Welcome to the Cape Woolamai Fishing Guide. Cape Woolamai is a small township located at the southeastern tip of Phillip Island. Its a popular and scenic surf beach along Western Port heading around 2 hours drive from Melbourne past San Remo. This beach is known for its scenic rock formations and picturesque challenging walking and hiking tracks. They provide interesting walks and superb views. It also has great surfing on offer which is patrolled by surf lifesavers. It’s also popular with anglers looking to flick metal lures and baits for schools of salmon throughout winter. With a couple of known deep gutters, it’s great grounds for Salmon fishing in winter.
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Things to do at Cape Woolamai
There is ample parking towards the beach entrance. Philip island is a hot spot with families with young children. There are clean beaches and tourist attractions such as the Phillip Island penguin viewings. However, Cape Woolamai is a lovely beach that can get quite windy creating a strong rip and large waves. If you plan on taking children down there then keep a close eye on them. It does get very windy, and the surf rip can be very strong so be careful. The rock flats can also be quite slippery to walk on. It’s also an area quite common for shark sighting. Also, watch out for surfers who often stray from the pack and end up close to fishing lines.
Fishing Cape Woolamai
At Cape Woolamai you can target
- elephant fish
- gummy shark
Targeting salmon check out this crazy bust-up that our team stumbled upon
When arriving spend a little bit of time looking for the gutters. These are deeper pools and channels that Salmon like to swim through. These are 2 gutters in the main area to the left and right of the main staircase. There are also some rocky gutters that fish well but prone to snags. This is a great section to target. We love to flick big metal lures in this area, it’s a great way to target salmon. Have a look at this guide on surf fishing tips and lures. When bait fishing blue bait, whitebait and pilchards are the bait of choice in this area. We recommend a Paternoster rig with a large star sinker to allow you to cast far. The rig will generally be holding 2 full blue baits or 2 half pilchards. You can buy pre-made surf popper rigs which are a great choice and don’t forget to add a surf popper to the top of your rig which surprisingly gets plenty of bites. This spot can be quite weedy so sometimes it pays t to have the hooks a little higher in the paternoster rig.
If you plan on fishing the one spot then berleying up is a great idea. You can buy pre-made berley or make your own with pellets, pilchard and tuna oil mixed up. This can be placed into a bag or sack and left for the surf to do all the work.
It all depends if you are bait fishing or casting metal lures. At least a 10-foot rod is required to cast far and to keep the line above the crashing waves. For flicking lures a 12-foot rod, with a 4000 size reel spooled with 12-pound line and a strong leader is a great option. If bait fishing 12-15 foot rod, coupled with a 6000 size reel spooled with 20-pound line and a strong leader. It’s best to follow the tides and the incoming High tide is always good for Salmon. Also sundown and sunrise seem to bring on the bite.
Baits Cape Woolamai
- blue bait
- silver whiting
Lures and soft plastics for Cape Woolamai
- Savage Gear Missile
- Halco twisty
- Ecogear Teibo
- JM Gilles pilchard baitfish
- Rapala X-Rap SXR
- Lazer spoons
- Zman slim swimz
- trick swimz
- Halco laser pro
- Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5 inch grub
- Berkley gulp turtleback worm
- Savage Gear Fat Curl tails
- Daiwa Bautjunkie 4 inch grubs
- Zman slim Swimz
- Berkley powerbait grub
- Dawia Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
- Zman grubZ
Targeting Salmon at Cape Woolamai
Winter is a great time to target salmon as they’re active and schooling up in big numbers. Salmon is a powerful sports fish that punches well above its weight. When hooked they produce strong bursts of speed, powerful runs, and vigorous head shakes. Do keep an eye out for gutters which are patches of deeper water which Salmon will swim through in schools. These can be identified by the darker colour of the water. When bait fishing pick a surf rod between 12-15 foot in length which allows for long casts with heavy sinkers and to keep your lines high above the crashing surf. These will be 6-10 kilo class. We recommend a Paternoster rig with a star sinker. Giving you 2 baits at different heights. You could also attach a surf popper above. Port Phillip Bay Fishing Guide
When lure fishing first consider what weight lures you are likely to be casting. We would recommend rods between 9-12 foot in length in 5-10 kilo class paired with a 3000 size reel spooled with 15-pound braid. Good lure options include Savage Gear Missile, Halco twisty, Ecogear Teibo, JM Gilles pilchard baitfish, Rapala X-Rap SXR, Lazer spoons, Zman slim swimz, trick swimz, Halco laser pro
Targeting Snapper at Cape Woolamai
We encourage you to read our detailed guide on how to catch snapper. Snapper season locally starts around October and finishes after March. The big reds migrate inshore during this time of year because water temperatures have increased providing ideal spawning conditions. With dawn and dusk are generally considered the best times to be on the water. The most common snapper rods are 7 foot 6 inches in length with a weight class of 4-7 kilos paired with a 4000 or 5000 size reel spooled with 15-30 pound braid or mono and 40 pound leader. You can choose to fish lighter or heavier. Recommended bait options include pilchards either full or half, silver whiting, squid, garfish, mackerel and mullet.
