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Altona Pier, in recent times, had an artificial reef placed just off the end of the pier.
That’s the facing south end looking out into Port Phillip Bay.
The reef is designed to improve fish stocks in the locality of the pier by providing a structural habitat.
The deepest part of the pier is the end, so it tends to fish best on the rising tide.
I’ve personally witnessed a school of whiting feeding right off the end of the pier.
Be warned – approach quietly as they are extremely shy and will dart off quickly into deeper water.
While Altona Pier can certainly fish well I’ve found its popularity with swimmers can make it difficult at times.
Particularly if the weather is warmer. However, even from the North Eastern suburbs, Altona Pier is a great fishing spot that’s not too far from most West and North and North Eastern suburbs.
My advice is to check out Google Maps (satellite view) or Google Earth before you get there.
These tools give you a pretty good look at the structure in the water. The artificial reef, sandbanks, holes and submerged seagrass areas.
There’s plenty of parking and a number of cafes and food outlets nearby.
The park, located opposite the pier, has well maintained public toilets with electronic “smart locking and cleaning”. Be advised, at least when I’ve been there, they are closed before 6:00 am.
Like flatties, bream are present year-round too. You’ll often find them lurking under the pier itself. Just be wary of getting caught in the pylons when the bream make a dash for it. Some good size fish are taken at times.
Squid is best targeted in the weed beds. You’ll often be able to see them as the water is quite clear.
Best baits are the traditional ones. These include Pipi, pilchard, garfish, tuna and squid. Prawns are worth a shot for the flathead, ‘cos, you know – “lizards and prawns.”
Soft plasticsSoft Plastic Lure , fished properly, with some scent are absolutely worth using at Altona Pier. Try any of the small fish type plastics, prawns, beach worms etc.
With your soft plastics, you can try casting and jigging, retrieving and even “dead sticking” as you would a natural bait. Experimentation is key.
I usually fish with at least two rods. One soaking a soft plasticSoft Plastic Lure or natural bait. The other with something like a Berkley Gulp on a jig with which I work the water.
The artificial reef is best accessed from the end of Altona Pier using a surf rod. Use live, fresh, frozen or even soft plastics on the reef. Under less windy conditions you shouldn’t need to fish too heavy. So you can keep the sinker weight down. Allow just sufficient for casting out.
The current is generally quite light and shouldn’t drag too much.
Altona boat ramp is a great place to launch a boat, be it a fishing boat, tinny or even kayak. Excellent bay access to some equally excellent fishing areas.
As of October 2019 boat ramp launching and car parking is free.
Launching from Altona boat ramp gives you access to the Yarra estuary, Hobson’s Bay as well as the wider Port Phillip area.
Some good boat fishing is to be had a few hundred meters offshore directly south from the boat ramp. You’ll often see boats anchored off there.
Species such as Whiting, flathead and pinky snapperPinky Snapper The name "Pinky Snapper" refers to the immature Snapper. Their skin colour is different from adults (its pinker.)
Adulthood is usually considered on fish greater than 40cm - or in the 1.5 to 2kg - range, with a darker red colouration. turn up regularly in catches. While schools of Australian Salmon often make their way through the area.
I’d consider a paternoster rigPaternoster Rig – even from your boat. This gives you the opportunity to keep your bait above the weeds. While allowing for bait “cocktails” to see what works that day.
In keeping with my recommendations on all boat ramps, I do not recommend fishing on our in close proximity to boaties launching or retrieving boats. In Altona, you’ve got such a variety of great landbased spots anyway. Like the pier, the beach etc.
That’s because it’s risky for the person fishing, the boat owner and the general public.
There’s enough room in the world not to crowd out each other. Courtesy goes a long way.
One of the things that bug me with Altona Pier is the way Jet Skis buzz your line on the pier. People who do this are not only breaking the law, risking their license and the safety of the public. But they’re completely stupid idiots, too. Not all Jet Ski drivers are like this. But the twits seem to have made their purpose in life – to try and overshadow the good guys.
So – it stands the reason we should give the boaties, whether they’re fisho’s or not, the same respect we wish for. Give them some room!