Australian salmon may not be the greatest fish to eat but the fight they put up is tremendous fun. When you hook a salmon, you know you’re going to be in for a battle. Salmon will put a bend in your rod and go for miles with continuous runs peeling line off your spool.
A broad shouldered and chunky fish, Australian salmon are considered the torpedo of the bay and are renown as one of the best sporting fish within reach of the typical land based fisherman. When your preferred fish isn’t biting, salmon are a great alternative. The Newport boat ramp (also known as the ‘Warmies’) is a nice close ramp from Melbourne’s CBD to launch from.
The peak season to target Australian salmon is from March to September, fishing early morning or late afternoon. Salmon are a schooling fish and are always looking for food so if you are lucky enough to spot a school, the chances of hooking one is almost guaranteed. That being said, a few hours either side of high tide will enable your best chances of hooking one.
There are many techniques and styles to target salmon but the most popular is casting metal lures and slugs that resemble little baitfish. A lure such as the Halco Twisty is the perfect candidate. Coming in a range of different sizes and colours, the Halco Twisty is perfect for those long casts. Whether you’re on a boat or land based, covering ground is the key to finding the fish. How do you find the salmon? Diving birds and moving dark patches are signs that can indicate a school of salmon beneath the surface.
While Salmon can turn up almost anywhere, they tend to gather over and around gravel beds within sheltered bays and around the base of jetty pylons when they’re not herding baitfish. A successful method to cover ground while boating is trolling. This method consists of throwing a few lures out the back of your boat while driving at a slow speed. This way you aren’t just looking for the fish, you’re fishing at the same time. Another method that has proven to be very effective for catching salmon is bait fishing. Using a simple running sinker rig with 40-60cm of leader line and a bit of your favourite bait will receive interest almost every time.
When it comes to targeting salmon I like to use a 2-4kg rod with a 2500 sized reel. This allows me to put a bit of grunt on the fish but considering it’s a light outfit you still have a heap of fun. Whether I’m fishing on the bottom or flicking lures I like to go as light as I can when it comes to using a leader line. Luckily Australian salmon don’t have sharp teeth meaning you can go a little bit lighter. However, taking structure into consideration is a must, if you are fishing around structure such as pylons and reefs you might want to go a heavier leader because salmon tend to put their heads down and the chances of getting wrapped around a snag are likely.
Overall the salmon population in the top end of the bay have a lot to offer for both fishers on a boat and on land to take home for a feed or to keep as bait. The minimum legal size is 21cm and the bag/possession limit is a total of 20 fish.Reads: 623