NSW Dive Sites
New South Wales has over 75 exciting spearfishing locations to discover and explore. To make these easier to navigate, the dive sites have been broken up into 3 different sections.
New South Wales (NSW), on the Eastern coast of Australia, is home to some fantastic spearfishing. From big pelagic, to challenging reef species, NSW has a diving location to suit all levels of experience. It is important to remember that you require a Fishing License to spearfish or line fish in NSW. These are relatively cheap at $6 for three days, $12 for one month, $30 for one year, or $75 for five years. You can purchase a fishing license from some bait and tackle shops, and service stations in NSW, or online here https://www.licence.nsw.gov.au/gls_portal/LicenceForm.mvc/NewApplication?formId=ecfa7925-86a8-411b-81e8-725d05491d2e&agencyID=23adb6eb-2c36-4169-b365-bf26ef2367f8
Regulations: This map provides a good overiew of some of the places in NSW that cannot be speared http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/340588/Recreational-spearfishing.pdf
Spearfishing Northern NSW
Spearfishing from the shore: Northern NSW boasts some great spearfishing locations from the shore. One of the best, and most popular, shore diving locations in northern NSW is Kingscliffe. Kingscliffe is a popular surfing beach with a boat ramp, seaway and breakwalls which lead out to three large rock bommies that start 50m from the shore, and end at about 400m from the shore. The three rock bommies make shore diving enjoyable as there is a reference point for how far you have ventured from the shore, and also a way to keep track of where you are on the reef.
Some of the common species encountered at Kingscliffe include Jew Fish, Kingfish, Spanish Mackerel, Squid, Crayfish, Sweetlip, Morwong, Bream, Squire/snapper, Surgeon fish and much more. It is important to remember to always tow a float when diving this area, as boat traffic and jetski traffic is quite heavy. Towing a float and flag will alert these boaters to your presence in the water, and hopefully prevent them from running over you or your float line.
Do not be so quick to shoot the biggest fish that you see in this area! Big Blue Grouper (a big blue or brown fish with blubber lips) are a protected species in NSW. There are MANY of them in NSW, and they will swim right up to you, so close that you could almost pat them, but do NOT shoot them!
Spearfishing from a boat: Spearfishing from a boat in Northern NSW can be quite productive. Heading out from the Tweed River you can find places such as Palm Beach and Nine Mile Reef, which are often loaded with Surgeon Fish, and occasionally provided a good opportunity to hunt Mackerel, Cobia, Marlin and Sailfish as well. Be careful crossing the Tweed Bar, which is notorious for claiming many boats and a lot of diving gear!
Spearfishing Central NSW
Spearfishing from the shore: Spearfishing around Coffs Harbour and Wooli in central NSW can be productive, but can also be cold, dirty, rough and hard work! You may come across Luderick, Sweetlip, Bream and, if you are really lucky, some Jew Fish and Crayfish can be found on the rocky headlands of NSW. Remember that Crayfish can only be caught by hand in NSW. Getting visibility that is dive able, and swell to correspond with that, is the most difficult part of spearfishing in this area.
Spearfishing from a boat: At certain times of the year, when the visibility is good, spearfishing these areas from a boat can produce fantastic Pelagic species. Spanish Mackerel, Wahoo, Cobia and Marlin all frequent these areas – if you know where to look! Apart from these bluewater species, Jew Fish, Snapper, Surgeon Fish, Bream, Sweet Lip and the occasional reef species such as Mangrove Jack, Red Bass and Parrot Fish, are also speared. You can try to hook up with the local dive club in Coffs Harbour to see if anyone can take you out spearfishing. The FADs off this area are also a common haunt for spearos and line fishermen alike and can produce Wahoo, Marlin and Dolphin Fish. You can see the FAD locations here http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/recreational/saltwater/fads/map
Regulations: For a map of where you can and cannot spear in this part of NSW, see this link: http://www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/pdf/SIMP-Zoning-Summary-Maps.pdf
Spearfishing from the shore: Spearfishing in Sydney from the shore can be quite productive. With a lot of easy entry points that will take you around some beautiful rocky headlands, you can find some nice Southern species by shore diving around Sydney. Some species you might encounter include Kingfish, Salmon, Bream, Squire, Leatherjacket, Flathead, and Red Morwong. You can also find the occasional Crayfish and Jew Fish!
The ground around Sydney is very rocky and weedy reef, with some shallow spearfishing, but also some steep drop offs from the cliffs. It can be hard work to find a feed of fish, but very rewarding diving. 5mm wetsuits are ideal for winter, and 3.5mm wetsuits for summer. Always tow a float and flag as boat traffic is strong and there have been horrible incidences of spearos being hit by boats in the area.
Spearfishing from a boat: spearfishing form a boat in Sydney can be good with Kingfish a common target. The FADs off Sydney are also a common haunt for spearos and line fishermen alike. You can see the FAD locations here http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/recreational/saltwater/fads/map
Spearfishing Southern NSW
Spearfishing from the shore: Eden is a popular southern NSW spearfishing location. Each year, one of Australia’s biggest competitions is held out of Eden. It is a great opportunity to meet other spearos, spear some southern species, and have a good time. In Eden, a lot of the species are smaller. Common targets include luderick, bream, leatherjacket and ling. It is quite cold and a 5mm wetsuit is recommended.
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