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  Gone Fishing  Fish File

Australian Salmon


Arripis trutta/truttaceus

Even though Australian Salmon may not be regarded as a prized table fish compared to whiting or snapper, salmon does offer a unique property to anglers in being able to provide an excellent fight with long, hard runs and acrobatics out of the water. It is a schooling fish found in coastal waters and embayments in southern Australia, and is no relative of the true salmon. It is in fact, a perch. The flesh tends to be dark if a caught fish is not bled straight away (remove gills, snap its spine at the head and invert it, head down into the sand) as well as course, but eaten fresh, its distinctive flavour lends itself to recipes with strong accompanying flavours.

During January, large schools of salmon gather along the NSW and Victorian coastline and migrate to Western Australia. They spawn at sea and then, as they move along the coast, they enter bays and estuaries feeding on small bait fish such as pilchards and whitebait. The younger variety is often know as salmon trout. By the time they reach Western Australian coast, they can be up to 9 kg in weight, and 4 ft long.

Autumn and the winter months are recognized as the best seasons for catching salmon around the Yorke and Eyre peninsulas. Brown's Beach as of late has become increasingly patchy as far as catches are concerned, but high tides coinciding with dusk or dawn is still a good bet in the lagoon at Brown's. Streaky Bay, Locks Well, Pt Sir Isaac (near Coffin Bay) can produce reasonable sized catches, even during daylight hours. Western beaches on the Eyre peninsula tend to provide better catches than those beaches on the Yorke, due to less numbers travelling to the Eyre.

Legal Minimum Length

Current Limit: 21 cm  [Previous: 21 cm]

Bag Limit

Current Bag Limit (21cm - 35cm): 20 per person  [Previous: No Restrictions]
Current Boat Limit (21cm - 35cm): 60 per boat  [Previous: No Restrictions]
Current Bag Limit (over 35cm): 10 per person  [Previous: 15 per person]
Current Boat Limit (over 35cm): 30 per boat  [Previous: 45 per boat]

Type of Tackle

If beach fishing, a rod from 3.5 to 4.0 m is perfect. For boat fishing, a 2 m rod should suffice. Line strength from 7 to 10 kg is recommended, especially when fishing around rock ledges. A BaitRunner reel is ideal for salmon fishing, especially when they are not on the bite.

Hook Selection

Triple ganged 4/0 chemically sharpened hooks, using a 12 kg monofilament line for snelling is the way I go. I make my own rigs ....... its cheaper ! If the salmon are really biting, you could use a double ganged rig with a half pilchard. Also, lures of 110 gms are ideal as well.

Baits Used

Pilchards are by far the best, You can also use small garfish, whitebait or cockles. Change your bait frequently.

Berley Mix

A berley mix of the diced pilchards and pellets soaked in tuna oil works very well. If beach fishing, tie a rope to the berley bucket and stake it near the shore line and let the waves do the work for you. Salmon prefer the rising tide, and have a tendency to stay within the surf.

Rigs Used

Rig No. 1
Salmon can be fussy biters, and this rig will give you the sensitivity to feel every small bite. When using this rig, sand crabs have a tendency to make lunch of your bait and if fishing with a rig where your bait is suspended, mullet will bite and eat the stomach of your pilchard. So, change your bait frequently, every 20 minutes.

Rig No. 2
This is one of the most common and used rigs for salmon. The heavy sinker gives the rig the stability when used in rough surf and strong tides, and the bait is suspended off the bottom, away from sand crabs. The heavy sinker also gives you the weight to cast further, beyond the first shore breakers if fishing from a beach.

Rig No. 3
This rig is best suited if fishing off a rock ledge, or a boat. When fishing off a rock ledge, look at the tide and motion of waves to determine the best place to cast. Otherwise your rig may float towards the rocks and snag.

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