Tuna still charging along the coast
  |  First Published: September 2015

September heralds the start of spring and the beginning of the build up to some quality spearfishing opportunities.

The preceding months have seen the continued presence of the southern bluefin tuna on the far South West coastline and if last season is anything to go by we should still see plenty of school tuna in close right into September. We have had an exceptional season in 2015 with the fish in close and available the whole time. The local Port Fairy Spearfishing club (Shipwreck Coast Skindivers Inc), of which I am President, has had an incredibly successful season chasing the bluefin and in particular the Riddles, Craig Fox and Christian ‘Doc’ Hughes have really nailed the skills and technique required to hunt these bluewater game fish.

The Shipwreck Coast Skindivers Inc are organising an exciting new competition for next season tentatively named the Bluefin Battle/Tuna Cup, with late May 2016 being the proposed time to hold it. This competition has the potential to be extremely popular and draw divers from all over Victoria and even interstate. There will be some terrific prizes on offer for the competitors and with a state record of 23kg for a speared SBT it is highly likely this will be broken at the event. I will include more details as we get closer to the event and anyone interested in the club can find us on Facebook at Shipwreck Coast Skindivers Inc.

September 15 sees the closing of the southern rock lobster season until 15 November. Female rock lobster have been closed since 1 June with only male crays being legal to take since that time. Most divers are quite happy to turn their focus onto some of the other species on offer during this period with southern calamari, sea sweep, King George whiting, snook, trevally and in particular Australian salmon being prolific at this time of year.

Calamari and whiting are best hunted around weed and seagrass beds, preferably with sand holes bordering them. A liberal amount of berley also helps to attract both species in and hold them in the area. Sweep, salmon, snook and trevally tend to prefer more turbulent waters adjacent to reef structure with 5-10m being the ideal depth range. Again, berley will help keep the fish interested and distracted making them easier to hunt.

Scallops are also on the menu with them being larger on average and having thicker meats and roe. Around 5-15m is the optimum depths to search and Rye, Blairgowrie and Rosebud are all great areas to collect scallops at this time of year. There is no size limit on scallops but be aware the bag limit is 100.

September is a great month to get in the water and the gradually increasing temperatures make it a little more pleasant after diving through the cold depths of winter so get out and enjoy all that this month has to offer.

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