Fish seasons in Australia for spearfishing vary based on regions due to the country’s diverse marine ecosystems. However, as a general overview in Summer and Autumn from December to April, these seasons often see an abundance of pelagic species along both the eastern and southern coasts. The warmer waters attract a variety of species, making it an exciting time for spearos. Keep reading to discover some of the notable ones to include on your list of targets.
Typically snagged during summer in Victoria, South Australia & Tasmania, Bluefin Tuna are an impressive creature that also make appearances off the New South Wales coast in winter. Among the fastest and largest pelagic fish in the sea, they can reach well over 100 kilograms.
For Bluefin Tuna hunting, we highly recommend a timber speargun such as Rob Allen’s Timberline Roller Gun. The hybrid barrel features a carbon barrel and a mahogany over-sleeve, to improve strength, rigidity, and accuracy. The cuttlebone design also provides a hydrodynamic shape that reduces the barrel’s vertical profile, making the speargun much easier to move through the water.
The new improved Rob Allen Vecta 2 trigger and handle is the industry’s most popular trigger mechanism, and the industry-leading Rob Allen Roller muzzle ensures the utmost power-to-length performance. The Timberline Roller is fitted with a 7.5mm double notch spring steel shaft, rigged with Dyneema shooting line to reduce roller muzzle wrap, and also fitted with a gun bungee and snap clip. The roller features ceramic nitride bearings that improve roller head efficiency by up to 20%.
You will also require a top of the line float and float line. Ocean Hunter’s 3 Atmosphere Float has been a game changer in the Bluewater Spearfishing industry. It can handle the biggest fish in the ocean and has proven to be hard to beat.
The Apex DS3 float line was created to compliment this float, and can also handle the biggest, hardest fighting fish in the ocean. Available in 15m, 20m, and 30m lengths the Apex DS3 float line is ready for anything you can throw at it.
When it comes to reeling in a Bluefin Tuna, the job isn’t finished once it’s on board. These remarkable fish maintain a body temperature of 24-35 degrees, and improper cooling could lead to spoilage before you hit the shore. Equip yourself with the tools and knowledge—otherwise, all that effort might leave you empty-handed. Southern bluefin tuna has a mild to medium flavour. Grilled or barbecued, tunas are best seared and left rare in the middle.
Known for their speed and agility, Wahoo are typically found in tropical and subtropical waters and are commonly found offshore along current lines; however, they are also found on seamounts and deep reef edges. They tend to be more active in the warmer months in sub-tropical locations and are renowned for their incredible acceleration and can reach speeds of up to 97 km/hr, making them a challenge for spearos.
Having specific spearfishing gear is crucial for catching these swift creatures, which can grow up to 2.5 meters long and weigh as much as 83 kilograms. We recommend using a rig line and a quality float and bungee setup to give the wahoo room to run and reduce the risk of the shaft tearing out of its soft flesh. Don’t forget to bring flashers and burley to entice the wahoo within shooting range.
Wahoo are known to be gear testers, so investing in good equipment is crucial. A minimum 1.2 length Double Rubber Speargun or 1.0 Metre Roller is recommended, and longer lengths are preferred as Wahoo are often found in very clear water and long shots are sometime required to be taken. A breakaway setup with a double wrap of mono will also help in getting improved results. Rob Allen’s Samburu speargun pictured below, in a 1.3m – 1.4m length with twin 16mm rubbers and a 7.5mm shaft should do the trick when it comes to selecting a speargun, but there is a heap of options so drop into your local Spearfishing Australia professional to check out the range.
We also strongly recommend upgrading to a Rob Allen Drop Barb pictured below, or Slip Tip type shaft when Spearing Wahoo, as this type of Barb deployment will significantly improve your success and reduce the number of Fish lost by tearing out.
Again, the above mentioned Apex DS3 float line, together with a Rob Allen Ramora Inflatable 30 Litre float will work well to catch Wahoo. Alternatively if you are all about Rob Allen products, then get yourself a Rob Allen Floatline, 2m Floatline Bungee and the Remora Inflatable 30 Litre Float, all pictured below.
