September heralds the beginning of spring, the start of the build up to better diving conditions and an exciting time for spearfishers.
September 15 sees the closure of the southern rock lobster season. Female rock lobster have been closed since June 1 to protect the spawning stocks with males now closing to also assist in the spawning run of these delicacies. All southern rock lobster are off limits until the 15 November.
To compensate for the closing of the rock lobster season September is the best month to hunt large southern calamari and scallops in Port Phillip Bay. Southern calamari are relatively short lived and very fast growing and this month sees the peak build up of large specimens in the bay and surrounding areas.
The best areas for hunting squid will be the shallower weed beds. Look for the egg clusters attached to the weed as they are the premium areas to hunt in, and they are generally quite obvious for those that know what they are looking for. Concentrating your efforts around these weed beds is sure to produce a feed of calamari with a very generous bag limit of 10 Squid. However, please only ever take enough for your immediate needs.
September is also the best time for scallop collection as the scallops are of larger average size with much thicker meats and roe. Free diving for scallops is best done in depths ranging from 5-15m with the best areas to try being off Rye, Blairgowrie and Rosebud at this time of year. While diving for both these species keep your eyes open for flathead and whiting as an extremely tasty by-catch.
Remember to dive safely in these areas by always displaying your diver below flag on your float. If boat diving, it's better to have a boat handler following the divers in the water and keeping an eye out for boat traffic as the divers drift and dive in the current.
Down in the far southwest of the state we are still seeing a very late run of school tuna with some of the action being extremely close in. Fish have been common in 20-30m of water and at times the fish have been even closer in; within 1km of shore.
September is sure to be the very last chance at these school fish until next season, as this late run has been quite unusual. The usual reef and pelagic species for this time of year are certainly about; trevally, snook, King George whiting, sea sweep and Australian salmon are quite prolific on the inshore reefs at this time of year. Sweep, salmon and trevally in particular preferring the deeper turbulent holes behind and adjacent to reefs and bommies. Whiting are best hunted in the shallower waters where weed edges and reefs bordering sand holes are the prime spots.
Spring is a great season for spearfishing so get out and enjoy your diving in the lead up to the warmer months.Reads: 1150