Salmon save the day
  |  First Published: August 2004

THIS is one of the hardest months to fish the Sydney area.

Most of the bonito, kingfish and small tuna have moved on to warmer waters but. on the brighter side. the mighty Australian salmon can be still found in good numbers. If you have never caught one of these wonderful fighting fish, which pull hard and jump out of the water, shaking their heads as they try to throw the lure, it’s a good time to have go.

You can usually find the salmon schools in most bays, inlets and off beaches in the Sydney area.

If you find a school of salmon working the surface, take the time to see what direction and speed the fish are travelling. Don’t rush into the middle of the feeding school because often this will put the fish down for the day.

Most salmon schools work into the wind, so position the boat up-wind and wait for the fish to come to you. Often the boat will be surrounded by fish. Cast your lure or fly in front of the fish because this is where they are looking for a feed, not behind them.

If you are trolling lures or live baits, run your line long and work around the outside of the school, cutting in front of it so your lure will run through the school, not the boat.

Often at this time of the year the salmon will be feeding on very small bait and it can be hard for the spin guys to match the hatch. This is where the fly-fisher has the advantage. He or she can cast a small ‘eye’ fly that is the same shape and size as the bait the salmon are feeding on.

It can be frustrating to fish near a fly angler who is hooked up all the time and you can’t turn a scale. I always have some flies handy.

I tie a short leader with a fly on the end to the split ring where the lure’s treble is mounted. This will help sometimes but, if you stop, the fly sinks, so I carry a few floats so I have the weight needed cast a fly on spin gear. Then I can pause my retrieve without the fly sinking. A lot of salmon are caught on the pause when fly-fishing

You can also try some of the smaller soft plastics that are used to target bream. You will have to also use your bream sticks to cast these small plastics any distance but when you hook up, you will have a ball.

Often I will work a 4” and a 6” Slug-Go slowly and let them sit in the middle of the school and will hook up even if the salmon are feeding on small bait. If there are a lot of other boats working the school, try to give other anglers room to move and fish.

Have a look around, as quite often in the distance you will see birds flying around another school working. It can get pretty hairy when 30 boats are all casting metal lures around one school so if you can find another, safer, patch of fish, do so .

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