Land-based anglers are well catered for at Portarlington. The main pier runs north–south, and at the end there is a breakwater that runs west–east. Salmon often run along here in good numbers. Mullet, garfish and trevally are caught in the harbour and squid are hooked at the end of the pier on the western side.
Seal Rocks is a few kilometres east of the harbour, and after a strong blow, this area can be a hotspot for snapper within a kilometre of shore. If you motor north-west across the channel, a large area of reef runs all the way to Point Wilson and takes in Arthur the Great. This is a top area for snapper, sharks and whiting when you are in less than 5 m of water.
Point Richards is to the west of Portarlington. The main attraction for most anglers is the two-lane boat ramp and proximity to King George whiting and snapper grounds. The turn-off to the boat ramp is clearly signposted on the Geelong–Portarlington road. The 5 m wide, dual ramp can be a problem when the wind is from north or west. Boaters should also be aware of the shallow sandbanks immediately north of the ramp. Many anglers use Point Richards boat ramp as a starting place for longer trips into Port Phillip Bay.
Mussel farms to the west of the boat ramp are popular with anglers chasing whiting and pinkies. Fishing within the farm boundaries is illegal, but you can fish close and berley works well.
Whiting are well spread and to find them, fish in less than 5 m of water where seagrass is interspersed with sand holes. Seagrass beds can change from year to year, so each season usually warrants fishing in a different location.
Snapper run right along the channel edges so you never know where you are likely to find them in good numbers. Most snapper anglers fish within a couple of hundred metres of the channel. Some prefer to fish along the edges or alternatively in the old Steampacket Channel almost directly offshore. During spring and summer, most big snapper are caught on the north side of the channel. As autumn rolls in, snapper fishing is often better on the south side of the channel.
The deeper water produces flathead, elephant fish and gummy sharks.
On calm evenings, the glow of flounder lights along this stretch of coast is a common sight, with many sand areas attracting flounder in good numbers. Flounder spearing isn’t exactly sportfishing, but flounder are tasty and there is always a good chance of spearing some flathead as well.