October is the month when we really start to see some major improvements in the weather and with it comes more pleasant conditions for spearfishing.
As much as September is a great month for divers to start to target species such as southern calamari, silver trevally, scallops, King George whiting and snapper, October heralds the peak season to hunt the very same quarry.
The highlights in October quite clearly are snapper and large southern calamari.
At this time of year, calamari are at their thickest in the bays around Melbourne and indeed right down the coast line to far southwest Victoria. The usual hunting places are still the place to find the squid but on average they are of much larger size in October.
Shallow weed or grass beds in depths of 3-5m are the ideal areas to find squid in the 2-3kg range. With slightly better visibility in the water at this time of year, the squid can be a little more cautious when approached. The best technique to attract them within spearing distance is to use berley. I often use pilchards or other baits to not only draw the squid in but to distract them as I make my dive and approach. Generally once a squid is spotted, lifting a bait out of the water and tossing it in the direction of the squid will attract its attention as it lands on the surface and starts to slowly drift down. As the squid moves in to take the bait they seem to become quite focused on their prey and this allows the diver to move in and take their shot.
With the build up of the squid comes the major influx of snapper. Port Phillip Bay is by far the stand out location in terms of spearfishing for snapper and these fish regularly inhabit the same areas as the squid.
Once again, berley is key to getting close enough to spear a snapper. Snapper become quite aggressive when actively feeding and just like squid they focus on their prey and less on the fact that a diver is stealthily approaching them.
The far southwest coast also offers excellent opportunities to hunt snapper. The North Shore at Portland is a well known area and several locations around Port Fairy are prime locations, Killarney and the Crags being my favourite snapper hunting locations.
Southern rock lobster remain off limits due to the closed season until mid November, but scallops and abalone can be collected and provide a delicious alternative.
As we move closer to summer the diving opportunities continue to improve as do the conditions in the water. Warmer water temperatures and better water clarity make spearfishing even more enjoyable for the keen diver and as we approach the opening of the southern rock lobster season next month, there is much to look forward to.Reads: 881