Beach salmon popular
  |  First Published: September 2013

Salmon have been quite prolific off the beaches. Virtually any beach with a few gutters is going to produce.

I recently guided an international group of students aged 18-22 and the ocean beach experience was something they will never forget.

They caught on the day salmon to 3kg and released plenty. At times there were double hook-ups.

The seas were moderate on a moderate swell to about 1.5m-2m sets from the east. They fished ganged pilchards with on relatively heavy rigs, with 3oz star sinkers.

Manly, Curl Curl, Collaroy-Narrabeen, Bilgola and mid Palm Beach have all been producing salmon and some tailor.

One of my first fishing experiences when I was a young teenager was fishing On Seven Mile Beach, near Gerroa on the South Coast.

I used my two-piece 8’ rod to cast a ganged pilchard on a calm, moonlit night. I distinctly remember hooking a good salmon and watching it jump several times, silhouetted by a full, silvery moon which had only just risen. Magic Moments!

Have you ever targeted luderick from the beach? It can be done successfully from places like South Curl Curl at the corner next to the pool and at the back of the Mona Vale Pool.

Use a running ball sinker to the swivel, about 30cm of leader and your favourite luderick hook with either cabbage or hair weed. Cast into the suds and surf next to or near the rocks on a high tide and you could be on to a real treat.

Normally luderick caught over sand and reef have a much lighter grey complexion.

If you normally use a centrepin reel for your luderick fishing, choose something else because in these circumstances a wider cast of 20m-plus is required.

But in some cases the fish can be less than 5m away, especially in darkness or low light. Give it a go; it’s something different and great fun.

A beach whiting outfit will suffice; the Wilson Mag Bream is a tried and tested model and an Alvey luderick side cast or a Daiwa Ballistic 2000 or 3000 threadline with 6lb braid or mono will be great.

Also have some metals, like the 45g Snipers, at hand so if you see some salmon boiling up you can quickly get rid of the luderick rig right at the knot just above the swivel.

The leader goes into the carry bag; tie on the metal and get it straight out there. Don’t dawdle, otherwise you can miss out.

When the action quietens off, tie on your luderick rig and you’re back into the blackfish action again.


Aerick Lee had a night fishing expedition to Manley’s Little Bluey for four rock blackfish (pigs or drummer) to 3kg and three bream to 750g on peeled endeavour prawns in a breadcrumb berley.

Other locations that have been producing include Long Reef, Warriewood, Bilgola and Barrenjoey headlands.

There are big differences between catching pigs in the daytime and at night.

The fish are willing to venture into very shallow water, as little as 1m-2m deep, and the often aggressive bite of a daytime pig can be as timid as a few tiny bites like a mado or sweep pecking at your bait.

But load up the rod tip and set the hook and then all hell breaks loose!

A recent session with Jordan Elliott produced two reasonable groper to 4kg. The larger fish was released and the 1.8kg specimen was kept for fillets. Typically, we used red crabs as bait and a berley of barnacles.

Divers tell me that groper are among the most prolific fish in the waters surrounding the ocean rocks. They say they often see dozens of 1kg-10kg fish in a 200m-300m stretch.

A big groper is one of the hardest fighting fish on this coast. It has a thick-set body which gives it plenty of low-down power, and a sizeable one is sure to challenge you.

Mat Sofi had a great session recently at Bluefish Point, catching at least two dozen trevally to 1.2kg and a stray king that was only a centimetre under the 65cm legal size.

It was released, along with the majority of the trevally. Only a few were kept for the plate.

Mat used 5kg mono to land the king, a good effort.

He said there were quite a lot of undersized snapper from 25cm-29cm, which is really unusual at Bluefish Headland.

At other headlands like Dee Why and South Curl Curl, it is common to catch these smaller reds in August.

That all changes when the swell is up around 1.5m, when the larger reddies around 32cm-40cm come into range. Fish the high ledges then.

Bear in mind that the snapper fishing at this time of the year can be a little slow so be patient.

On his memorable outing matt used three-quarter pilchards and peeled endeavour prawns in a pillie, prawn and bread berley.

He also decked some nice salmon to 2.5kg, great fun on the light gear.

Matt said at least three big schools of hundreds to thousands of fish were working the area.

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