Kilcunda Surf Fishing

Kilcunda and surf fishing are synonymous. I've fished here for Australian Salmon, Tailor and even Gummy Sharks since 1979! It's well worth a visit. There's some good accomodation available. So you can make it a weekend away. Although it's certainly close enough to Melbourne for a day trip.

I’ve fished Kilcunda on and off since 1979. Quite accidentally in fact.

I was studying Geography in my final HSC year at High School. Each person had to study an aspect of the coastal system at Kilcunda.

What did I choose?

“The spatial distribution of fisherman and fish catches” in the Kilcunda area of course!

Naturally this required interviewing fishermen and fisherwomen. To do this I had to go incognito onto the beach. Surf rod in hand.

You get the idea! Yes – I passed the Research Project in flying colours. Having had a ball doing it. Catching lots of fish!

Kilcunda – Three Fishing Environments

The Kilcunda area is actually broken up into three distinct kinds of fishing. Though it’s normally associated with surf fishing from the beautiful nine kilometres of ocean beach. The fact is it also has excellent rock fishing opportunities. Plus some estuary fishing on the Powlett River.

Needless to say I’ve tried all three many times.

Kilcunda Surf Beach
Image Credit Kilcunda Railway Bridge Zzrbiker

9km Of Beautiful Pristine Ocean Beach Fishing

From the rocks of Black Head below the caravan park to the Powlett River is 9km of unbroken ocean beaches.

My favourite surf fishing spot was just below and slightly to the left of the cemetery. Sometimes called the Blue Hole.

Standing on the old railway line, looking towards the breakers you’ll see a darker blue area.

This hole is a great place to cast and catch species like Australian Salmon and Tailor.

There are a large number of these holes along the length of the beach. Some of them to change according to current and weather action.

Spotting them is always easiest from atop the dunes.


Kilcunda Surf Fishing

This is what attracts most people to Kilcunda. Surf fishing. Primarily Australian Salmon and Tailor. But don’t overlook Gummy and School Sharks in the surf.

The rocks at Black Head in particular offer some excellent Leatherjacket and Luderick spots for the cautious.

Fish Species Suggested Bait
Australian Salmon
Australian Salmon
All Year Round
Common for schools to move through, chopping up the water before moving on. Can be common during cooler months.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets
Tailor
Tailor

Bass Yabbies, Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Crabs, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Nippers, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets
Gummy Shark
Gummy Shark
All Year Round >br \>Larger species are caught in Port Phillip & Western Port during April to July. With the Peak Month considered too be May.
Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Pilchards, Squid, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whiting Fillets
School Shark
School Shark

Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Pilchards, Squid, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whiting Fillets
Leatherjacket
Leatherjacket

Bass Yabbies, Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Crabs, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Nippers, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets
Luderick
Luderick

Bass Yabbies, Blood Worms, Bluebait, Bread, Cabbage Weed, Chicken Breast, Cunji, Green Weed, Mussels, Nippers, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait
Flathead
Flathead
All Year Round. Can be more sluggish during cooler months.
Often more active between late September and March.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Chicken Liver, Flathead Fillets, Mullet Fillets, Mussels, Nippers, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Sandworms, Squid, Squid Hoods, Squid Tentacles, Whitebait, Whiting Fillets
Mullet
Mullet
All Year Round.
Can sometimes be the only game in town during cooler weather.

Bluebait, Chicken Breast, Earthworms, Mussels, Pilchards, Pipis, Prawns, Squid Tentacles

*Some fish species vary according to time of year and local environmental conditions.

Surf Beach Tackle & Bait

Elastic Bait Thread
Elastic Bait Thread

While I’ve seen people using 9-foot spinning rods here I’m going to suggest you try an absolute minimum of a 10-foot beach rod. However – I recommend you use a surf rod of 12-foot and up.

The reason is – to reach the “holes” in between the breakers you’re going to need the rod length to match the necessary casting distance. You’ll also want to make sure you’re using a hefty sinker. A star surf style sinker is ideal. The current is pretty strong here.

Bait wise – I recommend tough baits – or at least bait that’s held onto your hook with some bait holding thread.

A Paternoster Rig is a great choice. Though a running sinker works well too.

Regardless of the rig I always add some flash to the bait. Such as luminous skirts and beads.


Good Bait Choices At Kilcunda

Leatherjacket Kilcunda
Leatherjacket
Luderick Kilcunda
Luderick
  • Pilchards
  • Whitebait
  • Bluebait
  • Squid
  • Mullet or Whiting Tails
  • Chicken – as always I have mine marinated in my secret sauce.
  • Soft plastics – like Gulp sandworms right on the hook
  • Pipi, Prawns & Small Crabs for Luderick and Leatherjackets.

Black Head Rock Fishing – Fun But Dangerous

Fishing the rocks at Black Head, Kilcunda is certainly a lot of fun – but it comes with the caveat that a number of people have lost their lives doing so.

black head kilcunda fishing

Please – if you’re going to go rock hopping, particularly on ocean rock platforms, wear appropriate gear. Spike shoes are a must. So is a life jacket.

Do not – ever – turn your back on the ocean. Remember that it is the odd wave that catches you unaware. They are not a question of “if” but “when.”

At Kilcunda catches of Australian Salmon and Tailor are possible off of the rocks. As are Leatherjackets and species such as Luderick.


Powlett River Estuary

The Powlett River estuary is often blocked at the sea. Causing it to swell out at the mouth like a giant, shallow lake.

While the Powlett is a part of the Kilcunda ecosystem I have written a separate article on it. You can read Fishing The Powlett River over here.

