Stuart Daneman with the finished products


Stuart at work on a new speargun
in his Sarasota shop


A nice stringer from a dive last month with
a traditional single shafted gun

March 2008
- Page 20

Diving's Double-Barrel Speargun
By Adam Wilson
Water Life Diving

Ever since man figured out he could sharpen a stick, we have been hunting fish and game. A lot has changed since the days of an arm powered javelin. The first major innovation was the addition of a rubber band to increase velocity. Probably the biggest modern marvel in the world of spearfishing was the invention of a trigger mechanism some 80 years ago, or arguably earlier. This allows the bands potential energy to be stored indefinitely and then utilized at the moment of need with a simple pull of the trigger.

All new guns made today are basically produced with the same principle design elements consisting of a stock, muzzle, trigger, shaft and bands. There are also pneumatic guns which use compressed gas instead of bands, but on a much less popular scale, due to their loss of power with the increased pressures at depth. The latest refinement to guns in the past 3 years has been the modification of a closed track gun. Instead of the shaft resting on top of a guns stock, it is enclosed in a routered channel inside of the stock. This allows for very high power loading and incredible accuracy. Daryl Wong, the Hawaiian gun maker, has by far been the top producer of custom track guns for several years now. Today in Sarasota there is a new designer and manufacturer of spearguns that is sure to have the big names like Sea Hornet, Riffe, and Daryl Wong scrambling for the drawing board, his name is Stuart Daneman and he has recently developed an innovative new design twist on the already effective track gun.

Stuart has recently produced a double barreled, over-under gun with the capability of shooting two shafts either simultaneously or one at a time. The benefits with such a speargun are obvious, whether for slowing down big fish or a second chance on that missed grouper. Talk of his new design is just now starting to spread through the local spearing community and I wouldn't be surprised if he begins receiving orders from across the country or even overseas soon.

Stuart's world headquarters is a detached garage just off from his house. A tall glass display showcasing his custom teak and steel creations is at the entrance to his small workshop. Heavy monofilament line and steel fish stringers hang from the ceiling. His bench is lined with vices, clamps, drill presses and grinders. Buckets with thousands of odd parts, spear flappers, springs, and stainless snap swivels cover the square footage under his benches.

Watching him work with a rough piece of teak on his six router table is like watching a mad scientist whirl knobs and dials on some unknown contraption. The sawdust flies as he carefully runs a new stock through the strategically placed jigs surrounding each router bit, being careful to follow his pencil marks for the precise removal of the excess lumber. He also produces his own plastic and stainless parts, all receiving the same specific scrutiny, with only the best parts ever being screwed or slipped into one of his blank stocks.

Whether he is making a new over-under gun or just a regular, single shaft track gun, his close attention to detail is beyond perfectionism. He is an artist and skilled craftsman in a market that today is dominated by large corporations that simply stamp out adequately working production pieces. Stuart Daneman can be contacted for custom gun creations at 941-232-5735, and he is always happy to show off his workshop and talk fish stories.

I had a chance to dive with Stuart recently off Palm Beach. The area between there and Jupiter to the north is known as shark alley. The sharks in this stretch of ocean associate divers, especially hunters, with food. All the divers on the boat that day reported having multiple sharks swarm them just after pulling the trigger. One diver had two jacks eaten off his stringer on his ascent. Whether it's from the past years of feeding sharks over there or just the constant positive conditioning, most of the larger sharks there have no fear of humans. Stuart found this out shortly after shooting a jack on Juno ledge. With his . back to the ledge he was being harassed by five reef sharks. His dive buddy deemed the situation too dangerous. Not wanting to wait till the shark had Stuart's leg for lunch, his buddy dispatched one of the larger reef sharks. The other sharks quickly backed off. Seems like a little negative reinforcement might be good over there.

Kudana Spearguns  •  Stuart Daneman  •   941.232.5735  •  sdaneman@comcast.net