Spearfishing season kicks off
  |  First Published: November 2013

November sees the water temperature rising and a greater variety of fish life becoming available. It is the unofficial start of Victorian spearfishing season and divers dust off the wetsuits and go in search of a quality feed of fish.

In Port Phillip and Western Port Bay the squid are still plentiful and other quality fish are starting to become more common. Species such as King George whiting, trevally and snapper are starting to frequent our inshore bay side reefs and a good challenge is on offer. A great feed can be obtained for the spearfisher who perseveres.

Try your luck with a small amount of chum/berley. Freshly caught squid heads work ideal, or even bring a few pilchards along. Either way, a little chum goes a long way, especially if there is a little current or tide pushing. Do not go overboard with chumming and always keep a sharp look out as sometimes the chum can attract unwanted predators in the form of sharks and rays.

Diving in pairs is strongly recommended. Do not panic if you see a shark, rather try and maintain eye contact with it and get out of the water as soon as possible. Usually, it’s just a seven-gill shark but even these sharks can prove to be a pest and will definitely steal your fish.

Other quality seafood delicacies such as scallops are on offer and November 16 sees the reopening of the crayfish season. Each season is different with some seasons starting slow and then producing more crayfish in mid-summer and other times. It’s a case of ‘early bird gets the cray’.

Be sure to give the crayfish a shot early and you should be rewarded. Usual locations along the west coast, such as Port Fairy, Warrnambool and Cape Otway should be producing, while closer to Melbourne the back beaches on the Mornington Peninsular and Phillip Island are a great place to start.

Calm seas are generally required and the use of a torch is very handy when searching for crayfish. I like diving for crayfish in pairs. It is not only safe practise but also a practical way of hunting crayfish; one diver can watch the other while entering caves or ledges and offer assistance if needed. Also, at times crayfish will have an escape hole and with two divers both holes can be covered. It’s great fun and makes for a much safer diving.

The abalone season will open also (check DPI website for exact dates and restrictions) so there will be no shortage of quality seafood being served up this month. As usual, the fisheries will be red hot this summer so be sure to have a current fishing licence and check out all the diving and fishing regulations.

As the water continues to warm up over the next month or so we can expect to see some serious spearfishing in Victoria. Expect the mighty yellowtail kingfish to appear in December and who knows we may even see some kingfish appear in November. The seasons seem to be starting earlier and anything is possible.

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