Recreational Victorian Fish Species

Getfished » Recreational Victorian Fish Species
In recent years there has been an emphasis on recreational Fishing from the Victorian government that should help us all catch fish. Starting with the “Target One Million” campaign, free boat ramps and the wonderful restocking and environmental improvement efforts led by the Fisheries department. Finally, the revenue raised by the government from boating licenses, boat and trailer registrations and fishing licenses is being re-invested. That means it's going into Victoria's fishing and boating infrastructure. In turn, helping to support the multi-billion dollar recreational fishing industry. A significant boost to the Victorian economy.

See the Recreational Victorian Fish Species FAQ


Recreational Victorian Fish Species FAQ

Snapper

How To Catch SnapperScientific Name: Pagrus auratus

Snapper is without a doubt the most popular saltwater target species in Victorian waters.  With 44.8% of the 2018 VFA survey choosing this species above all others (the majority).

Snapper schools start to become prolific in Port Phillip and Western Port bays from around the end of September through summer and becoming less common after May.

Juveniles are often called “Pinky SnapperPinky Snapper Pinky SnapperThe 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 darker red colouration.
Pinky Snapper Pre-Tied Rigs
” or simply “PinkiesPinky Snapper Pinky SnapperThe 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 darker red colouration.
Pinky Snapper Pre-Tied Rigs
” and make up a huge number of catches.

  • Adult Snapper can be large, heavy fish that fight extremely well.
  • Immature Pinkies can be targeted using much lighter tackle.
  • For juveniles and adults my preference is for a Paternoster rigPaternoster Rig Paternoster Rig.
  • Hook sizes of 3/0 and 6/0 have worked well for me for adult snapper. Choose according to target size and bait size.
  • Pinkies can be targeted using the same lighter rigs you'd use for Whiting, Bream and smaller Flathead.
  • I always select chemically sharpened hooks.
  • A 70g to 112g sinker is usually my choice. In Western Port Bay you may like to go heavier due to tidal flow.
  • I tend to choose a 40 - 50lb leader. With a mainline in the range of 15 - 30kg. Lighter lines are fine if targeting Pinkies.
  • When making or selecting a rig fluorescent beads, tubes and even adding feathers can be effective.
  • Bait: Pilchards, Squid, Prawns, Beach Worms. I have had a lot of success with Chicken when targeting Pinkies.
  • Soft PlasticsSoft Plastic Lure Soft Plastic Lures and hardbody lures can be very effective.
  • BerleyBerley  

    Berley
    , Berley Berley!! Can't say it often enough. Brings bait fish in, this attracts snapper schools, keeps them hanging around.
  • Legal Min Size: 28cm
  • Bag Limit: 10 (of which no more than 3 fish may be equal to or exceed 40cm in length)
Survey Results - Most Popular Snapper Spots: Port Phillip Bay, Western Port Bay, Apollo Bay, Mallacoota Inlet, Warrnambool / Port Fairy, Lake Tyers, Portland, Barwon River Estuary, Lakes Entrance Coastal, Phillip Island,

King George Whiting

How To Catch King George WhitingScientific Name: Sillaginodes punctata

King George Whiting, according to the 2018 VFA survey, is the 2nd most popular target species for fishing in Victoria.

While common and in good numbers, during the summer season they are a very timid fish.

So stealth is an important factor.  Busy piers with lots of people diving and splashing do not make for an ideal whiting fishing trip.

In general, targeting a seagrass bed is a great approach.  Tools like Google Maps or Google Earth satellite views can really assist in finding those spots.

  • Good baits include pipis, pilchard pieces, whitebait and bluebait. Prawns and sandworms can work too.
  • As always berley is important. Fine particles being excellent for attracting small bait fish into the area stimulating Whiting feeding.
  • My preference is a Paternoster rig and keeping lines and rig as light as possible.
  • Size 4 long shank hooks or for a smaller rig size 6 hooks are my go to setup.
  • 30g sinker is about right. Though a lighter 20-25g rig can work well in estuaries with minor stream flow.
  • Legal Min Size: 27cm
  • Bag Limit: 20
Survey Results - Most Popular King George Whiting Spots: Port Phillip Bay, Western Port Bay, Phillip Island, Barwon River Estuary, Lakes Entrance Coastal, Apollo Bay, Lake Tyers, Portland, Warrnambool / Port Fairy, Mallacoota Inlet,

For An In Depth Article See: How To Catch King George Whiting

Flathead

How To Catch FlatheadScientific Name: Platycephalidae

There are several species of flathead in Victorian waters.  The two most common varieties being the Southern Blue Spotted Flathead and the Dusky Flathead.

Dusky Flathead is more common in waters in and East of Lake Tyers, Victoria.

It should be noted that each has different catch limits.

Flathead scored as Victoria’s third most sort after saltwater fish in the 2018 VFA survey of fishing license holders.  With 37.5 of people targetting this species specifically.

 

  • Legal Min Size: 27cm
  • Bag Limit: A combined total limit of 20 for one or more species of flathead (excluding dusky flathead)
Survey Results - Most Popular Flathead Spots: Port Phillip Bay, Western Port Bay, Gippsland Lakes, Phillip Island, Lakes Entrance Coastal, Barwon River Estuary, Portland, Apollo Bay, Lake Tyers, Warrnambool / Port Fairy, Mallacoota Inlet

For An In Depth Article See: How To Catch Flathead

Australian Salmon

How To Catch Australian SalmonScientific Name: Arripis trutta

The Australian salmon is not a true salmon and is not related to the famous salmon species of the northern hemisphere (the salmonids).

This fish is found in large schools and can often be spotted breaking the water surface, known as a “bust-up.”

It’s common for seabirds to flock around Australian Salmon schools at this time and the birds are often used to locate the schools of this species.

The Salmon schools often move through an area quite quickly. So targetting a school may require moving with them.  Obviously easier to do in a boat.

How To Catch Australian Salmon

  • These fish fight well so at least a 15-30 lb mainline if braid. You may prefer going heavier for mono line in the surf.
  • A 40lb leader is usually how I rig. Depending on fishing in the bay or from a surf beach. eg: You may prefer to go lighter in a bay.
  • I recommend a 5/0 hook. Choose circle, beak, bait holder etc. I choose chemically sharpened.
  • 112 gram star sinker is my personal preference. However, rig for the conditions. You can go lighter from a boat, or pier etc.
  • Use berley. The schools move fast through an area. So berley will keep them around longer as it attracts small bait fish.
  • With soft plastics use the same kinds and jig weights you would for other marine species such as bream, flathead etc.
  • Good baits are pilchards, whitebait, bluebait & squid. But don't overlook bait such as chicken (yes, seriously!)
  • Legal Min Size: 21cm
  • Bag Limit: 20
Survey Results - Most Popular Australian Salmon Spots: Port Phillip Bay, Western Port Bay, Apollo Bay, Portland, Lakes Entrance Coastal, Phillip Island, Gippsland Lakes, Barwon River Estuary, Lake Tyers, Warnambool / Port Fairy, Mallacoota Inlet.