Beach fun with salmon
  |  First Published: March 2004

WE’RE going to look at catching salmon on lures and bait from your local beach.

At this time of year salmon are around in big numbers from most beaches with plenty of fish around 2kg and fish up to 3kg swimming with them. Salmon are a great sportfish because they jump and fight really hard. On light line of around 4kg to 6kg they give you a work-out as they jump and run through the beach gutters and fight like demons in the shore break.

Salmon can be caught on bait such as pilchards, which would usually be fished on a three-hook rig of ganged hooks around 2/0 or 3/0 (one hook threaded through the eye of the one below it) and a sinker for some casting weight. This rig can be cast and slowly wound back through deeper water or where salmon are working baitfish on top.

Catching them on bait is fun but you’ll find that using small metal lures is a lot cheaper and easier. With a handful of lures such as Raiders or Lazers from 20g to 40g you can hook all the salmon you need to when they are feeding within casting range.

To fish the beach you need a 4kg to 6kg threadline outfit with a rod of around three metres. You can get away with something shorter but three metres is much easier to cast and fish in the surf. You can tie your line directly to the lure or use a metre of 10kg trace, if need be.

Then it’s just a case of walking the beach and casting to the deeper water or at salmon if you see them feeding on baitfish. They chop the water in their efforts to catch the4 baitfish and can be seen quite easily. Other times you might see them in the cresting waves.

Try not to cast the lure right into the middle of the fish if they are feeding – cast over the back or to the side so it doesn’t spook them and wind your lure back through the feeding school.

Salmon usually jump a fair bit when hooked as they try to throw the lure or hook. They are good at it and you’ll lose a few fish as they jump and the lure comes out but don’t worry. Sooner or later you’ll hook one and the treble will stay in so you can have some fun and land a salmon.

Salmon aren’t the best tasting fish around but they make nice fish cakes if you grill the fillets and then mix the flesh with mashed potato and a little onion. Your Mum will know how to make fish cakes so if you land a salmon, bleed it by cutting the blood vessels at its throat or the base of its tail and take it home pretty smartly if you can’t keep it on ice. If you catch a lot it’s best to let the others go as they can’t be frozen and eaten later.

When the salmon are on it gets pretty busy with lures getting hit as soon as they land in the water.

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