Welcome to the Altona Pier Fishing Guide a popular fishing location located along Millers road roughly 25 minutes drive from Melbourne. Altona Beach is a very popular spot especially in summer and this pier welcomes a large volume of foot traffic and nearby swimmers so the fishing can be challenging at times. However, Altona pier can be a quality fishing location particularly with its recent addition of an artificial reef located roughly 50 meters beyond the end of the pier. It’s also closely located to natural reef and rocks which produce good numbers of large snapper in the warmer months. Often anglers will head towards the end of the pier and cast out as far as they can to get their baits amongst the artificial reef. This location is very popular with Kayakers who fish beyond the end of the pier drifting for flathead and snapper.

Check out this video recorded at Altona beach kayak fishing next to the pier and run into a large school of salmon.

Things to do at Altona Beach

Altona Beach is a great spot for the whole family. There are nearby adventure playground, cafes, restaurants and ice cream shops. The beach is a vibrant place that’s very popular in summer. Beachgoers visit to swim, wakeboard, sunbake, kayak and fish. Many families enjoy ice cream on the sand. Many also enjoy the Altona beach life-saving club. Parking is limited and during the peak of summer, this can be quite challenging. You will need to venture in early to avoid the crowds.

In 2017 the pier had thousands of people gather on it to collect rare Pokémon characters playing Pokemon Go on their smartphones.

Fishing at Altona Pier

At Altona pier, you can seasonally target

  • snapper
  • flathead
  • salmon
  • trevally
  • mullet
  • bream
  • squid
  • garfish
  • leather jackets
  • gurnard
  • flounder
  • whiting
  • snook
  • rays

We recommend you read our step by step guide on how to catch flathead with bait and lures. When bait fishing at Altona Pier we would recommend using pilchards, pipis, raw chicken, blue bait and squid. Soft plastics work great in this area we recommend small curl tail and minnow imitations. Either cast out and retrieved slowly with some lifts and pauses or hard up against the structure of the pier. You’re likely to catch flathead and bream and seasonally pinkies and salmon.

At Altona, you’re likely to be catching pinkies and flathead so you don’t need to fish too heavy but should be prepared for the odd large snapper. If your bait fishing from the pier then a light to medium rod between 7 foot and 9 foot is ideal. Casting directly from the end of the pier out towards the artificial reefs. We find that a 2-4 or 3-5 kilo rod will be enough. A good overall rig to use is a running sinker rig to a swivel and 50cm of strong leader finished with a pilchard tail or squid tentacles. Or a paternoster rig with pilchard, pipi or raw chicken will fish well in the immediate area.

There are several outfit options and it really depends on the species of fish that you’re targeting. For bread and butter species such as pinkies and flathead a 2-4 or 3-5 kilo rod around 7 foot in length coupled with 2000, 2500 or 3000 size reel spooled with 6-10 pound line and equivalent leader. When targeting snapper a rod between 7 and 8 foot in 4-7 kilo class is perfect. Coupled with a 3000, 4000 or 5000 size reel spooled with 15-30 pound monofilament line. When rigging for snapper go with single or double snelled size 5 or 6 hooks. You can fish these with a very small sinker or completely unweighted.

This spot usually fishes well on the tide change often seeing pinkies caught on the incoming high tide and flathead caught on the outgoing low tide. But the surrounding areas tend to fish well on dawn and dusk. Many anglers have reported having more success on large snapper during windy conditions. Remember that certain fish are seasonal. Snapper is active in the warmer months and Salmon active in the colder months.

Check out this video we recently recorded at Altona beach. 1-hour flathead challenge during Anzac day which didn’t disappoint

Altona Boat and Kayak Access

Altona is a wonderful location for boat and kayak access. Firstly there is the main boat ramp facility at the end of Civic parade and Altona road. Launching is now free. The boat ramp has multiple launching lanes, toilet facilities and fish cleaning tables. This in snapper season is one of the business boat ramp facilities in all of Melbourne.  There is adequate parking however parking can be challenging in peak times. This is also a good launch facility with Jet Skis. Altona Pier Fishing Guide.

Kayaks have multiple options for launching around Altona. Firstly a brand new purpose-built kayak launch facility of Millers road between the main pier and boat ramp was completed in November 2019. This offers great access for kayakers and easy launching even during low tide. venture only a few hundred meters out to catch flathead and snapper. Parking can be a little restricted here. Otherwise, other great spots to launch a kayak near the main pier of millers road and apex park. Just be mindful that launching on your own at those areas can be challenging during low tide. Then there is kayak and launching access at the yacht club closer to the boat ramp. You will just need to be cautious of boats which will get close to kayakers in that particular area and mindful that there are yacht club members who should get priority.

