Port Phillip Bay fishing fun – REVIEW

Posted on 02/11/20201 Comment


After further easing of Melbourne’s COVID restrictions, Port Phillip Bay is now accessible to all Melburnians and fishing on Port Phillip Bay has come back to life! Hooray! This is especially great news for the snapper fisher-people because snapper season started in September.

So, to celebrate, this Port Phillip Bay fishing post is going to let you know about the awesome fishing to be had on the Bay including Jim’s fishing tips. Also see our fish turn into food. Get inspired!

However, if you can’t get to Port Phillip Bay right now, don’t despair because you’ll get a big piece of the beautiful Bay into you just by reading on.

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Guess where hubby Jim is as I write this post. Out a-lookin’ to catch him some gars and snapper!


Thank goodness because Jim was starting to whirlpool without any Port Phillip Bay fishing for so long. Not only that, but on the day that restrictions eased he went to take off in his boat and discovered that it had seized up due to inactivity for all those idle months! Consequently, the boat had to go in for repairs, keeping Jim from the Bay for another couple of weeks. Ohhh!

In this Port Phillip Bay fishing review post you’ll:

  • See some Port Phillip Bay fish that you could catch
  • Get Jim’s Port Phillip Bay basic fishing tips
  • Grab a copy of the Fisheries’ Fees and Penalties
  • Watch our Port Phillip Bay fish turn into food (get some virtual omega 3)
  • Enjoy my Port Phillip Bay fishing review

You could also explore some other great things to do in Melbourne:


Also, aqua words are trusted links.


First, climb aboard with Captain Jim and noisy Danae…


Now, let’s see some pics of fish you could catch out on Port Phillip Bay

Please note that ALL of the following catches have been consumed by us, family, friends, neighbours, and a select few local shop owners for personal consumption. No fish has gone to waste. Also, Jim returns to the sea any inedible fish/marine animals that he catches.


Jim's Port Phillip Bay snapper


Jim has caught many types of fish in Port Phillip Bay over the years:

snapper, garfish, whiting (King George and grass), salmon, calamari, pike, pinkies, flathead, mullet (red and sand), parrot fish, mackerel, tommy rough (Australian Herring), barracouta, yakka (small yellowtails) , sea snake, squid, leather jacket, bream, flounder, luderick, trevally, wrass and sharks.

Port Phillip Bay Banjo Shark
Banjo shark. Funny face.



Jim caught this 2m sevengill shark on a 15 pound line. Good luck reeling that in.

And he catches a flathead and a pinkie at the same time!

A sevengiller
A sevengill shark takes Jim’s bait
Flattie and pinkie on the same line
Jim catches two species at once. Now that’s strategic fishing.

Jim mostly catches snapper, garfish, flathead, calamari and whiting (when they’re in season).

Have a look at these catches…

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A note of great importance:

Jim and his mates love the Bay and so they’re very conscious of bay health. They always only keep what is permitted by law, not just to avoid fines, but because they know that they must preserve the Bay and allow the fish to grow in order to keep enjoying the pleasure that the bay provides.

By the way, Jim recommends using Yamashita lures to catch calamari because with them he catches plenty!

Here are two squid jigs that Jim bought last year that he DOES NOT recommend buying! Said they was no good and that he didn’t catch a thing with them.

More snapper fishing pics…

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Thanks to TK for sharing this underwater video of his snapper catch, with Jim and EK out on Port Phillip Bay:


Thanks to TK again and to EK for providing the next video.

Listen out for when Jim’s fish barbs EK twice. Cracks me up! 😆

Also, look out for TK’s epic home-made rig 👏.

By the way, they all agree that their best fishing spot is 30 metres from Carrum 😉 🤣

Next, here are some gars, pinkies (younger snapper) flatties and a whiting…

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You could be getting some Port Phillip Bay fishing action from a hire boat, pier, or rocks:

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Some of Jim’s Basic Port Phillip Bay Fishing Advice

Fishing conditions
  • Jim says check the weather for a SSW (South South Westerly) wind. Jim catches the most fish when this wind is blowing, but note that it’s also sometimes the roughest wind. If you’re in a hire boat, go out if the wind is 10 knots (gentle breeze) or below because the boat’s speed capacity has been governed right down and so it won’t be able to handle stronger wind.
  • You have a great chance of catching fish from any pier in Port Phillip Bay.
Fishing Equipment
  • Jim suggests walking around the pier or rocks to see what people are catching and what bait they’re using, then buy similar bait and rig your line to match.
  • If you want to get more serious about catching, he recommends that you take a range of soft plastics lures to catch a variety of fish.
  • Jim says make sure you take the right equipment, in good working order: rod, reel, line, hooks, sharp filleting knife, fish scaler, bait/lures and a ruler to measure the length of your fish. Also prepare for sun exposure and take plenty of drinking water because the hours out there can fly by.
Dusk on the bay
KW looks out across beautiful Port Phillip Bay
Hire Boats
  • Look for hire boats all around Port Phillip Bay such as in: Melbourne, Mordialloc, Frankston, Werribee, Mornington, Williamstown, and Geelong.

Jim advises that usually you don’t need a boat driver licence or boating experience to hire a small fishing boat because hire boats generally don’t go fast enough to warrant it.

Pre-lockdown, the prices to hire fishing boats started from about $95 per hour x two hours. (The cost could have been reduced to as low as $29 per hour: Frankston Boat Hire had a special –  $180 for 6 hours for a 5-6 man aluminium boat with sunshade. If several friends share the boat hire cost, the activity becomes very affordable.)


