Welcome to the Mount Martha Fishing Guide. This location is widely accepted as one of the best land-based fishing locations around Melbourne. Roughly 60 kilometres or 1-hour drive from Melbourne along the Mornington Peninsula. Overlooking Port Philip bay with several kilometres of scenic and rocky cliff faces. Seasonally this location is a hotspot with great year-round fishing. It’s very popular for its squid fishing, but also has a solid reputation for big land-based snapper being caught from the rocks in the warmer months. You can also target both whiting and garfish in good numbers during the year.
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Take a look at this video of Fishing Mad squid fishing at the Mount Martha rocks its a ripper.
Things to do at Mount Martha
Mount Martha is a scenic seaside township within the Mornington Peninsula. This stretch is a little less commercial and busy compared to other popular areas in the peninsula such as Rye and Sorrento. It does, however, have cafes, restaurants, boutique shops and a golf course. There are scenic walking trails, which allow you to take in the views, local wild and birdlife and historic buildings. In the not too far distance, you have the Peninsula hot springs, wineries, lighthouses, championship golf courses, maze and gardens, adventure playgrounds and much more. The Mornington Penisula is a great destination for families with many activities to suit everyone in the family. Nearby townships include Cape Schnack, Rye, Sorrento, and many more. The rocks which are popular for fishing has ample parking on gravel stretches along the main road. This is a beautiful spot but probably not a great location for the kids due to its difficult and dangerous access.
Fishing at Mount Martha Rocks
There are many different species of fish that you can target at Mount Martha rocks and all of them require significantly different setups. Let’s start by saying that you can catch squid, snapper, whiting, salmon, flathead, garfish, gummy shark and leather jackets at this destination. Fishing dawn or dusk on the incoming high tide will be your best chance especially when the wind is chopping up a little. Quite often after a couple of days of strong breeze species like snapper will come in.
If you are new to fishing and not sure where to begin then perhaps go with a general-purpose fishing rod combo that will allow you to target multiple species at once. This might be a 3-5 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 3000 size reel spooled with 8-pound line. You’re most likely to catch many small pinkies, whiting, garfish, leather jackets and flathead so you don’t need to fish too heavy but need to be prepared for the odd large snapper. If your are specifically targeting garfish, whiting and leather jackets 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, 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.
Snapper fishing at Mount Martha rocks
In the warmer months, snapper will be the primary target. When the southwesterly and westerly winds are up snapper will come into this area for shelter and food. You may want to consider using a surf style fishing outfit to allow you to cast further out. A medium fishing rod between 9 and 12 foot is a great choice. I would recommend using a paternoster rig with a sinker at the end. This will allow you to cast out a good distance and suing either half pilchard, silver whiting or squid as bait. You may want to try using double snelled 5/0 suicide hooks presenting a full pilchard or silver whiting but you may struggle with the needed casting distance.
Good bait options for those choosing to fish with baits will include pilchard, blue bait, silver whiting, raw chicken strips and squid tentacles. So plastics can also work to good effect in these areas for pinkies and flathead. You will need to pick suitable conditions to do this, particularly when the wind is blowing behind you helping your casting distance, or during calm days with low wind.
Squid fishing at Mount Martha rocks
Squid is likely the most targeted species at Mount Martha rocks. The area is full of rocks and weed beds which makes a great ecosystem for squid. It’s also an exciting place to walk along the rocks with an egi rod and some squid jigs. You can learn more about targeting squid here by reading our detailed guide on How to catch squid at Mount Martha
If your chasing squid then a light fishing rod between 7.5 foot and 9 foot in length is ideal. There are plenty of egi rods on the market fit for purpose. I have found myself fishing with a 7 foot 6 inch rod here with great success. Having a 300 size reel spooled with 10-pound braid and leader. For other fishing in this area, a general-purpose medium fishing outfit is ideal. This will allow you to cover a whole range of fish species. Perhaps starting with a 7 foot or 8 foot rod paired with a 3000 or 4000 reel spooled with 12-pound lines. 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. Mount Martha Fishing Guide
Check out a recent video of us fishing the Mornington Peninsula.
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 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 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. 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 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.
Learn how to make your own snapper rigs by watching this video
Targeting garfish at Mount Martha
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.
The rocks and cliff face can be very slippery and quite dangerous. The access into this area is quite steep so care must be taken at all times. Make sure you wear appropriate footwear that will stop you from slipping. Always let someone know you fishing in this area and wear adequate footwear. Or even better avoid fishing there by yourself. Snakes are also spotted within the rocks at times so do be careful.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images and videos shown on the Mount Martha Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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