Temperature drops
  |  First Published: May 2012

May has come around quick and has seen a drop in the warmer autumn water temperature.

These cooler waters have seen divers dragging out their 5mm suits. These somewhat chillier waters still hold quality smaller pelagic inshore species as well as quality reef species. Offshore May is the peak season for albacore and southern bluefin tuna and sees the adventurous bluewater spearfisher spending long days offshore in pursuit of these tasty and challenging species.

Early to mid May is my favourite time of the year to hunt snook (or short fin pike) as they are also knows. You will often find them in loose schools and in big numbers along the ocean beaches. Average size is usually 1-2kg but larger specimens can be encountered up to 4kg are sometimes seen.

We tend to try two separate approaches to spear these challenging fish. One method is a simple dive approach from directly above. This works better in slightly deeper water when you can see then hovering over the bottom and a silent dive from above often does the job. It is wise to drop your snorkel from your mouth before diving to avoid noisy bubbles escaping.

Alternatively, try a dive to the bottom in the general area the snook are being seen. They will often approach but a bottom time of plus 45-60 seconds at least is desirable for this method to work well. If they are being really wary try a little finely cut berley that will slowly sink to the bottom. Snook can feed in the berley trail and you are likely to attract snapper, salmon and trevally in similar sand and reef areas.

We were fortunate to have another good yellowtail kingfish spearfishing season this summer/autumn although not quite as productive as 2011 in both the numbers of school fish and size of fish.

They did hang around well into April and it will not surprise me to hear of the odd one still being caught in Victoria in early May. I enjoyed a number of charters down to the islands off Wilsons Promontory and many of my clients caught their first ever kingfish. What a blast it is to see guys landing their biggest and best fish in Victoria. We are very fortunate to see the return of the mighty yellowtail kingfish.

Most serious blue water spearfishers from Victoria now try their hand at bluewater hunting for tuna in the west of our state: Apollo Bay through to Portland. These destinations have produced world records for both albacore and southern bluefin tuna in recent years and many of us are keen to rewrite the record books. Time will tell.

Be sure to play it safe and fly both your boat and dive float flags and inform other boats in the areas that divers are in the water. It is not common practice to see spearfishers and free divers on the continental shelf. Good luck with your spearfishing this May whether inshore or offshore.

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