Anti-seasickness aids could be helpful too…

Fishing techniques
  • Jim says that if you catch a large fish, keep your line tight as you’re pulling it into the boat because the fish could throw itself off the hook. And don’t reel it in too fast or you’ll flick it and “hit Danae in the head”.

Let a bit of line out so it has a chance to hit the bottom (where the fish are).

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) and fish measurements and quantities
  • Jim knows that The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) regularly conducts checks and takes fishing offences very seriously. They could inspect your catches and your recreational fishing licence (RFL) whether you are on a pier, in a boat, or in a coastal car park so, post-lockdown, stick to the fishing measurements and quantities rules found at the VFA website. (A 3-day RFL is $10AUD. Visit the VFA website for more on RFLs.)

IMPORTANT: If VFA checks your catch and you’ve exceeded the maximum number for a species or have kept fish that are too young/small you could be faced with hefty fines and have to throw some of your live catch back in the water.

Jim measures all his smaller sized fish to ensure that they meet the minimum length requirement…


VFA said Jim’s fish was 3mm too short?

Jim says that VFA has often checked his catches.

One time earlier this year VFA checked Jim’s catch in the middle of the night when he came to shore.

The VFA measured one of Jim’s fish at 27.7cm whereas Jim had measured it on the boat at 28cm. So, according to VFA, the fish was 3mm too short!

“You’ve got to be kidding,” said Jim. It was midnight and therefore it was hard to see. Plus it was freezing! “The fish had probably shrunk from the boat to the car park because of the cold,” Jim said to them. But VFA still wanted to fine Jim for his fish not having the extra 3mm of tail.

Luckily, VFA conceded and gave Jim an official written warning. This is an indication of how particular VFA can be and as you’ll see below, their fines are hefty…

Grab a copy of the Fisheries’ Fees and Penalties

The Fisheries’ Fees and Penalties took a while for me to find because it wasn’t located where I’d expect to find it, i.e. wasn’t on the VFA website (WHAT THE..?!). So, to save you the hassle of looking, you can find the pdf below.

Oh ohAs you’ll see, the fishing infringements are plenty and the penalties are heavy duty, so be aware of the basic ones that may apply to your fishing excursion, for example:

  • take or possess undersize fish $3,224!
  • take or possess excess of catch limit (non-abalone) $3,224!
  • fishing without a licence or failing to provide it for inspection $806!

So, when you try your luck fishing on Port Phillip Bay, don’t get done. Instead, check the VFA website for regulations and you can get the list of 2018/2019 Fisheries Fees and Penalties pdf here. (It’s the most recent one I could find.)


Jim likes Shimano saltwater rods and reels

Shimano reel
Shimano Inc. SLX150HG Fishing Reel


yummy and delighted with FILOS' souvlakiaNow, it’s time for some more Port Phillip Bay fishing fun. By that I mean watch our fish turn into food!


Welcome to our seafood kitchen…

Check it out…


Hahaa, the pics above are mouse pads. To see more of this fish mouse pad range, click here.

Actually, this really is one of Jim’s calamari catches…

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Lee Kum Kee Seasoned Soy Sauce for Seafood

Robin, from family-owned Red Bluff Cellars Black Rock, loves wrass so we gave a few of Jim’s wrass catches to him.

Robin steams the wrass with ginger and spring onions and then drizzles sizzling Lee Kum Kee Seasoned Soy Sauce for Seafood combined with a little oil over them. He reckons that wrass are better than snapper any day. Jim says snapper rule.

Robin got us a bottle of Lee Kum Kee Seasoned Soy Sauce for Seafood to try. Beats plain old soy sauce on fish dishes!

Did you know that you can now order from www.redbluffcellars.com.au and get free delivery for orders over $150? Cool!

Also, if you use the code RBC10 at checkout you’ll save 10% on your first order!

Jim prepares the fish

Then the fish become food

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Port Phillip Bay Fishing Review

Port Phillip Bay = 5 out of 5 stars!

Undoubtedly, Port Phillip Bay enriches our Melbourne lives in so many ways: views, wildlife, recreation, food, beaches, exercise, mindset, functions, education and exploration. The bay is beautiful and bountiful and we are blessed to have her by our sides. Yes, this piece of Mother Nature certainly nurtures Melbourne so I’m very glad that we can spend time with her again after months of tough lockdown restrictions.

Thanks for checking out my Port Phillip Bay Fishing Fun blog! I hope you got your fill of the bay for the time being. If not and you want to enjoy more scenic pics of Port Phillip Bay, go to my post Your Port Phillip Bay Home Delivery.

Or explore this site further. There are heaps of fun and funny things to find in Trip Over, like MONA ROMA FERRY – WHAT THE..?! Travel Review.

If you’d like to see the trout I caught fly fishing in Miena Tasmania go to my post Our Hobart Things to See and Do and scroll down towards the bottom.

One last thing, please feel free to leave a comment in the box right at the bottom of this post. I’d love to hear from you!

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One thought on “Port Phillip Bay fishing fun – REVIEW

  1. I love Danae’s tripover blog with her weird and wonderful stories of places to visit and things to see and do. A look at Port Phillip Bay, with fishing tips and tricks by Jim…l can’t believe the size and variety of fish Jim has caught in the bay, so close to Melbourne. Jim’s cooking tips are great, too. He shows how he has prepared and cooked the fish he has caught.
    Thank you Danae for your humorous moments captured with pics and videos….so many to make us smile! I liked the surprise awaiting when clicking on the gift box tied with a bow. Always looking forward to your next story! Thank you! Andrea

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