Sizzling salmon action
  |  First Published: July 2007

Last month I reported that the salmon run this year was in full swing. Well, I was a little early! More schools have just kept on arriving but now I think it’s safe to say that the season is in full swing.

I have never seen so many schools of salmon in Apollo Bay – they literally stretch for as far as the eye can see. Boat anglers can chase the schools around as they bust up on the surface, chewing down hundreds of tiny little whitebait. Lures cast at the boiling fish are getting smashed with aggression as the fish fight each other for first strike at the lure. It’s fast and furious fishing and will leave you laughing out loud as one fish throws the lure then another one fights for it before it gets back to the boat.

I’ve found that a metal lure is easiest to use as long casts mean that you don’t have to motor the boat right up to the school, which sends the fish down deep. Sometimes the fish head straight at the boat and dive deep as they pass underneath. When this happens a metal lure can be simply dropped straight down and jigged vertically with near instant success.

I have also landed fish on soft plastics, deep diving plugs and trolled clear plastic tubes. Some diehard flyfishers are having success flicking small minnow pattern flies into the schools. Driving past the schools and waiting for them to head towards your boat is the best method of getting a fly amongst the hungry fish, and a fast stripped retrieve will get them excited enough to slurp it down.

Remember the net for this style of fishing, as the salmon will keep fighting forever unless scooped out of the water. A net also helps maximise the survival rate of released fish. Fish kept for a feed should be bled straight away and put in an ice slurry to keep them fresh.

Beach anglers can target the salmon from both Wild Dog Beach and Mounts Bay, with most action occurring around the high tide. Again casting metal lures has been the most effective method although the baitfishers have also taken plenty on whitebait and bluebait.

Check both beaches before setting up and look for leaping fish or dark patches in the water to locate the schools of fish. When fishing from the beach remember a good pair of chest waders so you don’t get wet when casting. Some of the lure fishermen find that because they are constantly casting, a wetsuit is a better and safer option compared to the risk of filling the waders with cold water from unexpected waves.

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