which will give you the confidence to be able to take down larger fish that might be lurking in the shallows! Also, the Cherokee Exo is easily upgradable to be more powerful with the option to put a second large band on it to target larger fish down the road! And all this larger fish talk brings us into our next category, deep reef and wreck hunting.
So you want to shoot big fish huh? Well, Cressi’s got you covered. When hunting deep reef or wrecks in 30ft+ of water, you can encounter fish from 5lbs all the way up to, well… a lot of pounds. With the unknown of what you could possibly encounter in this zone of water, you need to be prepared for anything. It’s wise to have a larger speargun that will give you longer range and more power. Range is important at these depths because fish have more room to run and you might not always be able to get as close as you would like. Power is also important: when that big fish swims up, you are going to want the power to be able to harvest it without a problem.
Our favorite gun for this application is the Cressi Cherokee Fast. This gun comes equipped with 2 bands, a large shaft, and most importantly, a reel. The reel is vital because when shooting a larger fish, you don’t want to end up being dragged (especially important when freediving). The reel allows the fish to run without putting too much pressure on the fish, keeping the risk of it tearing off at bay. For deep reef and wrecks, we recommend the Cherokee Fast in a size 100cm to 120cm. These sizes will be giving you plenty of power and range to take down any fish you may come across!
But wait, you’re telling me you want to hunt BIG fish?! Well, let’s go to the blue water.
First off, let’s not get too carried away here. Yes, blue water hunting is usually thought of as shooting BIG fish. While this can be true, you can also come across average to small sized fish in the blue water depending on what part of the world you’re hunting in. But this doesn’t change the fact that you’ll still need a big gun. It all comes down to the range and power the gun can produce at longer ranges.
In the blue water, you’re typically hunting in the middle to upper part of the water column and fish have endless room to stay away from you. In this area, fish will typically not come as close as they would on the reef or wrecks. So, we are going back to old faithful, the Cressi Cherokee Fast, but only one size is recommended and needed for blue water - the Cherokee Fast 120. Maximum range and power are needed for blue water, so anything smaller just won’t cut it. And make sure to use the reel! A reel will be necessary for blue water hunting since the fish you’ll be targeting are very fast and powerful. Trust us when we say that you do not want to be dragged around by a blue water fish without having a reel.
Hopefully this gear guide has made choosing the right speargun for you a little less intimidating. At the end of the day, it’s all about going out on the water, catching some dinner, and having a good time, and having the right speargun makes this even more enjoyable!