Welcome to the Garfish Fishing Guide Victoria. Garfish local fish species facts and Limits. Gars, garfish or mini marlins are popular fish species to target within Victoria. They have very small mouths, silver in colour and a slender body profile. It requires fishing with finesse and small tackle to master catching them. These are great bread and butter species for kids to catch. They can be caught in big numbers and are easily accessible from piers jetties and rock walls.

With the scientific name of Hemiramphidae, They can grow to 50cm in length but are most commonly caught between 20cm and 30 cm. There is no minimum legal size limit but a daily bag limit of 40. Garfish are quite bony fish but overall are an excellent eating fish with sweet flesh. They also make great bait for other saltwater fish species such as snapper. 



Watch our detailed instructional video guide on how to catch garfish


Bait to catch garfish

We recommend using the following baits. Garfish have small mouths so remember to use small hooks and small pieces of bait.

  • silverfish
  • maggots
  • prawn
  • pilchard
  • dough
  • Pipi

Lures to catch garfish

Targeting Garfish with lures is quite challenging because they have such small mouths. That’s why they are most commonly targeted with bait suspended from a float with small hooks.

How to catch garfish

Garfish love shallow weedy areas. This provides them with good shelter and food. In Victoria, the colder winter months are the prime time to target garfish. The majority of garfish fishing will be done from piers, jetties and rock walls. Therefore berleying is an important tool when targeting garfish and they respond well to it. You can purchase premade berley pellets or powder from your local tackle shop. Or you can make your own use tuna oil, chook pellets and bread. You will know when this is working well as you can catch them in big numbers and quickly.

When fishing for gars with a float watch the float carefully. They are a small light fish and their strikes can be very subtle. Another idea is to fish with 1 rod and keep it in your hand so you can visually see and also feel the strikes.

Light class fishing rods 1-3 or 2-4 kilo nibble tip rod that’s 7 to 9 foot in length is perfect when chasing garfish. Paired with a 1000, 2000 or 25000 size reel spooled with 4-6 lb line. 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 for best success. Garfish can be caught all year round at any time of the day.

Best rigs to catch garfish

Watch a step by step guide on how to make your own garfish rigs

Garfish are not bottom feeders therefore float rigs are the best way to catch garfish and get your baits in the optimal strike zone. Watch our detailed video below which provides a step by step tutorial on how to create your own DIY Garfsh rigs.

These rigs consist of 2-rod lengths worth of 6-pound fluorocarbon leader. Join the leader to your main line using a simple double uni knot. Attach a pencil float to the leader followed by several split shots finished with either a size 12 long shank hook or a size 12fly hook depending on the bait that you’re using.

Garfish Rig Fishing

Good hook options include

  • Size 12 Mustad 4540 1/2
  • Size 12 Gamakatsu long shank
  • Size 12 Daiichi Black long shank
  • Size 14 Mustad Kirby long shank

locations to catch Garfish

  • Beaumaris jetty
  • Frankston pier
  • Brighton
  • St Kilda Pier
  • Kerferd road pier
  • Queenscliff Pier
  • Princess Pier
  • Mornington
  • Williamstown
  • St Leonards
  • Portsea Pier
  • Sorrento Pier
  • Blairgowrie pier
  • Mount Martha Cliffs
  • Rye Pier
  • Rosebud pier
  • Lagoon Pier
  • Dromana Pier
  • Seaford Pier
  • Geelong
  • Patterson River
  • Mordialloc Pier
  • Sandringham rock wall
  • Port Welshpool long pier
  • Cunningham Pier
  • Portarlington Jetty
  • Swan Bay Jetty
  • Point Lonsdale pier

You can obtain a free Victorian recreational fishing guide from the Victorian Fisheries Authorities weblink

Thanks for visiting the Garfish Fishing Guide Victoria If you feel this fish species guide is missing key information or needs any corrections. Then please let us know by emailing our team at enquiries@fishingmad.com.au with specific details in the email. Thank you