Welcome to the Apollo Bay Fishing Guide. Apollo Bay is a coastal township in southwestern Victoria along the Great Ocean Road passing through the Great Otway National Park. Roughly 200 kilometers southwest of Melbourne. Apollo Bay annually welcomes many holiday goers. Such a scenic place that offers unlimited fishing opportunities. From offshore chasing barrel Tuna to fishing the streams of the mountains of the Otway Ranges. With a rugged coastline, many beaches, and estuaries it’s a great fishing destination.
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Things to do at Apollo Bay
Apollo Bay was given its name by Captain Loutit in 1845 after his trading vessel. During that time the area was visited by sailors, whalers, sealers, and timber cutters who began coming to the area in the early 1800s. Today Apollo Bay is a wonderful place to take the family. A vibrant township with amazing coastlines and a variety of accommodations and stores.
The famous Great Ocean Walk is a fantastic way to enjoy the breathtaking coastline and admire the bay of islands spectacular scenic formation of the 12 apostles’ historic rocks n winter there is whale watching, clean beaches, swimming, good accommodation, scenic views, and a vibrant town with cafes and restaurants. Nearby attractions include Cape Otways Light station, Maites Rest Walk a wonderful and scenic walk within the forest ad ferns, Strolling along the beaches, Great Ocean Road’s wildlife conservationist tour and Lake Pertrobe playgrounds.
Enjoy the waterfalls including the 3 cascades of Triplet Falls. In town, the hilltop Marriners Lookout offers panoramic views over the ocean. Further along, you have the Warnambool botanic gardens, the Warnabmool art gallery, the Warnambool racetrack, an amazing coastline full of fishing opportunities, and Logan’s beach for whale sightings. The breakwater is a spectacular sight with crashing waves, sights, and sounds. It also has a good assortment of picnic tables and amenities.
Fishing at Apollo Bay
There is such a variety of fishing at Apollo Bay. So we are going to break this into sections.
The local pier at Apollo Bay offers great fishing for the whole family. Here you can catch squid in good volumes, especially in the warmer months. You can also catch King George whiting, flathead, pinky snapper, silver trevally, Australian salmon, warehou, and barracouta in the harbor. The pier is fitted with rod holders and has good onsite amenities. Paternoster rigs, running sinker rigs and unweighted baits work best while fishing inside the harbor. Going with pilchards, squid, pipis and blue bait as good choices.
There are great rockwalls and fishing platforms that provide excellent fishing. Marengo, Orchard Creek, Wild Dog beach and Snapper Rock provide excllent land based fishing options for species like snapper, Australian Salmon and King George Whiting.
- Gummy Sharks
- King George Whiting
The fishing opportunities if you have a boat are amazing. Apollo Bay Harbour has a dual boat ramp and sticking in close you can catch all of your bread-and butter species such as flathead, whiting, silver trevally, and mackerel. Most of the sea around Apollo Bay is flat but there are scattered offshore reefs. In close along these sand flats, you will catch plenty of flathead drifting baits like pilchard and squid with a paternoster rig. The depths can change dramatically so have a variety of sinkers to fish different depths. You will also catch big King George whiting and trevally in areas that hold reef and weed. Smaller hooks and small strips of pipi or squid will work well especially if you anchor on sandy patches and berley.
We would suggest traveling around to the offshore reefs which can offer great fishing. Most of these reefs are within 10 kilometers but do make sure you check the conditions have all the adequate safety gear and only go out in a vessel capable of handling the offshore conditions. These include Blanket Bay, Henty Reef, and Cape Otway. These reefs are fantastic snapper grounds in the warmer months. Many snapper will be caught between 3 and 5 kilos in size. Pilchards and strips of squid on a double snell rig are excellent choices here. You will also want to target gummy sharks in these same areas. The gummy sharks here grow to terrific sizes and are very powerful. Strips of salmon, mackerel, or squid are excellent choices especially around peak tide changes when the water is running its slowest.
Apollo Bay however is a top location to head way offshore and target your barrel tuna. You will need to go out with a specialized charter operator or ensure you have a large boat capable of handling these conditions. The waters around Apollo Bay make great grounds for Tuna because of the changing terrain, strong currents, and volume of baitfish in the area. Tuna will move far and wide but surprisingly are often caught right out the front of the harbor. However, they are mainly targeted way offshore in areas around Point Franklin, The Big Reef, Blanket Bay, The Edge, and The Lump are notorious Tuna grounds. These Tuna can be caught all year round however peak time would be considered between March and July.
