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					 Southern Nomad                                                               Salmon
                                                                              Arripus truttaceus

Australian Salmon are not what you would call great eating but they are definately one of the most fun
mid size fish to catch. More than just acrobats, salmon use their wide, strong shoulders to fight harder
than almost any other fish you can catch from the beach or rocks in southern WA.


                                            THIS PICTURE: Margaret River has some very
                                            secluded beaches where light tackle fishing for
                                            salmon is extremely exciting
                                            BELOW INSET: Trolling Halco Scorpions around
                                            Rottnest Island is a productive way to target
                                            salmon through April and May




Of the two species found in Australia,
WA is lucky enough to get the largest
of them and each autumn signals the
start of the annual run up the coast.
Salmon are a true sportfish and, once
you look past them as a table fish, there
are few others that can match them.
                                            that they were named by early settlers            fished species but is nowhere near as
Scientific Information                      after the fish they most resembled.               important to professionals as the salmon.
Just like the fish we call a herring,           Australian salmon (not to be                      Indeed, juvenile salmon so
the Australian salmon is actually a         confused with the pink fleshed                    closely resemble a herring that the
type of perch and the WA fish is a          Atlantic salmon not found in WA) is               only way the average angler can tell
slightly different species to the east      very closely related to the herring or            them apart is through their eyes.
coast Australian salmon. It is believed     tommy ruff. Herring is a commercially             Herring have a much larger eye than

