I can easily trace my earliest fascination with spearguns back to the James Bond film “Thunderball.” Although that movie was released a decade before I was born the character, brought to life by Ian Flemming and to the silver screen by Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, has been a relentless influence responsible for uncountable impulse purchases made throughout my life. I may have bought the vintage pneumatic speargun on such an impulse but it has earned it’s place among some of the coolest gear in my arsenal.
Spearfishing dates back at least to the Stone Age where it is depicted in cave paintings over 16,000 years old. At first sharpened poles were thrown by hand evolving over time into the modern hunting weapons on offer today. Driven by basic functionality the design, especially in the case of pneumatic (compressed air) models, is both elegant and savage- a lethal combination. Like most pneumatic spearguns of the era, both of mine were made in Spain. The first, an Ocean Safari Series, is a model I have found very little information on. In appearance it is strikingly similar to the secondly acquired and more common Nemrod Clipper except for the finned tan stock above the black grip. Both are mid-handle classics from the sixties with relatively short blue barrels and rear air reservoirs.
Of course explaining to my girlfriend, Lisa, why I had to have one was reminiscent of a child attempting to convince his parents of the positive impact that owning the latest video game would have on his life. This was made more difficult by the fact that I had no intention of actually using it for what the manufacturers intended. But really, how could she possibly expect me to be cool like Bond if I couldn’t even have a speargun? So I got my first one covertly and cautiously leaked the information to her later resulting in raised eyebrows and seldom missed opportunities to mockingly ask how it’s “working” for me. Honestly, it’s working just fine- and now I have two!
Ironically when Lisa’s father learned of my interest he kindly donated an old Clipper speargun from his youth made by Nemrod. What’s that they say about bro’s before… never mind. Since owning them they have, shamefully, never been in the water or killed a fish but they have taken aim at various trees, the lawn, walls (not in the house), the floor (in the house- oops) and other unfortunate would-be assassins. I have even used them to fire ropes over high branches in the trees of my backyard giving me an excuse to break out the climbing gear- another excellent purchase that renders Lisa unable to refrain from making comments. I can see a grapple hook mod in the future. For me these rank as one of the ultimate boys’ toys and keeping that inner child alive and well is worth every cent.
- IT’S A GUN THAT SHOOTS A SPEAR.
- Looks. As mentioned above they are beautiful.
- Cool Factor. The 007 weapon of choice for aquatic warfare.
- Collectability. Quality vintage pneumatic spearguns are not cheap and getting harder to find.
- Practicality. Apparently you can catch fish with these things. Who knew?
- Are you kidding me?
Review by Ernie Little