Welcome to How to catch Garfish around Melbourne. Winter is a prime time to catch Garfish.  It’s often the time of year when other bread and butter species have gone a little quiet due to the drop in water temperature. However, that’s when these popular mini marlins come into their own and see piers around Melbourne packed far and wide.


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Garfish are fun to catch and great to eat. They also make great bait for species like gummy sharks. What makes Garfish fishing enjoyable is that you can catch them with ultra-light fishing gear. They are easily accessible from many piers, jetties and rock walls. Great species for kids and beginners to target. Whilst being quite easy to catch from your boat and kayak when you know what you’re looking for.

Watch our detailed instructional video guide on how to catch garfish


Fishing gear required to catch garfish

Garfish is a small fish and the most common sizes caught locally will be between 25 and 40 cm. Therefore, we would highly recommend using your lightest rod and reel combo when targeting garfish. Ideally, a rod with a sensitive nibble tip and slow action so you don’t pool hooks or something light that you may typically use when targeting species like bream or whiting.

  • Rod recommendation – 1-3 kilo rod.
  • A graphite spin rod is great however a fibreglass rod with a nibble tip is even better.
  • Reel recommendation – 1000, 2000 or 2500 spin reel
  • Line recommendation – Spool your reel with a 6-8 pound braid or monofilament.


Best rigs to catch garfish

Watch a step by step guide on how to make your own garfish rigs

Garfish are not bottom feeders therefore float rigs are the best way to catch garfish and get your baits in the optimal strike zone. Watch our detailed video below which provides a step by step tutorial on how to create your own DIY Garfsh rigs.

These rigs consist of 2-rod lengths worth of 6-pound fluorocarbon leader. Join the leader to your main line using a simple double uni knot. Attach a pencil float to the leader followed by several split shots finished with either a size 12 long shank hook or a size 12fly hook depending on the bait that you’re using.

Garfish Rig Fishing

Good hook options include

  • Size 12 Mustad 4540 1/2
  • Size 12 Gamakatsu long shank
  • Size 12 Daiichi Black long shank
  • Size 14 Mustad Kirby long shank


Best baits to catch Garfish

We would highly recommend using silverfish or live maggots as the primary go-to choices; however, you can use small pieces of dead flesh baits like pilchard and squid.

  • Silverfish
  • Maggots

Or small strips of

  • Pipis
  • Squid
  • Pilchard
  • Prawn
  • sandworm


Berley to catch garfish

Berley is the key to catching garfish. This is very important regardless of whether your fishing land-based on a pier or jetty or out in the sea on your boat or kayak. Continually add berley into an isolated area every 5 – 10 minutes to keep them coming in and active.

Garfish Berley

You can buy premade berley or you can make your own. Typically we like to mix a few things together including Stimulate ultrabite pre-mixed berley mix with McLaughlins Pier/Jetty mix, followed with some tuna oil, breadcrumbs and a splash of saltwater. The key here is getting the berley to a soft sandy mixture. Which will ensure that you are bringing the garfish in and not feeding them.

You could also create your own DIY homemade berely using bread, pilchards, chook pellets. You just need to ensure that you grind this very finely again so the berley is an attractant and not just going to feed the incoming gars.


How to find garfish

Garfish school up in big numbers. They love shallow weedy areas and areas with a structure like piers, jetties, wharves and rock walls. You can catch garfish in more areas than you think. Often when out in a boat or kayak and you being too berley up when targeting species like snapper you might see lots of flashes of silver which is often garfish in their masses.


Garfish hotspots around Melbourne

  • Beaumaris Jetty
  • Frankston Pier
  • Mordialloc pier
  • St Kilda Pier
  • Princess Pier
  • Brighton Break wall
  • Kerferd Road Pier
  • St Leonards pier
  • Ricketts Point
  • Williamstown
  • St Leonards
  • Portsea Pier
  • Sorrento Pier
  • Blairgowrie pier
  • Mount Martha Cliffs
  • Rye Pier
  • Rosebud pier
  • Portsea Pier
  • Lagoon Pier
  • Dromana Pier
  • Seaford Pier
  • Geelong
  • Patterson River
  • Mordialloc Pier
  • Sandringham rock wall
  • Port Welshpool long pier
  • Cunningham Pier
  • Portarlington Jetty
  • Swan Bay Jetty
  • Point Lonsdale pier
  • St Helens Jetty


Additions or Corrections for this fish species

Thank you for reading our How to catch Garfish around Melbourne. If you feel this fish species guide is missing key information or needs any corrections. Then please let us know by emailing our team at enquiries@fishingmad.com.au with specific details in the email. Thank you