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                                                 any potential schools working their        through Dunsborough and, although            sandy beach. A much safer alternative      inshore temps aren’t right, such as in      range of metal slices, with the Sniper
      Salmon
                                                 way up from further down the beach.        many fish can still be caught, you           is to fish the protected side around       2005, the bulk of the fish will stay well   60 and Raider 65 accounting for
                                                     Just don’t get caught looking in       have to work a lot harder. Firstly, you      areas such as Bunkers Bay, Rocky           offshore. If they are to the salmon’s       numerous salmon catches every year.
                                                 the same direction as nude bathers, as     have to try and keep up with the             Point, Eagle Bay and Meelup Beach.         liking, beaches, groynes and jetties will   The trusty Halco Twisty in 55g or
                                                 they’re just not going to believe you      faster moving schools which test your            Bunkers Bay would have to be           be full of them as they were in 2006.       70g is another one on the priority
                                                 that you’re searching for salmon schools   stamina in the soft sand. Secondly, these    one of the best on this side of the        But in 2007 the water was somewhere         list. The biggest advantage of metal
                                                 instead of “white pointers” … trust me.    fish have one thing in mind - getting        Cape, however you still have to be         in between and the season was too.          slices is that they can be cast a mile,
                                                     The schools look like reefs            back towards Albany and Esperance,           very cautious in large swells which                                                    even against a stiff seabreeze, which
                                                 but wait, are they moving slowly           having bred their little backsides off, so   whip around Naturaliste. This entire       Beach Fishing for Salmon                    is quite common in WA’s south.
                                                 north? Yes! It’s salmon!                   it can be a little more challenging to       area is popper casting heaven and          If you’re confined to beach fishing              Migrating schools can be moving
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                very fast and the dedicated anglers will
      a salmon, which have small eyes in                                                                                                                                                                                        literally chase them. A very productive
      comparison to most pelagic fish.                                                                                                                                                                                          method is to land your metal slice just
          Salmon have breeding grounds in                                                                                                                                                                                       behind the moving school, let it sink
      Esperance and Albany, but usually come                                                                                                                                                                                    and then crank it hard from the bottom,
      on their breeding migration up the WA                                                                                                                                                                                     right through the school so it pops
      coast to end up around Rottnest Island.                                                                                                                                                                                   up right in front of their noses. This
      The fish gather in mid-summer around                                                                                                                                                                                      technique can turn a 600km round
      the south east coast and migrate north,                                                                                                                                                                                   trip from a 2 fish day into a 15 fish day,
      spawning in March and April each year.                                                                                                                                                                                    but make sure you’ve put in a good
          The ocean current then takes                                                                                                                                                                                          pre-season first or a coronary bypass
      the eggs south, ending up around                                                                                                                                                                                          might be in order by early afternoon.
      South Australia in some cases but                                                                                                                                                                                              You also needn’t get to your
      others don’t make it out of WA. As                                                                                                                                                                                        southern beaches at stupid o’clock
      the warm, summer waters around                                                                                                                                                                                            in the morning. In fact, the schools
      Perth cool, large schools invade                                                                                                                                                                                          are migrating constantly so it’s a
      the metropolitan area and we get a                                                                                                                                                                                        timing thing rather than trying
      couple of months of salmon fever.                                                                                                                                                                                         to pick a feed time. If the food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                presents itself, it’ll be eaten!
      How to Catch Them                                                                                                                                                                                                              This means you can set off from
      During the months of March through                                                                                                                                                                                        Perth in the early morning, reach
      to May, the stretch of coast between                                                                                                                                                                                      Dunsborough or Yalingup by 10am
      Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin                                                                                                                                                                                         and be there for the best visibility
      usually holds good numbers of                                                                                                      hours upon hours can be spent fishing      in Perth, salmon tend to move in            as you scan the horizon for salmon.
      salmon, but you need to move around                                                                                                the various reef structures that span      from deeper waters to the coast in          You can fish 10-3pm and still be
      from spot to spot to find the fish.                                                                                                across this extremely fishy bay.           the morning and late afternoon to           home to hit the peak hour traffic, so
          There is an old saying too: “When                                                                                                  If you have a boat, trolling shallow   feed. Fish from a beach in the same         a day trip for South West salmon is
      you hear about it, it’s often too late.”                                                                                           running minnow lures in calm water,        way you would fish for tailor and           very common for Perth anglers.
      This means people leave it too late                                                                                                or deeper divers such as Tilsan Bass and   you may find you pick up both.                   When the northern migration slows
      before their first trip for the year                                                                                               Scorpion 120s in a swell or chop, is a     Look for beach gutters where they           or is over, but smaller schools are still
      in search of them. Traditionally,                                                                                                  great way to prospect for moving fish.     will sit and ambush baitfish.               around, bait fishing is now the most
      people associate Easter with salmon                                                                                                    You can often see them free                We’ve found that a Paternoster          productive. Have a lure casting outfit
      and, although there are schools                                                                                                    jumping as they cut through bait           rig with an impact lead on the              ready, but also anchor your half mulie
      around, the bulk may have already                                                                                                  fish, or find them under packs of          bottom and a single gang of two             or, even better, herring fillet out just
      moved through on their journey                                                                                                     wheeling birds. More often, however,       5/0 hooks is perfect, as salmon like        past the breakers on your surf rod.You
                                                   ABOVE: Ben Patrick from Halco with a
      closer towards Perth’s waters.                                                        tempt a fish into engulfing your lure.       they’ll be hard to see and you just        smaller baits. Half a mulie or a fillet     can leave it in your rod holder and
                                                   monster salmon caught using the very
          As salmon migrate through the            productive Trembler from shore              We should highlight that the              need to troll over likely ground.          of herring is best if you just want         wait for the schools to wander past and
      Yallingup to Dunsborough region                                                       Yallingup to Dunsborough region is               In Perth, the peak fishing time is     to soak a bait and wait. Salmon             nail the bait. Fresh herring are easily
      during March, their eyes on the prize of                                              prone to big swells, and rock fishing        from March to May, when large schools      fishing from the beach is certainly         obtainable from most salmon beaches
      a bit of the old how-ya-goin’ when they        The longer you leave your trip,        in particular can be very dangerous.         of 3-6kg fish take up residence around     a waiting game because they rarely          and the fillets are soft, give off lots
      arrive in Perth, the schools move quite    the harder it will be to catch fish,       Always remember that king waves              reefs from Rockingham to Rottnest          stay in one place too long, constantly      of smell and make hookups easier.
      slowly. For those that haven’t seen this   as once the salmon have completed          are a common occurrence during               in particular. Spots to try include        moving up and down the beach.                    Poppers can also be used off the
      sight before, it is simply mind blowing.   their spawning they head south             these time periods. Some of the              Coventry Reef near Rockingham and              Although a lot of people bait           beach and, for visual entertainment,
          Imagine a tight ball of salmon the     and this is commonly known as the          areas on the western side that are           Fish Hook Bay at Rottnest’s west end.      fish, we have to say that lure fishing      you just can’t beat them. If you land
      size of your lounge room, much bigger      back-run. Unlike the salmon which          prime salmon locations include                   Beach fishing success will depend      can be more productive when the             most lures amongst salmon schools,
      at times, slowly working its way within    are heading north in tight schools         Canal Rocks, Smiths Beach, Torpedo           largely upon whether storms break          salmon are migrating in large schools.      the probability of getting a hookup is
      casting distance up the beach, towards     at a slow and steady pace, the same        Rock and Sugarloaf Rock.                     up the big schools around the islands      We’ve tested out several lures over the     quite high and poppers will certainly
      Perth. A trick of the trade is to use      back-run fish move much faster.               Smiths Beach is a safer location in       and send them off towards shore in         years and have found for consistency        get smashed no worries at all. They
      polarising sunglasses and to carry a           By mid to late April, these salmon     rougher conditions and the salmon are        smaller packs. Water temperature can       you can’t beat using a metal slice.         are, however, more effective in locating
      pair of binoculars to keep an eye on       are well and truly heading south           certainly easier to spot over the white      also play a big part because if the            The company Spanyid has a great         fish and, when the going is tough,

