Salmon

 

A Browns Beach Salmon.

UPDATE

I have recently updated my salmon fishing gear, utilising the quality graphite rods and smaller spinning reels that are now common place in tackle shops.  When surf fishing for salmon, I have virtually done away with using bait, preferring to throw lures around.  This used to be a physically demanding exercise, but with advent of the light gear, it's much easier.  Doing away with the standard 10 -12 foot surf rod with big spinning reel, I have now settled on a 9 foot graphite rod rated at 5 - 8 kgs.  Coupled with a 4000 size spinning reel loaded with 20lb braid, I am able to spend hours throwing lures around.  Lure weight has also decreased, with around 40 grams being the optimum for this set-up, rather than the 60 gram hunks of lead I would have used in the past.  Casting distance has been improved and large fish in the surf are no problem, with the drag systems on these smaller reels vastly improved.  I recently had the pleasure of coming across a large school of 1 - 2kg salmon holed up against a reef about 30 metres from shore.  I had to fish off of some low lying rocks, but hoisting them out of the water on the above-mentioned gear proved no problem. 

Australian Salmon are one of the most enjoyable fish to catch, especially off of the ocean beaches.  You certainly know when you've hooked one and there is no better place to be at dawn or dusk than a secluded beach.

I have had success with Salmon from Waitpinga and Parsons Beaches near Victor Harbour south of Adelaide, Browns Beach on Yorke Peninsula, and Almonta and Sheringa Beaches on the West Coast.  Browns Beach I have fished recently with a small measure of success, but it has been a few years since i have visited any of the other locations.  More recently still, I have caught a few from the main wharf in Port Lincoln.

Tackle required doesn't have to be too expensive.  A regular surf fishing rod and reel will do the trick, especially if casting out baits.  Lure fishing may involve a little more homework on what type of outfit to buy, depending on factors like lure weight, distance to be cast etc etc.

At Waitpinga and Parsons, a high tide coinciding with dawn was always the best time and pilchards were the number one bait.  The last couple of trips to Parsons yielded decent numbers of fish, but they were down in size.  Fishing there about 20 years ago, there were good numbers and some big fish amongst them.

At Almonta and Sheringa on the West Coast, lures did the job, but i would think pilchards would have worked too.  Lures are just easier and, when the fish are feeding freely, they will not hesitate to grab one. 

Bait or lures will catch fish at Browns Beach.  I tend to use lures almost exclusively now, the plan of attack being to spend a couple of days there if possible and walk up and down the beach casting lures.  Morning and afternoons are the prime times, with a high tide around dusk just about perfect. 

The wharf at Port Lincoln is best fished with baits.  The trick here is to use unweighted baits.  Cast the line out, and let the bait sink slowly.  The line tightens when a fish takes it.  It is then just a matter if setting the hook and trying to get the fish onto the jetty, dodging jetty pylons and, as on one occasion there, sealions, who were doing their best to grab any hooked fish.  Pilchards are the best bait to use, either whole or halved.

Hook size when using bait is usually around 4/0.  Single hooks for half pilchards and ganged or snelled hooks for whole pilchards.  Lure weight can vary depending on factors like rod type and design, line weight, wind conditions and surf conditions.  I use a 10 foot, medium to slow action rod.  It's great to cast 40 gram lures a fair way, especially using 12 pound line, but it wouldn't be much good trying to haul a big fish up onto rocks or a ledge or casting 60 gram lures. 

When fishing off the beaches remember to look for the gutters and holes and cast lures and baits into them.  The deeper and greener the gutter or hole, the more likely it is to hold fish.  Browns is a bit different in this regard, but fishing in the second lagoon (the furthest from the carpark) is thought to be the best option, although the first lagoon is always worth a cast or two.

If eaten fresh, Salmon are very nice fish to eat, but they must be bled upon capture.  If eaten after they have been frozen they have a strong "fishy" taste, which is not so good.  I generally keep only one or two fish, which I eat the same day, and release any others I catch.

Salmon fishing is not only about the fishing.  The locations are often great places to be.  Lower Yorke Peninsula.