Sunday Times Column
The salmon are coming
- Published: Monday, 27 March 2017 11:12
It's official – the salmon are on the move.
Last month I wrote about a trip to Bremer Bay, where we found a few very large schools of fish at one beach and had some fun.
However, at that stage the fish had been there for some time and were not yet moving west on their much-anticipated annual spawning run.
All that changed two and a half weeks ago, with locals professionals heralding the start of the run when they netted their first school for the year at Cheynes Beach, just east of Albany, which is a famous spot for catching salmon.
Then last weekend I heard several reports of schools bobbing up to the west of Albany and towards Denmark, and even around the Capes.
On a hunch I decided to head to a beach just west of Albany for a mid-morning fish last Sunday which doubled as a chance to get kids out of the house for a few hours before a predicted change in the weather.
We packed the boogie boards and swimming gear and headed to our chosen spot, parking on top of the hill overlooking the beach on a beautiful sunny autumn south coast morning.
We were just unpacking the car when lo and behold I spotted a school of salmon coming around the corner into the bay in front of us, which led to me hurrying the kids up and racing down to the beach.
I got to the water’s edge just in time and fired out a long cast with a Duel Slider 140 stickbait ahead of the moving school, and after a couple of rips of the lure I was on!
I couldn’t believe my luck and a few minutes and a couple of spectacular aerials later I had a fat 6-7kg salmon at my feet, before unhooking it and sending it on its way back to the school.
As it turned out, schools of fish were going past every 20 minutes or so for the couple of hours we were there, while the kids swam and boogie boarded nearby.
They weren’t easy to tempt though and frustrated by their lack of response I eventually turned to an old favourite – a pilchard-patterned 14cm X-Rap which rarely lets me down.
Sure enough the next time they came through I heaved the Rapala in front of them and they couldn’t resist, with an almost immediate hookup which didn’t last long.
A couple more turns of the handle though and I was on again, this time to a slightly smaller fish than my initial capture.
That was enough for me and we packed up to head home for lunch, although I almost ran back down the hill when another school came through just as we got back to the car.
It couldn’t have been a more enjoyable couple of hours, most of it spent standing waist-deep in cool, crystal clear water waiting to sight cast at passing schools.
The good news for South-West anglers is the salmon run has definitely started and they are headed towards Perth!
Caption: The salmon are coming. Scott Coghlan fights a fish at close quarters last Sunday while Alesandro Daniele looks on.