At a Glance: The Rob Allen Ghost Leader Flasher or the Inline Flasher just looks like another gizmo to clutter the dive bag. That said I am a flasher freak, during summer I dive with more Bling than some ghetto pimp rapper busting some gangsta hip hop in some seriously iced up jewelry. So a couple months ago when I feasted my eyes on the ghost leader flasher which was still in the experimental stages I was immediately curious. After a little bit of persuading, Jeremy Williams of the Dive Factory parted with his one. And ...... well I have not looked back.
First Impressions: One my first dive I realised had something special, however this is not going to be for every spearfisherman. I quickly found that if you like your kit simple this will not be for you. The rotating metal propellers hook your line quiet easily, and getting the line off your gun after swimming through the surf can be a bit of a trick. (I have found some solutions ....will tell you about them later tho.)
That first dive I did not see any fish and the buoyancy on the ghost line was wrong, but I could see the potential. In my mind I could almost see the Cuta swimming in on me.
The Tester: My first real taste of the potency of this flasher came on a recent trip to Mozambique. The Ghost Leader Flasher had had some mods since I first used it. There were now 2 floats on the line and they were positioned about 5m from the flasher allowing the flasher to sit 5m below the surface when resting. Not very deep, but better than it being on the surface.
This how my rig was set up for that trip:
From the gun I had a 3m bungie (which I later replaced with a shorter one, to bring the flasher closer to me), then the Ghost Leader Flasher which was set up with 5m of ghost line then the 3 spinning flashes on stainless cable, and another 5m of ghost line with the 2 floats. I then had a 5m bungie going onto my buoyline.
Again I realised that this added a curve ball to the equation, taking that extra time to wind up and unwind ever time I got on and off the boat.
That said the fish I had come in on me was amazing, and even though the vis was not great and the fish not thick. 70% of the fish I shot were coming in on the flasher above my head. One of the guys on the trip even commented that he could hear me working the flasher from the surface as the propellers whirred in the water.
It was also great to watch the response of the Kingfish, they would be disappearing into the gloom and one or two pulls on the flasher and they would do an about turn and come back.
I even had a cuta come back on me, I had dived down and saw a cuta swimming off in the distance too far away to even chase. Leveling out I worked the flasher only to see the Cuta turn around and commit 'Taliban' as it swam literally onto my spear.
Overall Impression: It is totally new dynamic diving with the Ghost Leader Flasher, I am used to shooting most my fish from above or on the same level. Now the fish come in and you land up shooting up at a 45 degree angle. For some reason I have found that the Cuta are quiet skittish (or just excited) when coming in and dont like to be chased from this angle.
That said if you take aim without hesitating, you can normally hit the fish with out having to swim towards the fish.
I don't think this will totally replace the traditional flasher, but it does give that extra edge to your diving. I have gotten so used to diving with the inline flasher that it has become part of my standard setup. And now as winter has approached I would have usually not taken a flasher as the cuta thin out, now I always have one. This payed off a couple weeks ago when a 20kg Cuta came near the surface to take a look at the flasher working behind me as I swam up the current. The fish promptly swam right underneath me 'Taliban Fish'.
The pro's and con's:
- You draw the fish to you while on the bottom.
- don't have to keep swimming after your flasher float.
- It is part of your gear, not something else you have to swim with.
- It can be a hassle, hooking your buoy line.
- Having to carry the extra fish up the beach :-)
- Wind up only the ghost line on your gun, tie the rest of your buoy line up. This will reduce the line getting snagged.
- I have found that the flasher works best with a long bungie to help floats as the bungie cord is buoyant. This means that when you pull down the flasher returns towards the surface quicker, creating a better action. This said I am currently diving with no bungie (simple rig) and it works fine.
- When on the bottom face with the current that way your flasher is slightly in front of you, and you are facing towards the fish swimming up current.
- The Ghost Leader Flasher also works great with a reef hook and reel gun. Find your favorite drop-off or pinnacle, hook up on the current side and dive around the flasher working in the current.