Boating and Fishing Information

Phillip Island Boating and Fishing Information 

Boat ramps can be found at Rhyll (all tide boat ramp), Anderson Road Cowes West (larger craft not at low tide), Newhaven and Corinella. If you require more information on fishing, the newsagents, service stations and fishing outlets in these areas are your best source for magazines, books, maps and tide times.

At present a licence is required for leisure fishing in Western Port, and there are regulations on minimum size of fish, bait gathering and the techniques allowable for taking of various species.

Tide times are published every week in the Phillip Island & San Remo Advertiser newspaper or are available from fishing outlets.

Two yacht clubs are situated at Newhaven and Cowes and new members are welcome.

Boating safety

There are also certain boating regulations pertaining to Victorian waterways. These regulations relate to boating matters such as boat licenses, safety, life jackets, flares and consumption of alcohol. Please check with the Marine Safety Board of Victoria or obtain a copy of the Victorian Boating Guide, available at police stations and fishing outlets.


Safety and weather reports

Marine radios are monitored by the Western Port Safety Council, Coastguard Melbourne, Coast Radio Melbourne on VHF Channel 16 and 81, 27MHz Channel 88 and Marine Radio Channel 2524. Announcements of channels providing weather reports are given regularly on the above call channels. Mobile phones are great, but often don’t have range over water and they don’t give necessary weather updates on a regular basis. Western Port Safety Council, Coastguard Melbourne and Water Police also provide a sea rescue service.

Best Baits?

While all types of fish require different techniques and baits to catch them, the most used baits would be mussels, pipis, squid, prawns and pilchards. Local experts suggest the best bait to use all year round are pipis and squid, or whitebait if the whiting are not biting. Whiting (which are very fussy eaters) seem to prefer pipis or squid if it has been bashed to make it soft, presented very neatly on a hook with no loose ends. To catch flathead, any bait can be used as they will eat just about anything. To specifically fish for snapper, you will get best results by using WA pilchards, squid, octopus, bonito, tuna or pipis. Salmon are also a very common fish throughout the year and can be caught on blue bait, pilchards and pipis. When surf fishing, the best baits are sandworms or pipis.

Good Fishing Spots

Western Port and Phillip Island

There is a large variety of fish to be caught in Western Port, the most common are – flathead, snapper, channel whiting, King George whiting, flounder, Australian salmon, elephant-, school- and gummy shark, garfish, trevally and pike. Squid is also in abundance and is a popular catch on all jetties.

Local advice

Local “hot spots” can be found by anchoring your boat wherever there are a few people, or look for the gutters or channels of shallow sandy bottoms. If you don’t have a boat, try a pier or jetty that would allow you to cast right into the middle of the channel or gutter – sand bars are very good for this as a channel will usually run beside it. San Remo Pier – squid over summer. Newhaven Pier – pinkies and trevally with luderick before sunrise.

Coast from San Remo to Wonthaggi

About two kilometres south of Kilcunda is the very popular Powlett River, known throughout Victoria for its’ high quality bream. Perch can also be caught in this tidal river – at the mouth mullet and salmon are caught in good numbers. At night gummy sharks and school sharks can be taken from the surf. A popular surf-fishing beach along this stretch of coast is Kilcunda, great for salmon, trout and yellow-eyed mullet during the day, and gummy and school shark in the early morning and night.

Harmers’ Haven and Wreck Beach are good for surf and rock fishing – these areas are accessed from Wonthaggi. The fishing here also follows the same pattern as the other beaches along the coast. No reef fish are to be taken.

Coast from Wonthaggi to Inverloch

Moving along the coast road towards Inverloch is a place known to most locals as Flat Rocks – this is a favourite fishing spot for locals. Fishing from a boat in this area can be dangerous on days with large swells so experience in boating is very strongly advised. There are quite a few hidden rocks, so take great care. Fishing off the rocks here can also be productive with rock platforms stretching out past the many whiting channels. It is in these channels that whiting can be caught and most of the nuisance fish can be avoided. If you have a “tinnie”, it can be launched from the beach to avoid going over the bar at Inverloch.

Anderson Inlet / Inverloch

If you have access to a boat, then chances of catching a feed are doubled. There are quite a few places where a boat can be launched, including two places in the inlet on the Inverloch side (Mahers’ Landing and the Inverloch boat ramp). Maher’s Landing can be found about five kilometres east of the turn-off into Inverloch from the Bass Highway. Anderson Inlet can be fished from anywhere and a good catch is usually found. On occasions good catches are to be had on the shore, however the tide must be right to fish the shore.

Cape Paterson

The area bounded by the cliff past Eagles’ Nest rock and the cliff on the Cape Paterson side of The Oaks beach is sanctioned as a marine park (Bunurong Marine Park). Fishing is NOT allowed unless you are over five kilometres out to sea. On the spot fines will be issued by rangers and authorised offers.

There is good fishing spot, at Undertow Bay for mullet and salmon. The rocks around the main swimming bay and Browns’ Bay produce large whiting and pinky snapper. Do not attempt to launch a boat without contacting some of the local anglers . Around to the second surf at Cape Paterson, great scores of mullet can be caught, but, for safety, avoid the surfing area.