With just under two weeks left in the 2023 Salmon Slam and with more catches submitted in the previous fortnight than at any other stage of the competition – we’re in for a cracker of a final phase!
Phase three between April 1-14 saw hundreds of captures entered into the competition from families and keen salmon fishers hitting the South-West and south coast to have a crack during the Easter holidays.
With decent salmon schools now spotted cruising around Cape Naturaliste according to the 2023 Salmon Tracker Facebook page – the excitement is mounting over whether the southern sportfish will make it to the metro this year.
With Braden Wilson rising to the top of the chasing pack as the new overall leader , the question is can he cling on to the lead – or will another lure or bait casting contender pip him to the post before the Salmon Slam wraps up on 1 May? Check out the 2023 Salmon Slam leaderboard and competition information here!
Want to know the best gear and advice for catching salmon? Check out Scott Coghlan’s great tips for catching salmon in Western Australia in the video below!
Let’s get into our 2023 Salmon Slam phase three recap!
Braden’s four salmon for the win?
With an impressive 3,280mm of salmon and with his biggest salmon measuring a mighty 900mm – Braden Wilson’s four fish took out the four longest salmon prize for phase three and could also land him an impressive booty of Assassin fishing gear for the four longest overall salmon submitted into the 2023 Slam.
The Manjimup local and avid fisher decided to prowl the salmon-rich beaches between Albany and Augusta, scoping out the coastline for weeks in the hopes of locating the larger specimens amongst the travelling schools.
“I was mainly flicking out lures at the schools for the extra distance and also mixing it up by sending baits out as well to see what tactic worked for the larger fish. It’s always such great fun and exciting at this time of year when you see dark salmon schools within casting distance,” said Braden.
Braden has a slim 20mm advantage over second-placed Tyson Groom for the overall length of the four longest salmon submitted – although with the recent storm front pushing the schools further north, we could yet see a flurry of entries coming through from the South-West regions right up until the conclusion of the competition on 1 May.
Don’t waste time, be sure to wet a line!
First salmon for Max Payne wins prize gains for best photo!
With their high abundance and great accessibility, salmon are a great species for teaching kids how to learn to fight larger fish from smaller catches such as herring and whiting – and this 60-centimetre-plus first salmon catch for young Max Payne was only outsized by his beaming smile!
During a recent trip down to Walpole for the Easter long weekend, the Payne family took the boat out and decided to have a troll just outside the Nornalup Inlet mouth. Max’s dad, Matt Payne, wanted to help his son experience the thrill of catching a West Aussie salmon after making the drive down from Perth.
“I had told Max about the Salmon Slam in recent weeks and he was super-excited to get the chance to target them. We were trolling hard-body diving lures close to the rocks and it didn’t take long for Max’s lure to get smashed,” said Matt. “After about five minutes, the fish was next to the boat and his mum netted the fish for him and he was elated to see his first ever salmon come on board in beautiful condition. We measured it, took some quick photos and then released it. It was hands down one of the best highlights of our trip and I’m sure he won’t forget that experience any time soon.”
The only place in the world to catch big salmon with an ocean sunset!
Camping on our glorious southern beaches while wetting a line is part-and-parcel of the WA lifestyle.
Tammy Payne was one camper who travelled with mates down to Malimup Beach for the Easter long weekend with fishing conditions coming good on sunset with a glorious window to chase some salmon.
The result saw Tammy catch a hard-fighting salmon off the beach while overlooking a fiery West Aussie ocean sunset.
“Just on dusk I put my first bait out which was a pilchard on a gang hook with a six-ounce star sinker. It didn’t take long and within minutes I was on, everyone was so excited as my 4000 Shimano Twin Power started squealing,” said Tammy.
“After a fun fight lasting a couple of minutes I brought in this 81cm salmon. It was the first fish of the trip and it helped set the tone for many more fun reel-screamers to come for me and my mates, it was such an epic weekend.”
Tammy scooped the Adult Random winner for phase three and has $100 to spend on fishing gear for her efforts thanks to the great crew from Anglers Fishing World in Fremantle.
Phase three junior random winner
One family making the most of some sizzling salmon action in Bunker Bay were the Cherubinos, and their son Lucas found a great gutter to soak a bait during one morning in the hope of landing a fish.
“One school went past at about 9:00am and Lucas quickly threw a mulie right in the middle of them and BANG – he was on immediately,” said his father, Anthony.
“While he was reeling it in it looks like something took a small chunk out of it and we’re not entirely sure what it was, but the salmon put up a great fight with its speed and power and eventually made it into the shore. Lucas was so happy that he finally caught one.”
The finish line is in sight for the 2023 Salmon Slam and the number of catches and school sightings is only going to get even more spicy during phase four – so make sure you get out there and have a crack at a share in the $10,000 in prizes up for grabs when we announce the overall winners after 1 May!