Jervis Bay – Australia’s Home Of Land Based Game Fishing

For many rock fisherman, Jervis Bay is considered the birth place of land-based gamefishing. This legendary location is situated just 180km south of Sydney and contains some of the most famous rock fishing platforms in the world. Some of the more iconic ledges which surround the Beecroft Peninsula include the Outer Torpedo Tubes, Big Beecroft and Eve’s Ravine.

The unique geographical features of Jervis Bay make this location a magnet for huge pelagic fish. The northern headland of Jervis Bay protrudes 16km seaward and the 20 fathom line runs within casting distance from the shore. At the beginning of each summer the warm tropical water starts to spiral its way down the east coast of Australia on the back of the East Australian Current. With favourable weather patterns these cobalt waters will often push right against the honeycomb rock ledges of Jervis Bay. This brings in a host of hard running fish such as kingfish, snapper, tuna and even land-based game fishing’s Holy Grail – the black marlin.

The deep water ledges of Jervis Bay attract a wide variety of fish.

The deep water ledges of Jervis Bay attract a wide variety of fish.


The Outer Torpedo Tubes is situated just inside the northern entrance of Jervis Bay at Point Perpendicular. Over the years ‘The Tubes’ has been the most consistent location in the world for landing black marlin from the shore.

Chasing a marlin off the rocks requires a lot dedication and is definitely one of the most challenging forms of LBG. The physical and mental hardships associated with this extreme style of fishing can really separate the men from the boys. To chase these elusive fish from the stones you have to deal with long walks with heavy backpacks, crowded ledges, catching baits and keeping them alive and hot summer days reaching 40 degrees. This may not sound like a whole lot of fun, but in demanding world of LBG the bigger the effort, the bigger the rewards!

A black marlin hooked from the tubes platform.

A black marlin hooked from the tubes platform.

Off The Rocks!

The most conventional way to target a marlin off the rocks is to live bait with large baitfish such as frigate mackerel, slimy mackerel, cowanyoung and bonito. These big baits require plenty of oxygen to keep alive. To maintain a healthy bait supply it is best to keep 5-8 large baits in a large, rigid wall wading pool and change the water every four hours with a petrol powered bilge pump.

The marlin that are encountered inside the bay do vary considerably in size. Over the years I’ve seen fish range from juvenile 20kg fish right through to big monster blacks around the 180kg mark.

The famous sandstone ledges of Jervis Bay.

The famous sandstone ledges of Jervis Bay.

Getting Air

When a marlin is hooked from the rocks they usually take to the air on numerous occasions which gives everyone on the ledge a spectacular aerial display. A healthy marlin is capable of taking numerous runs and these battles can last well over the one hour mark. Big overhead reels that hold 1000m of 24kg line and short stoker rod is the best set up for taking on a rampaging black marlin. To put the brakes on these powerful fish you really need to set your reel with at least 8kg of drag pressure to prevent a big angry fish from heading towards the open ocean and cutting your line on the rocks on its way out to sea.

The 2014 season was considered the greatest run of black marlin ever seen at Jervis Bay. During this epic bite there were over 100 marlin hooked from the rocks and approximately 50 fish that were either landed or released to fight another day.

Wil Scheibe with a cracking 140kg marlin from the recent 2015 season.

Wil Scheibe with a cracking 140kg marlin from the recent 2015 season.


Since the dreaded kingfish traps were abolished in 1996 there is no doubt that these underwater brutes are well and truly on the comeback trail. Kings can be captured along the front ledges of the Jervis Bay as well as the more protected ledges inside the bay. Some of the best ledges for targeting big hoodlum kings are Big Beecroft and Eve’s Ravine.

Livies Off The Stones

Live baiting slimey mackerel, frigate mackerel and yakkas are a great way of tempting a big hoodlum king. When live baiting from the rocks it’s best to use a heavy tackle24kg tackle outfit and a few rod lengths of tough abrasion resistant 80-125lb leader.

Getting Connected

The best way of staying connected to a big kingy from the shore is to be fast on your feet and stay right on top of the fish. This will make it harder for the fish to shred your line through the reef and this will give you the best chance of bringing a quality fish to the gaff.

The Jervis bay region is also an excellent place to target kings on lures. Smaller rat kings are not as fussy and will often take a wide variety of lures such as metals and deep divers. Larger kings over 15kg seem to prefer surface lures such as stick baits and big cup-faced poppers.

Hooked up to a solid marlin from the Tubes.

Hooked up to a solid marlin from the Tubes.

Snapper From The Stones

Snapper are another species that are commonly encountered by rock fisherman throughout Jervis Bay. The most effective method for targeting these fish is with a strip bait set on the bottom. Fresh strip baits such as slimey mackerel, bonito, striped tuna and squid all work well on snapper.
A paternoster rig with a 4 ounce snapper lead, 60lb leader and 5/0 hook is the ideal set up. A 4 ounce lead will give you great casting distance and if you can clear the inshore reef structure that surrounds most of the Jervis Bay rock ledges you can position your bait on the gravel bottom. This area is a lot less snaggy and produces good numbers of snapper. Some of the hot spots for targeting snapper around Jervis Bay include Lobster bay, Mermaids Inlet and famous Torpedo Tubes can also yield good numbers of fish after a good southerly swell.

Mid Sized Fish

Most of the snapper captured from the rocks seem to be pan sized fish ranging from 2-3kg with the occasional fish reaching 5-6kg.The best time of year to target snapper is October to April, although you will still catch snapper in the cooler months the Port Jackson sharks seem to move into the bay during the winter and can they can become real bait thieving pests.

Dan Pace with a solid Jervis Bay kingfish.

Dan Pace with a solid Jervis Bay kingfish.

Zac Giatras with JB snapper from the rocks.

Zac Giatras with JB snapper from the rocks.


Schools of smaller pelagics such as bonito, frigate mackerel, striped tuna, mackerel tuna and Aussie salmon also call the deepwater ledges of Jervis Bay home. During the summer and autumn months these fish can turn up in huge schools and can be captured on small 10-40gm metal slices or small live baits. These pocket sized pelagics are a great target for kids and newcomers to LBG. They are also a fantastic light tackle option when the larger pelagics aren’t playing the game.

Just Do It!

Jervis Bay is a real fishing Mecca that can produce everything from billfish to bonito, and all these fish can be captured from the picturesque rock ledges that surround this beautiful bay. This is what makes Jervis Bay a real special place for land based enthusiasts.


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