Welcome to the Swan Bay Jetty Fishing Guide. Swan Bay is a lovely rural township found between Geelong and Queenscliff along the Bellarine Peninsula. The Jetty is a narrow pier over quite shallow and weedy water located of swan bay road. The pier can provide good land-based fishing. Species such as garfish, leatherjackets and gummy sharks are common catches in the immediate area. Whilst most of the pier will see you fishing in quite shallow water the final section of the pier will get you into deeper areas.

Things to do at Swan Bay

Swan Bay 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. Cycling along the patched pathways overlooking the bay is a popular thing to do in the area. Nearby townships including Queenscliff is a spot to catch the renowned ferry to the Mornington peninsula. It’s the direct entrance to Port Phillip by 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.

Fishing at Swan Bay Jetty

The jetty is in quite an isolated area which generally has ample room for fishing. The kids will need to be closely supervised when on the pier as its very narrow. Despite being narrow and over shallow waters we do see occasional good size fish caught from this jetty. Adjacent to the jetty is the new boat ramp which was established in 2011 the first for Victoria’s environment-friendly ramps built without any timber and an expected to last significantly longer than traditional timber jetties. It’s suitable for boats under 5 meters in length.

At Swan Bay Jetty you can seasonally target

  • garfish
  • leatherjacket
  • gummy shark
  • whiting
  • mullet
  • flathead
  • trevally
  • salmon

Baits Swan Bay Jetty

  • pilchard
  • pipis
  • blue bait
  • silver whiting
  • salmon
  • raw chicken strips
  • prawns
  • maggots
  • squid
  • mussels

Lures and soft plastics for Swan Bay Jetty

Targeting garfish at Swan Bay Jetty

Garfish

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 snout but very small mouth 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, 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 leatherjacket at Swan Bay Jetty

Leatherjacket

Leather Jackets are a unique looking fish. In Victoria, there is the six-spinned, Chinaman,  Horseshoe, toothbrush, Mosiac and fan-bellied to name just some. They have bright colours but can be difficult to catch as their sharp teeth can easily cut through the line or crush hooks. You’ll often find them around shallow reefs and weedy areas. With a scientific name of Monacanthidae Leather Jackets have no minimum legal size limit but a daily bag limit of 20. We find that most leather jackets caught are between 20cm to 30 cm, but can grow just up to 70cm in size. An underrated eating fish. They have very few bones making them easy to clean and a soft sweet flesh

Leather jackets have sharp teeth and a tendency to shred your leaders. Berley will help attract leather jackets, and using small strong hooks is essential. Occasionally jigging your bait off the bottom helps encourage bites. Leather jackets have small mouths Often the same setup which you would often use to chase whiting would be an ideal choice 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 perhaps stronger leader. A small running sinker rig with a long shank hook and small running pea-size sinker will work well.

Targeting Gummy Shark at Swan Bay Jetty

Gummy Shark

We would recommend targeting gummy shark 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 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 Whiting at Point Lonsdale Pier

Whiting

Whiting is a bread and butter species which are fun to catch on light spinning gear and taste 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 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.

Targeting Flathead at Swan Bay Jetty

Flathead

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 buy 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 your 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 Salmon at Swan Bay Jetty

Salmon

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 their weight. When hooked they produce strong bursts of speed, powerful runs, vigorous head shakes. Do keep an eye out for gutters which are patches of deeper water which Salmon will swim through in schools. These can be identified by a 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.

When lure fishing first consider what weight lures your 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

 

Targeting Trevally at Swan Bay Jetty

Trevally

Trevally pound for pound is one of the best fighting fish. In certain parts of Australia surface popping for Giant Trevally is one of the bucket list fishing experiences that you must tick off. However, in Victoria, you will mainly be catching the much smaller silver trevally. Good bait options include blue bait, whitebait, raw chicken, pilchards, pippies, squid and mussels. Trevally will also take a range of soft plastics including worm and minnow imitations, small surface poppers, and small metal spoons.

We recommend targeting trevally with a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 2000, or 2500 reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. If there are larger trevally in the area than you can go heavier moving up the scale to a 3-5 kilo class spin rod spooled with fine 8-12-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader.

Targeting mullet at Swan Bay Jetty

Mullet

This is a great location to mullet a bread and butter species which school up in big numbers. They are fun to catch on light spinning gear and a great fish species to introduce beginners into fishing. Mullet respond well to berley, so berley an isolated area with a mix of bread, tuna oil and chook pellets.

Good baits include bread, dough, live maggots, pilchard, and prawn. remember that Mullet have small mouths so remember to cut these baits up into small pieces. You can also use soft plastics small minnow and grub style soft plastic with a slow constant retrieve. Scents such as S-Factor or Procure certainly helps.

Most mullet are quite small therefore a 7-foot rod in a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo class, paired with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 reel spooled with 2-6-pound braid and equivalent leader. Here are some helpful tips on catching Mullet with soft plastics.

Acknowledgements

Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. Image from fruitproperty.com All other images and videos shown on the Swan Bay Jetty are Fishing Mad originals.

Additions or Corrections for this location

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