Winter spells Australian salmon
  |  First Published: July 2012

Each year I find myself nervously waiting July. July, being the heart of winter is a month that I have shunned since I was a kid.

I was recently opened up to another opinion about the fishing this time of year, realising July is not as bad as it seems! I have always been bias towards the summer time but soon found out that not everybody is a hater of winter like me. Some even prefer winter fishing over summer! (Yes, we are talking about the salt here).

Theories vary from calmer seas and weather (which results in more fishing opportunity) to a more scientific sale; a greater abundance of nutrients in cooler water (which results in mass planktonic blooms that ignite food chains and start feeding frenzies). Whatever your motivation, there is no excuse to NOT have a bend in your rod this month.

There are some cracker sand flatties to be caught this time of year! Too many times I’ve seen people struggle in other parts of the state, catching loads of legal fish just to get a feed. On sandy bottom from 20-40m deep, anywhere across the northwest coast, it is not uncommon to catch five flatties and feed a family.

The trick is to fish sinkers as light as you can get away with on the day. I find hook-up rates a lot better if using braid. Drifting and covering more ground is much more effective than anchoring up, as flathead are bottom dwellers and won’t move much to find your bait. Oily baits work best and be patient as you usually hit them in patches!

As I mentioned before, winter is a productive time of year for things like krill due to the high amounts of nutrients in the water. Krill is a big part of the Australian salmon diet and is also a good food source for smaller bait fish.

This is why we have some of our most intense salmon bust ups this time of year. River mouths are a great place to target big salmon, especially on run-out tides when the nutrients from inland are mixing into the ocean.

I have been doing well with my kayak by sneaking into the shallows of the Cam River mouth and fishing soft plastics. Other than that, you can usually find a salmon bust up near inshore reefs all along the coast and are easily brought undone by trolling or casting lures.

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