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Old 07-25-2013, 10:11 AM   #1
Florida Freedivers
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: 633 Northlake Blvd, North Palm Beach, FL 33408
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Post Wisdom, Methods & Tips on Using FLASHERS in the Water - by Mike Damms

Hello everybody!

If you aren't already familiar with our great friend Mike, please allow me to introduce to you today... Mike Damms. After reading our review thread on flashers last week, Mike was kind enough to type up a great little article on his experiences and advice on using Flashers for spearfishing. On top of being an avid spearo and experienced diver, Mike is our long-time friend and was the previous owner of Florida Freedivers.

If you have yet to see the Flasher Review/Comparison thread we posted last week, check it out here...


Thanks for the words of wisdom Mike!

My Thoughts on Flashers by Mike Damms

1. How to Hang the Flashers.

The preferred method is to hang the Flashers on their own float system. Typically the line should be able to be wrapped around the float System for easy transport. A total length of line of around 60’ is suggested for average ability divers.

The amount of line hanging from the float and supporting the Flashers , must be able to varied in length for reasons as described later. There must also be some method to fix the length at which you decide to hang the Flashers. A common method is to incorporate a separate piece of bungee cord which is used to wrap around the line and float, when the required length has been let out.

If your dive consists of frequently getting on & off a boat and if the line is fixed at the required length, then the weight of the Flasher should normally be enough to unwind itself to the predetermined length.

There is many different float systems that can be used but an important factor is to make the Float readily visible from a distance.

When using the Flashers, and a fish is seen approaching it is normal practice to let go off the Float and dive on the fish. If the fish is shot, it should be no hassle to recover the system once the fish has been subdued, provided the Float is highly visible. A poorly visible Float system can easily be lost in rough water, especially if their is a reasonable current and the fish you have shot, has gone up current!

The above is assuming you are diving from a boat. If you are diving from the shore, then you may need to consider attaching your Flashers to your fish float.

Also, having the Flashers on a separate system makes it easy to decide whether or not you are going to use them. If attached (say wrapped around) your main float (attached to gun) then, when not wanting to use them, it becomes a hassle to detach them.
I personally sometimes only decide half way through a drift dive, that I want to use the Flashers and then it is easy just to call the boat and have the Flashers thrown into the water next to me.

2. How Deep to hang the Flashers?

2.1 Visibility Factor

First, visibility will be one of the most important factors.
You need to be able to see the Flashers yourself quite clearly otherwise you will battle to see the fish coming up to inspect them. In clean water, I personally never drop them below 60’ as I will be hard pressed to go much beyond 70’ in chasing a fish that is intent on running for the bottom.

OTOH If you are in fairly shallow water and the viz is bad, it is not unusual to hang the Flashers at 20’! The main thing is that they must stay in your visibility.

2.2 Depth of Water

This will depend totally on the conditions being encountered and what type of fish you are trying to “draw in”.

If you are in true Bluewater, where the bottom is out of sight (i.e. more than 200’) then you should hang the Flashers at a medium depth, say 20-30 ft, as you will be trying to draw in the fish which are already close to the surface.

If you are in medium depth water (80 - 150 ft) then you need to hang the Flashers at deep as you can dive. Besides attracting the top pelagics you should also be trying to draw some of the fish up which are swimming close to the bottom. If you have the ability to dive to 60’, then hang the Flashers at that depth.

For example in Florida, in a water depth of 120’, with my Flasher at 60’ I have managed to get schools of Jack Trevalle to leave the bottom and come past and inspect my Flasher.

Working the Flashers.

A much better success ratio is attained if you work the Flashers. This is achieved by jerking the Flashers up and down. Typically grab the line below the float and using just a wrist movement continuously work the Flashers.


If you are diving the same stretch of reef or wreck continuously, it will be noticed that the resident fish soon loose interest in the Flasher. It is only really on the first “drift” that the majority of the inquisitive fish will come and inspect what the Flasher is.
So, be very vigilant on the first pass over the reef/wreck with the Flashers as this is when most of the action will take place. If doing repeated drift divers (eg from a boat), after a few drifts I usually retire the Flashers until we move to a new place. The fish soon learn that it is an artificial device :>)

Good hunting!

-Mike Damms
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:11 AM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: La Paz, Baja, Mexico
Age: 38
Posts: 318
Re: Wisdom, Methods & Tips on Using FLASHERS in the Water - by Mike Damms

Thx Mike. Quick question about depth:

if you are targeting wahoos and mahimahi that usually are on the surface, do you still keep them fairly deep?

Polespearo is offline   Reply With Quote


flashers, float, florida freedivers, mike damms

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