Just 100km from Melbourne, fishing for Pike from the Gunnery Rocks this is the perfect adventure for those who enjoy wetting a line and having the beach to themselves.
The beaches and rocky outcrop sit below the Royal Australian Gunnery School on the south coast of Flinders, a quaint little town that’s been lucky enough to escape major development.
Now, A quick note on safety before we get into it.
Rock fishing is dangerous and you always need to take the utmost care. For first timers or inexperienced rock fishers, ALWAYS go with a friend (preferably someone with experience) and ensure the conditions are looking good. Prior to leaving home you can check the tides, wind and swell on Willy Weather, which is accurate enough most of the time. At this particular location you want a light breeze and minimal swell, ideally 1m or less.
If conditions look promising and you make the trip down to the Gunnery Rocks, there are a couple of things you need to do before getting into it. Firstly, find a vantage point well up the beach and watch the spot where you’d like to fish from for a good 5 minutes to get a feel for the wave pattern, size and how the fishing platform is being effected. It’s OK to bail at this point if it’s looking dodgy – even a big fish isn’t worth getting into trouble for.
If you’re happy with the conditions and confident you can fish safely, the next step is to set up base camp well back from the wash zone, preferably somewhere comfortable and in the shade if possible. Now that you’re set, this is where you can catch plenty of Pike, so lets get to it!
Here’s how you go about landing a big one from the Gunnery Rocks:
- Pike love lures so it’s best to fish with a metal body spinning lure, hard body lure or a soft plastic on a light jig head. Lures are a great way to avoid the weed and rock snags that will plague you if throwing in a baited line.
- Fish the outgoing tide, starting around 2 hours after high tide. Be particularly careful while the tides still up as the waves can wash up and over the rocks.
- Take turns fishing and keeping an eye out for waves. If you’re both fishing you tend to get caught up looking into the water rather than watching for unusually big swells – which certainly do roll through from time to time.
- Cast towards submerged rocks and in around the weed beds. Most of the big fish seem to be in close, even along the edge of the rocks you’re casting from.
- Take a net if you have one, it can save you from heartbreak – Pike have soft mouths and it’s quite easy to pull the hook.
- Want to keep your catch fresh? Stash fish in one of the many rock pools.
This little guy was still looking healthy so we decided to throw him back…
Once the tide drops too low, typically 3 – 3.5 hours after high tide at the Gunnery Rocks, the fishing will likely slow and before long you’ll get bored of casting with no sign of action. At this point pack up your fishing gear and enjoy your surrounds – it’s truly an amazing part of Victoria and your footprints may be the only tracks along the beach….
If it’s a warm day take your swimmers and snorkeling gear. There are some nice sandy swimming areas and the rocky reefs are fun to explore.
After directions? It’s super easy to navigate to the Gunnery Rocks, simply bang ‘Royal Australian Navy Gunnery’ into google and follow the directions until you reach the public car park. From here, gather your gear, head down the stairs to the beach and hang a left. You’ve then got a 400m walk to the point you want to be fishing from – which is the southern most tip.