Troll, cast or fly?
  |  First Published: May 2008

May is salmon time along the Great Ocean Road, and there have been some big schools sighted lately.

Boats trolling metal lures behind the waves at Wild Dog and Marengo beaches have been catching plenty of salmon of around 1kg, along with the occasional bigger specimen. Soft plastic lures will also take plenty of fish when cast into the schools of frenzied fish. If you stop catching them, resort back to trolling until you locate the school again.

If the schools are right up on the surface and can be easily seen, then flyfishing is also a productive method of catching a few sambos. The best flies represent small baitfish. Try Clouser Minnows or Surf Candy on size 1/0 hooks, for example. If you let your lure or fly sink beneath the schools of salmon there is a good chance of hooking silver trevally, which will be schooled up below the salmon.

Beach fishers can get into the action by casting baits or lures into the deeper gutters along the surf beaches. Best beaches for this include Glen Aire, Mounts Bay, Wild Dog and Johanna Beach. Early morning and late afternoon produce the best bites. Use a 12-13’ surf rod matched with a 10kg line and 3oz sinker to help with casting distance and to keep your line above the breaking waves. I prefer white or blue bait when fishing from the beach, but just about any bait will work when the fish are around.

The river estuaries have been very productive for bream fishers lately, and both lures and bait are working well. Best baits include scrubworms, spider crabs and the good old frozen prawn. I like to use small hard-bodied lures such as the Ecogear SX-40 and Rapala Husky Jerk. When fished with a stop start retrieve around submerged snags, these lures are deadly on the local black bream.

Don't be surprised if a trout grabs hold either. The trout are feeding up in preparation for their annual spawning run. This is a good time of year to fish lures around the creek junctions, or where gutters are flowing into dirty water. The junction of the Aire and Ford rivers is a great place to target these pre-spawning fish, which are normally very fat and healthy. I have seen and hooked fish here that just seem too big for the river! A 4.5kg fish is not out of the question. Light, graphite rods up to 7’ long and 3kg line are best for this type of fishing.

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