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Reef Hooks

Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:55 pm
by stphnmartin
I'm planning a trip to Palau this spring and was wondering about the use of reef hooks. I've done some searching online and get the basic gist but wanted to hear from those with experience using them. Here are the main points I've picked up:

1. When preparing to hook the reef, get negatively buoyant and hug the bottom to be out of the main flow of the current.
2. After hooking the reef (in a dead area or on rocks) add air to BCD to rise up high enough so that fins do not contact the bottom.
3. To unhook, release air from BCD and hug the bottom to get out of the current.
4. Be prepared to cut the line in the event you cannot unhook manually.

Some other questions are where to attached the line to the bcd. I haven't read anything specific but youtube videos show most people attach them at the hip belt.

Thanks for your help.


Re: Reef Hooks

Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:01 pm
by dlh
Really the one thing you need to remember is to NOT TURN YOUR HEAD. You might lose your mask or regulator, or loosen a few teeth holding it in. When you use your reef hook in Palau you will be actually be a kite in a hurricane. It's really a blast and just have fun with it. Be humiliated by the perfectly hydrodynamic sharks, jacks, and tuna that make you look like a cow on ice skates.

Re: Reef Hooks

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:04 pm
by Grateful Diver
I used one in the Maldives on some channel dives with extremely strong current. Didn't bother with all that inflating/deflating stuff. My advice is simply to maintain neutral buoyancy and only worry about adding/removing air if needed. From a practical perspective, you're going to be task-loaded enough trying to find a good spot and coordinate hooking/unhooking with your dive buddy.

That brings me to my practical points on using reef hooks ...

1. Biggest thing is to make sure if you're going to hook or unhook, you and your buddy are doing it pretty much simultaneously ... because if you hook and your buddy doesn't, wave bye-bye ... and once you unhook, you ain't coming back if your buddy doesn't do the same. The current WILL separate you pretty quick if you're not doing it at the same time.

2. Make sure you maintain a good grip on your camera, or the current gods WILL claim it as their own. At a minimum, use a leash ... two leashes are better.

3. Streamline your equipment as much as possible ... danglies are a recipe for a really bad time, both from the practical perspective of having them "flying around in the breeze" while you're clipped in and also in terms of being potential snag hazards ... which you REALLY don't want to do in a strong current.

4. Don't turn your head sideways to the current ... clearing a mask in strong current while hooked in isn't as easy as it looks.

There are probably a few more practical tips ... these are the ones I learned about ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)

Reef Hooks

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:57 pm
by GearHead
Don't know what level of current strength you're thinking of, but I successfully used a straight reef stick to arrest myself and hold position in some of the stronger current drift dives in Cozumel. I made my own from a 16" length of 3/8" round aluminum rod. Built up a handle with fuel hose wrapped in paracord., with a lanyard captured underneath the cord.

A straight stick needs a soft bottom to get a good purchase, but it's easy to make and stow.

Re: Reef Hooks

Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:43 am
by Grateful Diver
A reef rod won't work where he's going. Current can be way too strong to hold yourself in place with it. Here's a pic from the Maldives. Haven't been to Palau, but some folks who were on my trip said the current can be even stronger there ...


... Bob (Grateful Diver)

Re: Reef Hooks

Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:05 am
by Marc
The currents at Blue Corner are brutal to say the least. I am a pretty strong swimmer and didn't have a prayer in fighting them.

Watch the down well when you are close to the walls and if the DM says move out into open water, do so as quickly as possible. You will get slammed down 40-50 before you can stop yourself if you aren't careful.

Re: Reef Hooks

Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:03 am
by Tangfish
I highly recommend carrying a reef hook on every dive actually. I've got one stowed in my BC and at random times it's been wonderful to have with me. I got it in Palau and used it there often, but the most recent time I remember it coming in handy was at Verde Island (Philippines) at a site called "The Washing Machine" everyone was fighting the current, which was swirling this way and that. I hooked into the reef, inflated and was just sitting there watching the teeming reef like it was a TV show. My dive guide and buddy were shaking their fists at me as they tried in vain to maintain their positions. Just to mess with them I took off my fins and put them on my hands and did the whole Superman thing for awhile, mask flooding a bit because I was smiling so wide.

Reef hooks are very useful and you'll never know when you'll need it (unless you're in Palau, then you'll definitely need it).