- Estuary perch
You can target a variety of estuary species like bream, mullet, and estuary perch at Aire River, Barham River, and Kennett rivers using either bait or lures. Lightly weighted soft plastics such as grubs and paddle tails are outstanding options. So are surface lures and shallow diving lures. Scroll down below to see soft plastic and lure recommendations for bream and estuary perch.
There are so many freshwater streams around Apollo Bay which hold numbers of brown and rainbow trout. Productive areas include Skenes Creek, Wild Dog Creek, Smythes Creek, and Grey River. You can also catch trout in the upper reaches of the Aire, Barham and Kennett rivers.
Best Baits Fishing Apollo Bay
- blue bait
- silver whiting
- raw chicken strips
Best Lures and soft plastics for Apollo Bay
- Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5 inch grub
- Zman slim Swimz
- Daiwa Baitjunkie 5 inch jerk shads
- Berkley gulp turtleback worm
- Savage Gear Fat Curl tails
- Daiwa Bautjunkie 4 inch grubs
- Berkley powerbait grub
- Gulp 3 inch minnow
- Dawia Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
- Zman grubZ
- eco gear ZX40
- Daiwa Double Clutch
- EcoGear SX40
- Squidges biotough grub
- Zman StreakZ
- Munroes 3.75 inch paddle tails
- Kietech swim impact fat
- Zerek fish trap
- Samaki Vibelicious
Targeting Tuna at Apollo Bay
Tuna is a remarkable fish species with a worldwide reputation for speed, size power, and taste. Genuine missiles of the ocean and for many a bucket list fish. Tuna have remarkable fighting qualities and unparalleled eating qualities. Tuna fishing hits its peak in the colder months. Locally we have bluefin, yellowfin, & albacore all of which grow to massive sizes. Good ways to find tuna include watching your sounder for large bait balls, drop-offs and reefs. However, the biggest indicators are often breaking water and large congregations of birds that are diving into the water.
Targeting barrels requires specialised equipment consisting of big game rods, expensive game reels and heavy lines. These are often trolled with the aid of downriggers. For many, the best way to experience this is through a specialised tuna charter operator. If you are targeting schoolies, then you can do this by using 10-15 or 10-24 kilo spin rod and a 5000-20000 size reel spooled with 30-50 pound braid. This can be a fun form of fishing.
Targeting Snapper at Apollo Bay
Locally Snapper season starts around October and finishes towards April. The big reds migrate inshore due to the warmer water temperatures which provide ideal spawning conditions. Dawn, Dusk and tide changes are considered the best times to catch snapper. Snapper will take a variety of baits and soft plastics. For bait a 7 to 8 foot rod with a 4-7 kg rating paired with a 4000 or 5000 size reel spooled with 15-30 pound line is great. Good bait options include pilchards, silver whiting, squid, and salmon. When it comes to soft plastics, a 7 foot 3-6 kilo rod paired with a 3000 size reel great. Good soft plastics include jerk shads, whip baits, curl tails or paddle tails between 3 and 5 inches in a variety of colours. We encourage you to read our detailed guide on how to catch snapper.
Targeting Flathead at Apollo Bay
Flathead is a year-round prospect that can be caught at any time of the day. They are an ambush predator that waits in disguise for smaller fish to swim by for 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 out 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 you are 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 bait choices include pilchards, mussels, squid, chicken, white bait, Pipis, blue bait, and prawns.
Targeting Salmon at Apollo Bay
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 its weight. When hooked they produce strong bursts of speed, powerful runs, and vigorous head shakes. Do keep an eye out for gutters which are patches of deeper water that Salmon will swim through in schools. These can be identified by the darker color 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 keeps 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 you are likely to be casting. We would recommend rods between 9-12 feet 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 Bream at Apollo Bay
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 structures 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 you are targeting bream with bait then 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 a 6-pound line. We would encourage you to read our detailed guide on Bait fishing for Bream.
Targeting Trevally at Altona Pier
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 Gummy Shark at Altona Pier
We would recommend targeting gummy sharks 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 single or double snelled rig or paternoster rig. You can use an Ezi rig attaching a sinker to the clip and 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 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 that 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 a constant slow reel is all that’s required.
Check out this video on Kayak fishing for squid in Melbourne.
Children will need to be closely supervised when fishing on the pier. The pier can be quite slippery and there is a decent drop on 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.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images and videos shown on the Apollo Bay Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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