April and May saw the continuing build up of southern bluefin tuna on the southwest coastline and some great captures were accounted for.
Shipwreck Coast Skindivers Inc. members (which is the Port Fairy based spearfishing club) have had several very successful dives targeting SBT. In particular, Peter Riddle and his son Mac have led the way this season with fantastic fish in the 17-18kg mark and just short of the state record of 23.5kg. There have also been plenty of fish about well in excess of this mark and it's only a matter of time until this record is smashed.
The other target has been albacore tuna but they have not been quite as prolific in the early part of the season. Several trips are planned by the SCS Club to go to the continental shelf in June.
Albacore differ slightly from SBT in that they seem to have no fear of divers and will approach with curiosity.
Port Fairy has been the main hunting grounds and the SBT have been everywhere in the 40m mark. At times fish have been busting all around the boat in every direction. The technique has been simple: head out to 40m and scan for bird activity. Once the birds are seen working on busting fish, move in as quietly as possible and begin dumping pilchards into the water. The schools have been easy to keep at the boat with a steady stream of berley. Once the divers enter the water the fish generally go down but will quickly come up again and go back to feeding on the berley.
It's advisable to put a minimum of two divers in the water on each drop so they can keep an eye out for each other's safety and a boat handler is a must as he can keep an eye on the divers and keep the boat in close proximity.
June also presents many opportunities for fantastic inshore diving for reef species. King George whiting, salmon, silver trevally, snook and squid are all prime targets at this time of year. There are also plenty of abalone and southern rock lobster available in the shallows. Just remember that as of June 1 female rock lobster begin their closed season. When targeting these species working inshore reefs with sand holes adjacent in 4-10m of water is the go. A steady flow of berley will also help to attract and hold these reef species in the area.
Inshore diving does not present the same dangers as offshore bluewater diving but it's still highly advisable to dive with a buddy and remain close to each other so you can help keep an eye out and look after each other.
June generally presents some very stable weather patterns and flat seas so get out and enjoy the great diving on offer this month.Reads: 1213