Fishing Cockburn Sound

Fishing Cockburn Sound

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Guide to Fishing Cockburn Sound

Cockburn Sound is a fishing hotspot. From the annual snapper migration that produces an abundance of large snapper to the fishing for bread and butter species, Cockburn Sound has is a great place to go fishing. This article will outline the different seasons, locations and more.

Cockburn Sound Snapper Fishing

Everyone want to catch a snapper in Cockburn Sound. Good news is anyone with even a small boat can. Cockburn Sound is the site of the largest know aggregations of pink snapper in the West Coast Bioregion and is critical for sustaining adequate breeding stocks of these long-lived and slow-growing fish. But leading up to the season and directly after Snapper are still around in numbers and you can easily get into the action.

Cockburn Sound Snapper Season

Cockburn and Warnbro sound have a ban on Snapper Fishing from the 1st of September to the 31st of January. Generally the best time of year to target snapper is the lead up the ban, but you can catch them all year round. Generally once winter comes around you’ll start seeing snapper in good numbers in the sound.

Cockburn Sound Snapper Spots

Snapper can be caught in a wide range of places. Know hot spots include the D9 barge, the pinnacles, sulphur rock and Harding Bay. Last season tonnes of fish were also caught around the rough ground between Carnac Island and Garden Island. Look for rough ground and structure. Once you’ve found a likely looking bit of ground sound around and see if you mark any fish on the sounder.

How to Catch Snapper in Cockburn Sound

The key to Snapper in the sound is burley! Personally here at Eat Sleep Fish Repeat we like to burley hard. Others take an easy does it approach. Either way at least some burley is required. The key is having plenty of sent in the water without feeding the fish too much. Also having the burley around for a sustained period to keep the school around is key. A frozen block of shredded mulies is great, as well as fish offcuts you can get from your local fish monger. Place all these bits and bobs in a scaler bag and leave it hanging of the back of your boat. As for rigs you can go past double snelled rig with a light running sinker. Generally snapper in the sound is not deep water fishing so the running rig is the way to go.

Squid In Cockburn Sound

Squid is another great species to target in the sound. There is literally an abundance of squid here, and you can target them with success any time of day and any time of year. Hotspots for squid include Mangles Bay, Garden Island, the flats off South Fremantle Yacht Club and Parmelia Bank. The best bet for squid is to set adrift over the broken ground or weeds beds and jig away.

Bread and Butter Fishing in Cockburn

When the snapper season is off you can still target plenty of other fish in the sound. One of the tastiest species you can catch all your round are King George and Sand Whiting. Hot spots for KG’s in the sound are Mangles Bay and Parmelia Bank. Although you don’t get the same size you can get around Rottnest you can still get a reasonable feet of whiting in the sound. For KGs try anchoring up and throwing a few chook pellets out for burley. Cast your paternoster rig at the sand holes in weedy areas to avoid the plagues of butterfish. Sandwhiting can be caught in the same areas but try drifting through some of the deeper areas of the sound for the bigger models. Flathead, herring, and flounder can be a common bycatch when targeting these species.

Herring and garfish are another bread and butter option. To target these tasty little specimens simply anchor up and burley with some pollard. To start with use a floating rig and small but of prawn. Once they fire up use a small lure like a 5g Halco Twisty.

Other Fish to Target in Cockburn Sound


Cockburn sound also has good numbers of Gummy sharks, hammerheads and other sharks.   Target these around the full moon. Like snapper burley up and use drift bait. These sharks tend to hang around the same areas as rays so to the trick is to keep you bait off the bottom. Another good rig to avoid the rays is an paternoster with an extra long dropper for the sinker.


Around March and April Cockburn sound fill up with Salmon as they migrate north. Just follow the birds or the boats circling the school of salmon. Salmon are ferocious feeders and will take almost any lure or bait.

Cockburn Sound Fishing Spots

D9 Barge – Good for snapper in season. Also occasional Sambo and other species

Sulphur Rock – Another known Snapper ppot

Mangles Bay – King George Whiting and squid

Garden Island – Squid and other bread and butter species

Mussel Farm – Sharks, Rays and occasional snapper

Parmelia Bank – Squid and whiting

Three Fathom Bank – Skippy and small sambos