Catching Australian Salmon on the fly.
Salmon are a premier Australian sports fish on the fly and each the runs are anxiously awaited by fly fisho's throughout the bottom half of the country. They inhabit shallow inshore areas, eat flies with gusto, fight well and love to jump. A perfect target for the fly gear!
There are 2 seperate populations of Salmon in Australia, Those that inhabit the South East and those that inhabit the South West. The split in populations occurs somewhere near the Vic / SA border. East coast fish rarely match the gross size of their Western cousins but the techniques and tactics remain much the the same. Salmon are a pelagic schooling fish that primarily feed on baitfish, so keep your eye out birds, they will often be tracking the school waiting for a smorgasbord when the salmon locate their prey.
This really depends on the size of fish your chasing. for smaller 1-3kg fish you will no doubt get away with 6-8 weight outfit. For the bigger 4-7kg fish a 9 to 10 is preferred.
Most anglers prefer to fish on the heavier side when boat based as it provides that extra muscle in the butt section of the rod for lifting fish quickly, enabling you to get another shot at the school. When shore based you can certainly enjoy fishing on the lighter side of rod choice. You have the ability to apply side pressure and plenty of room to let them run and jump. From the rocks, well that's another game and will require a judgement call. You may be needing more muscle when landing fish but this would no doubt be highly situationally dependent.
Line ChoiceWhen boat based a fast sinking head is a great choice as the fish will not always be on top and the ability to get down will be an asset. strait intermediate and intermediate sink tip are also a top choice and perhaps easier to cast. Full floats also have a home, particularly if the schools are feeding hard or you want to fish popper flies.
Leader and Tippet
This is "chuck & duck" style fishing, with accuracy rarely ever needed. With this you can keep your leader systems simple. I suggest to either a 7-9 foot tapered leader with a couple feet of tippet, or perhaps fish a 6-7 foot strait leader without Tippet.
There are no serious choppers on salmon so you can fish light if you want too. 12 -16 lb is a good start point but if it is bigger fish you are chasing then consider 20 lb for more confidence when doing the heavy lifting.
Salmon are rarely fussy but it always pays to "match the hatch" wherever you can. A range of clousers, candies and realistic baitfish patters will usually see you well equipped for most scenarios.
For supreme fun, also ensure you have a few poppers in your bag of tricks.
This game is not usually technical, just get the fly in there and strip! Play around with fly choice and stripping speed if needed on the day. Keep your eye out for the baitfish and do your best to "match the hatch", particularly in terms of size and to a lesser extent, colour.
When you're fighting fish from a boat and they start sounding deep, be sure to "lift from the butt" of the rod, The fight will be over much faster and many a fly rod has blown up at this stage of the fight if high sticked.