Cowrie Beach for a mixed bag
  |  First Published: May 2009

Cowrie Beach on Phillip Island is the last stop on the right hand side of the road before you hit the Nobbies Seal Observatory. You will see the volcanic looking rock formation from the top of the cliff. It looks a lot like a capital ‘E’ from above.


This area fishes extremely well in the winter months for a wide variety of species including sweep, mullet, salmon, garfish, leatherjackets, zebra fish and wrasse. Only fish this area on a low tide change and a northerly wind as it’s just not safe in any other conditions.


Try a 9ft Shimano Nexave surf rod with a 4000 Shimano Nexave reel. Spool the reel with 12 pound Maxima Fibre glow line.


Put a float stopper on the main line and position it so that the bait will be suspended about 50cm above the bottom. This will need adjusting at the location and will mean a little trial and error. A small oval shape weighted float (EJ Todd make a beauty) is then allowed to run freely on the main line with a size 0 ball sinker running below that. A small black rolling swivel stops them both with a 10lb Nitlon DFC trace of 50cm tied to Instinct bloodworm size 6 hook to complete the rig.


Berley hard with pellets, tuna oil and bread mixed with salt water and sand. You will not have to cast far and normally get best results just dropping the float at your feet. The rig will allow the bait to sink down deep, but not get snagged on the bottom. Watch carefully as most bites happen instantly.


Pipis are by far the best bait and you will go through truckloads. Most sessions on the rocks will see you move through at least 4kg. Try squid as a good alternative if the price of pipis is limiting your cash flow. Having a rod with a small 40g raider ready to go is a good plan just in case a school of salmon rock up.


I must stress the DANGER of fishing from the rocks. Never go alone and be sure to tell someone when you are due home. Freak waves and big swells can make this area less that safe. If you are unsure – JUST DON’T GO.


Try a paternoster rig baited with squid for leatherjackets up to a kilo. Use a spoon sinker and retrieve it quickly to avoid snags.

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