Winter diving this year hasn’t been as productive as previous seasons this year in regards to fish but has been full of experiences and sightings. The humpback whale migration is currently in the middle of the season and has given us plenty of opportunities to see the magnificent creatures as they pass by Coffs Harbour. There have been lobsters around, the occasional chance for a shore dive and off shore dives in between the bad quality water and windy days. Early in June we finally had a break in the weather and water quality. Mum, Dad and I loaded up the boat and headed down to the ramp. We bought Belle, our new little Border collie puppy along as well for her second ever boat ride. We’ve always wanted a dog that was comfortable in the boat so have been bringing her out since we first got her and she loves it. As we left the harbour, the water quality went from the typical green filth to a lovely clear blue. We were excited to finally have clear water in close enough for us to dive in some of our favourite spots. Dad and I geared up in our 5mm suits and jumped into the 19-degree water. We were swimming for about 15 minutes when a school of about 20 kingfish appeared. I dived down and leveled out to watch them coming head on towards me. About 3 of them came so close to the end of my gun that I knew if I shot one it would have been too awkward and I probably would have missed so I let them swim pass to line up another one not too far behind. I shot him with what I thought was a killing shot but in typical Kingfish style, it came good just as I tried to grab his tail and went crazy. I played him for a bit longer until I could bring him close enough to the boat for someone to gaff. This was the first real big fish that Belle had seen on the deck of the boat. After having a good look and sniff, she settled in at the end of the fish and started munching on the tail. If that’s not as fresh as it gets then I don’t know what is. She’s definitely become part of the right family. After more weeks of bad weather and dirty weather we finally got another break. The wind was below 5 knots all-day and even glassed out while we were out there. The water inshore was still quite filthy so we decided to head out to the wave recorder and check out whether there were any dolphinfish around yet. We pulled up, geared up and jumped over the side,
Dad with a camera, myself with a gun and mum as the boatie. We each took separate sides of the recorder to see if there were any around. Just as we finished the drift we spotted a small school of about 3 fish so we hopped back into the boat knowing that there were some around to do another drift. We jumped back in and straight away saw the school of Dolphinfish. Dad got some great photos of them before I ruined it by shooting my first one of the season. We then got mum to jump in with my gun and have a crack at shooting one. The first fish she’s shot in years. Everyone was so happy and proud when she got her dolphinfish onto the boat, especially Belle as there is nothing better than fresh fish tails. The next thing we wanted to try while out in the beautiful blue water was putting Belle in the water with us. She stayed on my back while we did a drift past the wave recorder, happily looking around and balancing on me like I was her little island. While this winter hasn’t been overly eventful in regards to spearing, it’s been great to get out during the opportunities that we have had when the weather and water clarity have cooperated. We’ve seen some more great fish, been able to watch the humpback migration and come across pods of dolphins. Belle has been exposed to the boat, what it’s all about and I cannot wait until the warmer months and for the water to be clear and full of fish!