December warmth is welcomed by all
  |  First Published: December 2013

The last few weeks have seen the water warm up and as we move into mid-December we can expect warmer water and much more productive spearfishing.

December is an exciting time of the year for Victorian underwater fisher with productive spearfishing for both reef species and for pelagic fish along with productive crayfish diving conditions.

The warmer water has seen the snapper move inshore both in Port Phillip and along the ocean beaches of Bass Strait. Many of the inshore reefs with nearby sand patches and weed will produce snapper and the tasty King George whiting. The most productive method for these species is to do some berleying. This can be done by bringing pre-bought pilchards or even fish scraps from your last outing. Snapper love squid heads and scallop guts and this combination never seems to fail.

Choose a sand and reef patch or sand line to place the berley. Be patient though and place some of your berley in net bags so fish cannot swim off with it. Attach these to your float line and drop weight. If possible, place the bag in an area that will allow you an undetected ambush approach. Expect trevally and the usual suspects such as wrasse, leatherjackets and the occasional ray or smaller sharks such as swell sharks and Port Jacksons.

The crayfish season has started okay with fairly good catches and should only get better as the season progresses. Some of the wider and deeper reefs typically produce early whilst other shallower reefs take time. Each season seems to be different so do not give up hope if your first few drops do not produce. Keep at it, the crayfish will be somewhere! Use your torch for improved results and try working as a pair, it’s safer and produces better results.

The most exciting thing about December spearfishing for the keen spearfisher here in Victoria is the arrival of the mighty yellowtail kingfish. Again, each season is different but in recent years we have landed kingfish in December with early hotspots being the north shore in Portland and the islands off Wilsons Promontory. Water temperature will be a big factor but early signs look good. Be prepared to hunt these tough fish with a suitable spear gun. I like to use a 1.2m or 1.3m spear gun with a single point spear and a set of flashers to hunt this elusive species.

Be sure to stay tethered to your float line and again patience will be the key. Try a few different locations and be sure to work the current and tide to your advantage, especially around the islands off Wilsons Promontory. Kingfish like to hang at the head of the current and the schools will move around a lot. At times you will find them on the sand line at 15-20m and at other times you will get schooled in 5m of water. Commotion is good also and the spearing of smaller reef fish like sweep will often attract a school of kingfish. Be sure to hang near schools of baitfish if they are about like yellowtail scad and at times slimy mackerel.

As summer continues we can expect an improvement in spearfishing conditions and fish life. January and February are always peak months for both reef and blue water spearfishing and the crayfish diving typically improves as the season progresses.

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