Written by Andrew Badullovich. There is just something special about surf fishing. The sound of the crashing waves harmonizes with the screeching gulls and terns as they patrol the shoreline for a potential meal. That first rush of seawater that caresses your ankles forces your feet to settle into the sand as the receding waves fall back into the gutter. It truly is a place of relaxation, and catching a fish in this environment can almost be regarded as a bonus!
I love surfing fishing during any part of the day; however, the night period is my favourite time to test my luck. I prefer to fish the rising tide into the evening, and my ideal tide for this time of year falls 3 to 2 days before the New Moon. September is a great month for targeting Australian Salmon at night for three reasons.
1 – The gutters are close to shore during this time of year, which allows the salmon (among other species) to feed within casting range. I have also discovered that salmon will feed more ravenously during the evening and into the night.
2 – The Australian Salmon typically start their migratory runs around this time of year, and school up in massive numbers. The action can be so hot at times that it can result in a “fish-a-cast” if you discover a good gutter that will hold fish.
3 – Apart from the odd southerly buster generating a ground swell…the ocean is generally pretty flat with little swell. This makes fishing the surf easy: and while you’ll generally want a bit of swell and wave activity to stir things up during daylight hours, this theory can be thrown out the window during night hours.
Daiwa have many surf rods & reel combos that will serve you well for this style of fishing. I use a Lateo 110XH & Vadel 4000H. This combo is a bit of an all-rounder for me, and could be considered to be a little on the heavier side for salmon fishing; however, there are also some big sharks and mulloway patrolling those gutters at night too – and you’ll appreciate a heavier combo should you tangle with a beast of the night! This said, any rod around 11 to 13 feet with a line rating around 7-15kg is ideal. The reel need not be flash; nonetheless, I would recommend purchasing a reel that is MAGSEALED. Daiwa have an array to choose from, so check out the shore game selection via the Daiwa website.
The rig is simple. I use a paternoster rig consisting of a star shaped sinker, and a set of 6/0 hooks snelled together on a 30lb trace line of around 50cm long. This rig allows you to use a variety of baits such as pilchards and strips of mullet. It also keeps you in the market for that larger prey. It’s worth noting that a typical three-ganged hook will also suffice; however, ganged hooks can create awful tangles which can be hard to unpick at night.
WHAT! You eat salmon? Absolutely mate! I always take a feed of salmon home. They are not the greatest eating fish, but they do make fantastic fish cakes. I take equal portions of fish flesh to peeled potatoes (boiled), add in a few herbs and lemon, throw in an onion and an egg, and mix it in a food processor until all the ingredients are well mixed. I then form small patties of the mixture in my hands before dusting them with seasoned flour and shallow frying them in olive oil. Eat them hot with chips and salad, or cold on a sandwich with lettuce and aioli. Sensational!