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                                              try to get some advice from tackle         that you have seen others catch fish        2 to 8 kilo, overhead or spinning reel,       the back of the boat, you’ll need to        along the western side of the bay and
      Salmon
                                              stores as to where the salmon              recently is the key to success.             but pick something you can easily             change to a deeper diver. The size of       into the open ocean. This is a marine
                                              have been popping up lately but                The final hotspot to consider is        troll with that has a good drag.              the swell will play a big factor here.      park to protect the reef animals but
                                              Floreat, Cottesloe, Swanbourne and         the Dawesville Cut in Mandurah. The             Salmon will take plenty of line but           Lures for casting at schools can        as long as you’re under motor and
                                              White Hills are four favourites.           outer rocks are perfect for spinning        there are speedier and tougher critters       really be anything.You’ll be using your     trolling for migratory fish rather than
                                                  Sometimes, beach fishers are           as early as late March and spending         in the same area that will sort the cheap     casting outfit when you spot a school       stopping to tax the reef, it’s all legal.
                                              frustrated by huge schools of salmon       some time anchoring a durable               stuff out pretty quickly.You can fish         so a cheap white marabou is just as             Keep a good eye on your rod tips
                                              that will not even look at a bait, fly     bait off the end is sure to produce,        lighter than from shore and I tend to         good as a $20 minnow. The key here          to make sure those lures are really
                                              or lure. In this case I recommend live     especially early in the season.             troll with a baitcaster or spinning reel      is fun, so choose a lure you like and       humming.Vibrations will attract schools,
      casting poppers around structure is     herring, which they find hard to resist.       If you have a dinghy, you can really    loaded with 6 kilo Stren IGFA mono            flick it around. It might also pay to use   but also have one guy on “bottom
      a great way of attracting them.                                                    clean up at times, but I’ve seen salmon     that’s got a little stretch and I have a      the cheap ones first, unless you don’t      watch”. This is nothing like the sort of
         Salmon can’t resist the commotion    Rock Fishing for Salmon                    being hauled in from the rocks and          2 kilo casting rod waiting on the side.       might losing the expensive ones! When       bottom watch you’re no doubt expert at
      of a popper splashing across the        Rock fishing can be an easier              completely ignore trolled lures. It seems   Although they only have small, raspy          they’re really fired up, try a popper and   watching along Cottesloe Beach, this is
      surface imitating a fleeing baitfish.   proposition.You can pick up salmon         that the best place to cast lures is from   teeth, we find a 20kg coated mono             you’ll end up needing a defibrillator.      polaroiding for schools under the boat.
      A favourite has to be the Fat-R by      all day but it’s more than likely          the southern wall, almost near the end      leader is required to avoid bustoffs.             If the salmon are boiling it’s a no         Now you want to find an area to
      Lively Lures and the trusty Roosta                                                 but just before the last gap that leads         Lures for both are important.             brainer to find them but, when they’re      work. Don’t limit yourself to just the
                                                                                         to the beach. There is just something       We’re going to be trolling around             not visible and hard to find, you need      reefs close to the island, they go off
                                                                                         about that corner that they love.           bommies and the usually hairy                 to get the salmon spy kit out and           in all directions with great ledges and
                                                                                             When a big salmon feels the             “Chicken Run” so you’ll need a                start searching. The obvious places are     bommies found even more than a
                                              THIS PICTURE: Luke Ryan landed             hooks it will usually do a bit of head                                                                                                kilometre from the West End. Try to
                                              this superb salmon from the
                                              Dawesville Cut using only 2 kilo           shaking followed by a few short                                                                                                       make a grid pattern and cover as much
                                              tackle and a bream rod                     runs, but then it leaps skywards as it                                                                                                of the ground as possible and keep an
                                                                                         tries to rid the hooks. If it fails to do                                                                                             eye out for birds working the surface.
                                                                                         so it will then power off on longer                                                                                                       I’d have to say that 85% of my
                                                                                         runs that are broken up with more                                                                                                     salmon hookups are nowhere near
                                                                                         leaps and thrashing gill shakes.                                                                                                      birds but that doesn’t mean you should
                                                                                             It is important to have a smooth drag                                                                                             discount them altogether. Some of
                                                                                         on your reel that is well maintained,                                                                                                 my best sessions have been under
                                                                                         as a five or six kilo salmon will easily                                                                                              birds when the fish have a bait school
                                                                                         break ten kilo line if the drag is stuck.                                                                                             cornered and are going to town.
