Lonsdale Bight

Calamari squid caught off the Lonsdale Bight, Steve Cooper

With lots of weed, waters affected by current and a high level of exposure when a southerly comes in, Lonsdale Bight is one the most productive all-round fishing areas in Port Phillip. The bight goes from Shortland Bluff to Point Lonsdale, but the southern half has been hived off for a marine park.

Point Lonsdale pier can produce salmon, garfish, snapper and squid. Snapper are best after a strong blow. Anglers catch snapper here as they migrate into the bay, and again in late March and April as the fish are on their way out. Salmon are always a chance, and a dedicated band of anglers still fish for sharks from the pier with bronze whaler and seven-gill sharks comprising the bulk of their catch.

During spring, Lonsdale Bight fires up for calamari squid, which move in over the kelp beds to deposit their jellybean-like eggs. King George whiting to 44 cm are caught and the first appearance of spawning snapper is usually in September, depending on the weather. Solid rains forcing dirty water out of the Barwon River will turn the water turgid and give the reds cover to enter the bay. The best run of big snapper is in October and coincides with the best of the squid fishing, although the latter prefer clean water.

Bell Reef below the Queenscliff lighthouse at Shortland Bluff can only be fished on low water. Silver trevally run here during the spring until mid-summer and salmon schools often bottle up baitfish and work in close to the reef. Access to the reef is by wading from the beach below the carpark.

The beach below Cottage by the Sea will produce salmon, whiting and snapper. On very low tides, the beach is a hot spot for snapper fishing at night. Most snapper are in the 1.5–2 kg range, but larger specimens to 5 kg can be caught.

Most anglers fish in boats, and many anchor their craft on the reef that is an extension of Bell Reef, about 150 m from shore and almost directly out from the Cottage by the Sea. These grounds produce some good snapper at times, although the bulk of the catch is pinkies to about 2 kg and above-average King George whiting.

The beaches that run back into Lonsdale Bight from the pier to Queenscliff can be productive, mainly for salmon. The peak period is a high tide coinciding with dawn or dusk.

Offshore in the bight, above- average King George whiting can be found over the sandy patches between the weeds. Best fishing is from late summer into early winter.

Nearby Fishing Spots

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