Welcome to the Moyne River Fishing Guide. Port Fairy is a coastal fishing township located on Victoria’s far southwest coast at the end of the Great Ocean Road. Roughly 3 1/2 hours drive from Melbourne between Portland and Warrnambool. Port Fairy is a unique setting with historic buildings still remaining from its days as a port back in 1800.
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Port Fairy is built around the Moyne River. Along here is Fishermans Wharf which has rows of boats that can be seen from the footbridge. The Moyne River is the entrance out to the Bass Straight and an exceptional world-class fishing destination for Tuna. It also offers other great game fishing and a large range of species such as Kingfish and Snapper and many other species. Its an also a popular destination for tourists with annual whale and sea watching. It’s also a great spot to head out with a fishing charter that has all the gear ready to chase a big Tuna or stick to the jetties for bread and butter species.
Things to do at Port Fairy
Much accommodation is available including the Port Fairy Big 4 family accommodation. Port Fairy has many boutique shops scattered throughout the town. It hosts the Port Fairy Folk Festival, a large music festival held annually around March. Or enjoy the relaxed pace and local produce with fine food and wine of the many great pubs, cafes and restaurants. The town is full of history and has many centres and walks suited for history buffs. You can also head out to Griffiths Island which is home to a large colony of mutton birds, while at the eastern end of the island is the Port Fairy Lighthouse.
Port Fairy has three main beach areas along Ocean Drive and pockets of sandy beaches parallel to the Moyne River via Beach Street. Whilst there you can visit the Port Fairy Botanic Gardens. Or venture out on a boat and do some whale and seal watching. Take a tour to Lady Julia Percy Island which is home to thousands of seals and quite a remarkable sight.
Fishing Moyne River
When you initially think of fishing around Port Fairy you can’t help but think of targeting large barrel tuna offshore in the Bass straight. But rest assure there is plenty of good fishing within the town for land-based anglers and kayakers. The Moyne River starts at the entrance and runs through the township and goes on for a further 80 kilometres. It’s a change of pace but still has plenty of good fishing. There are plenty of scattered jetties perfect for fishing. Here you can target bream, mullet and estuary perch and at the river mouth, you can still catch gummy sharks, snapper, barracoota, whiting, flathead, salmon, squid and mulloway.
At Moyne River, you can catch
- estuary perch
- Gummy Sharks
Fishing with vibes and blades is a great option here as it allows you to target multiple species at once. These cast a fair distance, work well along drop-offs and can be fished slowly with hops, lifts and pauses. Good options here would include eco gear VX35s, strike pro micro vibe, Berkley big eye blades and TT switchblades. Lightly weighted soft plastics work well in the shallows where you flicking towards the banks or areas between 3 and 5 meters deep. Shallow diving hard body lures also work well. A large portion of the river is shallow and weedy and for this reason surface lures, shallow diving hard body lures, shallow diving cranks and very lightly weighted soft plastics will work well. usually using a 1/16 jig head and higher. Bream will congregate within the weed, edges and drop-offs so these are good areas to specifically target. In extremely weedy areas surface lures worked slowly work a treat you will also catch tailor and estuary perch with this method.
When flicking lures and plastics you will need an ultralight spinning outfit. This would start with a light rod around 7 foot in length either a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo class. There are so many great options to choose from in this range which can be quite confusing for beginners. When choosing a reel make sure you pick a 1000, 2040 or 2500 size is best, spooled with 4-6 pound braid and finished with a 2 or 4-pound leader. Again the range of reels on the market is amazing and the budgets vary greatly depending on your skill level and spending habits. If you plan on fishing with baits then we would highly recommend using Sandworms, maggots, scrub worms, pilchards, mussels, yabbies, & chicken. For bait fishing again a light rod setup is best. A 2-4 kilo class rod with a 2500 size reel would be a great option spooled with 6-pound line. Beginners can go a little heavier with a 3-5 kilo rod.
Watch our video below on how to catch bream with bait or read our detailed guide on Bait fishing for Bream.
