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 kilometers or 1-hour drive from Melbourne along the Mornington Peninsula. Overlooking Port Philip bay with several kilometers of scenic and rocky cliff faces. Seasonally this location is a hotspot for snapper, squid, garfish and salmon but provides 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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Access down to the rocks is steep and quite dangerous and extreme caution must be taken. Don’t take unnecessary risks, especially when carrying fishing gear down to fishable areas. The rocks are accessible off The Esplanade and is best accessed via Hearn road, Ian road or Broadford road.

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.

Take a look at this video of Fishing Mad squid fishing at the Mount Martha rocks its a ripper.

Fishing at Mount Martha Rocks

At Mt Martha Rocks or Cliffs, you can target

  • Snapper
  • Squid
  • Garfish
  • Australian Salmon
  • King George Whiting
  • Trevally
  • Flathead
  • Gummy Sharks
  • Leather Jackets

What a scenic fishing destination with breathtaking views. 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 good volumes of squid and garfish. With persistence a prized size snapper. You can also catch whiting, salmon, flathead, garfish, gummy shark, and leather jackets at this destination. Big pods of dolphins are often common in this area.

This whole stretch of shoreline is full of thick weed and reef which makes a perfect ecosystem for species like squid and King George Whiting. Here they are found in big numbers, especially on calm days when the water clarity is really clear. If you are chasing squid then a light fishing rod between 7.5 feet and 9 feet in length is ideally paired with a 2500 or 3000 size reel spooled with 10 to 15-pound braid and equivalent leader. There are plenty of egi rods on the market fit for purpose. Targeting squid on low tide here can be challenging as the water levels are quite shallow and full of thick weed so your squid jigs are prone to snagging. For this reason, we highly recommend you take some slow-sinking squid jigs and squid jigs in smaller 2.5 and 3.0 sizes. You may also need to work these jigs at a constant slow pace rather than letting them sink to the bottom.

It’s best to target Snapper of the rocks casting out as far as you can ideally with a light to medium surf rod. Snapper will arrive in these areas in Spring and Summer and they can fish very well after windy days which bring the snapper into the shallows. Longer length rods and heavier sinkers allow you to cast greater distances to get fresh baits in prime areas. Fresh baits such as freshly caught squid and salmon chunks will help your catch rates immensely. If you chasing pinkies and flathead then a paternoster rig with pilchard tail or raw chicken breast on a size 2/0 or 3/0 will fish very well. Fishing at dawn or dusk on the incoming high tide will be your best chance, especially after wind and choppy conditions. Quite often after a couple of days of strong breeze species like snapper will come in.

Learn to catch snapper land-based around the Mornington peninsula

We recommend using a dropper rig or paternoster rig at this location which will allow you to change sinkers and get ample casting distance. Then finished with a squid strip, pilchard tail, full pilchard, or silver whiting on 4/0 or 5/0 hooks as the images below show.

Below shows a double-snelled rig and above an Ezi rig slier with interchangeable sinkers. This is great for land-based fishing when using full baits like pilchards and silver whiting. 

You can also use Paternoster rigs to present 2 chunks or strip bats like squid, and pilchards. Having an interchangeable sinker at the bottom allows you to get ample casting distance. 

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 pilchards, prawns, silverfish, and maggots. These can be either suspended from a float or a light running sinker rig.

Mt Martha rocks is also a great spot for kayak fishing and small runabout boats. Here you can catch good volumes of squid and garfish quickly. Especially if you anchor and berley up an isolated area. 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 heavily but need to be prepared for the odd large snapper. If you 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.

Recommended baits Mt Martha

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.

Bait Choices

  • Squid
  • Salmon
  • Pilchards
  • Silver whiting
  • Silverfish ( Good for Garfish )
  • Maggots ( Good for Garfish )
  • Pipis ( Good for Whiting )
  • Sandworms
  • Blue bait

Recommended lures and soft plastics Mt Martha

Soft Plastics

  • Squid Jigs ( squid )
  • Long Casting Metal Slugs ( Australian Salmon )
  • Zman 2.5 inch GrubZ
  • Munroes 3.75 inch paddle tails
  • 5 inch Jerk shads
  • Berkley gulp turtleback worm ( 4 inch and 7 inch )
  • 4 inch curltails
  • Zman slim Swimz
  • Berkley powerbait grub
  • Gulp 3-inch minnow
  • eco gear ZX40
  • Daiwa Double Clutch
  • Squidges biotough grub
  • Zman StreakZ

Targeting Squid at Mt Martha Rocks

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.

Check out this instructional video guide on how to squid filmed locally in Port Phillip Bay


Targeting Snapper at Mt Martha Rocks Cliffs


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.

Check out this instructional video guide on how to catch snapper with soft plastics filmed locally in Port Phillip Bay

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.

Targeting Salmon at Mt Martha


Salmon are powerful sports fish that school up in big numbers. They punch well above their weight and when hooked produce strong bursts of speed, powerful runs, and vigorous head shakes. Keep an eye 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. Salmon will happily take a range of soft plastics, lures, and baits. Including 3 and 4-inch soft plastics and long-casting metal spoons. You can target them with light spinning gear such as a 2-4 kilo rod and 2500-size reel. However, if you are targeting them land-based on the beach or surf then you will likely jump up to a 5-10 kilo rod that’s between 9-12 feet in length paired with a 3000-size reel spooled with 15-pound braid.

Check out this instructional video guide on how to catch salmon on soft plastics. Crazy action in this one.

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. Thank you for visiting the Mount Martha Fishing Guide. If you feel this location guide is missing key information or needs any corrections made, then please let us know by emailing our team at enquiries@fishingmad.com.au with specific details in the email. Please also feel free to share any fishing pictures you have from this location with us. Thank you