Big squid the highlight as prime species return
  |  First Published: October 2013

October should see some great spearfishing in Port Phillip. Good catches of squid, trevally and scallops are usually taken in the southern parts of Port Phillip.

Reasonable visibility and weather will help and conditions should only improve as we approach Christmas and the summer ahead.

The highlight of the month is some amazing squid in the 2-3kg being sought out by numerous divers seeking these delicacies. Working the weed beds in the south western part of the bay should produce the best results with usual haunts such as Queenscliff, St Leonards and Indented Head being the most productive.

They can be caught anytime of the day but the old saying ‘early bird gets the worm’ has been true in recent weeks. It also helps if you can dive these areas on a slack tide, as working the current is tough, especially at Queenscliff. If the tide and current is working, try drift diving. This is much more enjoyable and you will often be surprised what else you see and land when drifting several kilometres.

Snapper will be in the same area, especially with a little berley to help things along. Squid heads obviously make great berley as does any fresh fish minced and chopped finely in the flowing current. It is also a good way of attracting the squid into range and it makes for a easier shot on the squid.

Early September saw the start of the Victorian Spearfishing Challenge competition. Known simply as the ‘VC’, this competition is free and open to all financial members of the Australian Underwater Federation. The aim is to land the biggest fish of any of the ten nominated quality fish species from September through to June.

Some great fish have already been submitted and this year’s competition looks like it will be keenly contested. Only two of each fish species can be nominated. Species include Australian salmon, squid, trevally, sea sweep, snook, yellowtail kingfish, flathead, crayfish, whiting and snapper.

The competition attracts Victoria’s best spearfishers and a good array of prizes such as wetsuits, spearguns and so on. Not bad for a “free entry” competition. For more information about the Victorian Spearfishing Challenge go to: www.southernfreedivers.org.au/content/about-challenge

Spearfishers tend to target Port Phillip in October due to the ocean beaches having less than favourable conditions and also with crayfish being off limits. I love my Port Phillip diving and it does offer good shallow water spearfishing and hunting and gathering in protected weather conditions and a variety of terrain and styles of diving.

From drift diving through to reef hunting indeed the bay does have a lot to offer. It is ironically perhaps one of the most dangerous locations to dive due to the heavy boat traffic that is evident in the region. The boating traffic in October is very heavy due to snapper and squid season in Port Phillip.

ALWAYS fly your large clearly visible boat flag AND a personal dive flag. Over the years there has been a number of serious injuries to divers and even more near misses to spearfishers. Please do not drop your guard when spearfishing in Port Phillip (or anywhere for that matter) and always fly your flag and use some common sense.

This is particularly evident around dawn and dusk and when spearfishing in remote or non-obvious areas.

Next month the water will continue to warm and the crayfish season will open again (November 16) so get ready for what promises to be an exciting spearfishing season ahead.

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