Recommended baits Moyne River
- Scrub worms
- raw chicken
Recommended lures and soft plastics Moyne River
- Cranka crab
- Zman slim Swimz
- Berkley powerbait grub
- Damiki Monster Miki 2.5 sp
- Jackall Chubby
- Savage Gear Fathead Crank
- Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5 inch grub
- Gulp 3-inch minnow
- Daiwa Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
- Zman grubZ
- Squidge wrigglers
- eco gear ZX40
- Daiwa Double Clutch
- EcoGear SX40
- Squidges biotough grub
- Nories laydown minnow
- StrikePro cyber vibe
- Pro lure live yabby
- OSP bent minnows
- Hurricane twitch 50 shallow
Targeting Bream at Moyne River
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 a 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 the structure 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 Estuary Perch at Moyne River
Another highlight of fishing in this area is targeting Estuary perch with surface and shallow diving lures. The action can be frantic on warm balmy evenings with low wind. listen for the sound of breaking water which indicates EPs are feeding. The excitement an angler gets from an EP smashing a surface lure on light gear is something that truly needs to be experienced. It almost catches you by surprise when that aggressive strike comes. Small surface poppers, cicadas, blades, surface minnows and pencil lures work well here. So do shallow diving hardbody lures. Noteworthy options include bent minnows, Rapala countdown series, nories laydown minnows and shallow diving cranks. Basically, anything that doesn’t dive too deep and makes a good vibrating action will work well. You can use any colour choice we often start with silvers that mimic small baitfish or mullet.
EPs also respond incredibly well to a whole range of soft plastics lightly weighted. Including curl tails, paddle tails and minnow imitations. The trusty 2.5-inch grubs and minnows an excellent choice. These imitate small baitfish which the EPs are actively feeding on. We would recommend mixing up the retrieval speeds and pauses and playing around with different colours. Where possible fish along the structure and stay alert for signs such as breaking water. Fishing for Estuary Perch requires finesse. We recommend an ultralight fishing combo consisting of a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo spin rod around 7 foot in length. Coupled with a 1000 or 2000 size reel spooled with 2-8 pound line and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. When bait fishing uses a 2-4 kilo rod around 7 foot in length. Coupled with a 2500 size reel either a float or small running sinker to a swivel and very fine leader.
Targeting Flathead at Moyne River
We encourage you to read our detailed guide on How to catch Flathead. Flathead is a year-round prospect which 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 an 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 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 baits choices include pilchards, mussels, squid, chicken, whitebait, Pipis, blue bait and prawns.
Targeting Mulloway at Port Fairy
Mulloway AKA Jewfish are a prized catch that sits on the top of many Victorian anglers bucket list. A stunning fish with a large mouth and distinctive silver or bronze colour. Patience and dedication are required to catch the elusive Mulloway which can reach up to 1.8 meters and 60 kilos. The minimum legal size is 60cm with a daily bag limit of 5 over legal size. Live baits are a top choice when targeting mulloways such as mullet, salmon, and whiting. Pinning them behind the neck to allow the bait to swim freely. Other staple dead baits can include pilchard, trevally, garfish, prawns, chicken & squid. A running sinker rig to a single 5/0 – 8/0 hook or a double snelled hook to present the bait nicely. Soft plastics between 80mm and 100mm are also a great option. Good options include flick baits, shads, paddle tails and grubz. You can also purchase pre-made rigs and swimbaits which are designed to imitate a fish in its surrounding such as a mullet.
Choosing a Mulloway outfit Recommended gear to target Mulloway 6-10, 10-15 or 12-24 kilo rod paired with a 4000-8000 spin reel spooled with 20-50 pound line and equivalent leader. Mulloway resides near river mouth entrances. They are often caught near structure such as bridges and pylons. Try to present your baits and lures as natural as possible or use live baits. Mulloway can be caught at any time of the day, but are most active at the night, during peak tides and moon phases. We have found that lures are quite productive during the day and bait more productive at night.
Targeting Snapper at Moyne River
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.
Targeting Gummy Shark at Moyne River
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 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.
Targeting Squid at Moyne River
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 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 Whiting at Moyne River
Whiting is a bread and butter species which are fun to catch on light spinning gear and taste great. They 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.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images and videos shown on the Moyne River Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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