                                                                                         If you keep the pressure on the fish and                                                                                                  The rod goes down and the fish
                                                                                         tire it out you will usually have won                                                                                                 tears off with your deep diver! The
                                                                                         the battle, just be prepared to lose many                                                                                             first reaction is to stop the boat, but
                                                                                         fish as they jump and throw the hooks.                                                                                                give it another 6-8 seconds before
                                                                                             In late May and June, Margaret                                                                                                    you stop your forward momentum.
                                                                                         River and Augusta can really fire                                                                                                     The key here is to get another rod
                                                                                         and, even later as the season winds                                                                                                   hooked up because this really pumps
                                                                                                                                     THIS PICTURE: Salmon aren’t great eating
                                                                                         down, heading to Esperance and              so please release your catch carefully to                                                 the school full of adrenaline and makes
                                                                                         Albany is your best bet. Their local        ensure the survival of this great sportfish                                               them eager to hit anything in sight.
                                                                                         beaches are usually home to at least                                                                                                      This is especially good if you have
                                                                                         a few salmon all year round.                                                                                                          three or more people on the boat
                                                                                                                                     lure that bites in and stays down. It’s       ledges and bommies but I can’t stress       because now you can try to keep the
                                                                                         Boat Fishing                                easy to see why this reef break right         enough how important it is to be            school near you and constantly feeding.
                                                                                         As the first schools round Cape             near Cape Vlamingh was given this             careful around the west end. It’s full of   If there’s only two of you, it might be
                                                                                         Naturaliste, it’s a great time to tow       name, as the waves break right along          nasty rocks and freak waves so don’t get    better to fight just one fish until the first
                                                                                         your boat south and get into mind           the length of the reef and brave souls        close unless you understand the area        comes close, then look for a hookup
      by Halco is another beauty.             you’ll see them in the morning and         blowing salmon action. The schools          play a game of “chicken” with the             well. I’ve seen otherwise experienced       right near the end. Keeping one fresh
          Gear wise, a 3-4kg salmon           late afternoon. They tend to travel        are easy to spot and simply trolling        breaks. Not for the faint of heart.           boaties get the red mists and make          hookup in the water at all times can
      on even 6-8kg line is a handful         along groynes like North and South         shallow running minnows will find               Trihos are good casting lures for         poor choices out there near Chicken         work to hold the fish near your boat as
      (especially around reefy areas) as      Mole, Point Peron and Penguin              the schools. They can be ravenous.          salmon (I’ll often have a Min180 or           Run when the salmon are biting.             they try to keep up with the action.
      they will run long and often and get    Island in smaller schools, working             In Perth, the best spots to start       120 on my 2 kilo casting outfit) but              If it’s safe, the first place I start       When the trolled fish is ready,
      more than a metre in the air, gills     up and down then heading back to           with are islands off Fremantle              I don’t like them for trolling here in        trolling is the entrance to Fish Hook       try casting a reasonably heavy soft
      flared, trying to shake the hooks.      the beaches, before making similar         but the reefs around Rottnest               the swell because, like most shallow          Bay. As a kid, I’d spin from the high       plastic, let it sink, then work a retrieve
          For this reason, a good casting     raids at spasmodic intervals.              Island offer the sportfisher real           runners, they tend to pop out of waves.       cliffs and easily pick up 4 or 5 salmon     consisting of short lifts and winds. If the
      8-10kg mono is probably best                A small mulie or live herring is,      excitement and a sense of challenge             Halco Scorpions and Tilsan                a day as they curved into the bay           salmon are down, you will raise them
      to start with and a spinning reel       once again, our recommendation for         that nowhere else in Perth can.             Barras are generally what I like to           before heading back out along the           this way and they can’t resist soft tails.
      beats an overhead for casting           more hookups, but lures work well              The most obvious place to start is      use and anything green is what I’ll           reefs, hunting voraciously as they go.          If your first trolling pattern doesn’t
      distance and winding speed              if the school is there and feeding.        with boat fishing tackle and this is an     start with. Gold and mulie patterns               Drive carefully into the bay and        work, head back into Fish Hook Bay
      unless you’re a reel expert.            As with most fishing, dedication           important choice. Not so much with          are also good performers, but if you          set out a couple of deep divers. Now        and start the same pattern again. This
          When picking a beach in Perth,      and spending time at one place             the rod and reel, anything will do from     see your lure bouncing around at              start your troll at about 4-5 knots out     gets you into a routine that is going to

