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Port Phillip Bay Fishing

Port Phillip Bay is one of the largest inland seas in the Southern Hemisphere.  Connected to Bass Straight and the associated Southern Ocean.

The heads are narrow leading into a shallow, broad and very beautiful bay. It is its size and shallowness that result in conditions that can change rapidly from calm and docile to life-threatening when it comes to small boats.

Port Phillip Bay Fishing: Fishing FAQ

What fish occur in Port Phillip Bay?

Port Phillip Bay fish species are as abundant as they are varied.

From small “bait fish” through to game fish like Snapper, several shark species, including the excellent table qualities of the Gummy Shark.

Popular fish often targetted by anglers include Flathead, Snapper, Whiting, Australian Salmon, Tailor, Silver Trevally, Gummy Sharks, Calamari (Squid), bream, mullet and garfish.

Do you require a Fishing License?

Yes, a fishing license is required in all Victoria waters.  There are exceptions to this including persons under 18 and over 70, certain pensions and indigenous persons.

Please check with the Victorian Fishing Authority website for more information.

What are the main estuaries in Port Phillip Bay?

The Yarra river mouth is the largest estuary flowing into Port Phillip.  The is joined upstream from the mouth by the Maribyrnong River.  Making one larger estuarine area.

Other notable estuaries include Mordialloc Creek, Patterson River and Werribee River.  There are a few smaller creeks that flow into the bay. These are not generally targeted for fishing.

What Weather conditions affect the Bay?

Port Phillip is subjected to a wide variety of weather patterns.

While it is often calm it can change dramatically in a very short space of time.

The influence of Bass Straight and associated weather patterns from the Southern Ocean being a major driver of weather and bay conditions.

However, it is also affected by inland weather conditions that can be equally variable.  Strong northerly winds can make boating more risky at times – including producing sudden summer squalls.

Because of this, a keen eye on the weather conditions is a must – whether you are fishing off a boat or a pier.  As even the piers can, in some circumstances, be dangerous.

There’s a simple guide that may help you making a decision that I’ve written here:  Wave Heights Port Phillip Bay Boat Guide.

Also – the Weather Bureau’s website is a must as it provides regular updates on bay conditions and should be consulted before – and during bay activity.  Particularly if you are boating.

Pier Fishing

For land-based fishos, Pier Fishing on Port Phillip Bay is one of the easiest ways to get into some deeper water and try from bigger fish.

Catches of flathead, bream, calamari, whiting, pinkies and snapper are all possible.

Plus – piers can be a great place to take the kids, to get them fishing.  Taking due care to keep the smaller ones safe.


By Dave - from Getfished!


Dave spends most of his time split between fishing, working on Getfished and on boating and kayak fishing. After 30+ years as a programmer spending more time as a fisho has allowed him to grow his passion for the hobby. Running Getfished has meant Dave's been able to share some of the places he loves to fish at. As well as some of his favourite tackle and gear.