Welcome to the Barwon Heads Fishing Guide. Barwon Heads is a popular and scenic township on the southern coast of the Bellarine Peninsula. With clean beaches, boutique shops, surf, cafes, camping and quality fishing available. It’s a location where the Barwon river meets the Bass straight opposite the entrance of Port Phillip Bay so there are ample fishing and water activities available. From land-based, there’s an abundance of small fish that can be caught all year round and fishes particularly well in the winter months. Many spots to target include the beach, Barwon heads bridge, the boat ramp, the golf course and sheep-wash road.
Things to do at Barwon Heads
Barwon Heads is 90 minutes drive from Melbourne passing through Geelong. Surrounding townships include ocean grove and Queenscliff. This whole area is renowned for clean beaches which is very popular with holiday goes most school holidays. Swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkelling and fishing are prime activities here. It’s a great spot for kids who enjoy playing on the sand and in shallow water safely often whist the parents have a rod out fishing. Within the town, 13th beach offers great surfing with qualify waves coming directly from the Bass straight. You also have the Jirrahlinga Koala & Wildlife Sanctuary. 5 acres of land dedicated to the welfare of local animals. In town, there is also stand up paddle boarding hire available, many cafes, restaurants and parks to keep the family busy.
If you’re after a bit more excitement then look no further then Geelong adventure park which has world-class rides and waterslides. Including the new Tsunami waterslide. This is roughly 15 minutes drive from Barwon Heads. Or skydiving and scenic flight tours in surrounding townships.
Fishing at Barwon Heads
Barwon heads offer multiple areas to fish providing a very diverse fishing ecosystem. You can fish the Bass straight by land or boat targeting bigger saltwater species or you can fish the Barwon river and target many of the estuary species. Within the Barwon river, you can catch whiting, salmon, mullet, silver trevally, bream, estuary perch, flathead, pinkies, gurnard, mulloway and crabs. I have found small mullet to be the most common catch and big bream and Mulloway as prized catches. Seasonally you can also catch elephant fish typically between Feb-Apr.
There are multiple jetties along this area and it’s also great to target by a kayak or small tinnie. When bait fishing use small hooks as many of the species in the Barwon river have small mouths. Good bait options include yabbies, pilchards, squid, maggots, worms & raw chicken. You can also fish this area effectively with soft plastics. Ideally going with small grubs, worm and minnow imitations. The Savage Gear slim minnow, Z-man grubs and turtleback worms work well in this area.
There’s a lot of small fish in this area so a light rod setup such as a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo rod, coupled with a 2000 or 2500 size reel. It needs to be sensitive to see the bites and inquiries. Usually, a very simple and light running rig or a small paternoster rig does the trick in this location. Using burley really does help keep the fish around. You can catch fish here at any time, but I generally would always suggest at dawn and dusk. Ideally an hour on either side. Some will fish through the night chasing the prize of a mulloway.
13th beach surf area is also a good fishing destination. Which can provide quality catches of salmon all year round but particularly in the colder months when Salmon is active. if you would like to learn more about salmon fishing then read our detailed guide on surf fishing for salmon.
Fishing Bass straight will allow you to target snapper, flathead, snook, barracouta, salmon, squid and some different shark species. There are charter operators in this area should you not have your own boat. If you would like to learn more about targeting snapper then read our detailed guide on how to catch snapper in Barwon Heads
Barwon heads boat and kayak access
There are three local boat ramps servicing the estuary. The main ramp is located near Ocean Grove accessible on Guthridge Street. The other two ramps are located along the Barwon Heads river on Sheepwash Road. There is a gravelled launching area ideal for kayaks or small tinnies. The other is a concrete ramp with floating jetty.
Barwon Heads Hazards and Restrictions
Barwon Heads Bluff is part of a marine sanctuary. Remember to check with local fishing authorities before fishing around this area. Always ensure you have an active fishing licence and that you follow and local rules.
In terms of hazards, this is is quite low. The beaches can get crowded, so you’ll just want to be careful and make sure you’re keeping a safe distance of those playing on the beach, swimming or paddleboarding. We haven’t seen any snakes in Barwon heads but closer to Geelong along the Barwon River you need to be extremely careful as Tiger snakes are very common around this area. I have bumped into a few Tiger snakes in this area along the way and urge people fishing the Barwon river to be careful and always wear strong protective gumboots and pants.
Additions and corrections of this location
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