Fishing locations guide Mornington Pier located along Schnapper point drive in Mornington is roughly a 50-minute drive from Melbourne. The Mornington pier was originally built back in 1850 and today offers locals a vast array of fishing species to target all year round making it an excellent land-based fishing destination. The pier had a 15 million dollar facelift in 2015 but was shut down with lengthy delays in 2017 after storm damage made the pier unsafe to use. The pier is only 250 meters long but is very popular for walkers, photographers, and scuba divers.
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Things to do at Mornington Pier
This is a beautiful spot with surrounding beaches and scenic views. The immediate area is popular for swimming, walking, cycling, fishing and scuba diving. Many locals enjoy walking the pier taking in the views and spotting sea creatures in clear waters such as jellyfish. Nearby there are local cafes, restaurants, shops and bars within a lovely vibrant township. Fishing charters operate directly from the pier if you’re looking for a day out on the water. There are rock pools close by but do make sure the kids are closely supervised when on the pier. Recent renovations have included toilet facilities a yacht club and a vastly improved pier.
Fishing at Mornington Pier
Mornington pier can be fished all year round with many different species that can be caught including squid, garfish, whiting, salmon, snapper, silver trevally, leather jacket, rays and more. Prized catches would include large snapper during summer, large squid during winter and an abundance of garfish in between. Fishing at dawn or dusk on the incoming high tide is often the peak time to catch fish especially when the wind is chopping up a little. Fishing is also generally better in the area during the summer and autumn seasons. Good bait choices include pilchard, blue bait, silver whiting, raw chicken strips, prawns, maggots, silverfish, glacies, and squid tentacles. If you targeting species such as garfish then remember to berley an isolated area frequently which will help greatly with catch rates. You can buy premade berley mix or make your own. A simple mix of bread and tuna oil will work well.
You can also fish using a whole range of soft plastics which is effective on local species. We would recommend small paddle tail and curl tail soft plastics with a 1/8 jig head as a good starting point. Species such as pinkies and flathead will certainly have a go at that. When targeting squid a whole range of long casting squid jigs can be used. Why not read our detailed guide on How to catch squid around Mornington. If you are targeting squid then light to the medium rod between 7 and 9 feet is ideal. This will allow you to cast great distance and feel subtle enquiries. Take a range of squid jigs with you in different sizes and colours, and see what’s working on any particular day.
For small species such as garfish, leather jackets and whiting, you will want to use an ultralight fishing combo. Ideally a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 size reel spooled with light line. Then use small long shank hooks and small baits as these fish have quite small mouths. Good baits for these species include small pieces of pilchard, prawns, silverfish and maggots. These can be either suspended from a float or a light running sinker rig.
Then there are general-purpose outfits that will allow you to target a whole range of different species such as flathead, snapper, trevally and so on. These are usually 3-5 or 4-7 kilo rods with a 3000 or 4000 size reel spooled with a slightly heavier line and ready to tackle various different fish species. Good rigs to use when general-purpose fishing include pre-made paternoster rigs or a running sinker rig to a swivel and 50cm of a strong leader. Finished with a Pilchard tail or squid tentacles, raw chicken breast or any other bait will fish very well
Have a look at this video which shows some basic tips on fishing around Mornington.
Recommended baits Mornington
- blue bait
- silver whiting
- raw chicken strips
Recommended lures and soft plastics Mornington
- 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
- Daiwa 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
Targeting garfish at Mornington
Garfish or mini marlins are a fun local fish species to target. Generally caught between 20cm and 40 cm with no minimum legal-size limit but a daily bag limit of 40. Garfish have large snouts but very small mouths so the key to catching them is to use very small size hooks. Small long shanks between size 10 and size 14 are ideal choices. The preferred rig setup should consist of using a pencil or quill float, and then having a small split shot roughly 20cm above the hooks to keep the bait down. the floats will help suspend baits such as glacies, maggots or small pieces of fish flesh. berleying is a very important tool when targeting garfish, You can purchase premade berley pellets or powder from your local tackle shop or make your own use tuna oil, chook pellets and bread.
Catching gars is all about finesse and an ultralight 1-3 or 2-4 kilo nibble tip rod that’s 7 to 9 foot in length Paired with a 1000, 2000 or 25000 size reel spooled with 4-6 lb line will be a great choice.
Targeting Snapper at Mornington
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. 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 are 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 Gummy Shark at Mornington
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 to single or double snelled rig or a 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.
learn to make your own snapper and gummy shark rigs by watching this video
Targeting Squid at Mornington
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 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 a 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 a constant slow reel is all that’s required.
Check out this video a master class on Kayak fishing for squid in Melbourne.
Targeting Salmon at Mornington
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 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 classes. 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 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
Check out this video of a crazy salmon school we recently encountered.
There are often many rods being cast in a condensed area so be mindful of others casting around you. Especially if you have children teach them to be wary of those casting around them.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images and videos shown on the Mornington Pier Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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