by Jarrod Day
When it comes to surf fishing around Melbourne there are plenty of options within just a few hours drive along the east or west coastlines.
This is what Victorian salmon fishing is all about.
Though there are a myriad of beaches worth fishing, some standout from the rest. This is due to the water depth, prolific gutters and reef all that attract fish to the areas.
For countless Victorians, dusting off the garaged surf rod and reel is an automatic reaction once the snapper season is all over.
Weekend fishing adventures quickly turn to lugging kilos of gear down to the beach.
When the Salmon arrive in their hoards, they generally range from 300 grams to 800 grams. After a few weeks, larger fish arrive which can be in excess of 1.5kg’s. While the normal range of Victorian salmon may range from 600g to 1.2kg’s finding that beast of over 2kg’s can sometimes be a challenge. Many anglers do the hard yards to find fish of this quality and size each year, the odd one may be caught but to find that consistent capture of these larger fish can be a challenge unless you know where to look.
Jason Carroll's ARGO took first place in the Melges 32 Class. - 160th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta 2014
Andersons Inlet: Andersons Inlet is a quaint stretch of coastline that draws salmon which school up in the entrance. Though not really known for harbouring big salmon, this location can boast some of the best land based sports fishing the area has seen. While the majority of fish range from 800 grams to 1.2kg’s, fish of over 2kg’s are common.
Frank Milito from East Gippsland Charters displays a solid pair of bream taken from a deep snag.
Where to fish: The most productive section at Andersons Inlet is the mouth with most productive times to be fishing during the last two hours of the ebb tide. It is at this time that the salmon school up in the entrance. The best access point is near the exposed rocks right at the entrance. Anglers armed with metal lazer lures can cast repeatedly across the entrance to where the fish are holding. This technique, known as spinning is highly productive. If you perch high on the rocks, a channel buoy can be seen, casting towards this is the key to success. Once the lure has hit the water, wind as fast as you can. If you don’t, you will lose your lure on the underexposed reef.
Williamsons Beach: Williamson’s beach is a large stretch of coast which can become very popular with anglers when the salmon arrive. Known for harbouring some of the largest salmon caught, this beach is most likely the deepest along this side of the coast. Although Williamson’s beach is quite a walk in, the fishing here at times can be astronomical. From February onwards is the best time in catching one of these larger fish in the 2kg bracket.
Where to fish: Right out the front of the walkway to the beach there is a gutter located about 400 meters to the left. This gutter is the deepest along this stretch on a high tide. Another gutter directly out from the walkway is very productive but if you can get there early and fish the one to the left you’ll have better success. In a strong Westerly this beach is difficult to fish and may become weedy. Berley is a huge asset to this beach and will bring fish into your gutter if used sparingly.
They are not always big but fun nonetheless.
Kilcunda Beach: Kilcunda is the most popular surf fishing beach along the east coast. This is mostly due to it’s easy to find location being right along the Bass Hwy. Kilcunda is made up of two beaches, Cemetery Beach is slightly to the left of Kilcunda and accessed via a car park 500 meters up from the main car park while the main beach serves fisho’s well in season. Both beaches aren’t known for holding big salmon but they are very consistent with fish in the range of 600g to 1.5kg’s. Although a productive fishery, after a strong westerly blow, it can become very weedy which can make fishing difficult.
Where to fish: Cemetery Beach is a little off the beaten track but worth the effort due to how productive the fishing can be. The beach has one main gutter which is quite wide accommodating many anglers. There is also a rocky point some 300 meters to the left which is also productive.
Kilcunda however has two main gutters and a rocky outcrop to the right. The most productive is the gutter just before the rocky outcrop. Anglers can also fish off the rocks but beware; rock fishing can be dangerous at times.
Gary display's two typical Victorian salmon.
Cape Woolamai: Phillip Island is one of Victoria’s most popular holiday destinations and boasts some magnificent fishing year round. The main surf beach is known as Cape Woolamai and subsequently is the most popular surf fishing beach on the Island. Though there a myriad of other beaches, Cape Woolamai is approximately two kilometres in length with many fishable gutters. It is comprised of two main beaches, Anzac’s and Woolamai with both being as productive as each other.
Where to fish: Anzac’s has two main gutters; the gutter to the left of the stairs has a reefy/pebble bottom while the gutter to the right is sand and deep.
Woolamai itself has plenty of gutters to fish. If you’re willing to walk, the further you get to Magic Lands, the rocky formation at the end of the beach, the larger the fish seem to be as the gutters tend to be deeper.
Gunnamatta: Gunnamatta has the reputation as the most consistent night gummy shark fishery along this section of coast. Approximately three kilometres in length, Gunnamatta has a plethora of gutters worth exploring. Also boasting some amazing salmon fishing, this beach is one that should be explored throughout the season.
Where to fish: Gunnamatta has about 10 or so gutters to fish. Although access is good, from the car park, two gutters fish well. If you’re up for a walk, to the left of the beach some 700 meters you’ll find one of the deepest gutters. In saying that, a good two kilometre stroll further and there is a reef system near the end of the beach. Snapper have been caught but also some very big salmon at times.
Beach party - 2015 Port2Port Down Under Rally
With more and more anglers getting ready to hit the beaches in search of salmon it is often worth the effort trying new locations. Though the outlined are the most popular, getting there early in the morning is the key to success. If you can time it with a rising tide, you’re in for on sensational fishing session.
The right gear is required to be successful.
Lure fishing for salmon is a very popular affair when the fish are about in numbers.