(By Massimo De Pascalis)
The weather forecast had given notice of instability in the hot hours of the day, but with winds coming from the coast, I knew they would have cleaned the water made misty by the storms of the previous days. It was the ideal time to test one of the spearguns just received, the Beuchat HERO 80, one of the ones part of the dossier “Best sling spearguns between 100 and 200 € list price”. Upon entering the water, I immediately checked the position of the safety system, which is small but functional and it is impossible to be inserted accidentally. I then grabbed the handle to test the comfort of the grip and the phalanx of my index finger is perfectly resting on the trigger despite the gloves. The solution of using plastic pins to fix the barrel to the handle and to the head is good given the incompatibility between steel and aluminum in salt water.
The shaft appears resistant, has nothces and the tip is pyramidal with three faces and makes it well understood its function of cutting through fish of big size such as groupers. The muzzle with a minimalist shape is very interesting, it is in technopolymer (glass loaded Nylon), with great attention to details. It has holes that lighten the structure without compromising its resistance. The speargun came to me with a single circular elastic band despite the muzzle being designed with two independent holes to accommodate a couple. Both holes are open at the bottom to be able to insert the elastic band easily from the side without having to disassemble it.
Another interesting detail of the head are the two lateral flaps that raise the elastic bands arranging them almost parallel to the shaft. This feature makes it easier to align quickly for shooting on fast targets.
Test in the sea
Once away from the crowded coast, I load the Beuchat HERO and notice the 16 mm diameter elastic bands supplied are a little too progressive to offer quick shots. The bouancy of the speargun is negative at the tip, which is an irrelevant feature for deep fishing, but for those who fish in ambush for hours keeping the weapon always ready for shooting, this can tire the arm. After a long patrol on the bottom with fairly long apneas, I finally find the good rock with fish movement on the – 9 meters. Slowly I follow a rift and I see brown meagres around 300- 400 grams that I prefer not to shoot to be able to be back on the spot when there will be bigger ones. However, I try to align the shaft on a brown meagre to test the handling of the Beuchat Hero: it is good. During the same apnea I raise my head slowly checking the upper area of the rock and as I imagined there are some beautiful seabreams. Slowly I align the shaft on the fish that is moving away entering the curtain of misty water, it is certainly far away but I try anyway with a smooth but precise shot, catching the fish but without the shaft passing all the fish. I decide to do one last test on the low bottom to surprise the fish intent on eating. After a few dives I finally find a series of extremely fast and cautious seabreams which, however, manage to avoid the shaft.
The Beuchat Hero 80 is a speargun with a fluid and light shot with a handle of good proportions also suitable for small hands. Its shape allows rapid movements and precise shots. A speargun of great qualities, however, limited by a slightly negative set-up which for those who fish mainly in ambush determines fatigue and consequent loss of concentration. These are certainly problems that can be solved by mounting a smaller diameter shaft (standard is 6.5 mm), and with more reactive elastic bands it would make the Beuchat Hero 80 a deadly speargun for white fish, and not only….