Baits Altona Pier

  • pilchard
  • pipis
  • blue bait
  • silver whiting
  • salmon
  • raw chicken strips
  • prawns
  • maggots
  • squid
  • mussels

Lures and soft plastics for Altona Pier

Targeting Snapper at Altona Pier

Snapper

We encourage you to read our detailed guide on how to catch snapper. Snapper season locally starts around October and finishes after March. The big reds migrate inshore during this time of year because water temperatures have increased providing ideal spawning conditions. With dawn and dusk are generally considered the best times to be on the water. The most common snapper rods are 7 foot 6 inches in length with a weight class of 4-7 kilos paired with a 4000 or 5000 size reel spooled with 15-30 pound braid or mono and 40 pound leader. You can choose to fish lighter or heavier. Recommended bait options include pilchards either full or half, silver whiting, squid, garfish, mackerel and mullet.

The best soft plastics are large jerk shads, whip baits, curl tails or paddle tails. Most between 4 and 7 inches in size generally coupled with a ½ or ¼ ounce jig head. Some good options include Savage Gear Fat Curl Tails, Daiwa Bait Junkie Jerk shads & Berkley 7 inch turtleback worm, Zman curl tails.

 

Targeting Flathead at Altona Pier

Flathead

We encourage you to read our detailed guide on How to catch Flathead. Flathead is a year-round prospect which can be caught at any time of the day. They are an ambush predator that waits in disguise for smaller fish to swim buy for an easy feed. This highlights the importance of keeping your baits and soft plastics towards the bottom. If fishing from a boat or kayak we would recommend drifting around the sandy flats until you find a good patch of them. Also, keep an eye for depth drop-offs which is a great location for an ambush predator to be waiting.

We recommend targeting flathead with a 7 foot 2–4 or 3-5 kilo fishing rod paired with a 2500 or 3000 size reel spooled with 8-12lb braid and equivalent leader. You can go lighter, but flathead has bristly teeth that can compromise your fishing line.

Flathead is not fussy and will happily have a go at many various soft plastics and lures. We would highly recommend reading our detailed guide on the best lures and soft plastics to catch flathead. Top choices include worm and yabby imitations, paddle tail soft plastic, curl tail soft plastics, deep diving hard body lures, vibes, swimbaits, and blades.

If your targeting flathead with bait, we recommend using a paternoster rig or running sinker rig. Using a small ball sinker to swivel, then 50cm of 8-12 leader to a size 6 long shank hook. Good baits choices include pilchards, mussels, squid, chicken, whitebait, Pipis, blue bait and prawns.

Targeting Salmon at Altona Pier

Salmon

Winter is a great time to target salmon as they’re active and schooling up in big numbers. Salmon is a powerful sports fish that punches well above their weight. When hooked they produce strong bursts of speed, powerful runs, vigorous head shakes. Do keep an eye out for gutters which are patches of deeper water which Salmon will swim through in schools. These can be identified by a darker colour of the water.

When bait fishing pick a surf rod between 12-15 foot in length which allows for long casts with heavy sinkers and to keep your lines high above the crashing surf. These will be 6-10 kilo class. We recommend a Paternoster rig with a star sinker. Giving you 2 baits at different heights. You could also attach a surf popper above.

When lure fishing first consider what weight lures your likely to be casting. We would recommend rods between 9-12 foot in length in 5-10 kilo class paired with a 3000 size reel spooled with 15-pound braid. Good lure options include Savage Gear Missile, Halco twisty, Ecogear Teibo, JM Gilles pilchard baitfish, Rapala X-Rap SXR, Lazer spoons, Zman slim swimz, trick swimz, Halco laser pro

Targeting Snook at Altona Pier

Snook

These toothy critters are fun to catch on light spinning gear. You will find them in shallow weedy waters often a bycatch for those targeting snapper, whiting and flathead. You can catch snook with staple baits such as pilchard, prawn, and squid. However, Snook loves natural-looking soft plastics retrieved at medium pace including minnows, paddle tails, and grubs. Add scent to the soft plastics really seems to help. Snook also respond well to shallow and mid diving hard body lures in shiny colours retrieved at a medium pace. Metal slugs and blades trolled slowly also work very well.

Do handle snook with care as they have razor-sharp teeth. Despite their sharp teeth it’s still best to target them with light gear that you would generally use for pinkies and flathead. We recommend a 2-4 or 3-5 kilo spin rod paired with a 2500 size reel, spooled with 8-12 pound line and leader. Check out this video of a crazy snook session when kayak fishing.

Targeting Bream at Altona Pier

Bream

This is a great location to target bream with lures and soft plastics. The options available are almost endless so make sure you read our guide on the best lures to catch bream. Recommended options include crab imitation, shallow diving cranks, paddle tail soft plastics, curl tail soft plastics, minnow imitations, vibes, and blades. Also, try your luck with surface lures which is an exciting form of fishing with light gear.

Bream is all about finesse fishing so you will need an ultralight spin outfit. We recommend a 7-foot rod in a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo class, paired with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 reel spooled with 2-6-pound braid and equivalent leader. There are so many amazing bream outfits on the market and budgets vary greatly depending on your skill level and spending habits.

