Surf fishing in Victoria for salmon. Winter is the best time of the year to hit the surf beaches in search of salmon around Victoria. Salmon is an iconic bread-and-butter fishing species that school up in big numbers. When that school comes within casting distance the action is frantic and fun. Salmon is an underrated powerful sports fish that punches well above its weight. When hooked they produce strong bursts of speed, powerful runs, and vigorous head shakes. They will put on an aerial acrobatic show as an attempt to spit the hook. This is a truly underrated style of fishing. It’s fun but very different from other forms of fishing styles, here are a few tips to get you started.


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Bait rod for salmon fishing in the surf

One key difference between Surf fishing to other styles of fishing is the rod length. The usual fishing rod when fishing from the surf is generally between 10 feet and 15 feet in length. I have always found 12 feet to be about the sweet spot depending on where you are fishing. Using a fishing rod of this length allows you to keep your lines high above the crashing surf. It also allows you to cast longer distances with heavier sinkers.

These days long fishing rods are becoming increasingly lighter thanks to new graphite technology improvements. This means you can go for a light 5-10 kilo or medium 8-12 kilo fishing rod which will still cast a mile and provide tremendous strength without weighing you down. There are also heavier rod setups from 12-20 kilos. These heavier outfits will also work and allow you to also target gummy sharks and mulloway.

Currently, I’m using a Penn prevail surf rod which is a comfortable 12-foot in length and an 8-12 kilo capacity which feels great. It’s light enough for salmon but big enough for bigger bycatch species.

Selecting a lure rod to flick metal lures for salmon in the surf

Before selecting a suitable lure rod you first need to spend some time considering what weight lures you are likely to be casting. For instance, if your looking to cast metal lures over 60 grams in weight then only certain rods on the market are designed to handle that capacity without a snapper rod tip and vice versa you don’t want a stiff heavy rod if you’re looking to flick lighter lures and plastics. These rods in recent years have also benefited from technology advancements getting lighter and thinner without compromising on strength. For anglers, it means you can cast all day without getting tired quickly and that you’re going to have more bringing in the fish.

If your looking for a great general-purpose rod that will give you great casting distance and cover a whole range of lure options then I would suggest picking a rod between 9-11 feet in length and 5-10 kilo class. I’m using a Daiwa sensor Sandstrom 10 foot 6-10 kilo rod which works a treat. I have it spooled with a 10-pound braid and it casts a long way whilst not being too heavy. There are plenty of good options in this range covering many different budgets so give some thought to your desired lure weight and they will put you in the right place.

Big land base salmon

Fishing in the surf rod suggestions

If your looking for a new surf rod then we would suggest you look at the following options

  • Daiwa Sensor
  • Daiwa Sensor Sandstorm
  • Samiki Zing
  • Daiwa Seajigger
  • Penn Prevail
  • Wilson MT series
  • Shimano Auerowave
  • Shimao Revolution Coastal fishing
  • Shimano Raider Surf
  • Shimano Maikuro
  • Daiwa Seabass
  • Daiwa Lateo
  • Shakespear Ugly Stick platinum
  • Live Fibre light surf
  • Aird 106MHFS/4000 combo

Salmon Rig setup

When bait fishing for salmon we believe the best setup is a Paternoster rig with a star sinker. As shown in the image below. This gives you 2 separate baits at different heights. You could also attach a surf popper if you wanted to further increase your chances.

Another great variation is to present 1 full bait with double-snelled hooks. This rig is perfect when your target multiple species such as salmon, mulloway, and gummy sharks

Best Baits to Catch Salmon

Bait Choices

Our best bait recommendations include oily strip and chunk baits. This can be in chunks or fillets including Salmon, Mackarel, trevally, and Pilchards are great options. The are several ways to present baits for salmon. Depending on where you are fishing this could be a dropper rig, paternoster rig, and running sinker rig. The rig choice will be dependent on where you are fishing and the conditions such as tidal strength. Where possible fish with as little weight. When land-based you may need a heavy sinker to cast out as far as you can.

Good baits for Australian salmon include

  • pilchards
  • blue bait
  • pippies
  • whitebait
  • squid
  • mackarel
  • trevally
  • yakka’s
  • garfish

Best Soft Plastics and lures to Catch Salmon

Metal lures for salmon





Metal spoons are a good primary choice when targeting salmon on lures. They come in a huge range of colors and sizes and your choice will depend on where your fishing, how far you need to cast, and the water depth. Eg if you are fishing in the surf a larger and heavier metal spoon would be best so you can cast further out. All range from 20 to 60 grams in weight to provide long casting distances. When lure fishing cast as far as you can then use a steady medium-paced retrieve which will get the attention of an aggressive salmon.

You will also catch salmon with paddle tail soft plastics, grub, and minnow-style soft plastics in natural colors. They also respond well to long-casting hard-body minnows in natural bait-looking colors.

  • Halco Twisty
  • Zman 3-inch minnowz ( purple death colour )
  • Berkley 4 inch turtleback worm
  • Savage Gear missiles
  • Keitech easy shiners
  • Maria Mucho Lucir
  • Zman grubs
  • Munroes 4-inch curltail
  • EcoGear Teibo jig
  • Zman slim swimz
  • JM Gilles pilchard baitfish
  • Rapala X-Rap SXR
  • Lazer spoons
  • Halco laser pro

Tips to catch salmon

  • Keep an eye out for gutters, these are patches of deeper water that Salmon will swim through in schools. These are generally identified by a darker colour of the water. This is a very important component of targeting salmon that can mean the difference between a productive and quiet day.
  • If your fishing with bait then we would recommend keeping the rod in your hands so you can feel any bites. This can often be quite tricky if the rod is in a rod holder as the waves crashing around your line and moving your bait around
  • If you do plan on using a rod holder then use one which elevates the rod high. The logic here is that it’s keeping the slackline above the crashing waves allowing you to better identify nibbles and to stop your bait from moving around too much
  • If bait fishing and the bite is quiet add a surf popper and see if that can help trigger a bite.
  • Salmon are often in an aggressive mood at sunrise and sunset, but if you find the gutters or the schools then the time of day really won’t matter that much.

Salmon Surf hotspots around Melbourne & Victoria

  • Gunnamatta beach
  • Lorne
  • Kilcunda beach
  • Torquay
  • Venus Bay
  • Apollo Bay
  • Phillip Island ( Cape Woolamai )
  • Port Phillip Bay

Thanks for reading Surf fishing for salmon. I love fishing and I’m happy catching any type of fish regardless of the size or species. I love targeting salmon, they truly are an underrated sports fish. Remember to always check fishing regulations and catch limits in your area. Where possible practice catch and release you don’t need to hit your bag limits just keep a couple for a feed.

If you have any further ideas then please share them by sending your ideas to or if you would like to send us pics of your kids fishing we would love to add them to the page.