Fish Species You Might Catch on Your Fishing Trip
You and your mates board your hired boat for a journey into the waters just beyond Mordialloc Marina. Once you arrive at a hot spot, you all drop your lines into the water and wait to feel that telling tug. In the meantime, you open a beer and share stories about past fishing trips, but you’ve always got both eyes on your sinker.
Suddenly, you feel it. You’ve got a live one, and it’s time to reel her in. You can’t wait to see what’s on the other end of your line.
During your fishing trip, you should maintain realistic expectations about how much you can catch. But you want to be ready for when you get some bites. Use the fish species descriptions below to identify your catch.
Among the largest fish found in Port Phillip Bay, snapper have a distinct pale pink colour mottled with blue spots. Their bellies bear a silvery grey hue. Adult snappers swim around offshore reefs where they can reach weights of 10 kg or more. You have the best chance of snagging a snapper between October and May.
Snapper are actually a species of bream, which are also known as wrasses. The other bream found around Mordialloc Marina are bluethroat wrasse and purple wrasse.
Bluethroat wrasse have two types of markings, depending on their age and sex. Males have the namesake blue throat and yellow pectoral fins. Females and juveniles are greenish-brown with a black stripe around their middle.
Purple wrasse also have two colours, but they change only with age. Juvenile fish feature brown- or grey-green bodies with green and orange spots. Adults are grey-green with purple tinges and also have yellow spots behind their heads and along their spines.
As their name implies, flatheads have wide, flattened heads. Several species of flathead swim in the reefs of Port Phillip Bay. These include:
- Rock flathead, which have tall dorsal spines
- Tiger flathead, which have flat eyes and translucent pectoral fins
- Flathead sandfish, whose bodies feature orange or sandy-coloured spots
- Flathead goby, which you can identify from their small size (up to 14 cm) and poky fins
Flatheads dwell along the sea bottoms, so most flathead species prefer shallow, in-shore waters no deeper than 20 m. Tiger flathead are the exception—they live in waters as deep as 430 m.
King George Whiting
Keep your hook ready to capture a King George Whiting, one of South Australia’s most common fish. The species got its common name from Australia’s King George Sound. They have long snouts and tiny scales on their green or pale brown bodies. Most grow to at least 35 cm in length, but some weigh in at nearly 5 kg.
The lower jaw on a southern garfish extends outward to a sharp point like a needle. These long, thin fish have short dorsal fins found right next to their V-shaped caudal fins. They have bony flesh but it’s quite tasty. Be on the lookout for garfish from November through July.
You can pick out Australian salmon by their bright yellow pectoral fins which stand out against their greyish or blue-green bodies. They also have black markings along their dorsal side. Salmon swim in schools around reefs, and they’re a common catch between March and September.
Whether you can catch several small fish, a single giant snapper or no fish at all, your trip can still be a success. Being able to identify what you snag just adds more enjoyment to the trip. Study up on fish species before your trip, or keep this guide handy on your smartphone during your trip. Then you’ll be ready to identify the fish you catch and enjoy your time on the water.