Bream reside within the structure such as jetty pylons and stumps. Enticing them away from the structure onto your lure will take some time to master. Remember to work your lures and plastics slowly and mix up the retrieval techniques.

If your targeting bream with bait than we would highly recommend sandworms, maggots, scrub worms, mussels, yabbies, & chicken. A 2-4 kilo class rod paired with a 2500 size reel would be a great option spooled with 6-pound line. We would encourage you to read our detailed guide on Bait fishing for Bream.

Targeting Gurnard at Altona Pier

Gurnard

In Victoria, you have the Red Gurnard a stunning fish with colourful wings like a butterfly. Then you have the common gurnard a dull-looking fish with venomous spines that inflict a lot of pain if stung. Gurnard inhabit shallow, flat sandy or muddy areas looking for small fish, yabbies and prawns to feed on.

Gurnard are often bycatch when targeting flathead. This means you will generally be using a light 2–4 or 3-5 kilo fishing rod around 7 foot in length. Paired with a 2000, 2500 or 3000 size reel spooled with 8-15 lb monofilament line. If your bait fishing then you can’t go past a simple running rig. A small bean sinker to swivel, then roughly 45cm of 6-pound leader to a size 6 long shank hook.

Targeting Trevally at Altona Pier

Trevally

Trevally pound for pound is one of the best fighting fish. In certain parts of Australia surface popping for Giant Trevally is one of the bucket list fishing experiences that you must tick off. However, in Victoria, you will mainly be catching the much smaller silver trevally. Good bait options include blue bait, whitebait, raw chicken, pilchards, pippies, squid and mussels. Trevally will also take a range of soft plastics including worm and minnow imitations, small surface poppers, and small metal spoons.

We recommend targeting trevally with a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 2000, or 2500 reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. If there are larger trevally in the area than you can go heavier moving up the scale to a 3-5 kilo class spin rod spooled with fine 8-12-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader.

Targeting mullet at Altona Pier

Mullet

This is a great location to mullet a bread and butter species which school up in big numbers. They are fun to catch on light spinning gear and a great fish species to introduce beginners into fishing. Mullet respond well to berley, so berley an isolated area with a mix of bread, tuna oil and chook pellets.

Good baits include bread, dough, live maggots, pilchard, and prawn. remember that Mullet have small mouths so remember to cut these baits up into small pieces. You can also use soft plastics small minnow and grub style soft plastic with a slow constant retrieve. Scents such as S-Factor or Procure certainly helps.

Most mullet are quite small therefore a 7-foot rod in a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo class, paired with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 reel spooled with 2-6-pound braid and equivalent leader. Here are some helpful tips on catching Mullet with soft plastics.

Targeting Gummy Shark at Altona Pier

Gummy Shark

We would recommend targeting gummy shark with a 7 foot 8-15 kilo rod paired with a 4000 to 6000 size reel spooled with 20 to 40 pound line. Finished with a strong leader ranging from 40lb through to 60 pounds. Ideal rigs include a running sinker rig to single or double snelled rig or paternoster rig. You can use an Ezi rig attaching a sinker to the clip then tying on a pre-made double snelled rig. Octopus or circle hooks from 5/0 to 7/0 are preferred for presenting chunks of salmon, trevally, squid, mackerel, Eel, mullet, pilchard, yakka’s, & garfish.

Targeting Squid at Altona Pier

Squid

Squid is a frequent catch on the pier towards the front and mid parts of the pier. Just look for the squid ink which is a great indicator of where to target them. Anglers do well-suspending squid jigs with the use of a float. Targeting squid is a fun form of fishing growing in popularity with the reward of fresh calamari. Squid can be caught all year round, you will find them in shallow weedy areas and they respond well to jigs in clear water conditions.

We recommend reading our detailed guide on How to catch squid around Melbourne. An egi rod between 7.5 foot and 9 foot in length is ideal and there are plenty of egi rods on the market fit for purpose. We recommend an 8 foot 3-inch rod paired with a 3000 size reel spooled with 15-pound braid. Squid jigs are prone to snags in this area, and we have found using slow sinking jigs in the smaller size of 2.5 and 3.0-gram jigs will help avoid this problem.

Cast your squid jig to allow time for the jig to sink then do a series of lifts and pauses to imitate a wounded prawn. The natural temptation is to strike Instead, a subtle lift to keep line tension and constant slow reel is all that’s required.

Check out this video a master class on Kayak fishing for squid in Melbourne.

Known hazards

Children will need to be closely supervised when fishing on the pier. The pier can be quite slippery and there is a decent drop of the edges. There are also anglers casting quite close to each other, so they will need to watch flying hooks.

Often there are rows of anglers so the biggest danger will be avoiding line tangles or walking behind someone who is casting, so be wary of those around you. Also, you’re likely to catch toadfish, stingrays and banjo sharks which are a pest, just make sure you handle them with care and put them back into the water safely.

Acknowledgements

Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images and videos shown on the Altona Pier Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.

Additions or Corrections for this location

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