The colder water of winter in Victoria has slowed many of the weekend warrior spearfishers, with water temperatures dropping inshore.
Only the more dedicated guys have been hitting the water when the weather allows and have been treated to some reasonable spearfishing and hunting and gathering.
Good catches of scallops, abalone and crayfish can still be had over the winter months in certain locations. Keep in mind the seasonal closure of crayfish and abalone, particularly in central Victorian waters.
The offshore waters of Portland are still producing reasonable southern bluefin tuna and albacore for the dedicated bluewater hunters. The tuna are a lot closer to shore during June and July and offer more opportunities at these seasonal pelagic species.
One young spearo recently landed his first ever tuna off an inflatable boat launched from Bridgewater Bay, Portland. Now that’s keen.
It has been over six months now since l started this column and during this time l have been asked by many line anglers “How do you get started in spearfishing?”
Everyone is different but the single best bit of advice l could suggest is to “join a spearfishing club”. I did this over 30 years ago and have never regretted it. It is the fastest and safest way to learn about spearfishing from the experts.
Sure the internet will help, so will books, magazines and DVD’s but there is nothing like joining in with guys who know what they are doing. Unfortunately, there is only one really established spearfishing club in Victoria and that is the Southern Freedivers Inc.
They meet monthly in Dandenong and have regular club dives, competitions, trips away, etc and are well organised and have some of the best divers in the country as members. To learn more about this club check it out at: http://www.southernfreedivers.org.au/
The website is very informative and has information on common Victorian fish, competitions, gear for sale, an active forum, gallery, calendar and so on. Their membership fees are very reasonable at $40 per year for juniors and $80 per year for seniors and this includes membership to the Australian Underwater Federation.
Another valuable resource is the book, “Underwater Fishing in Australia and New Zealand” by Dr. Adam Smith. This book is the only one of its kind and has chapters on equipment choice, techniques, locations, (both here in Victoria and interstate) species, competitions, and more. Many newcomers have commented on how much they have learned from this valuable resource.
Winter is also a great time of the year to train for spearfishing and freediving. Whilst the best training for freediving and spearfishing is simply freediving and spearfishing, the weather at times restricts us to either pool work or land-based aerobic activities. I like swimming and do so three times per week in winter. Each diver may have his own training regime in the pool but one simple practice must be adhered to. That is, never train alone!
Unfortunately, a growing number of divers are succumbing to black outs in the swimming pools and a number of very preventable deaths have occurred in swimming pools. Another relatively new option is to try a dedicated freediving or spearfishing course.
Our sport is growing in all areas and new training courses are becoming a bigger part of spearfishing and again many newcomers have commented on the amount they have learnt in a simple 2-day course.
Spearfishing is the most selective form of fishing known to man but we do need to be in reasonable shape and switched on to safely enjoy this activity.
The ocean is an unforgiving environment at times.
I hope these few pointers will help you enjoy your future spearfishing, welcome aboard.Reads: 3848