How to catch Australian salmon

The hard-fighting Australian salmon is a year-round catch, with the winter surf run in Bass Strait producing larger fish weighing up to 2 kilograms or more. Salmon are generally easy to catch if they are around, and they eagerly take a range of lures and baits, responding positively to any berley in the water.

In the surf, salmon congregate in deeper waters, searching for baitfish that get washed in by the pounding waves. Locating a well-defined gutter on a rising tide is almost a guarantee of some action. Casting metal slice lures is a great way to stay active, and a 9-10 foot spin outfit paired with a 3000 or 4000 sized spinning reel with 15-pound braid is a perfect combination for some good sport.

For dedicated bait fishers, or while casting a lure, it pays to cast out baits on a 12-14 foot surf rod. The longer length aids in longer casts and helps keep the line out of the waves to some extent. Make sure to use braided fishing line in the surf, which reduces the effects of side current, and combine it with grapnel sinkers to hold the bottom in most conditions, keeping the bait in the zone.

A double dropper paternoster rig tied in 40-pound monofilament is popular, with a wide range of baits such as blue bait, cut pilchard, whitebait, squid strips, and even pipi working well. The size of the fish you are likely to encounter will dictate the hook size, ranging from size 2 right up to 1/0 for the bigger baits and larger salmon.

To keep your outfit out of the sand, add a rod holder made of PVC pipe. With the right gear and a bit of patience, you can enjoy the thrill of catching the hard-fighting Australian salmon.

Fishing for small to medium-sized salmon inside estuaries and lakes is an exhilarating experience when using heavy bream or whiting gear with 2.5-to-3.5-inch soft plastics rigged on a small jig head. These fish are not particularly fussy and can also be caught as bycatch using a range of hardbody bream lures. For bait fishers, selecting a channel with some current and setting baits on a small running sinker rig is a surefire way to attract salmon, especially when using some berley.

If you're specifically targeting salmon inside the estuaries, it's recommended to use a light to medium outfit, such as a 6.5-7.5-foot composite rod with a medium tip and a 2500-sized spin reel, 6-pound braid, and a 10-pound leader. This combo can also be used for casting lures.

For offshore fishing, salmon can usually be found around any headland. A metal slug cast into the white water and retrieved back fast or trolling a diving lure is an effective way to catch these hard-fighting fish. With average sizes larger than those found in estuaries, offshore fishing for salmon is an exciting challenge.

Click here for bag limits on Australian salmon.