While anglers pack away the boat and snapper fishing gear from yet another successful season, hoards of Australian salmon infiltrate Western Port, Port Phillip and our southeast and west coast surf beaches.
For countless Victorians, dusting off the garaged surf rod and reel is an automatic reaction once the cooler temperatures set in across the State. Weekend fishing adventures quickly turn to lugging kilos of gear down to the beach.
When the salmon do arrive, they usually range from 300-800g early in the season before salmon in excess of 1.5kg start to make their mark.
While the normal range of Victorian salmon may range from 600g-1.2kg, finding that beast of over 2kg can sometimes be a challenge. Many anglers do the hard yards to find fish of this quality and size each year, but consistent capture of these larger fish can be a challenge unless you know where to look.
Andersons Inlet isn’t really known for being a productive salmon fishery, but from April until early August, this location can boast some of the best land-based sports fishing for salmon the area has seen. While the majority of fish range from 800g-1.2kg, fish of over 2kg are common.
The mouth of Andersons Inlet is the most productive area. Fish the last two hours of the ebb tide as salmon school up in the entrance. The best access point is to stand near the exposed rocks, casting metal Lazer lures repeatedly. This spinning technique is highly productive.
If you perch high on the rocks, a channel buoy can be seen; casting towards this is the key to success. Once the lure has hit the water, wind as fast as you can. If you don’t, you will lose your lure on the reef just under the surface.
For all surf/beach spinning, I prefer a longer rod like that of the Shimano Nexave Shorespin 9. This rod gives excellent casting distance to reach those further reef locations where fish are. Matching this, a Shimano 4000 series Stradic spooled with 10lb braid and 14lb fluorocarbon leader.
Instinct Arma Lazers in 15g, 25g, 35g.
Black Magic Jigs 25g and 35g.
Head into Inverloch and follow Ramsey Boulevard until you reach the last car park adjacent to the mouth. Park, and walk to the beach.
Here you’ll notice the exposed rocks in which to fish from.
Williamson’s beach is known for harbouring some of the largest salmon caught each season. This beach is most likely the deepest along this side of the coast.
Although Williamsons beach is quite a walk in, the fishing here at times can be astronomical.
From June until Late August is the best time in catching one of these larger fish in the 2kg bracket.
Once on the beach, head for a gutter located about 400m to the left of the walkway. This gutter is the deepest along this stretch on a high tide.
Another gutter directly out from the walkway is very productive but if you can get there early and fish the one to the left you’ll have better success.
In a strong westerly this beach is difficult to fish and may become weedy.
Berley is still essential to get the fish congregating in the gutter. Once established, rig a paternoster tied from 14lb fluorocarbon leader with two droppers. Put a Bait holder 1/0 on the top and a long shank #6 or surf popper on the bottom. Use 4, 5 and 6oz sinkers here.
Follow the Bass Highway and take the Lower Powlett Road turnoff. Follow this until you reach the car park and follow the sandy walking path to the beach.
Kilcunda is most likely the most popular surf fishing beach along the East Coast. This is mostly due to it’s easy to access and find location being right on the Bass Highway.
Kilcunda is made up of two beaches: Cemetery Beach is slightly to the left of Kilcunda and accessed via a car park 500m up from the main car park while the main beach serves anglers well in season.
Both beaches aren’t known for holding big salmon but they are very consistent with fish in the range of 600g-1.5kg. This beach can become very weedy during a south westerly blow.
Cemetery Beach has one main gutter, which is quite wide accommodating many anglers. There is also a rocky point some 300m to the left which is also productive.
Kilcunda however has two main gutters and a rocky outcrop to the right. The most productive is the gutter just before the rocky outcrop.
Anglers can also fish off the rocks but be aware that rock fishing is dangerous at times.
Berley is a must to get the fish congregating in the gutter. Once established, rig a paternoster tied from 14lb fluorocarbon leader with two droppers. Put a Bait holder 1/0 on the top and a long shank #6 or surf popper on the bottom. Where possible, use as lighter sinker. If conditions are calm, heavy sinkers can prevent the fish from staying on the hook as the weight of the sinker can aid in dislodging it.
The Kilcunda turn off is on the Bass Highway just passed the Trestle Bride on your right. If you’re looking for Cemetery Beach, 500m past Kilcunda is the Kilcunda Cemetery turnoff. Take this, and just before entering the gates, turn left and follow to the car park.
Located on Phillip Island, Cape Woolamai is the most popular surf fishing beach on the Island. Though there myriad other beaches, Cape Woolamai is approximately 2km in length with many fishable gutters. It is comprised of two main beaches, Anzacs and Woolamai, with both being as productive as each other.
Anzacs has two main gutters; the gutter to the left of the stairs has a reef/pebble bottom while the gutter to the right is sand and deep.
Woolamai itself has plenty of gutters to fish. If you’re willing to walk, the further you get to Magic Lands, the rocky formation at the end of the beach, the larger the fish seem to be as the gutters tend to be deeper.
Berley is a must to get the fish congregating in the gutter. Once established, rig a paternoster tied from 14lb fluorocarbon leader with two droppers. Both hooks should be a Baitholder 1/0 or place a surf popper on the bottom dropper to prevent sand crabs from taking the bait. Heavy sinkers of 5-6oz will be required here as the current is strong. If the conditions are calm, heavy sinkers can prevent the fish from staying on the hook as the weight of the sinker can aid in dislodging it.
Head onto Phillip Island crossing the San Remo Bridge. Take the Woolamai Beach Road turnoff and follow to the end.
The first car park is Anzacs Beach while the end of the road is Woolamai.
Gunnamatta surf beach has the reputation as the most consistent night gummy shark fishery along this section of coast. Approximately 3km in length, Gunnamatta has a plethora of gutters worth exploring. Boasting some amazing salmon fishing, this beach is one that should be explored throughout the season. Best fishing tends to be in July and August.
Gunnamatta has about 10 or so gutters to fish. Although access is good from the car park, two gutters fish well. If you’re up for a walk, to the left of the beach some 700m you’ll find one of the deepest gutters.
In saying that, a good 2km stroll further and there is a reef system near the end of the beach. Here, snapper have been caught but also some very big salmon at times.
Berley is a must to get the fish congregating in the gutter. Once established, rig a paternoster tied from 14lb fluorocarbon leader with two droppers. Hooks in a Bait holder 1/0 pattern or long shank size 2 works best. Surf poppers in red/white or blue/white colours work well. Heavy sinkers of 5-6oz will be required here as the current is strong. If the conditions are calm, heavy sinkers can prevent the fish from staying on the hook as the weight of the sinker can aid in dislodging it.
Spinning with Lazer lures is also very productive when walking from gutter to gutter.
From Point Nepean Road at Rye, take the Truemans Road turnoff and follow to the end car park.
JARROD’S BERLEY RECIEPE
4kg of fish based berley pellets
1L of tuna oil
2L of hot water
2kg of pilchards
Mix all together until it is thoroughly blended together to form a thick paste. Then place in an onion bag and secure to your rod holder and place on the beach so each wave washes over it releasing the berley.
THINGS NOT TO FORGET WHEN SURF FISHING
A surf rod holder
Berley bucket or onion bag
Night lights for the rod tip or a head lamp if fishing after dark
JARROD’S IDEAL SURF FISING SETUP
ROD: Wilson Texalium 13’6 3 piece
REEL: Shimano Stradic 6000
BRAID: Black Magic Rainbow Braid 8kg
LEADER: Black Magic Fluorocarbon 14lb