Spearfishing in Melbourne

 Spearfishing in Melbourne

Indigenous Australians developed one of the most sustainable sustainable civilisations the world has ever seen. They have have been practicing spearfishing for thousands of years as a means to feed the family. In more recent years spearfishing has developed as a recreational pastime and a serious sport. It's a very selective sustainable fishing method as you can choose the species and size of fish that is targeted and only take what you need.

In Melbourne and Victoria spearfishing is done while freediving, also known as apnea diving, skindiving and snorkelling. Freediving involves holding your breath and descending underwater without the use of scuba equipment. It's important you are a competent freediver if you wish to go spearfishing.

It's legal to use compressed air, i.e. scuba gear, while you spearfish in Victoria. (It's illegal in most other states.) However, it's considered poor form by serious spearfishers and spearfishing clubs.


An awesome video showing spearfishing in Melbourne by James James.

Spearfishing is a relatively safe and an effective means of catching a feed of fresh fish. You can freedive to catch lobster, abalone and scallops, but it's illegal to use a spear or speargun.

Getting Started With Victorian Spearfishing

Join a spearfishing club and you'll be provided with practical and regular helpful information on how, where and when to go spearfishing. Spearfishing clubs have regular club meetings, competitions, guest speakers, information nights and, most importantly, dives. Participating in a spearfishing club is a way of learning the basics on spearfishing and fast tracking your learning curve.

The peak governing body on spearfishing in Australia is the Australian Underwater Federation. Check out their Spearfishing Code of Conduct.

Melbourne and Victorian Spearfishing Clubs

Southern Freedivers, Melbourne
The Southern Freedivers Inc. is a not-for-profit spearfishing club that is based Melbourne.
Meetings: Club meetings are held at 7:30pm on the last Tuesday of every month except December and are held at Club Noble function rooms at 58 Moodemere St in Noble Park.
Facebook: Southern Freedivers
Website: http://southernfreedivers.org.au/
Club Spearfish, Melbourne
Clubspearfish offers a relaxed atmosphere suitable for both the beginner and the seasoned veteran.
Meetings: Meet at Ocean Suits in Hallam on the first Thursday of every month. Free BBQ and get together, dive equipment raffles, talk about conditions, catches, trips and more.
Facebook: Clubspearfish
Website: https://clubspearfish.wordpress.com/
Geelong Freedivers, Geelong
Club activities are based in Geelong, the Bellarine Penninsula, and the Surf Coast.
Meetings: Monthly club meeting on the second Wednesday of each month at the Sir Charles Hotham hotel in Geelong (usually in the back function room). Meeting kicks off at 6:30pm.
Facebook: Geelong Freedivers Inc.
Website: https://geelongfreedivers.org.au/

Note: If your spearfishing club isn't listed here, please provide us with the details and we'll add it.

Where to Begin Spearfishing in Melbourne

A great place to start spearfishing is in the protection of calm bays, as opposed to the open ocean. In Victoria, locations around Port Philip such as Mornington, Black Rock, Indented Head, offer safe entry level locations. Once you become comfortable in Port Phillip, try areas such as the Mornington Peninsula back beaches, Phillip Island, and areas along the West Coast such as Apollo Bay and Port Fairy.

Spearfishing Equipment

The basic minimum gear requirements include a mask, snorkel, fins, pointed tip spearfishing dive knife, gloves, Hawaiian sling or spear gun, plus divers float (complete with alpha flag and tow rope).

Wetsuits are optional depending on water temperatures and how long you plan to spend in the water. Wetsuits used for spearfishing in Victoria are generally between 3 mm and 5mm thick. Some are one-piece suits, and others are two piece suits. Some of the two-piece suits have a long-john for the pants where they come up over the chest and shoulders. Such suits thus have double the thickness over the body core making them much warmer.

You you will need a weight belt to compensate for the buoyancy of the wetsuit neoprene. Be careful not to use too much weight as this can be very dangerous.

More advanced gear can be added depending on the exact type of spearfishing being done.

See also, Beginners Spearfishing Gear and Essential Spearfishing Gear, plus the Freedive and Spearfish products in our online dive shop.

Victorian Spearfishing Rules

Spear fishing is permitted in some Victorian marine waters only. The use or possession of a spear gun or a hand-held spear, in, on or next to any inland water is prohibited. The use of any spear or spear gun to take rock lobster is prohibited.

The use or possession of a spear gun, Hawaiian sling or hand-held spear is prohibited:

  • within 30 m of any pier or jetty
  • within 30 m of the mouth of any creek or river
  • in or on inland waters including Curdies Inlet, Tamboon Inlet, Upper Lake of Mallacoota Inlet, Swan Bay, Sydenham Inlet
  • in or on the waters of Lower Lake of Mallacoota Inlet, the North Arm of Gippsland Lakes, Lake Tyers, Wingan Inlet and specified parts of Corner Inlet
  • in, on or next to the waters of Corner Inlet west of a line from the mean high water mark on the most northerly point of Entrance Point (on Wilsons Promontory) to the most westerly part of Little Snake Island at the mean high water mark then following the coastline of Little Snake Island generally north and then east to a point directly south of the long jetty at Port Welshpool and then on a north-south line to the end of that jetty and along the jetty to the shore.
  • in marine parks

See Using equipment in marine waters for more details.

Current Victorian Recreational Fishing Licence

You need a current fishing licence. This can be obtained from Fisheries Victoria either online now (cheapest way), or from many DEDJTR offices and selected recreational fishing licence outlets throughout Victoria, including most retail fishing tackle stores. We suggest you save a picture copy of your licence on your smart phone once purchased. Some people laminate a hard copy and carry it with them. For full details, see Fishing Licence.

Spearfishing Safety

Like all marine activities, it is essential that you adhere to safety procedures while spearfishing. The basics are:

  • Always dive with a buddy and keep eye contact on each other at all times.
  • Never attempt to dive in deeper water than you are comfortable with.
  • Do not tether speared fish to your body, tow them on a trailing float or remove them from the water.
  • Gain local knowledge about your dive sites and be aware of currents, ocean swells and dirty water. Always tell someone where you plan to dive.
  • Never load your spear gun out of water and cover the spearhead at all times while not in use.
  • Make sure your mask, snorkel, fins, wetsuit (5mm or 7mm recommended in Melbourne), hood and gloves fit properly
  • Look out for boats and tow a dive flag

See also Spear Safe, a national initiative to improve safety for Australian spearfishers.


SpearSafe DVD


SpearSafe DVD part 2

Help Us to Help You

We have a database of some 350+ dive sites, see Dive Sites. Please help us by letting us know which ones are suitable for spearfishing. Then we will tag them accordingly so that they will list on the Melbourne Spearfishing Sites web page.

Please note: We DO NOT hire out masks, snorkels, fins, dive socks, gloves, hoods or vests for spearfishing.

Suunto D5 at The Scuba Doctor Dive Shop