52 Great Weekends

No 30: Fishing in Portland

Reel in a 100kg Bluefin Tuna, gummy shark and quality game fish straight from the Continental Shelf.

Whether you’re dropping a line from the Lee Breakwater, surf fishing from the shores of Discovery Bay or reeling in game fish on a deep-sea fishing charter, Portland will see you bagging a bounty of quality fish. Portland is a traditional fishing hot spot with no wonder – the Continental Shelf is right on its doorstep!

Seasoned anglers, occasional fishermen/women to complete beginners come to these fertile seas to chase dreams of bringing in a 100kg Bluefin Tuna, gummy sharks and quality game fish. This great weekend fishing in Portland will have you enjoying every moment – hook, line and sinker!

Friday

FRIDAY PM: QUALITY HOTEL BENTINCK AND ECOLODGE

Those heading out for a deep-sea fishing charter have an early start in the morning. That’s why we stayed at the tastefully restored iconic ‘Mac’s Hotel’ – Quality Hotel Bentinck, located opposite the Portland harbour and marina. Many of the 14 heritage rooms have balconies with spectacular views of Portland Bay and the rear ecolodge means there’s a range of comfortable accommodation options to suit every budget. After a great pub meal it was time to pop some seasickness tablets and get some shut-eye before our early start. 

Saturday

SUNRISE TO SUNSET: GAME ON GUMMY SHARK FISHING CHARTER

Jump aboard with your captain Joe for an unforgettable morning, afternoon or weekend fishing charter. If you’re dreaming of reeling in a 100kg Bluefin Tuna, gummy shark or quality fish local fishing icon Joe and crewman Critter will have you bagging sport fish you’ll be bragging about for years to come.  

We set off at sunrise for the waters between Lawrence Rocks and Cape Nelson Lighthouse in the search for the winter gummy sharks migrating through Portland waters.  A quick stopover at the boisterous Lawrence Rocks Fur Seal and Gannet colonies then we were straight into serious fishing business. Deep drop reels lowered it wasn’t long until before we were pulling in deep-sea dwelling fish, snapper and the odd mulloway. With the diving birds, seals and dolphins dropping by we knew the big bites wouldn’t be far off.  

The bite of a gummy shark is often mistaken for pickers or squid but once the hooks are set it’s Game On.  With the first gummy on the hook all other lines are withdrawn and then it’s a group effort to bring in the magnificent fighting fish as it tries it’s last dashes to the deep-sea floor. Safely aboard, reels were straight back in. Gummy sharks move in groups so we knew we were onto a hot spot. The haul continued and each client relished the challenge of reeling in the ultimate sport fish. The sun set with a total of 5 gummies onboard and an esky full of fine eating fish to take home – a great way to end an unforgettable fishing trip.

DINNER: CLOCK BY THE BAY

Those wanting something other than fish for dinner can enjoy a celebratory fine dining meal at Clock By The Bay. Conveniently located across the road from your hotel it won’t take long to wash away the seawater and be dining at one of the most stylish dining experiences in the area. This award-winning restaurant is bursting with French Provincial charm. Let the chef choose for you and enjoy the ‘Feed me’ menu – a selection of the chef’s favourite plates that celebrate the season and local produce. 

Sunday

6AM: GAME ON BLUEFIN TUNA FISHING CHARTER  

Hooked? Fish on with Joe and your new fishing buddies as they set out for the 10000m deep waters to chase 100kg Bluefin Tuna. Or simply enjoy a sleep in from the comforts of your grand historical suite at Mac’s.

10:45AM CAPE NELSON LIGHTHOUSE

Like to view your lucrative fishing spot from the best viewpoint in Portland? Joined Gordon’s 11am tour of Cape Nelson Lighthouse. Still in operation today, this lighthouse has been keeping many sailors safe on the treacherous Shipwreck Coast since 1884. As you climb the circular staircase Gordon tells tales of its nautical history and paints the picture of what a lightkeepers life before you reach the ginormous light itself, still spinning even in daytime. Then, hold onto your hat as you step out onto the (approx.) 100m high balcony, it the wind doesn’t blow it off the spectacular view will. You might even spot the Game On crew out there!

1PM MARITIME DISCOVERY CENTRE

Keen to discover more about Portland’s maritime history? At the Portland Maritime Discovery Centre you’ll learn about Portland’s whaling history, explore the lost treasures from the shipwreck trail and hear stories of Portland’s rich maritime past. Grab a coffee and a bite at the café then pop into the Portland Visitor Centre (located in the same building) to find out if there have been any more whale sightings in the area – they will fly a yellow flag if there’s been a recent sighting in the area.  

4PM PORTLAND’S HISTORIC WHALEBOAT RACING

Whaling and whale boats played an important part in Portland’s economy in the early years of European settlement. It was demanding and dangerous work onboard these 6-man row boats and rivalry was fierce amongst the crews. Luckily today these graceful and speedy historic wooden vessels are purely used for recreation and racing – where competition is still intense! We joined The Portland Maritime Heritage Group for a training row on their replica traditional whaleboat, launched in 2010. It’s a regular contender in competitions and special events such as Portland’s Upwelling Festival.  Being back on the water as the sun set was the perfect way to finish a great weekend in the traditional fishing grounds of Portland.  

Watch the episode

Top 5 things that made the weekend great

  • Reeling in a gummy shark

  • Seeing the Lawrence Rocks seal and gannet colony by sea

  • Enjoying the fine dining ‘Feed me’ menu at Clock by the Bay

  • Taking in the views from the towering Cape Nelson Lighthouse

  • Rowing a traditional Whaling Boat

This great weekend fishing in Portland will have you enjoying every moment – hook, line and sinker!

 

Follow the adventure:

@visitgreatoceanroad

#52greatweekends

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

All Accommodation

All Things To Do

Places To Eat & Drink

Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawuurung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Ancestors, past present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.