Here in the southwest, salmon are usually associated with a brisk northerly wind, on a winter’s morning. However, since early January, a few fish have been turning up around the Killarney area. Normally summer salmon tend to hang more offshore, and move on within a few days. These schools have hung around a little longer however. So how do you catch them?
Most anglers use a rod of around the 9 foot mark for chasing salmon off the beach. The extra length offers greater casting distance, as well as being able to get a better line angle on top of the waves. A line rating of minimum 4-7kg, maximum 8-10kg is perfect. You won’t have to fish any heavier than this. Match this rod with a 4000 or 5000 sized reel, and a 20/30lb braid. A combo like this can be used year round in any conditions for surf salmon. Some anglers have been running lighter tackle, of 7 or 8 foot light 2-5kg rods with 2500 reels. This makes for a lot of fun in the surf and the ability to throw smaller lures but still be able to play out a big fish. Metal lures have always been the #1 choice off the beach, try a 40g size to start. Stickbaits are arguably the most fun way to fish the beach, as the visual takes are something you won’t get with a metal. A 90-120mm stickbait of at least 20g is perfect. Lighter tackle does offer the ability to throw smaller floating stickbaits of 15g.
Interestingly, the fish lately have been feeding at different times during the day. Two weeks ago, the evening was the best time. A week later, middle of the day was preferred. Try time your trips around the high tide. Choose a day with a northerly wind (offshore), and a medium sized swell. Too small and the fish will head offshore. Too big and you’ll struggle to fish. A swell of 1.5-2.5m is perfect.
Killarney has been the spot to try lately, around the boat ramp and up to the sandy point around the corner. However, don’t discount locations such as Port Fairy’s East Beach/Golf Course, the Cutting, the Basin or Levies. Fish will move, and it’s a matter of right place at the right time.