Fishing Portarlington Pier

Portarlington Pier: a comfortable pier to fish. Good water depth. Fish for Australian Salmon, Pinkies, Snapper, Flathead, Squid.

Portarlington Pier is a comfortable pier to fish. Fish for Australian Salmon, Flathead, Pinkies and Snapper.

Good water depth. A nice reef just off the far end.

Portarlington is located just on the within Corio Bay, which is a part of Port Phillip Bay and not that far from Port Phillip Heads.

It can be busy during the summer months when the tourists are in town.

But it’s quieter in the off-peak periods and quite productive.

The local beaches, adjoining the pier, including in front of the caravan park, are great flathead grounds. Especially if fished at night.

Portarlington Pier supports a local commercial fish industry, too. So early morning and early evening tend to be a time where the pro’s load and unload their vessels. This can mean 4wd’s and refrigerated trucks moving up and down the pier for a little while. They’re great people doing their job, so respect them and give them room. Especially if you have the kids with you.

On several occasions, I’ve seen the waters at Portarlington go from glass like calm to huge squalls – and back again within a few hours.

This seems to be related to its location on Port Phillip Bay.  The offshore Bass Strait winds from the south and strong northerlies blowing across the bay from the north play a role.

It’s worth keeping an eye on weather conditions, but that’s the case for most Victorian coastal areas, particularly our larger bays.

Fish Species Off Portarlington Pier

Portarlington fish species, in general, include flathead, pinky snapper and snapper. Garfish, Australian Salmon, whiting and squid.

I strongly recommend using a berley bucket or distributor. Failing that a good quality fish attractant. This goes for both frozen, live bait, hard lures and soft plastics. This advice applies to all saltwater fishing – not just Portarlington Pier.

As always, try to berley with the kind of bait you’re fishing with. So if you’re using blue bait or tuna then an oil fish berley is right. Same goes for prawns etc. The attractants tend to be a little more generic. So they fit well with whatever you’ve got. Be liberal, but don’t overdo it either.

On the pier, a regular 7 to 9-foot spinning rod is about right.

On the beach, a 10 to 12-foot beach rod will get you out into flathead or “lizard” territory.

I recommend a paternoster rig on Portarlington Pier, while either a paternoster or running sinker on the beach.

In light conditions fish with a lighter sinker.  Even on the beach. You’ll need a little more led if it’s choppy.

Fish SpeciesSuggested Bait
All Year Round. Can be more sluggish during cooler months.
Often more active between late September and March.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Chicken Liver, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Nippers, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets
Later September to end of March.
Adult specimens often come closer towards shore to feed on reefs during rougher weather.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Crabs, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets
Pinky Snapper
Pinky Snapper
All Year Round. But much more prevalent during warmer months.
October through to March.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Pilchards, Pipis, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets
November to April
Known to migrate from Victoria to South Australia during cooler months.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait
Australian Salmon
Australian Salmon
All Year Round
Common for schools to move through, chopping up the water before moving on. Can be common during cooler months.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets
Black Bream
Black Bream
All Year Round.
Can become less active during Winter. Activity picking up late August. Active during warmer months.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Crabs, Earthworms, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Whitebait
All Year Round.
Can sometimes be the only game in town during cooler weather.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Earthworms, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Squid Tentacles
All Year Round. Best fished when waters are clear with little turbulence.
Top times can be during June to September.

Squid Jig
All Year Round.
Often targeted during July to August in Port Phillip & Western Port Bay

*Some fish species vary according to time of year and local environmental conditions.

Kayak Fishing Portarlington Pier

The addition of the marina offers some sheltered kayak fishing opportunities. Both within the Portarlington pier, marina and the surrounding beach areas.

Be cautious of larger boats within the marina area. Launching your kayak should be possible from most of the beach-fronts.


Address: Portarlington Pier, Harding Street, Portarlington VIC, Australia
Lat: -38.1131631
Lng: 144.6517971
Proximity: 104 km from Melbourne


Location Review & Rating


  • Day trip from Melbourne via Princess Fwy then Portarlington Rd
  • Good local accommodation options
  • Good fishing habitats and variety
  • Land-based fishing with some kayak opportunities in the marine and off local beaches


  • Can get busy during peak season and school holidays
  • I've found when the fish are on they're on here, but when they're not it's a long time between bites

Review Overview

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Portarlington is, in my opinion, overlooked and under-appreciated by a lot of fishos in Melbourne.

There's a range of good quality accommodation in the area.  It's well supported by a shopping district and the local hotels and restaurants offer some great meals.

Definitely add this to your list of places to visit if you love saltwater landbased fishing!

Rating Review Star

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I'm Dave, I live and fish in and around Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
When it comes to fishing I love going out to land-based fishing spots, heading out in the tinny (aka an Aluminum Boat) and kayak fishing.

I've been fishing since I was a teen. Beginning way back in the 1970s. It was a hobby I picked up myself as my family certainly had no interest. Making me the black sheep! My favourite fish is Flathead and Snapper. Though I'm partial to Flake (Gummy Shark) and Calamari too! While I enjoy fishing for freshwater species like Redfin and Murray Cod I prefer eating saltwater species. They're just so mouth-wateringly tasty!

I love writing about some of my favourite Melbourne Fishing Spots while fishing around Victoria. As well as the tackle I use and test.
If you see me while you're out fishing say "G' day" - I'll be the one in a bush hat.

When I'm not fishing I'm working on my websites, such as Getfished, or writing computer software (my profession.)

I try to be as accurate as possible on this website. Most of the information is based on personal experience. However, if you spot an error or think there's something that I should add - no worries! Please use the Contact Form.