August is another cold month for diving but the keen spearos will still be braving the cold water with plenty of great species on offer.
Late June and July saw the continuation of the fantastic southern bluefin tuna season we have been experiencing this year and August should still see plenty of opportunity to target them. Port Fairy based spearfishing club, Shipwreck Coast Skindivers inc, recently hosted a club social dive targeting school tuna in close off Port Fairy. The dive was well attended and some members of the Melbourne based club, Southern Freedivers, came out west to join the dive.
Several boatloads of divers headed out to the 45-meter line where plenty of school tuna were found busting on the surface. As always, the technique was to find a busting school then add plenty of pilchard cubes to berley and hold the fish in the area. Divers then enter the water and several people stayed in the boat. One to drive the boat and stay in close proximity to the divers and at least one more person keeping a constant visual on the divers, which is the best way to ensure everybody’s safety. Plenty of tuna were landed on the day with young gun Mac Riddle getting multiple fish.
This month sees the build up of southern calamari around inshore areas to breed and lay their eggs. In the Melbourne area the prime zones in Port Phillip Bay include Portsea, Queenscliff, St Leonards and the entrance to Swan Bay. The best places to target are the shallow weed beds by looking for the calamari egg clusters hanging off the weed. Once these egg clusters are located you can be sure that there are plenty of squid in the area. Again a little berley can help bring them in and ensures they are more focused on the berley then the diver who is stalking them. The same rules tend to apply no matter the location; so even in the outside of Melbourne we apply the same technique when looking for calamari.
Inshore diving also offers some great bounty in August. Male southern rock lobster are still in season until mid September and tend to be quite prolific in the shallow rock ledges right along the South West coastline. Rocky reefs with plenty of heavy kelp growth are the prime areas to search. An added bonus is that black lip and tiger abalone also inhabit the same areas and make for a very tasty by catch.
Australian salmon are also abundant right through winter and are often bumped into when hunting in shallow inshore areas. Reefs with sand holes adjacent are a great place to encounter salmon as well as fish like silver trevally, King George whiting, sea sweep and a host of wrasse species.
Don’t let the cold of winter keep you out of the water as there are some awesome opportunities to hunt both in and offshore so get out and enjoy your diving!Reads: 944