Setup and deployment for Zeagle gooseneck bottom SMB with the
30 foot eyebolt dropline
I know you don't have the Zeagle SMB yet, but when you get it,
these instructions will help.
Chuckitall from D2D taught me about this system and it works great!!
Here is how I attached the dropline to the Zeagle SMB. 1st take off the
brass double ender clip off the eyebolt and set it aside. The solid loop
at the bottom of the SMB is too long and needs to be shortened. As you
can see in this picture, keep the loop together and tie a knot
close to the goose neck opening.
Take the narrow clip that is at the end of the white string and open it.
Insert the opened clip just above the knot that you just made. Then close
the clip. This will keep the white line right next to the goose neck opening.
Now take the brass double ender clip that you set aside and clip one end
of it thru the opening of the loop but below that same knot you just made.
At the top of this next picture you can see the final loop setup
Now fully unroll and flatten the SMB. Next unroll the white string off
the eyebolt, from the narrow clip and lay it flat on top of the flattened SMB,
just like you see in the below picture. You are going to lay the eyebolt
at the top of the SMB and then roll it up inside of the SMB.
This keeps the eyebolt and string tight so it won't slip out. In the above
picture you can see the eyebolt sticking out the side for illustration
purposes, it can be tucked inside. Then roll it up tight and secure
the Velcro straps while capturing the loop inside like the picture below.
You'll clip this off to your BC.
Now let's talk about deployment:
The purpose of this setup is to get to 30 feet and stop and have
your hands free. This both gives you a 2nd deep spot to off gas and
time to close strobe arms, put things away, etc. When you are at 30 feet,
turn your back into the direction of the current, this will keep the line
away from you as it shoots towards the surface.
When you are at 30 feet, unzip the Velcro, and let the SMB unfold and
the eyebolt to drop and unroll. The eyebolt will not unroll 100% and
will most likely hang, but just give the line a nice jerk and it
will fall the rest of the way.
To inflate it I recommend the gooseneck opening at the bottom of the SMB,
But there also is the inflate tube that you described and shown in
the picture below.
From 30 feet it is impossible to put the required 5-7 breathes into
the small tube with your mouth and not float up. You can use a Dive Alert horn
where you stick this tube and activate the tube, but since it is so close
to your body, it is an entanglement hazard and could pull you to the
surface and is very dangerous.
The best method is to use your octopus/regulator and open the gooseneck opening,
inflating it from below. It only takes a small burst from your octo with
it's large volume of air and using both Bernoulli's law and the SMB's
over pressure valve, it will be full and straight up on the surface.
From 30 feet, I start to wind up the string onto the eyebolt until I get
to the middle swivel at 15 feet on the line. This allows me to just hang
for 3 minutes, completely negative with camera or spearfishing gear.
During this whole 3-7 minute time from deployment, it gives the boat captain
a great chance to see your flag and make a physical note of where you are
drifting towards, even though you are still under water. It adds a huge
amount of "find" time since you shot the SMB at depth before
having to be picked up.
If you are having a problem at 15 feet like too many sharks, or
,a whale shark comes in for a photo then
just drop the line again since it's only 30 total feet, and take the shot
of the fish, the SMB will still stand up and bounce letting the captain know
there is usually a problem, and you can retrieve the dropped line later.
As you approach the surface, keep winding the white line tight around
the eyebolt trying to keep a smooth back and forth winding pattern.
As you just get to the surface, wind the line completely up to the black loop.
Since the double ender clip shoots to the surface with the SMB, as you
reach the SMB on the surface, reach up and grab the open end of the
brass clip and clamp it on to the eyebolt you are winding up. Now you have
a tied up system that a boat person can grab and pull up from the
fully inflated top and it won't unravel.
It's a great system that gives you the advantage of shooting from
below so no boats will come near you and at the same time you can clip off
camera's, stow gear and put away things so when you get to the surface,
you are ready to be picked up.
As a side note, Reels are nice to shoot SMB's but they require more
hands than camera photog's usually have available. This is just a
simple tropical solution to mark your spot so you can do a full safety stop
and the captain will be easily able to track you.
Let me know what questions you have and I'll try to walk you through them.