Garfish local fish species facts and Limits. Gars, garfish or mini marlins are a 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 a great bread and butter species for kids to catch. They can be caught in big numbers and are easily accessible from piers jetties and rockwalls.

Scientific name


Garfish size and catch limits

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.

Bait recommendations for garfish

Maggots, glacies, or small pieces of prawn, silverfish, pilchard, dough or Pipi

Lure recommendations for 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.

Garfish eating Rating

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. 

General tips for garfish fishing

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.

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.

Rod and rig setup for Garfish

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 3000 size reel spooled with 4 lb monofilament. 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.

Best times to catch garfish

Garfish can be caught all year round at any time of the day.

Recreational fishing guide

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

Additions or Corrections for this fish species

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 with specific details in the email. Thank you