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Australian Salmon - Hate them or love them, they are great sportfish

by Gary Brown on 29 Jul 2013
Try working surface walkers like this Sammy 65 through a school of feeding salmon Gary Brown
Both species of Australian salmon (eastern and western) have a moderately rounded, elongated body. Their caudal fin is forked and they are usually olive green to a steel blue with small dark spots on the back and upper sides, and pale yellow-green to silver white below. The pectoral fins are usually bright yellow, but this can vary from area to area.

Australian salmon inhabit continental shelf waters including estuaries, bays and inlets. In Victoria and Tasmania some of the schools will comprise of the two species. The Eastern Australian salmon will form large surface schools over deep water, while the Western Australian salmon will usually traverse deep water to the edge of the continental shelf. They will also inhabit exposed coastal waters, such as rocky headlands, reefs, and the surf zone.

They have a few common names like; Sambos, Salmon, Black Backs, Cocky salmon,Colonial salmon, Kahawai,Salmon trout and Bay Trout. Not a lot of anglers like the taste of salmon, but if they are bled straight away after capture and kept on ice they can be made into fish cakes or fish pieces. I did a bit of research and I found that the largest Australian salmon caught so far is 7.360 kg’s


Fishing Techniques

If I am chasing salmon off the beach or the rocks I prefer to have myself as mobile as I can and to achieve this I need to keep my tackle to a minimum. This is where one of those shoulder bags comes in very handy. The ones that I use come with two main pouches and one small one at the front. This means that I have one to put the fish and two for the tackle that I need.


My tackle tray will consist of a number of labelled film containers with a selection of jig heads, blades, stinger hooks, leader material, scissors, a knife and a container or two of scent. This then enables me to move about as the tide either comes in or out, or if I spot a better looking gutter or rock ledge. It may even be a change in the weather conditions and I have to move to another spot.

When targeting salmon from the beach or the rocks there are a couple things you need to look for. Firstly look for where there is some white water. This gives the baitfish a bit of cover and where you find baitfish you will usually come across a few salmon. If fishing off the beach I would look for areas that have a gutter (shallow or deep) with a bit of white water spilling into the deeper area after a wave has broken, and if fishing off the rocks you could look for an area that has waves breaking on the rocks and there is a rip going back out to sea.


Secondly the gutter may not be in the middle of the beach or off a rock formation. It may be a gutter that runs parrel to the rocks and at ninety degrees to the beach. These are usually found at the ends of the beaches where the sand meets the rocks. Depending on the conditions you can either fish off the rocks and cast into the gutter or just fish straight off the beach.

Now if you are fishing out of a boat and you come across a school of feeding salmon the worst thing that you can do is drive straight through the school. Doing this usually sends the salmon down and stops them from feeding. There are a couple of ways that I would suggest that you try working a school of feeding salmon.

Firstly drive up slowly to the school and cast into the middle, allowing the soft plastic that has been pinned into either a HWS or TT Tournament series jig head to slowly sink down through the feeding fish. Most of the times the line will just come up tight, but if it doesn’t happen you can slow rolling the jig head and plastic back up through the water column.

Secondly you could try trolling around the edge of the school allowing the soft plastic and jig head or blade to cross over into the feeding school. While doing this if you don’t get any strikes you could try free spooling the jig head back a couple of metres. This will allow the jig head and plastics to flutter down for a few seconds.


Suggested jig head and soft plastic combination:

HWS 1/60th oz, No one – Matched with a Streak 3.7 inch
HWS 1/40th oz, one or zero – Matched with a Streak 3.7 inch
HWS 1/28th oz, two or zero – Matched with a Streak 5 inch
TT Tournament series first or eighth to first or fourth oz,two or zero and three or zero – Matched with a Streak 5 inch

Try trolling for them

When slowly trolling any of the TT Tournament series first or eighth to first or fourth oz, two or zero and three or zero – Matched with a Streak five inch carefully cut off about a centimetre off the front of the soft plastic. This will make the soft plastic sit up tight against the jig head and remember to apply a small amount of super glue before putting the soft plastic onto the jig head.

When using braid I will have a fluorocarbon leader length of five to six metres in length. This will do two things; it will act as a bit of a shock absorber and this length of leader will not put the fish off taking the soft plastics.

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