Spring is now upon us and Victorian spear fishers have an increasing amount of sport to look forward to.
September 15 sees the total closure of the southern rock lobster (saltwater crayfish) fishery. Females have been closed June 1 in order to protect the spawning stock. It is closed till November 15 so this allows plenty of time to pursue other tasty delicacies such as scallops and squid.
Diving for scallops in the spring months produces good size scallops and thick scallop meats. It is also great free diving training for the summer months ahead. SCUBA can be used but it is more fun and challenging collecting scallops whilst free diving. The scallops can generally be obtained whilst free diving from 5-15m but be sure to fly your diver’s flag to alert fellow bay users of your presence.
The scallop beds off Rye, Blairgowrie, Rosebud and Tootgarook have been producing good catches. Drift diving is the easiest and safest method with a boat driver following the free divers. By-catches of flathead and flounder is a real bonus as well.
September is the start of the big squid season for Melbourne spearfishers. The southern reaches of Port Phillip are producing good numbers of squid and divers can expect fairly good catches in the usual haunts of Sorrento, Portsea, Queenscliff and the St Leonards region.
The best areas will be the weed beds that hold squid eggs so scan these areas. Be sure to fly your large and clearly visible divers below flag (on both your dive float and dive boat if using one) as boating traffic congestion can be really high in and around these areas in squid season. Use some common sense and courtesy around line fishers and you will find they usually do the same back.
The generous bag limit of 10 squid per person applies so stick to your limits! Best methods usually entail drifting these areas until you find the concentrations of squid and then anchor your dive float. Then either shoot them from the surface (if shallow enough and clear enough) or dive and wait adjacent to the squid eggs on the weed bed bottom.
It will not take long before they appear and you secure a tasty catch of southern calamari/squid. Other quality species are also taken, including trevally and King George whiting.
Enjoy your spring diving and look forward to the warmer more productive months ahead.Reads: 5614