Wahoo are often caught near Brisbane, around North Stradbroke and Moreton Island. They are also found in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, especially in the Bunker Group. They are also found in the NSW North Coast down as far as Forster during the Summer and Autumn months. You will also find them in Western Australia, from Rottnest Island to the Northern Territory, and reaching as far south as Montague Island in NSW
Wahoo are highly prized for their excellent taste. Their flesh, white and delicately firm, is widely esteemed among gourmet enthusiasts. Grilling freshly seasoned Wahoo steaks on the BBQ makes for a fantastic meal, paired perfectly with fresh salad or vegetables.
These powerful and prized fish are speared all year round but are more prevalent in the warmer months in Southern locations they are primarily found in Coastal waters and Bays off the East, South and West Coasts of Australia. It’s not uncommon along the NSW coastline to see them up to 2.5m in length and 30kgs in weight.
Kingfish also known as Kingy’s, are known for their strong fights and should be on every spearos bucket list. They live and travel in a variety of depths and can be found on the surface chasing schools of bait or in very deep water beyond the depths capable for a Spearo to dive. They are one of the few Pelagic species in Australia that can be dived for without the need of a boat. Spearos seeking some fresh Kingy can shore dive off headlands along the coast.
Kingfish are renowned for their fighting capabilities so a well placed shot is important so aim for behind the pec fin and out the gill plate. This controls the head’s movement, making the fight easier to control. Once the fish is subdued quickly cutting behind the gills upon catching ensures sashimi-grade Kingfish by immediate bleeding.
Inexperienced divers should use a quality ‘Float and Rig System’ with no bungee for hunting Kingfish, as this allows the diver to put maximum pressure on the fish during the fight and hopefully keep the fish from reaching the reef and trying to break off.
Experienced Spearo’s sometimes prefer a speargun and reel combo for Kingy’s, but using this system does require good shot placement to ensure you have control of the fish and keep it off the bottom.
A variety of Speargun lengths and styles can be used successfully when Spearing Kingfish, typically a 1.1 to 1.3 length Double rubber Speargun or 80cm up to 1.1 Roller will suffice.
The Rob Allen Tuna Pro Railgun is a great choice for shooting Kingy’s. It boasts power, punch, and a striking blue camo barrel, available in various lengths. The band length is optimized for effortless loading and accuracy. Rob Allen also provides a lifetime warranty on the handle, trigger mechanism, and barrel, making it an effortless choice for spearos, from beginners to advanced users.
Flashers are a particularly good piece of equipment to have when attempting to catch these fish. The Rob Allen Ladder Teaser is renowned across the world for its capacity to draw and keep fish. The Ladder Flasher attracts and mesmerises fish using light, movement, and vibrating, spinning stainless steel triple blades, making it simpler to approach them.
Kingfish are incredibly versatile and delightful in various preparations. Whether smoked, fried, served as ceviche, or enjoyed fresh as sashimi, it’s a fish that lends itself to creating numerous delicious meals.
Found in northern Australian waters on both the East and West coasts, during the Summer and Autumn months, Spanish Mackerel can be found as far South as Port Stephens in NSW and Perth in WA. Spanish Mackerel are fast and aggressive, making them a thrilling catch. They can reach a swim speed of 5.5 meters per second and have been recorded growing up to over 50kg during their lifespan of over 20 years.
Spanish Mackerel tend to frequent specific areas on reefs, such as the pressure edges where current hits structures, causing the water pushing against it to be directed upwards. They’re also spotted during outgoing tides near currents from bays or between reefs. Another common spot is where warm and cold waters meet, creating murky edges where the fish ambush prey. They’re most active during early morning and late afternoon, using sunlight reflecting off the water for cover.
Opt for longer-range spear guns when targeting Spanish Mackerels, often located in midwater or at the reef edges. A standard spear gun of 1.2m or longer equipped with twin 14mm up to 16mm rubbers or a roller gun of 1.1m or longer, provides the necessary range for capturing these fish with longer shots.
A great speargun option for shooting Spanish is the Rob Allen Sparid Evo. This speargun is one of the best selling speargun’s on the market, with tens of thousands in use all around the world every year. With a limited Lifetime warranty on core components, you know you’ve got support when it matters. Rob Allen has huge confidence in his line of products, and he wants to ensure you do too.
