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Posted 03th May 2024

How to Catch Australian Salmon

How to Catch Australian Salmon
How to Catch Australian Salmon

By Jesse Rotin

Australian Salmon are one of the countrys favourite sport fish, their never give in attitude and expansive range is what makes so many Aussies, like me, keen to chase these speedsters. Sambos are always on the hunt for a feed and when you smash down baitfish for a living it certainly makes for some exciting takes, especially on a fast retrieved surface lure. Theyre like mini torpedoes as they charge down your offerings, sometimes quicker than you can retrieve them back. After that their acrobatic side starts to kick in with usually plenty of aerial activity. Whats not to love about them?  

Salmon range from the wide-open oceans, the adjacent coastline and even right up into our estuaries and no matter where you find them, the baitfish usually isn’t too far away, ready to be gobbled up. 

So, no matter the time of the year, find the bait, find the fish. The only variance is where they will show up, depending on the time of the year. Something I have noticed is that during the warmer months, salmon tend to show up more frequently in our bays and inlets, but as the temperature drops, they start to disappear and filter out along our surf beaches and the many gutters surrounding our coastline.  

Sambos off the beach can be a lot of fun, as you search for likely looking spots surrounded by the soothing sound of crashing waves within the surf zone.

What’s on offer

Whether you choose to cast lures or bait, salmon do not discriminate. Baitfish make up most of the humble sambos diet, usually made up of pilchard and whitebait but it can vary depending on locations. So, when it comes to using baits or lures always try and replicate a bait fish of some description.

Metal slugs in the 15-40g range have been catching salmon for years now and continue to put scores on the board. Soft plastics are another option, and one of my favourites for this type of work is the ever-reliable Bait Junkie Minnow in either 2.5in or 3.2in sizes. These lures can be fished just about anywhere. They can be trolled and cast, from the shore or on a boat and this is what makes them so deadly. Their shape and paddle tail on the back represents that of a baitfish perfectly. Salmon can often be seen balling up baitfish on the surface of the water and this is often made clear by the flocks of seagulls trying to collect up the scraps. Usually once spotted, the adrenaline starts to kick in and the need to get a surface lure in the mix is a high priority. Just the lure for the job is the trusty Infeet Slippery Dog. I frantically cast the lure into all the commotion of bust ups and begin burning it back with plenty of twitches, after that it’s just a matter of watching one of these Aussie speedsters smash it down.


I cant stress how versatile a 2-4 kg outfit is, there aren’t too many species that cant be landed on decent 2-4kg setup. A spinning rod around the 7ft mark matched with a 2500 reel, spooled with some 10lb J-Braid will muscle down even the largest of salmon. However, if your focus is more towards the surf and because baits and lures tend be on the heavier side then may I suggest a rod close to 8ft or longer with a 3000-4000 sized reel and I usually up the line to around 15-20lb along with the leader.


I dont think you can find a simpler fish in terms of presentation, especially when using lures and at times it’s a case of the faster, the better. A straight retrieve is usually enough to succumb any hungry salmon. Something I have been rolling with on my recent surf expeditions is shore jigging. This is where a slower more jig type retrieve, similar to soft plastics fishing is needed. For this, I usually lean towards wide bodied jigs which have a slower more fluttering action.

Just like other forms of fishing, theres no written rule on retrieves or techniques. So dont hesitate to get out and amongst one of our iconic Aussie species.

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