Welcome to the West Gate Bridge Fishing Guide. The West Gate Bridge is an iconic structure within Melbourne that passes over the Yarra river entrance from Port Phillip Bay. The bridge started construction in the late 1960s but stopped in 1970 due to a collapsed section. Construction resumed and finished in 1972. The bridge is 2.6 kilometres long and 58 meters tall at its peak. West Gate Bridge is a quality fishing location that can provide great fishing all year round for land-based anglers. It’s a challenging destination but offers a large range of species that can be caught with multiple techniques. The fishing changes seasonally with pinkies common in the warmer months and a big run of salmon in the winter months. Whilst bream and flathead are caught all year round. You can fish under the West Gate bridge of Lorimar street in Port Melbourne roughly a 20-minute drive from the CBD. This location produces a wide range of species for anglers all year round. It can also provide spectacular Snapper fishing in the summer months.
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West Gate is a hotspot for juvenile snapper. You can catch them in big numbers as this novelty video highlights catching 50 fish in 1 hour using hot dogs as bait.
Fishing West Gate Bridge Port Melbourne
As the video above highlights, the immediate area is a terrific fishing location. Snapper and Pinkies are probably the most targeted fish species here particular in summer. However, you can also target flathead, barracouta, garfish, tailor, flounder, bream, whiting, salmon, trevally, gummy shark, mulloway and mullet. When fishing from here an all-around rod setup might be a good option allowing you to target multiple species at once. A 3-5 kilo rod with a 3000 size reel spooled with 15-pound braid and equivalent leader is a great starting point. You may also opt to use a larger 10 – 12 foot surf rod paired with a 4000 – 6000 size reel with 20-pound line to target snapper, gummy shark or mulloway. Good bait choices include pilchards, blue bait, squid, pipis, mussels, maggots, whiting fillets and raw chicken. Rigs worth considering are simple running sinker setup and a paternoster rigs. They will allow you to cast far and target multiple species. Using burley is a great idea and really does help keep the fish around. If you’re targeting large snapper and gummy sharks then a full pilchard or squid head with a size 5/0 or 6/0 Mustad hook is a great way to go.
If you’re flicking lures then the choices are endless. Our goto choices have been 4-inch jerk shads, grub styles soft plastics and curl tails. These rigged on a 1/8 or 1/6 ounce jig head are a great combination for snapper and pinkies. Other good options include crab imitations, blades and vibes. When flicking a 3-5 kilo rod with a 3000 size reel spooled with 15-pound braid and equivalent leader is a great starting point. You could also try going ultra-light such as 2-4 kilo capacity coupled with a 2000 size reel. Spool the reel with 6 or 4-pound braid finished with a rod length of 4 pounds or 6 pounds Fluro carbon leader. Much patience is needed under the West gate. Especially if you are targeting a bigger fish with heavier gear and big baits. It’s best to follow the tides. The low tide seems to bring good runs of flathead and salmon and the high tide consistently produces a good volume of snapper, pinkies and bream. The hours of first and, last light are good times to fish regardless of the tides. The full moon is often a good time to target mulloway and gummy sharks and a new moon to target snapper. Many of the bigger fish are often caught at night. Only 2 fishing lines are permitted, Always carry your Victorian fishing license, and always follow catch limits. Where possible we encourage catch and release. If fishing from a kayak always take the necessary safety precautions and keep your distance from boats. Here is our guide on Kayak safety
It was quite rocky in the shallower edges so reel your lines in quickly to avoid getting snagged. This area can get busy so the biggest danger will be avoiding line tangles or walking behind someone who is casting, so be wary of those around you. I prefer this spot in the early morning at high tide. Just seem to catch more fish in those conditions. You get a big run of pinkies between January and March and a big run of Salmon between June and August. This is an OK location for kids. Plenty of grasslands to run around on, just need to be careful near the rocks. he biggest hazard you will face in this area will be snagged. You can go There can also be a plague proportion of starfish. I have also caught blue ring octopus and scorpionfish on the jetty both of which are very venomous. When walking amongst the rocks be wary of snakes and large rats.
Bream are also a very common catch in this location. Check out our video guide on how easy it can be to catch them here.
Things to do in Port Melbourne
Port Melbourne is a stylish township where high rise residential buildings and cafes run along the bay. It’s a great place for dinner with many restaurants along bay street. You are only a short distance away from the West Gate Bridge, Melbourne CBD. This stretch is very popular with walking, cycling and jogging along the paved walkways along the beach. There are also dog-friendly beaches. A great time to walk along the beach is on sundown. A scenic area is great for photo opportunities. Take the kids for ice cream and play in the sandy beach area. There are many piers along this stretch such as Kerferd road pier, lagoon pier, station pier and princess pier. Due to its deep waters, many large boats will be moored along station pier. Including the spirit of Tasmania, Queen Elizabeth, large shipping vessels and navy vessels. A short distance away you can take a hot air balloon ride and overlook the bay and piers along with Port Melbourne. You can also jump on board cruise ships that will take you around Port Melbourne, Williamstown and stretches of the Yarra River. Of course, this area is also well known as a top fishing location around Melbourne. Hence this Kerferd Pier Fishing Guide. Deep waters are easily accessible and wonderful catches of snapper annually.
