Spearfishing in Australia is a perfect way to catch fresh fish and other seafood. It’s also an excellent way to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life while enjoying the outdoor scenery. However, before you head out into the deep blue, you need to know a few things, including how old you must be.
You have to be 12 years old to spearfish in Australia. You also need a recreational fishing license, which you can obtain from your state or territory’s fisheries department. If you’re under 12, you’ll need to be supervised by a responsible adult.
The rest of the article will provide more information on spearfishing in Australia, including what spearfishing is, the best spots for spearfishing, and safety tips when spearfishing. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, read on for everything you need to know about spearfishing down under.
What Is Spearfishing?
Spearfishing is a fishing method that involves catching fish with a spear or similar weapons like harpoons or gigs. It’s an ancient practice still prevalent today, especially in Australia’s coastal areas where fish are abundant.
When spearfishing, an angler will do the following to get close to their prey:
- Free dive
- Use a small boat
They’ll then use a spear or harpoon to impale the fish and drag it to the surface.
However, due to the harmful nature of the sport, spearfishing in Australia is only allowed in several specific areas. Additionally, underwater breathing equipment except a snorkel is prohibited, and you should only use a power head for defence against sharks.
Types Of Spearfishing
There are three main types of spearfishing in Australia – shallow water spearfishing, freediving, and scuba diving.
- Shallow water spearfishing: It’s the simplest and most common type of spearfishing. Most people use this technique when fishing in waist-deep water from the shore, a boat, or a pier. You need a spear, a fishing license, and some patience.
- Freediving: Also called breath-hold diving, freediving is a more challenging type of spearfishing. You must first learn the skill of diving and master your breathing technique as it involves diving down on a single breath of air. You’ll need freediving gear, including a spearfishing gun or spear, fins, and a weight belt.
- Scuba diving spearfishing: Considered a specialty for the elites, scuba diving spearfishing is only for experienced spearfishers. It requires specialized scuba gear, including a snorkel and scuba diving tank. You’ll also need to be aware of the dangers of diving, such as decompression sickness and nitrogen narcosis.
Spearfishing Gear And Equipment
Having the right gear and equipment is essential for a successful spearfishing trip. The type of gear you need will depend on the spearfishing you’re doing.
- For shallow water spearfishing, you’ll need a spearfishing gun or spear. A simple spearfishing gun will suffice since you’ll be fishing in shallow water. You can find these at most fishing and outdoor stores.
- If you are freediving, you’ll need more gear, such as fins, a spearfishing gun or spear, and a weight belt. The fins will help you swim faster and more efficiently, and the weight belt will allow you to sink to the bottom of the water.
- Since scuba diving spearfishing is more specialized, you’ll need even more gear. Besides the usual spearfishing gear, you’ll also need a snorkel and a scuba diving tank. The snorkel will help you breathe while underwater, and the scuba diving tank will provide you with air so you can stay underwater for extended periods.
Best Spots For Spearfishing In Australia
Australia is known for its incredible kelp forests, clear waters, and abundance of fish, making it a paradise for spearfishers. Here are some of the best spearfishing spots in Australia:
Queensland Spearfishing Spots
With many beautiful reefs, Queensland is one of the best states for spearfishing. The best spots include:
Popular fish species include:
- Coral trout
- Mangrove jack
New South Wales Spearfishing Spots
NSW has over 75 locations that are perfect for spearfishing. These include:
- Palm Beach
- Nine Mile Reef
- Coffs Harbour
- Port Stephens
Some of the most popular fish species include:
- Leather jacket
- Spanish mackerel
Western Australian Spearfishing Spots
WA is blessed with abundant marine life, making it a popular destination for spearfishers. Some of the best sites include:
The waters around WA are warm, and a 1.5mm to 3.5mm wetsuit will suffice all year round. Here are some of the most popular fish species:
- Coral trout
- Parrot fish
- Slatey bream
- Tuna trevally
- Spangled emperor
South Australian Spearfishing Spots
SA is home to Australia’s most beautiful and challenging spearfishing spots. There’s a spot for everyone from Port Noarlunga to Beachport and Gull Rock. The most popular fish species include:
- Big drummer
- Reef fish
Tasmania Spearfishing Spots
Tasmania offers some of Australia’s most incredible spearfishing experiences. Some of the best places include:
- Mole Creek
The most popular fish species include:
However, spearfishing crayfish in Tasmania is illegal and can result in hefty fines and a possible jail stint.
Victoria Spearfishing Spots
If you are a beginner, Victoria is the best state to start spearfishing. Cool, calm waters and smaller fish species make it perfect for practising. Some of the best spots include:
- Black Rock
- Mornington Peninsula
- Phillip Island
Popular fish species include:
Safety Tips For Spearfishing In Australia
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, it’s always important to practice safe spearfishing. Taking precautions helps ensure that you and those around you have a fun and safe experience. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Always check the local weather conditions and tides before heading out. Knowing the weather will help you plan your spearfishing trip accordingly and avoid dangerous situations.
- Make sure you have all the necessary gear before heading out. You’ll need a spearfishing gun or spear, fins, mask, snorkel, wetsuit, and life jacket.
- Never spearfish alone – always have a buddy with you in case of an emergency.
- Be aware of your surroundings and never take your eyes off the water.
- Keep hydrated and take regular breaks in between dives.
- Carry a knife with you in case you need to cut yourself free from entanglement.
- Never load your spearfishing gun until you are in the water. Always unload it before exiting the water.
The minimum age for spearfishing in Australia is 12 years old. A parent or guardian should supervise any child below 12 years. You must obtain a recreational fishing license, which you can do online before spearfishing in any Australian state or territory.
With the many spearfishing spots located around Australia, there’s sure to be a perfect spot for you. Remember to practice safe spearfishing and never take your eyes off the water.
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