Better spearfishing starts as water warms and days lengthen
  |  First Published: September 2013

The start of spring is always an exciting time for spearfishers from across the state.

Water temperatures have started to rise and the southern calamari season has generally well and truly fired up in Port Phillip. It is also the start of the large schools of snapper entering Port Phillip, which are all fair and challenging game.

The dedicated spearfisher who targets squid can expect results if they have patience and are prepared to scout the weed beds in search of their eggs. Set up some drift dives to scout for these eggs and you will be surprised at the amount of area you can cover and the results you will get. A bonus catch of quality flathead are common and you may even find the odd flounder and King George whiting on these drifts.

Once you find the eggs be sure to enter these marks into your GPS. Squid will return year after year to the same areas to lay their eggs. Do not write the area off if you do not see the squid in numbers on your first drift. Many of these squid hot spots are influenced by tide and a simple tide change can turn a quiet spot into squid city. Many locations seem to produce squid at different tides but when it all comes together with good visibility, slack water and good concentrations of squid it is very exciting and quite easy to catch your generous bag limit of 10 per person. If the squid eggs are not coloured very white and fresh looking they generally do not hold squid.

You will tend to find the commotion of squid spearfishing can attract welcome by-catch such as trevally, whiting and at times large snapper. I will often discard a few tentacles and discard the odd squid head in hope of some of these prized scale fish. Of course you will get some unwanted scavengers as well such as stingrays, skates and the odd seven-gill shark.

Late September sees some good snapper numbers in and around Port Phillip. It is amazing just how few a quality snapper are landed by spearfishers in Victoria considering the number of snapper out there. Several competent spearfisher I know have berleyed the sand beds in 15-20m of water on the eastern side of Port Phillip with fair results. This takes good skill and patience as the water tends to dirty up on the bottom where the snapper are feeding.

Others have dived the artificial reefs and structures with mixed results. Needless to say with patience and determination a prized snapper over 5kg is well and truly within reach. At times we know these same snapper frequent the inshore shallows and the odd hump head has been spooked over the years. Hopefully, this spring some dedicated spearfisher will land a prized snapper. I plan to give it a go and will be saving my fresh squid heads as bait.

Be sure to approach your spearfishing for squid and snapper this spring in Port Phillip safely. It is very common for large concentrations of boats to be line fishing in one area for these two prized species. Show courtesy and respect and give each boat plenty of room. Be sure to fly a large and clearly visible boat flag and carry a diver below flag on your personal float. Stay nearby your float and be sensible with your choice of locations. It is a big bay and all of those boat concentrations do not mean guaranteed catches. Explore and you will find!

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