March can be one of the most exciting and productive months for spearfishers from right across the state with continuing warm waters and a peak in pelagic species, reef species and southern rock lobster numbers.
The shallows of the far South West through to the far East Coast are alive with both reef species and rock lobster at this time of year. After a slow but steady start to the southern rock lobster season, things have really improved in terms of numbers and average size. It seemed to be a little later than usual when the larger crays turned up on inshore reefs after migrating in from the deeper waters, but areas across the state are now producing some fantastic crays for those hunting the reef patches. Around 5m and less is generally the best depth to focus on.
South West locations such as Portland and Port Fairy provide prime waters for hunting reef species such as King George whiting, snapper, snook, sea sweep and trevally just to name a few.
Killarney, Griffith Island and the sheltered bays and lagoons are all great places to dive and find yourself a quality feed of fish. The Melbourne region, namely Port Phillip Bay also offers the same list of species and areas like Mornington, Black Rock, Point Cook, Saint Leonards and Queenscliff are all well worth a try and offer fun and exciting diving.
Of course, we are still in the peak of the yellowtail kingfish season and there have been exceptional numbers of fish around in the usual areas so far this year. The north shore at Portland, Julia Percy Island and Killarney have all been holding fish. There has been plenty of smaller ‘rat’ kingies about, but I've seen fish in the 15-20kg bracket on several occasions.
On the Central Coast there has been some quality fish landed around Kennett River and heading further east, plenty of opportunities in the common locations.
Cape Schank, Nobbies, Pyramid Rock and the islands off Wilsons Prom are all regular hangouts for kingfish.
On the far East coast there has also been large numbers of good kingies and Lakes Entrance, Marlo and right to the border at Mallacoota have all been exceptional.
March is also the time of year that those experienced enough turn their minds to blue water hunting and in particular, tuna! This year is looking like a great season again with the first news of southern bluefin tuna in the Portland area coming in at the end of January. Anglers chasing schools of salmon on the North Shore caught tuna to 20kg. It’s not unusual for school tuna to be encountered in the shallows around both Portland and Port Fairy at the very start of the season.
Amazingly, there were also reports of both kingfish and SBT schooling together around Julia Percy Island and that’s an extremely exciting prospect for the avid blue water hunter.
On another note, in January I was involved with the running of, and competed in the 2015 Australian Spearfishing Titles, which drew the country’s best divers to compete. I was extremely happy to have finished in 10th place and I congratulate all the competitors.
Special mention goes out to good mate and champion diver Robert Torelli, and I congratulate him on winning his 9th open title, which is an amazing achievement. This clearly proved that Rob is undoubtedly one of, if not the best, competitive diver ever in the long history of the National Spearfishing Competition.
Also, a huge congratulations goes to Mac Riddle, who took out the Junior Championship and I have no doubt will go on to also become a true legend of the sport.Reads: 1308