Gem Pier in Williamstown is steeped in history. So if you’d like to try an awesome experience of mixing fishing along with some fantastic Melbourne history – give Gem Pier a try!

Plus you can get pretty close to some of the Australian Navies ships when they’re docked.

Gem Pier in Williamstown is listed as a historical site due to its connection with the navy. The pier is close to Melbourne which means it gets pretty busy with both people fishing and tourists however being steeped in history.

Gem Pier Fishing Overview

I’d look at fishing on weekdays, evenings or early mornings to avoid crowds in warmer weather. During weekends and on public holidays, Gem Pier is really too busy for my taste. But it is an excellent land-based fishing option.

A lot of Pinkies, Flathead and Bream get reported as caught from the pier at times. Often on pilchards and prawns.

But I’ve seen some effective use of soft plastics for Flathead, too.

Some fishos claiming it tends to get more bites than when fishing Altona Pier. But in my own experience, this hasn’t been the case.

I tend to find it a bit busy quite often. There’s a lot of shipping traffic, at times the navy births here.

In terms of bait. The most common bay baits seem to work well. Pipis, squid, pilchards, whitebait, sand-worms, chicken and of course prawns.

I’d recommend keeping the hook size down and the lines lightweight. Some of the smaller flathead and whiting rigs sold commercially would be a good fit.

Paddle-tail soft plastics perform well on flathead, bream and pinkies. They should not be overlooked as an effective alternative to the bait.

Keep your rods on the shorter side. I wouldn’t consider anything over a 9-foot spinning rod in length. Paired with a 300 spinning reel would see you about right.

If fishing bait, in my opinion, you can’t go too far wrong with a nice lightweight paternoster rig.

This should keep your bait above the weeds and debris at the bottom. While giving you the chance of trying out bait cocktails to see which works. Eg: One bait on one hook, another kind on the other.

Finally – I’d definitely use berley – mostly because it works, but also because other anglers rarely do. It can make the difference between landing a fish and random nibbles.

Gem Pier Fish Species

Fish Species Quick Info
Australian Salmon
Arripis trutta
All Year Round
Common for schools to move through, chopping up the water before moving on. Can be common during cooler months.
Platycephalus sp
All Year Round
Hemiramphidae sp*

Season: All Year Round – More common in cooler months. Seasonal Note: 40 or More Species found in Victorian Waters Suggested Bait: Small pieces of fish, bread, pippis or chicken suspended beneath either a float or feeder float are popular garfish rigs.
Gummy Shark
Mustelus antarcticus
All Year Round
Larger species are caught in Port Phillip & Western Port during April to July. With the Peak Month considered too be May.
Mugilidae sp
All Year Round
Can sometimes be the only game in town during cooler weather.
Pinky Snapper
Chrysophrys auratus
All Year Round. But much more prevalent during warmer months.
This name applies to juvenile specimens of Snapper
Chrysophrys auratus
All Year Round. But much more prevalent during warmer months.
Adult specimens often come closer towards shore to feed on reefs during rougher weather in warmer months.
Sepioteuthis australis
All Year Round.
Best fished when waters are clear with little turbulence. Top times can be during June to September.
*Some fish species vary according to time of year and local environmental conditions.

Gem Pier Summary Review

Gem Pier, even just for a visit if you are not fishing, is well worth the trip.

It has a history going back to the 19th century and the early years of Melbourne.

Fishing wise it’s always been productive.

Bream and flathead being fairly common catches.

I have found it a little too busy usually for my taste.

I’ve also found it less productive in recent decades than in the past. But that could be down to my own techniques, preferring to rig larger to avoid smaller catches.

Your experience may have been different and I welcome your review and comment below.


  • Close and easy access most Melbourne suburbs
  • Family-friendly – children under strict supervision
  • Good range of fish habitats and fish species
  • In the right conditions, you can target big Snapper
  • In clear, calm conditions Squid fishing can be productive.


  • Parking good, but can work out expensive during the day.
  • Toilets I’d rate as fair but often poor, not at all predictable.
  • Busy during summer months and school holidays.

Gem Pier Features At A Glance

FishabilityPier ConditionPublic Toilets
ParkingFamily FriendlyEnvironment & Pollution