Using floats and float lines also significantly simplifies landing a Spanish Mackerel. The float maintains pressure on the fish during its run, even if it outpaces your control. This allows you to release the float line without overly pressuring the fish.
Spanish Mackeral have quite a large gut cavity and due to their explosive speed will often tear out if the spear shot isn’t placed well. A classic Shot is between the second dorsal and anal fin in the bottom third of the fish, typically a fish speared through here won’t tear out and the swimming action is greatly reduced by the shot placement making it faster to secure the fish
For prime fillets, it’s crucial to brain and bleed Spanish Mackerel effectively. A simple method is to remove the second gill where it connects to the head. Once onboard, promptly gut and clean the fish, then submerge it in an ice slurry. Chilling the flesh is key for sashimi.
Mahi-Mahi, also known as dorado or dolphin fish, are renowned for their colourful beauty and taste. They typically live around 5 years and grow rapidly, making them a sustainable catch. Males are called bulls, while females are referred to as cows. These fish usually swim in schools, but larger ones can venture solo. They are medium-sized, with weights ranging from 4- 20 kilograms.
The Great Barrier Reef and surrounding areas, particularly in the northern parts of Queensland, offer opportunities to encounter Mahi-Mahi. Regions like Cairns, Port Douglas, and the Whitsundays might see these fish around floating debris or near reefs.
They can also be found in locations along the north western coast, such as the Kimberley region and areas around Broome, might also provide opportunities to encounter Mahi-Mahi, especially in warmer months. Mahi’s frequent Deep offshore waters in temperatures between 21 to 30 degrees Celsius.
Mahi-Mahi are attracted to flashers and can be found near offshore FADs, Buoys, floating objects and current lines. To improve your shot, avoid shooting from the surface. Instead, dive a few feet down to entice curious fish closer. It helps to avoid direct eye contact and sometimes diving in the opposite direction of the fish. A recommended speargun would be around 1.2-1.4m with two bands. Use of a Float and Float line is strongly recommended offshore, but some people prefer a Speargun and Reel combination when targeting Mahi Mahi, but caution and common sense is required and a Boat Skipper that is paying attention to where the divers are always positioned.
Rob Allen’s new Mahi Speargun is a great option for hunting Mahi-Mahi. This gun is very light yet incredibly strong, even up to 1.4 meter lengths. Each strand of carbon fibre is pull wound in a continuous flow using a phenomenal 4 tons of pressure. This allows the fibre loading to be maintained at an insanely high level, far over the traditional mandrel wound tubes, which is why Rob Allen’s technology is so popular.
Each barrel is pressure tested twice immediately after it has been made, and in a pressure tank for one hour at a depth of 40 meters
Mahi-Mahi are highly regarded for their taste. Their flesh is mild, sweet, and has a firm texture. It’s commonly used in various culinary preparations, including grilling, baking, frying, and especially enjoyed fresh as sashimi or in ceviche.
Other general things to consider when hunting fish
Hunting pelagic fish is no easy task. To ensure success, it’s crucial to shop at specialised spearfishing stores staffed by active spearos who understand the trade. While we’ve suggested some equipment options and locations here, we strongly advise visiting your local Spearfishing Australia Retail Partner for a more thorough discussion about your equipment needs. Click on the following link to find your nearest expert: https://www.spearfishingaustralia.com/our-partners/
Fish behavior can also be influenced by various factors such as water temperature, currents, bait availability, and local conditions. Moreover, fishing regulations and specific area restrictions might apply, so it’s essential to check local guidelines and stay informed about any changes or specific restrictions in the area you plan to spearfish.
Staying up to date with the constantly changing laws can be tricky so we recommend always checking with your local fisheries before heading out. Below are the resources for Australian States and Territories:
New South Wales
Fishsmart NSW App: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/resources/fishsmart-app
Tasmanian Sea Fishing Guide App: https://fishing.tas.gov.au/recreational-fishing/fishing-guides/tasmanian-sea-fishing-guide-app
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If you are interested in any of the products mentioned in this article or featured on Spearfishing Australia’s website or simply want some further advice about hunting fish in Australia, then head into your nearest Spearfishing Australia Retail Partner to speak with the experts. https://www.spearfishingaustralia.com/our-partners/