What a load of abalone!
  |  First Published: November 2015

November is the unofficial start to the spearfishing season with the weather improving as well as a great variety and quality of species on offer for the keen spearo.

The previous months saw an extended and incredibly successful southern bluefin tuna season with a seemingly endless run of tuna on the far southwest coast. The school tuna remained in the 50m water off Port Fairy for the majority of the season and were easily accessed on several successful dives by members of the local Port Fairy club, Shipwreck Coast Skindivers Inc. Members of Melbourne based club Southern Freedivers also took advantage of the availability of these fish. The success of the 2015 season has prompted the Shipwreck Coast Skindivers Inc to create a new competition called the ‘Bluefin Battle’ to be held in late May 2016 in which divers from all over the country are invited to come to Port Fairy to compete. For anyone interested in becoming part of the club or competing in any of the organised dives we can be found on Facebook under Shipwreck Coast Skindivers Inc.

November generally sees the tuna run come to an end as many other species become the prime targets. In the Melbourne region, Port Phillip Bay still has plenty of southern calamari and scallops for the taking. The annual bulking of snapper numbers has begun on the south west coast. Areas around Port Fairy and Portland such as The Crags, Killarney and the North Shore are all prime areas to find snapper.

Berley is the key to stalking this timid species. As Snapper become more aggressive while actively feeding, they will be less aware of a diver stalking them.

Inshore diving is also great through the warmer months and species like King George whiting, trevally, Australian salmon and snook are abundant this time of year. Shallow reefs with adjacent sand holes are prime hunting grounds and a liberal stream of berley will not only attract fish to the area but will also hold them there.

Abalone are an ever present delicacy that are available in these very same areas all year round and are certainly worth taking the time to pick a few. The bag limit is 5 of which no more than two can be green lips. Please make yourself aware of the regulations around the taking of abalone as this varies slightly in terms of size etc depending on the region. Current fisheries regulations handbooks have all pertinent information.

The opening of the southern rock lobster season – a day anticipated by keen divers – is on the 16th of November. The same inshore reef areas are the place to hunt for lobster that tend to hide in ledges covered by heavy weed.

With summer approaching and plenty of potential targets on offer there's no better time to be in the water.

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