Baits West Gate Bridge
- blue bait
- silver whiting
- raw chicken strips
Lures and soft plastics for West Gate Bridge
- 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
Tips for fishing the West Gate Bridge
Soft plastics such as grubs, minnows imitations, and paddle tails work really well here. Flathead and Pinkie Snapper respond really well to these. When chasing snapper upgrade to larger jerk shads in 4 or 5 inches. If you can find a school of snapper on your sounder then these will work really well jigged off the bottom whilst drifting over them. There are many bait options and you will need to choose a suitable bait for the fish species that you are targeting. We have had success using pilchards, silver whiting, squid, garfish, salmon, scad, bonito, raw chicken, mullet, pippis, prawns. Often using a berley pot at the back of your boat full of pilchards, pellets, and oil is a great way to encourage fish to your boat.
Check out our full-length video on the best soft plastics and lures for Port Phillip Bay
Targeting Snapper at the West Gate Bridge
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 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 Flathead at the West Gate Bridge
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.
Targeting Bream at the West Gate Bridge
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 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 6-pound line. We would encourage you to read our detailed guide on Bait fishing for Bream.
Targeting Snook at the West Gate Bridge
These toothy critters are fun to catch on light spinning gear. You will find them in shallow weedy waters often a bycatch for those targeting snapper, whiting and flathead. You can catch snook with staple baits such as pilchard, prawn, and squid. However, Snook loves natural-looking soft plastics retrieved at a medium pace including minnows, paddle tails, and grubs. Add scent to the soft plastics really seems to help. Snook also respond well to shallow and mid diving hard body lures in shiny colours retrieved at a medium pace. Metal slugs and blades trolled slowly also work very well. Do handle snook with care as they have razor-sharp teeth. Despite their sharp teeth it’s still best to target them with light gear that you would generally use for pinkies and flathead. We recommend a 2-4 or 3-5 kilo spin rod paired with a 2500 size reel, spooled with 8-12 pound line and leader.
Check out this video of a crazy snook session when kayak fishing.
Targeting Mullowat at the West Gate Bridge
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 surroundings 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 structures 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 Gummy Shark at the West Gate Bridge
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 to 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 Salmon at the West Gate Bridge
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 feet 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 mullet at the West Gate Bridge
This is a great location to mullet a bread and butter species that school up in big numbers. They are fun to catch on light spinning gear and a great fish species to introduce beginners to 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 prawns. remember that Mullet have small mouth 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.
Targeting Tailor at the West Gate Bridge
Tailor is an aggressive predatory fish with sharp teeth that fight hard. They have a similar profile to a salmon and leap out of the water when hooked. They school up in big numbers hunting baitfish in packs and breaking water often a sign that there feeding. You can catch them trolling, casting lures or bait fishing from the banks or surf. Small metal slugs, curl tail soft plastics, paddle tail soft plastics are great choices. So are full pilchard mullet, blue bait and garfish. Either on a single hook, ganged hooks and even on light wire trace if there cutting through your leaders. Picking a suitable outfit for tailor can be tricky as they have sharp teeth and can shred your leaders with ease. When fishing in estuary systems we would typically use a 7-foot rod in a 2-4, 3-5 or 4-6 kilo class, paired with a 2500 or 3000 reel spooled with 6-8-pound braid and slightly stronger leader. If your targeting them in the surf then a long casting surf rod spooled with 14-20 pound braid and equivalent leader would be suitable. Handle carefully they have sharp teeth that can do some damage. If you’re getting hook-ups but dropping a lot of fish then consider using a stronger leader or light wire trace.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images and videos shown on The West Gate Bridge Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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The biggest hazards you will face fishing in this area will be snags. So many casts will get stuck amongst rock and debris making it a frustrating place to fish at times. So make sure you have plenty of spare rigs and lures. Throughout certain parts of the year, it can be infested with plague proportions of starfish, jellyfish and large rats. I have also caught a few blue ring octopus and scorpionfish which are very venomous. There is always a debate about eating fish from this area and that will be a personal preference. Don’t forget in 2018 there was a chemical spill in Footscray which caught fire and contained asbestos. So always be a little mindful of keeping and catching fire from this area.