October is always a welcome relief from the cold of winter and crisp September mornings. The better conditions of October makes it one of my favourite months for spearing.
Thursday 15 September saw the closure of male southern rock lobster, which means both male and female lobster are now off limits until 15 November. It’s important to honour this closure, as it’s their peak breeding period, and they should be left to do their thing.
During this time avid spearos can now concentrate on targeting quality table fish and molluscs, such as abalone and scallops.
This month, we should see the southern calamari and snapper heading inshore. Currently, squid are pretty thick around Melbourne and the South West. If you’re after a feed of squid, you’re best off heading shallow into the weed/grass beds where they congregate to breed and lay their eggs. It’s important to use berley to attract the calamari in the area, which will also to distract them as the diver gets closer. Pilchards are great at drawing squid closer to a diver, and when the squid focuses on the berley, they are often completely oblivious to anything around them, making it easy for a diver to draw closer.
The snapper are certainly a highly prized and sought after target this month and all through the summer, and are usually found near the squid. Like squid, they respond well to berley and will feed aggressively if there’s a sensible stream of berley on offer. If you can get them keyed in on the berley, they seem to become far less wary of a diver and become easier to spear.
Port Phillip Bay offers divers great opportunities to hunt snapper and the far South West coast is a good option early in the season. Locations such as The Crags and Killarney at Port Fairy and the North Shore at Portland are great snapper haunts.
A few other species on offer at this time of year are sea sweep, bastard trumpeter, King George whiting and silver trevally. You’ll be able to find these species on the inshore reefs that border areas of white water. Again, a bit of berley is the key to distract the fish and allow the diver to mooch in quietly.
Regretfully this will be my final Spearfishing report and I'd like to thank all the people who've not only followed the report but have contacted me both publicly and privately for advice and also to offer their own dive reports and pictures. Thankfully, Brett Illingworth, who spends more time in the water than anyone else I know, and is a diver I greatly respect, has agreed to take on the monthly column and I really look forward to reading his reports. I will still be writing my monthly South West fishing report and popping up from time to time with feature articles. Thank you to everyone for their support over the last three years that I've been writing the report, it has been greatly appreciated.
Happy spearing.Reads: 874