The season of the salmon
  |  First Published: October 2011

It was only about 15 years ago that you could buy kingfish for less than $6 a kilo, bonito fir $2.50 to $3 and trevally for nicks.

Thanks to the changing palate of the Australian consumer, educated by the Asian community, a raw piece of fish is now a delicacy.

On a South Australian holiday recently I witnessed Australian salmon being sold for $5 a kilo whole and fillets of going for an exorbitant $11.50! It may be only a matter of time before New South Wales will embrace the culinary delights of the salmon – well, maybe not for a few years yet. (Some people say salmon from cold water taste better – Ed.)

Salmon are entertaining and often easy fish to track off our ocean rocks and beaches throughout October. A whole pillie set on a gang of 3/0 to 4/0 hooks or a metal slug from 30g to 60g are reliable offerings for these tenacious fish.

Most anglers have cut their teeth catching sambos.

After dark from the same locations, tailor to 67cm are giving the early season jewie fishos like myself some entertainment. Places to try are Warriewood, Narrabeen and Dee Why beaches.

Some anglers have reluctantly whispered about jewfish to 7kg being caught but you have to put in the yards for a silver-gold slab, but this month it’s definitely worth starting for one.

Bream and tarwhine will be in good numbers if you bait up with half pilchards, peeled prawns, pipis or beach worms.

The whiting will increase this month in size and numbers. Fish to around 40cm are likely from Manly, Dee Why, Narrabeen Mona Vale and Bilgola beaches.

Go to the trouble to find live blood, tube or beach worms and success will follow as per the program. Usually late September to early October signals their first migratory run.


On the rocks the big black drummer (pigs) show up in good numbers this month. Fish ranging from 1.5kg thugs to 4kg tanks cause havoc for the luderick anglers so it makes sense to convert to heavier gear.

Use cabbage weed, peeled endeavour prawns and bread bait and don’t forget the extra-strong hooks.

Most rock blackfish haunts will produce; try Barrenjoey Head on the north and south faces depending on the swell direction. At this time of the year the sea can produce a large groundswell from the south or the north so change to the calmer (lee) side of the headland for safer fishing.

The same applies for Bluefish Point/North Head and Bangalley Headland.

Silver drummer are also a feasible choice, with some stud fish from 2kg to 7kg catchable and, on occasions, fish to 9kg that you will never forget.

Silvers have a tendency to sever the line with their kelp-chomping incisors so it is advisable to have a plan B. A 15cm length of plastic-coated 10kg to 20kg wire crimped to a No 1 to 2/0 double-strength hook will normally help you land silvers.

Unlike the ‘pig’ rock blackfish, which are ledge and cave dweller, the silvers will not take as much advantage of the rugged terrain – generally!

With the trevally on the way out and increasing numbers of snapper, kings, bonito and assorted fish on the way in, it is a thrill to experience that diversity of species that becomes available with the escalating water temperature.

Just remember to avoid being fixed on hunting exclusively for the more temperate species. Be flexible and fish according to the water temp – 16° to 18° for Winter species and 19° to 24° for the Summer ones.


Now let’s check out the eastern and southern rock and beach scenes.

Diamond Bay’s Rosa Gully has the odd good king on live baits. The most reliable and available livie is the yellowtail that can be caught from most wharfs in the Harbour.

The late run of trevally will keep anglers busy. Expect them to move on in the near future, although they have a tendency to hang around until the water really heats up.

Luderick are belting bread burley on the surface so keep an eye out for the telltale signs of surface boils around and near your berley trail.

Some nice bream are falling for the bread baits but are more common when fishing for the trevs with a mix of mashed pillie and bread berley. Fish with a float set a couple of metres above the bait or just with a very light ball sinker sliding straight to the hook.

Have some peeled prawns handy for variety; sometimes the blurters can be very fussy.

The old Bondi Murk, below the golf course, is a reliable producer at the moment with some trevally, pigs and bream. Kings are showing up on live baits, stickbaits and 65g to 85g metals.

Some of the pig action is right off the island and some luderick off Greene about 50m north of the old pipe. Fishing this area is recommended only for the more adventurous and nimble angler prepared to climb down the cliff.

Ben Buckler is producing trevally, bream and pigs. Remember to fish to fish the south-east point area only in relatively flat seas.

Bonito and salmon will be showing up in reasonable numbers from now on, so it pays to have a spin outfit on hand with some 25g to 65g metals. As soon as you spot some splashes and surface boils, punch the lure straight out there.

At Tamarama and Bronte there have been salmon, and tailer hitting bait and lures cast out on to the sand.

Coogee baths and Honeycomb are producing bream, luderick and pigs.

Fish towards the back of Lurline Bay for trevally, bream and luderick in a 1.5m-plus southerly swell.

The highlight of South Maroubra’s Yellow Rock is the occasional whopper king that has been caning anglers on 24kg outfits.

Distance casting is producing snapper, and some reds are also in with trevally and bream in the washes.

There are some Squid at Long Bay early in the morning and around dark. Juliann is producing kings, bonito and salmon on live bait and metals. Some luderick are available from the same area. Jolong has Squid, Pigs and Bream.

There have been some whiting at Bondi and Cronulla beaches.

Maroubra Beach is producing salmon and tailor on ganged pillies.

There are some bream and their numbers on all Sydney beaches will increase in coming days. Catching a nice swag of these fish off the beach is really pleasurable.

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