Welcome to the Clifton Springs Fishing Guide. This is a lovely residential township home to roughly 8,000 residents it’s a great weekend getaway destination with the family. It’s roughly 90 kilometers away from Melbourne passing through Geelong. The township received its name after mineral springs were found in the area in the 1870s. Today it provides clean water access to Port Phillip bay overlooking Corio Bay directly opposite the Mornington Peninsula. With clear waters and weed beds, it offers a variety of fish species to target and is excellent for squid and whiting.
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Things to do at Clifton Springs
Clifton Springs is a small town on the Bellarine Peninsula in southern Victoria. The popular town has lots of character with lovely beach fronts overlooking the harbor. There is a small volume of shops but the majority of shops are located in the neighboring township Drysdale. There are nearby parks, playgrounds and boat hire for those hoping for a day out on the water. A little further up towards the point, you can catch the ferry to the Mornington Peninsula and check out popular towns such as Sorrento and Rye or walk the scenic Point Nepean national park.
There are several local attractions nearby including the historic lighthouse, museum, gallery, observation deck, Bellarine railway, and grand hotel. The town is well known for catching the ferry between Queenscliff to the Mornington Peninsula to visit popular townships such as Sorrento and Portsea. The rail line is often an attraction featuring large steam trans as Thomas the tank characters. Closer to Geelong attractions include the Geelong adventure park which has world-class rides and waterslides. Including the new Tsunami waterslide. Also, the beautifully maintained Geelong botanic gardens. Which offers amazing landscaped gardens for the whole family to enjoy
Fishing at Clifton Springs
At Clifton Springs, you can seasonally target
- gummy sharks
- leather jackets
Clifton Springs has a tremendous reputation as a great snapper, squid, and whiting ground. And for good reason as the shallows are full of thick weeds and reefs and clean water which is amazing grounds for these awesome species. You can fish Clifton springs by land, boat, or kayak. For land-based anglers, the existing jetty has finished a recent renovation taking the jetty from 35 meters long to 70 meters long. This now is an excellent place to fish for squid, whiting, garfish, and mullet. At times you can get your baits out far enough to also target flathead and pinkies.
For those in a boat or kayak squid, whiting and snapper will likely be the most targeted species. The whole area in depths from 2 -5 meters is full of weed beds which makes a great ecosystem for squid and whiting. A good spot to start is near the stumps on the ground to the right of the boat ramp. Kayakers can launch of the beach to the left of the ramps and boats can launch at the main ramps but remember it can get very busy here during peak times.
If you are chasing squid then a light fishing rod between 7.5 feet and 9 feet in length is ideal. There are plenty of egi rods on the market fit for purpose. Have a 300 size reel spooled with a 10-pound braid and leader. Squid jigs can be prone to snagging in this area, and we have found a lot of locals using the smaller size of 2.5 and 3.0-gram jigs and working them slowly to avoid this problem. We haven’t had too many issues catching both squid and whiting during any part of the day, however dawn and dusk always seem to be productive times, especially on the incoming high tide. If you would like more information specifically on catching squid then please read our article on Master squid fishing around Melbourne.
Check out this instructional video guide on how to squid filmed at Clifton Springs
If you are specifically targeting garfish or whiting then consider using small hooks as these species have small mouths and using small hooks such as a size 12 long shank will increase your catch rates. We would also recommend berleying the area you are fishing which is a great way to attract garfish and whiting. You can buy premade berley or make your own using breadcrumbs and tuna oil.
Good bait options will include pilchards, silver whiting, pipis, raw chicken, squid strips, maggots, and silverfish. You can also fish this area with soft plastics to target pinkies and flathead. Picking the right conditions will be important to ensure you can cast your soft plastics far enough out. Also, keep in mind that this area is all rock so you are very prone to having your sinkers and jog heads snagging up on the rocks. This might take some time to work out how to effectively fish this area without losing too much gear. Then you can go beyond the channel markers which are great grounds for snapper, flathead, and gummy sharks. You’ll want to be fishing a little heavier when you do this. This might be a 3-5 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 3000 size reel spooled with 8-pound line, or a 4-7 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 400 size reel spooled with 20 pound braid. You will also run into small pinkies, garfish, and leather jackets. Using a basic paternoster rig with some fresh bait will work well for many different species.
Best Baits Fishing Clifton Springs
At this location, we would highly recommend the baits suggested below. There are several ways to present baits including a running sinker rig, paternoster rig, or dropper rig. The rig and sinker choice will be dependent on the species you are targeting and the conditions such as wind and tidal strength.
- blue bait
- silver whiting
Best Lures and soft plastics for Clifton Springs
Check out this instructional video guide on how to catch snapper with soft plastics filmed locally in Port Phillip Bay
- Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5 inch grub
- Daiwa Baitjunkie 5 inch jerk shads
- Berkley gulp turtleback worm
- Savage Gear Fat Curl tails
- Daiwa Bautjunkie 4 inch grubs
- Zman slim Swimz
- 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
Boat and Kayak access at Clifton Springs
Boat and kayak access is easy by using the main boat ramp on Jetty road. This is an excellent facility with multiple launching areas and ample parking. Those with kayaks can also choose to launch just opposite the boat ramp. Squid and whiting grounds are easily accesiable on a kayak without needing to venture too far out.
Targeting Squid at Clifton Springs
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 feet and 9 feet 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.
Targeting Whiting at Clifton Springs
Whiting is a bread and butter species which are fun to catch on light spinning gear and tastes great. Whiting school up in big numbers and they respond well to berley, so berley an isolated area with a mix of chicken pellets, Tuna oil and pilchards. Whiting fishing requires finesse, so we recommend a light 1-3 or 2-4 kilo spin rod around 7 foot in length. Coupled with a light 1000-2500 size reel, spooled with 4 pounds or 6-pound line and leader. When bait fishing a simple running rig with a small sinker to swivel, then 40cm of 4-pound leader to a small baitholder long shank hook or a paternoster rig with 2 hooks and a size sinker depending on your conditions.
Watch our 25-minute whiting masterclass as we guide you through on everything you need to know to catch whiting.
Targeting Snapper at Clifton Springs
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 is 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 Gummy Shark at Clifton Springs
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 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 Flathead at Clifton Springs
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, whitebait, Pipis, blue bait, and prawns.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. The header was supplied via email report. All images and videos shown on the Clifton Springs Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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