We fish we care

Genus  Dinolestes lewini


Short-finned pike (also called snook) have a long and rounded body. The tail is large and forked and all fins are relatively small. The head and jaws are elongated and the mouth contains teeth that  are large and very sharp. The backs of short-finned pike vary in colour from bronze to greenish blue and the underside is a creamy white.



Short-finned pike are found in schools and are seasonal visitors to the Port Phillip region from spring through to the early autumn. The preferred habitat is over inshore reefs and seagrass beds in  the shallower waters of both Port Phillip and Westernport Bay.



The average size of short-finned pike caught in the Port Phillip region is between one and two kilograms. Larger specimens to 3 kg or more are encountered less frequently and are over a metre long.


Fishing techniques and tackle

The most common method of catching short-finned pike is to troll baits or lures over productive ground from a boat that is moving at a slow speed. A range of both bibbed and standard metal lures  can be successfully fished from suitable spinning rods. Shortfinned pike can be caught up near the surface around dusk and dawn but are found much deeper down in the water during the day. A  traditional trolling method that is still used by some anglers involves a heavy monofilament hand-line (15 – 24 kg) which has up to 50 small barrel sinkers crimped onto it at regular intervals. A swivel  is tied to the end and a leader of similar breaking strain is added. The hand-line allows a bait or lure to be trolled down near the bottom.



When trolling from a boat, long thin strips of garfish or squid are baited onto a set of ganged hooks. When a school of short-finned pike are located, an effective method is to use whitebait and fillets  of pilchards. These baits should be allowed to drift down in the water with little or no sinker weight.



Short-finned pike can be caught over most inshore reefs and areas of seagrass. Areas that are known to be productive in the northern half of Port Phillip Bay include Black Rock, Brighton,  Williamstown and Point Cook. St Leonards and Indented Head are worth trying in the southern part of the bay, as are reefs around Avalon and North Shore in Corio Bay.



Sustainable fishing techniques

  • Hook damage is the most significant cause of fish dying after being released. Deep-hooked (gills, gut) fish are far less likely to survive.
  • Fish with a tight line so that fish are less likely to swallow the hook.
  • Increase the size of your hooks to prevent small fish swallowing them.
  • Avoid suspending fish on the hook.
  • Fish hooked in the mouth or lip have the best chance of survival.
  • Remove the hook with long nosed pliers.
  • If you can’t see the whole hook protruding from the mouth of the fish don’t try and remove it.
  • Cut the line and release the fish.
  • Wet your hands before handling the fish.
  • Avoid touching the gills and eyes.
  • Return the fish as quickly as possible.