November heralds the unofficial beginning of the spearfishing season, with the weather really heating up along with the quality and variety of species available.
November is the last month of spring and is the transition point between our spring and summer species.
Squid and scallops are still about and we start to see a real build up of snapper on the closer inshore reefs. This is my preferred month to target snapper on the far southwest coast, with locations including Killarney, The Crags and the North Shore of Portland being standout venues. The key to bringing snapper in close enough for a shot is the use of berley as they can be very timid fish. A small amount of berley such as pilchards, squid or chopped up fish gets the snapper in a feeding mode and a real difference in their behaviour is quite noticeable. They become aggressive towards chasing the berley and feeding and seem to take less notice of a diver cautiously approaching to make their shot.
Other species to target on the inner reefs at this time of year are trevally and King George whiting, which tend to increase in overall numbers.
On 16 November we see the opening of the southern rock lobster season and that's a great reason to get serious in mid November. In the southwest we are blessed with great stocks of southern rock lobster and collecting a feed is never hard in calm inshore sea conditions. Lobsters are best hunted on shallower reefs with large, deep rock ledges and generally like areas with plenty of weed around to help keep them camouflaged and safe. As with snapper, a small amount of berley pinned at the front of a deeper ledge containing lobster can often attract them out into a position that is much easier to grab them. In Victoria divers must only take lobster by hand and no mechanical device can be used to assist in their capture. The bag limit per diver per day in Victoria is 2 lobsters and no soft shell or female lobster with eggs may be taken. Please check the fisheries regulations and make sure you have a current Victorian fishing licence before heading out to dive for them.
Even though we tend to expect yellowtail kingfish in December, they are a possible quarry in November. Early season kingies are very possible on the south coast and equally around the Wilsons Promontory area. I have quite often bumped into unexpected schools of kingies in mid to late November, so if water temperatures are up, be prepared to encounter these fish.
Remember to always fly a ‘diver below’ flag on you're float and always try to dive with a buddy to keep yourself safe.
The cold weather is gone and the end of spring to the beginning of summer is a very special time for spearfishing so now is the time to get out for a dive.Reads: 1345