Port Phillip Bay, Victoria

Melbourne (Williamstown) tides
Victorian stocked fishing spots
Port Phillip fishing spots
Western Port fishing spots
Melbourne dam levels
VIC fishing regulations
VIC marine parks

Most fishing in Victoria is in Melbourne’s two large, shallow enclosed bays, Port Phillip and Western Port.

Port Phillip Bay is very different from its Western Port “sister” waterway.

Port Phillip reaches 24m in depth, with half being less than 8m deep, but navigable almost throughout. There is 264km of shoreline.

The Rip through the Heads is only 2km wide and flows hard, creating hazardous seas. It is a kingfish hotspot.

The bay is perhaps best known for snapper, but also has king george whiting, salmon, silver trevally, flathead, mullet, flounder, squid and garfish.

Mulloway are caught by dedicated fishos, mostly in winter.

There are many good boat ramps, the best with regards to useability and parking being at Queenscliff, The Warmies, St Kilda Marine, Werribee River, Altona, Brighton, Mordialloc, Martha Cove, Indented Head and Rye Pier.

Landbased fishing is best after heavy weather when snapper come in shallow while the water is discoloured, even during the day.

At other times night is better.

Landbased snapper fishing can be had at Mornington Pier, Mount Martha Rocks, and St Leonards Pier.

For other species, travelling around the bay, Portsea Pier is a fine fishing spot, with good boat fishing grounds through to Sorrento.

Blairgowrie has wading grounds for flathead and whiting, and the jetty has garfish and squid.

The nearby shipping channel edges have snapper and flathead. Near Rye, Capel Sound is a large area at the end of Sorrento Channel and South Channel that has snapper and gummy sharks, with whiting, garfish and squid in the shallower areas.

Rosebud is shallow, with flounder at night. The jetty has mainly garfish, squid and flathead.

Dromana to Safety Beach is sheltered in a southerly and good for flounder, squid and whiting.

Mount Martha to Mornington has deep water near shore and rocky foreshores where squid are prolific at times, with snapper in shallow after storms.

Nunns Walk rock ledge below Strachans Rd has snapper in summer.

Mornington Pier is one of the best bay jetties, with snapper biting in strong north-easters, with the chance of kingfish.

Frankston Pier is good for snapper in Oct/Nov, and salmon in rough weather. The area from Seaford to Carrum has snapper after a south-westerly blow.

Patterson River has bream and mullet, with mulloway in spring and summer.

Mordialloc jetty has squid, whiting, flathead and garfish.

Rickets Point has a reef extending to Black Rock, with snapper in spring and summer in the deeper water, along with most other species.

Half Moon Bay has a jetty and a good reef for boat fishos. Big snapper are taken from the pier in Oct/Nov.

Sandringham Harbour has a jetty and breakwall, with snapper in rough weather. Green Point has rock groynes that can fish well. Middle Brighton Pier produces snapper and loads of squid. From Brighton to St Kilda are grounds up to 15m deep with cunjevoi beds that hold snapper, with garfish and whiting.

Elwood Drain is a great rough-bottom shallow area with snapper at night.

St Kilda rock wall has snapper in spring and summer, and the pier produces some trevally, garfish and squid.

Kerford Rd jetty is a better spot, while Lagoon Pier has occasional snapper and mulloway.

The Yarra River has mulloway around bridge pylons at night.

Newport Power Station has warm water outlets that attract fish.

Breakwater Pier can be fished from a car. Altona Bay has shallow water with whiting, and snapper in Oct/Nov.

Altona Pier produces mainly flathead.

Point Cook jetty has good whiting fishing nearby for boaters.

Werribee River can be fished on the east side for big bream, as well as whiting and mullet.

Point Wilson fishes well in the region of the long pier.

Limeburners Bay is a sheltered spot for snapper in winter and spring, both landbased and by boat.

Rippleside Pier in Corio Bay has garfish, flathead and whiting, as does Griffins Gully Jetty.

The south bank of outer harbour near Moolap has spotted whiting in summer. On the Bellarine Peninsula, Grassy Point is a great whiting spot.

