Welcome to the fishing location guide for Williamstown. Williamstown is a popular and vibrant township known for its range of beachfront shops, markets and fishing. It has multiple well-known fishing spots overlooking Port Phillip Bay which includes Gem Pier, Fergurson Street Pier, Anne street pier and fishing along the football ground near the reefs. It’s a great urban fishing location close to Melbourne that has grown in immense popularity with kayak fishing and small boats. Land-based anglers can cast out will allow you to target great species such as snapper, flathead and trevally whilst keeping your baits in close around the structure will allow you to target bream. Whilst those with boats are often found a few hundred meters out from the football oval in the reefs chasing snapper.
Things to do in Williamstown
Williamstown is a great destination for the whole family only 15 minutes from Melbourne. There are scenic parks, beaches, and piers to explore. The township has many boutique shops, restaurants, and places to grab an ice cream. Once you have done that then you can enjoy the beach or a walk at the beautifully maintained botanical gardens. The township is also popular for its arts and crafts market and farmers markets which are run regularly. Williamstown also has breathtaking views at night overlooking Melbourne in all its glory. These make great photo opportunities or a great spot for a walk and ice cream in the evening. There are regular events along the beach plus the town has good basic amenities including a visitor information centre, available parking and public toilets.
On the water, there are ferries, fishing charters and helicopters ready to take you out for a day of adventure. Why not take an adventure on the tall pirate ship ready to take you out on the water for an hour leaving from Gemm pier. There is also the HMAS war vessel which acts as a floating museum ready to take you back in time. There is also the Sea Shepard made famous by Steve Irwin which can be located on Anne Street.
Fishing at Williamstown
Williamstown is the doorstep to Hobsons bay where you can catch a lot of different fish species. Including snapper, flathead, bream, snook, silver trevally, mulloway, salmon, gummy shark, garfish, mullet, yellowfin scad and more. An all-round rod setup will allow you to target a different range of fish and sizes. Either a running sinker rig or paternoster rig with a sinker attached to suit your desired casting distance. A 7 foot 2-4 or 3-5 kilo fishing rod, with a 3000 size reel spooled with 10-pound line and equivalent leader is a great starting point. You can go heavier or lighter depending on what you’re targeting. Eg if your solely targeting bream then a 2-4 kilo rod and 2000 size reel with 6-pound braid is a great choice.
Good bait options include pilchards, raw chicken, squid and blue bait. I also like to fish using a half pilchard tail with a single hook and half hitch knot. This is also a good location to flick soft plastics. Using small minnow imitations, paddle tails, crab and yabbie imitations lightly rigged directly near the piers and structure targeting bream and pinkies. The slow movement of the plastic as it descends is often when you will get strikes. Or you can opt to use a heavy jig head to cast out further targeting species such as flathead. Work these soft plastics slowly or hopped off the flat sandy bottom is an effective way to catch flathead and pinkies.
Have a read of our detailed guide on fishing Hobsons bay for bream with bait. This can be a great spot to take the kids fishing with large volumes of mullet and garfish that will happily take small baits.
If you plan on targeting larger species such as snapper or mulloway then you may choose to go heavier with a 7 foot 6 inch 4-7 kilo rod and 4000 size reel spooled with 12-20 pound line. Soft plastics and blades will also work well here slowly hopped off the bottom with some pauses and erratic lifts. This technique works a treat for pinkies, flathead, and Trevally. In the cooler months schools of salmon are common. It always pays to have some long casting metal slugs and long rod suitable for casting them. Catching salmon from piers can be amazing fun if you happen to be there at the right moment.
When fishing around Williamstown its best to follow the tides. The low tide has good runs of flathead and salmon and the high tide consistently produces good bream and pinkies. First and last light is good times to fish regardless of the tides.
Have a look at this video which demonstrates how to target bream when fishing on Fergurson pier.
Only 2 fishing lines permitted, Always carry your Victorian fishing license, and always follow catch limits. Where possible we encourage catch and release. This area is chock full of pests like Gobies and Starfish. I could count how many times my line wasn’t moving yet when I check the bait has one on the end of the line.
Parking is available in front of Fergusson street pier, but its only free during certain hours. I have seen anglers fined here. There is also paid parking along the main road.
Fishing by boat in Williamstown
Williamstown is an amazing fishing destination by boat. Most will launch from Altona and be opposite the football ground and reefs within minutes. Otherwise, you can launch from the Warmies or Werribee. Between November and March, this is a brilliant place to target snapper. Even is water depth as low as 4 meters big snapper can be caught. The best methods are fishing with pilchards, silver whiting or squid on a double snelled or paternoster rig. Otherwise, if you have a good sounder you can mark snapper and pinkies and have fun flicking soft plastics with 4-inch sizes being a great option.
Kayaking in Williamstown
Williamstown is also a popular destination for kayaking. Whether that’s for a scenic few hours on the water of specifically for fishing. Hobson Bay has plenty of places hidden to the wind and tidal flow of Port Phillip Bay where you can still catch some amazing fish including snapper, bream, flathead and Mulloway. In the warmer months it’s not uncommon to catch a large snapper on your kayak only a few hundred meters from shore. With many kayakers launching from the main beach and heading towards the football ground reefs. Parking can be a little tricky for kayakers in the area. There are also kayaking tuition and day tours which leave Williamstown regularly.
This video was filmed just down the road from Williamstown and highlights how good the fishing by kayak can be
Additions and corrections of this location
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