The best soft plastics are large jerk shads, whip baits, curl tails or paddle tails. Most between 4 and 7 inches in size generally coupled with a ½ or ¼ ounce jig head. Some good options include Savage Gear Fat Curl Tails, Daiwa Bait Junkie Jerk shads & Berkley 7 inch turtleback worm, Zman curl tails.
Targeting Whiting at Cape Woolamai
Whiting is a bread and butter species which are fun to catch on light spinning gear and tastes great. Whiting school up in big numbers and they respond well to berley, so berley an isolated area with a mix of chicken pellets, Tuna oil and pilchards. Whiting fishing requires finesse, so we recommend a light 1-3 or 2-4 kilo spin rod around 7 foot in length. Coupled with a light 1000-2500 size reel, spooled with 4 pounds or 6-pound line and leader. When bait fishing a simple running rig with a small sinker to swivel, then 40cm of 4-pound leader to a small baitholder long shank hook or a paternoster rig with 2 hooks and a size sinker depending on your conditions.
Watch our 25-minute whiting masterclass as we guide you through everything you need to know to catch whiting.
Targeting Gummy Shark at Cape Woolamai
We would recommend targeting gummy sharks with a 7 foot 8-15 kilo rod paired with a 4000 to 6000 size reel spooled with 20 to 40 pound line. Finished with a strong leader ranging from 40lb through to 60 pounds. Ideal rigs include a running sinker rig to single or double snelled rig or a paternoster rig. You can use an Ezi rig attaching a sinker to the clip then tying on a pre-made double snelled rig. Octopus or circle hooks from 5/0 to 7/0 are preferred for presenting chunks of salmon, trevally, squid, mackerel, Eel, mullet, pilchard, yakka’s, & garfish.
Targeting Elephant Fish at Cape Woolamai
Elephant Fish share similar characteristics of a shark but have a unique elephant trunk-like snout which they use to feed on small fish. They do however have good fighting qualities and are much fun to catch on light gear. They are seasonal fish which come into select areas within Western Port and Port Phillip Bay throughout March and May to spawn. Elephant fish are not fussy eaters, and they will happily take a wide range of baits including pilchard, squid and salmon. . We recommend using
Elephant fish has a strong sense and respond well to berley. You can target elephant fish using a 3-5 or 4-6 kilo rod with 3000-4000 size reel spooled with 8 to 12-pound braid. A running sinker to a swivel then 60cm of a strong leader to a circle hook or a paternoster rig with chunks of fresh bait.
Targeting Flathead at Cape Woolamai
We encourage you to read our detailed guide on How to catch Flathead. Flathead is a year-round prospect that can be caught at any time of the day. They are an ambush predator that waits in disguise for smaller fish to swim by for an easy feed. This highlights the importance of keeping your baits and soft plastics towards the bottom. If fishing from a boat or kayak we would recommend drifting around the sandy flats until you find a good patch of them. Also, keep an eye for depth drop-offs which is a great location for an ambush predator to be waiting.
We recommend targeting flathead with a 7 foot 2–4 or 3-5 kilo fishing rod paired with a 2500 or 3000 size reel spooled with 8-12lb braid and equivalent leader. You can go lighter, but flathead has bristly teeth that can compromise your fishing line.
Flathead is not fussy and will happily have a go at many various soft plastics and lures. We would highly recommend reading our detailed guide on the best lures and soft plastics to catch flathead. Top choices include worm and yabby imitations, paddle tail soft plastic, curl tail soft plastics, deep diving hard body lures, vibes, swimbaits, and blades. If you are targeting flathead with bait, we recommend using a paternoster rig or running sinker rig. Use a small ball sinker to swivel, then 50cm of 8-12 leader to a size 6 long shank hook. Good baits choices include pilchards, mussels, squid, chicken, whitebait, Pipis, blue bait and prawns.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. Header image is shown from cowes.info. Other images and videos shown on the Cape Woolamai Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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