How to catch Australian salmon

The hard-fighting Australian salmon is a year-round target, with the winter surf run in Bass Strait producing larger fish to 2 kilograms or more. Salmon are easy to catch if they are around and eagerly take lures and baits.

In the surf, salmon congregate in deeper water, searching for baitfish that get washed in by the pounding waves. Locating a well-defined gutter on a rising tide almost guarantees 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 reel with 15-pound braid is a perfect combination.

For dedicated bait fishers, or while casting a lure on a second rod, it pays to cast out baits on a 12-14 foot surf rod. The longer rod length aids in casting and helps keep the line above the shore break. Use braided fishing line in the surf because its thin diameter reduces the effects of side current. Combine it with pyramid sinkers to hold the bottom and keep baits in the zone.

A double dropper paternoster rig tied with 40-pound monofilament line is popular. Use blue bait, cut pilchard, whitebait, squid strips, and even pipi. The size of the fish you encounter will dictate 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 or metal.

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

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

For offshore fishing, salmon can usually be found around a headland. A metal slug cast into the white water and retrieved back fast is an effective way to catch them, as is trolling lures to cover ground and find a school. With average sizes larger than those in estuaries, offshore fishing for salmon is an exciting challenge.

Click here for bag limits on Australian salmon.