Bourne Creek

The Bourne Creek estuary rarely flows through to the sea, except after major flooding. The beach acts as a major sandbar.

The creek is shallow and doesn’t contain much by the way of fishing opportunities. However it does make an excellent swimming hole and is safer than swimming in the surf.

Bourne Creek also makes an excellent landmark for surf fishing. There are some excellent holes to fish out into the surf here from the surf beach.

Accomodation At Kilcunda

The Ocean Views Hotel in Kilcunda, Victoria, Australia

You could fish Kilcunda as a day trip. But I recommend staying a night or two. Back in high school we stayed at the closed Bass Primary School. That was free for schools to use at the time. However I’ve stayed many times as the Kilcunda caravan park and at the Ocean View Motel.

I have no problems recommending either of these options.

While you’re there have a lunch or counter tea at the Kilcunda Hotel. It brings back some fond memories of shared meals with mates.

The Kilcunda General Store sells sandwiches, drinks, hot takeaway food and frozen bait. This is where I’ve generally purchased my own bait. The quality has always been good. I also have bought many a quick lunch of a pie, a Big M or Coffee and a doughnut here.

Final Note On Kilcunda

One of the saddest things to happen in Victoria in recent decades, in my opinion, is the addition of the wind turbines and the desalination plant.

They look bloody awful!

mutton bird kilcunda

These projects were added, purportedly, to assist with environmental issues in Victoria. Namely the generation of “clean electric power” with the wind turbines. It’s debatable how much power they produce for the grid. However, examination at their base shows their affect on Mutton Birds that nest in the dunes. I have seen large numbers of these birds dead at the base of the turbines suggesting they are flying into the blades.

To be fair the Mutton Birds do die in the dunes yearly due to Winter storms. So I cannot say for certain what degree the wind turbines are responsible.

The desalination plant is yet to be used at the potential for its intended purpose, even though it has been ready for many years now. Its introduction was hotly debated due to its impact on dinosaur fossils in the area.

Map & Locating Details

Address: Kilcunda Beach, Kilcunda VIC, Australia
Lat: -38.5525267
Lng: 145.4780066
Proximity: 122 km from Melbourne

Location Review & Rating


Pros

  • A great overnight stay. But I recommend a night or two to really take advantage of the fishing spots!
  • Good roads from Melbourne. Though Highway can become a traffic jam on public holidays due to Phillip Island Traffic
  • Great variety of fish and some of the best Surf Fishing in Victoria, if not Australia in my opinion
  • Estuary Fishing at nearby Powlett River
  • Rock hopping and exploring of rock pools is great for families but keep well back from the surf line. It is much too dangerous for young kids.
  • Great hotel meals. Good Accomodation. Friendly locals. But - Be Respectful to Get Respect, please!
  • Nearby Attractions include the Fairy Penguins, Seal Rocks and the Koala Sanctuary at Phillip Island. As well as Coal Creek Museum at Korumburra.

Cons

  • Surf can be dangerous. Do not turn your back on it. Freak waves are deadly.
  • Strong rips mean swimming in the surf is high risk even for strong swimmers
  • Rock fishing is extremely dangerous. Wear a life jacket and rock hopping (shoes with studs) gear.
  • Toilets are sparse. But the quality of those at the Caravan Park and Hotel are excellent. So buy a beer or stay over to use those.

Review Overview

Fishability Review StarReview StarReview StarReview StarReview Star
Parking Review StarReview StarReview StarReview StarReview Star
Environment & Pollution Review StarReview StarReview StarReview StarReview Star
Family Friendly Review StarReview StarReview StarReview StarReview Star
Public Toilets Review StarReview StarReview StarZero Rating Review StarZero Rating Review Star

Summary

All in all, I love Kilcunda.  It was the first place I ever went surf fishing over 40 years ago.  I love the fact that the township has retained the same look and feel of back then.

Accommodation is good.    The hotel makes great meals.  The General Store sells good frozen bait and mandatory hot pies.

Do yourself a favour.  If you've not gone surf fishing at Kilcunda then you're really missing out!

Please be careful and watch out for snakes.  Tiger snakes, in particular, inhabit the dunes. They prey on ground-nesting birds, like Mutton Birds and even penguins.  As well as native small mammals and introduced rodents.

Also, don't forget to pay attention and take care at all times.  The Rock platforms, beaches and even the Powlett River have all claimed lives over the years.  The Cemetary at Kilcunda alone testifies to this.  Though this only represents locals.  Do not turn your back on the sea.  Do not take unnecessary risks.  Treat the local environment with the greatest respect.  It deserves it.  No fish is worth your life!  
4
Rating Review Star

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Dave
Dave

G'day!

I'm Dave, I live and fish in and around Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
When it comes to fishing I love going out to land-based fishing spots, heading out in the tinny (aka an Aluminum Boat) and kayak fishing.

I've been fishing since I was a teen. Beginning way back in the 1970s. It was a hobby I picked up myself as my family certainly had no interest. Making me the black sheep! My favourite fish is Flathead and Snapper. Though I'm partial to Flake (Gummy Shark) and Calamari too! While I enjoy fishing for freshwater species like Redfin and Murray Cod I prefer eating saltwater species. They're just so mouth-wateringly tasty!

I love writing about some of my favourite Melbourne Fishing Spots while fishing around Victoria. As well as the tackle I use and test.
If you see me while you're out fishing say "G' day" - I'll be the one in a bush hat.

When I'm not fishing I'm working on my websites, such as Getfished, or writing computer software (my profession.)

I try to be as accurate as possible on this website. Most of the information is based on personal experience. However, if you spot an error or think there's something that I should add - no worries! Please use the Contact Form.