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      Salmon
                                                     out either, with schools patrolling        sort of alright but, if you just want
                                                     the inshore waters from Cottesloe          to experience the thrill of releasing
                                                     through to Hillarys on good years.         a big salmon, then quickly remove
                                                         The 2007 season wasn’t so easy         the hooks, take a photo and slip them
                                                     and the fish were scattered far and        back into the water to fight another
                                                     wide offshore. We found schools as         day. Salmon are pretty tough and
                                                     deep as 35 metres out of Hillarys          will power off after even a long fight,
      bring success if you have the patience.        that show up as large balls of red         unless they have been gill hooked
          It’s also one of the few places I like     and yellow on your sounder.                and blood loss begins to take its toll.
      some other boats for company. A lot                To target them, we drive around            These fish are far too valuable as a
      of salmon chasers will watch out for           looking for these schools, always          recreational species to the community
      hookups from other boats and head              towing a couple of jetheads with           as a whole than the money they earn
      over to join the party. This is mostly         pink skirts, and often you’ll hit them     for a few commercial fishers. Once
      a good thing, as the fish will get fired       on the jetheads just after the ball        you have spent several hundred dollars
      up, so make a ring of boats around the         shows up on the sounder. At other          in tackle, fuel, accommodation and
      edges of the school and keep working           times, we had to put the deep diving       everything else that goes with travelling
      them as a team. Take the time to do            minnows in and troll in circles to raise   south to catch these fish, you will see
      this and communicate with other                a disinterested school. Mostly, they’d     where the benefits lie for the economy.
      boats and you’ll find you can have a           come up in less than five minutes.             Once you hook one you will
      school going off for an hour or more.              On the same day we’d often find        gladly part with more money to do
          The same techniques work in                a school lurking just behind the 3         it again and again. Add up how many
      other areas and salmon schools                 Mile Reef on the way back in so            thousands of recreational anglers are
      will be holed up around Coventry               don’t discount any area in salmon          all doing the same thing and you
      Reef, Garden Island and all the reefs          season when you’re hunting.                will soon realise that each salmon
      along the way to Rottnest in season.               On the table, salmon can be eaten      is worth far more as a recreational
      Northern suburbs fishos don’t miss             and, with care, they can come up           species than a commercial one.




                           20cm 10kg Mono                           50cm 20kg Penn 10x Leader

                                                                                                  Gang of 4x2/0 Kirbys for Mulie or
                                                                                                  2x5/0 Kirbys for a ½ Mulie


                                                         Running Star or Spoon Sinker


                                                                                    CALM BEACH FISHING



                                         Single Piece of 20kg Penn 10x Leader

                                           Surgeons
                                           Dropper Loop
                                           or 3 Way Swivel                                             Impact Lead Sinker




                                             Gang of 4x2/0 Kirbys
                                             for a Mulie or 2x5/0
                                             Kirbys for a ½ Mulie                        ROUGH BEACH FISHING



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