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August means shorter dives
  |  First Published: August 2012



The month of August sees some of the coldest water for the year in Victoria.

This along with marginal ocean conditions and seasonal restrictions on the take of abalone and crayfish means many of the keener spearfishers opt for shorter dives in Port Phillip. Here they will find squid and King George whiting off the weed beds off Queenscliff, St Leonards and Portsea.

Some divers even look further afield and venture into Southern NSW. Here the winter westerly wind pattern is offshore and the water is often clear and slightly warmer. A good catch of mixed bag species can always be found at area like Green Cape and Merimbula.

CAPE SCHANK

This month l will continue with a brief introduction to one of my favourite Victorian spearfishing destinations, Cape Schanck. Cape Schanck is located on the Mornington Peninsular and offers good land-based and boat spearfishing options. The walk up and down the stairs at Cape Schanck is challenging and l often utilise a backpack to assist with the gear and especially the catch on the way home. Be sure to cover your spear points in a suitable manner when using the walking tracks and stairs as there have been a number of nasty incidents over the years and it is a popular destination in summer.

The eastern side of Cape Schanck offers good protection in a moderate westerly swell and has reasonable access from the shore at the base of the stairs. This side of the cape offers reasonable spearfishing with snook, snapper, trevally, whiting and your usual reef species in the summer and autumn months. The best fishing areas are scattered along the cliffs all the way down to Elephant Rock and extend up to 400m offshore. Average depth is 5-10m and when the wind is offshore or from the west and swell less than 2m you will usually have ‘top to bottom’ visibility. Crayfish can be found and this region also has reasonable stocks of black lip abalone.

The better spearfishing is without doubt out the front of Cape Schanck and down to the lighthouse region, however good ocean conditions are required. This area is prone to ocean tidal currents, especially around the offshore rock. Ideally, divers should approach this area from a seaworthy boat although on the calmest of days it can be dived by experienced free divers from shore. (Boat access is from either Flinders/Stony Point or via Port Phillip, i.e. Sorrento or Queenscliff).

This region has produced some magnificent yellowtail kingfish in the summer and autumn months and is becoming very popular with both boat anglers and spearfishers so be sure to fly your divers flag when spearfishing this area.

Large sweep, banded morwong, snook, snapper and leatherjackets can be regularly taken. Further west past the lighthouse and down into the shallower bays good cray diving and spearfishing can be had. This area is ideal in a low swell and north east winds.

These bays seem to produce a fair few seven-gill sharks and even bronze whalers so be prepared and boat your fish as soon as possible after capture.

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