Clifton Springs Jetty has been extended for fishing and Portarlington has a relatively new marina that is proving to be an excellent fishing spot for many species.

At Indented Head, the St Leonards Pier and rockwall are good for fishing, while offshore the Governor Reefs have whiting and squid.

Swan Bay entrance has big flathead in summer for boaters, with squid over the weedbeds.

Most of Swan Bay is marine park.

Bell Reef has a fishable lowtide platform under the lighthouse on Shortland Bluff.

Queenscliff Pier produces mainly smaller fish.

The Rip off Port Phillip Heads, accessed from Queenscliff ramp, has kingfish in summer when the tide ebbs, usually about three hours after high or low tide. Jigging is popular.

Whiting are caught near the White Lady marker off the northern tip of Swan Island.

The drop-off east of the marker has snapper.

Point Lonsdale Pier can fish well at times, especially for big garfish, salmon and whiting, with snapper in spring. Artificial reefs are in the bay, see the maps.


Juvenile salmon bite all year, while bream are best from June to November.

Flathead, garfish and spotted whiting are best in the bay in summer, with whiting biting through to April.

Silver trevally and snapper are best from October to May.

Mullet are from April to October.

Kingfish are best in summer.

Squid can be caught all year, but are usually best from June to October.

Mulloway bite well around Melbourne in winter.

Bait, lures & tackle

Pilchards, bluebait, prawns and squid are popular baits.

For pink snapper, fish fillets or small whole fish work well.

For those who make the effort, local bait such as worms and bass yabbies, can make all the difference.

Lure fishing is popular, especially for salmon and kingfish, where chrome slices are a good all-round lure.

Bream and estuary perch are often targeted with small minnow lures and soft plastics.

Paternoster rigs are popular for bait fishing.

The fishing is easier in estuaries when the water dirties from rough weather.


At Melbourne Airport the mean wind speed is between 20km/h and 24km/h through the year, with April, May and June being calmest and August and September the windiest.

Melbourne winds tend to blow northerly in winter, and southerly in summer.

Easterlies are rare.

Winter fronts bring gales, while summer brings strong afternoon sea breezes.

Victoria’s tidal range is small, with most boat ramps useable throughout the tidal range.

Special features

The unusual and large seven gill shark frequents the bay.


Fishing gear for Victorian waters

A 3kg spin outfit is ideal for gar, whiting, mullet, trout, redfin and bream. See eBay listing here.

A 3-6kg spin outfit is ideal for general Victorian saltwater and freshwater fishing. See eBay listing here.

A heavier surf rod is needed for surf mulloway, snapper and gummy shark fishing. See eBay listing here.

This surf rod can be matched with this spinning reel ... eBay listing here.

Metal slice lures are ideal for Victorian salmon, tailor and trevally. See eBay listing here.

Soft plastic grubs are good all-round lures for a range of Victorian species. See eBay listing here.

Jig heads are needed for unrigged soft plastic lures. See eBay listing here.

Squid jigs are essential gear in Victoria. See eBay listing here.

Star sinkers or snapper leads are generally used on a paternoster rig for surf and boat fishing. For most other fishing, ball sinkers are used, as part of a running sinker rig. See eBay listing here.

Hooks in mixed sizes (suggest 1# or #2 for whiting, 6# or #8 for garfish, 4/0 for salmon and flathead, 11/0 for large mulloway). See eBay listing here.

BOATS FOR SALE in Victoria - see current eBay listings here.


Email us any corrections, additions, pictures or video here.

Some external videos filmed around Melbourne are featured below.

Gummy sharks

Port Phillip flathead

Docklands LB snapper

iFish at Port Phillip

Port Phillip snapper

Melbourne landbased YouTube page

Melbourne pike fishing

Fishing the warmies

Port Phillip Bay snapper and squid

Port Phillip Bay seven-gill sharks

Port Phillip Bay gummy sharks

Port Phillip Bay whiting

Port Phillip Bay Rip big kingfish

More Port Phillip Bay Rip kingfish

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