Surf Scene Hotting Up
  |  First Published: June 2006

With the cooler months now upon us many dedicated anglers are focusing their attention on the fantastic surf fishing options available.

Jumbo gummy sharks and salmon can been landed from most Victorian surf beaches during winter. The key to catching them is to have a basic understanding of their preferred habitat and prey.

Gummy Sharks

Gummies are a prize catch for those prepared to brave the cool, wintery conditions on our beaches. Gummies rarely enter the surf zone to feed during daylight hours so most gummy fishing takes place under the cover of darkness.

A heavy surf rod capable of casting 4 to 6oz leads is preferred. Most anglers use an 8-wrap glass rod because they are a little more powerful than traditional 7-wrap outfits. Spin, sidecast and overhead reels are all fine, but make sure you are comfortable casting a heavy bait if using an overhead. There’s nothing worse than a big birds-nest on an overhead reel at night!

Gummies will eat small baits intended for salmon, however large, tough baits will yield more fish. Squid heads, cured eel, whole small fish (such as yakkas or slimies) and trevally all work well. They also love to eat juicy salmon fillets, which is a bonus given they are often found in the same area. For this reason it pays to keep the odd salmon if they’re about, before you start chasing the gummies. It might just mean getting to the beach a few hours early to fish the last of the afternoon/evening light.


Salmon (or sambos as they are affectionately called) can be caught day or night but usually feed more aggressively on a rising tide that coincides with sunrise or sunset. They grow to over 4kg, but most are between 1 and 2kg. Sambos prefer oily fish baits such as whitebait, pilchards or bluebait, but they will also take squid and pipis.

Although most anglers use a 7-wrap glass rod it can be too heavy for light, pleasant conditions. A 6-wrap rod feels much more comfortable and puts a little more sport into the fight. They are ideal for sinkers around 2 or 3oz.

The flesh from large salmon is very oily and the fish needs to be bled on capture if they are destined for the table. For this reason, many anglers choose to release bigger sambos. They do make good fish patties though and are terrific when smoked. Try hickory, blue gum or iron bark shavings.

Free Surf Trip

The staff at Cranbourne Fishing Tackle fish for salmon and gummies regularly over winter. We will be heading to a local surf beach in late June and would like to invite anyone interested to join us.

The plan is to meet at the store and travel (in your own vehicle) to the beach that is fishing best at the time. Please note that this is not a charter as such, just a relaxed get-together happening outside the bounds of the store. We are however, happy to help novice anglers with any tips to land a few fish! Please feel free to drop into the store and talk about the trip, or call us on (03) 5996 6500.

Salmon in the surf can be terrific fun with your mates. Aim to fish the beach on a rising tide and if you want to keep a few for the table, make sure you bleed them soon after capture.

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