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Promising Start to Season
  |  First Published: March 2011



The Victorian spearfishing scene is enjoying perhaps its best season ever with good diving conditions and tremendous catches.

Despite the recent floods the seas have been quite flat with warm water and some great visibility. I have been enjoying some great local diving around Port Fairy, Philip Island and Wilsons Promontory. I am amazed with the amount of spearfishers along the coast that I’m meeting and the quality of their equipment. It seems spearfishing is making a good comeback!

Local retailers tell me that their sales of quality spearfishing equipment are on the rise, with sales of flashers surprising them most of all. Flashers were once thought to be an accessory only in blue and tropical waters, but they are now being used locally with deadly results.

Flashers come in various shapes and sizes and are used to attract fish towards the shiny objects dangling below divers. Simple homemade flashers consist of old CDs and mirrors while retailers are selling flashers that spin and make noise and are extremely easy to use.

While many people think that they only work well on pelagic fish I can assure you reef species are equally attracted to them.

On a recent dive at Wilsons Promontory while using my flashers I was schooled by large numbers of the magnificent yellowtail kingfish and later had schools of sweep, trumpeter and even barracuda and leatherjackets biting at them. They are a very good means of attracting a large variety of species and you are often pleasantly surprised by what appears.

Reports from Cape Schanck this past month have been very impressive with numerous spearos landing the prized yellowtail kingfish in the region up to 15kg. Divers have landed them from boats as well as land-based, which make for some tough walks back up the long walkway.

The most productive area seems to be on the western side of the cape but some divers have landed them in Bushrangers Bay as well.

The flashers have been working a treat along with some berley. There have been several reports of large bronze whalers coming in when using berley, so perhaps back off the berley and concentrate on the flashers.

Be mindful of the tidal current out the front of the point, especially if you’re diving land-based. It can run very fast and be impossible to swim against.

Kingfish reports from Portland have also been great with the Narrawong and the north shore area producing consistent kings. The size of these fish does appear to be smaller than the central zone areas but the diving is a lot easier given it is very shallow and lacks the current that Wilsons Promontory and Cape Schanck does. It appears to have been very busy with line fishers, so spearfishers and divers need to show respect and fly their diver’s flags.

The waters around Mornington have also been productive and are quite accessible. Several reports of great kingfish, salmon, trevally and snook have been taken in less than 10m of water. Be sure to have a highly visible dive flag as the boating traffic can be very dangerous.

The islands of Wilsons Promontory have been red hot and I landed kingfish to 15kg in late December. It was a great start to my charter season and this area has provided a lot of divers some exciting blue water captures throughout January and February.

We have started a new spearfishing competition run from Shallow Inlet in mid February called the Victorian Kingfish Cup. This competition is being hosted by the Southern Freedivers Club. The two day event involves divers competing in pairs and are allowed two kingfish per pair per day, a very selective and challenging way to run a spearfishing competition. I will have a full report next issue.

Recently, I was out at Phillip Island and saw a family friend who took his wife and son out spearfishing for the day. At aged 9, Marcus Dorfstatter was very proud of his first ever fish, a leatherjacket. The humble leatherjacket is great eating and quite plentiful around the Victorian coastline. Drop a bit of berley and wait – the jackets will turn up on cue. It’s a great way to start kids spearfishing and give them a chance of their first fish.

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