Welcome to the Queenscliff Pier Fishing Guide. This is a lovely vibrant town great for weekend getaways with the family. It’s roughly 100 kilometres away from Melbourne passing through Geelong. The pier is located towards the end of Symonds street in a beautiful scenic area. It’s an entrance to Port Phillip bay directly opposite the Mornington Peninsula with the next closest land spot being Portsea. Facing opposite Portsea pier. Many visitors travel to this spot to catch the ferry between Portsea and Queenscliff. With clear waters, weed beds and fishing in roughly 6-meter deep water, it offers a vast array of fishing species to target and excellent land-based squid fishing.
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Things to do at Queenscliff
Queenscliff is a small town on the Bellarine Peninsula in southern Victoria. This is a beautiful spot with surrounding beaches, rock pools, ocean views and plenty of photo opportunities. The kids will need to be closely supervised when on the pier. There is available parking, toilets, shops, parks, BBQs and cafes. It’s also a spot to catch the renowned ferry to the Mornington peninsula. It’s the direct entrance to Port Phillip and the township is surrounded by the ocean. The town has lots of character with lovely beach fronts, historic shop fronts, restaurants and cafes many overlooking the harbour.
There are several local attractions 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 Pensilau 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.
Enjoy this land base video fishing at Queenscliff harbour for trevally and snapper
Fishing at Queenscliff Pier & Queenscliff harbour
Queenscliff pier gives local anglers access to quite deep water. There are many different species of fish that you can target and they all require slightly different setups. Let’s start by saying that you can catch squid, snapper, whiting, salmon, flathead, mullet, garfish, trevally, wrasse, leather jacket, rays and gummy sharks at this destination. We have even seen the odd 7-gill shark and bronze whaler in this immediate area. Fishing at 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. A good all-around option is a general-purpose fishing rod combo which 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. Using a basic paternoster rig with some fresh bait will work well for many different species of fish on Queenscliff pier.
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.
Baits Queenscliff Pier
- blue bait
- silver whiting
- raw chicken strips
Lures and soft plastics for Queenscliff Pier
- 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
- Kietech swim impact fat
- Zerek fish trap
- Samaki Vibelicious
Squid fishing at Queenscliff pier
Squid is likely the most targeted species at Queenscliff pier. The area is full of weed beds which makes a great ecosystem for squid. The fishing for squid can be exceptional during the night and the pier is often full of anglers during the dark. You can learn more about targeting squid here by reading our detailed guide on How to catch squid at Queenscliff Pier.
If you are 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. Have 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.
Check out a recent video of us fishing the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsula.
Targeting Snapper at Queenscliff pier
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 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 Squid at Queenscliff pier
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 Queenscliff pier
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 feet 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 everything you need to know to catch whiting.
Targeting Salmon at Queenscliff pier
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 class. We recommend a Paternoster rig with a star sinker. Giving you 2 baits at different heights. You could also attach a surf popper above. Port Phillip Bay Fishing Guide
When lure fishing first consider what weight lures you are likely to be casting. We would recommend rods between 9-12 feet 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
Targeting garfish at Queenscliff pier
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 of 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 Gummy Shark at Queenscliff pier
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 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 Queenscliff pier
We encourage you to read our detailed guide on How to catch Flathead. 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 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. Use 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.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. The header from astralis.guide.com.au All other images and videos are shown on the Portsea Pier Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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