August is another cold and quieter month for spearfishing but those prepared to put up with the cold water will be well rewarded.
Late June and July proved to be quite a successful period for those chasing tuna, both in close and offshore at the shelf. Several groups of keen spearfishers reported regular catches of school size fish around the 12-15kg mark. Shane Harrison and crew had a great couple of days landing some nice school fish in close diving out of Port Fairy.
August sees the build up of southern calamari numbers in most protected inshore areas in Victoria but particularly in Port Phillip Bay. One of the most productive techniques is to drive your boat slowly over the shallow weed beds until you see the white squid eggs and squid themselves in a certain area. Alternatively, if land based, swimming out to the shallow weed/grass beds and looking for the eggs is also a great way to work out the best hunting grounds. Calamari are fast growing and short lived, therefore they are a very sustainable species to target. Good areas to hunt southern calamari include the weed beds around Portsea, Queenscliff, St Leonards and the entrance to Swan Bay. There's always a chance of flathead and King George whiting in these same areas, which make for a tasty by-catch.
There's also plenty of options in the southwest of the state. Australian salmon are abundant at this time of year as are silver trevally, sea sweep, King George whiting and longfin pike, all great target species through the winter period.
Male southern rock lobster are still in season until mid September but females are in their closed season and must not be taken. August can be a great month to hunt lobster as the large males tend to be in close on the shallow reef areas. Heavily weed covered reef patches with deep rock ledges at the base are the ideal hunting grounds. When found deep in the backs of the ledges, you can use berley to tempt the lobsters out to a position where they can be more easily captured. I generally use a fish on a berley pin attached to a line running to my float to draw them out. It's also important to be aware that under fisheries regulations southern rock lobsters can be taken by hand only. This means that any snares, loops or hooks are illegal in Victoria and Tasmania so please make sure you're aware of all applicable state rules when planning a dive on the lobster.
Abalone are a year round prospect in the far southwest with green lip, black lip and tiger abalone being quite prolific in this part of the state. August also presents the opportunity of a very late season southern bluefin tuna, although any fish left at this stage are most likely out on the shelf.
August is one of my favourite months to hunt those shallow water, inshore reef species so ignore the cold and get out there!Reads: 1947