SA Fishing Writer And Samson Enthusiast
Jamie is a high profile South Australian fisher who has penned numerous articles about fishing for Samson fish (and other species) for SA Angler, Fishing World and Spooled Magazines. He’s been based on the West Coast of South Australia for over two decades and has worked hard at figuring out this species in his home waters.
Jamie’s Top Samson Fishing Tips
- Near Port Lincoln, Samson fish are typically a relatively deep water species. Jamie usually finds them in 40-60m of water, although they are sometimes targeted or taken as by-catch in shallower water at times.
- The Port Lincoln Samson fishery is seasonal The cooler months from April to September generally see a run of bigger fish on the closer reefs (25-30 miles out), while the summer months typically bring schooling fish out wider in deeper water.
- The best structure for Samson fishing is high reef peaks in 60m or so of water that rise up to 40m or so from the surface. Start at the apex of the peak and look for signs of bait or fish on the sounder as you drift downslope.
- Samson fish are often recognisable on the sounder. They usually sit 5-15m above the bottom and don’t generally “stack up” at various levels in the water column. Instead, individual fish seem to work at around the same depth.
- There are good tidal currents in the Port Lincoln area, and Samson fish will usually sit behind a peak during the runout tide but move to a different peak and face the current for the run in tide.
- As the fishing is done from a drifting boat, the best days are when the conditions are calm, there is moderate tidal run and minimal swell.
- Targeting Samson fish can require persistence. You won’t necessarily catch quality fish on every outing! Jamie recommends staying focussed on the target and not getting distracted by the many other species on offer.
Jamie’s Preferred Samson Fishing Tackle
- Tackle needs to be able to cope with 200-300g lures. Jamie prefers spin gear and recommends a reel of 8000-12000 size, with 10000 being optimal. He couples this with a PE5 (50lb) line class rod, 50-65lb braided line and 100 lb fluorocarbon leader.
Top Samson Fishing Lures
- Metal jigs are the mainstay of this deep water luring fishery. Jigs in the 200-300g range are normally the starting point, depending on the drift speed, with Jamie preferring the 200g varieties when he can get away with it. Ocea Pebble Sticks, Saltiga Sacrifice Stick and the Croatian BTD metal jigs are a good choice.
- Jigs are dropped to the bottom and are then worked vertically with sharp lifts of the rod tip, retrieving line as the rod drops back. Once the lure is 10-15m from the bottom it’s time to open the bail and let the lure drop back down to start again. Hit’s usually happen on the lift.
- Depending on the brand of lure Jamie will often upgrade the hooks to either Harbour Town or Owner assist hooks in the 8/0 or 9/0 size. The heavy part of the jig should sink first and the line should be attached to the solid brass ring at the top, allowing the lure to hit bottom without getting snagged up. Jamie likes single hook, rather than two hook setups for offshore jigging.
- Occasionally running a 160mm Halco Laser Pro near some of the offshore islands closer to Coffin Bay will pick up a Samson fish or two, but not so much around the reefs and islands off Port Lincoln.
Shimano Australia produce and distribute high quality tackle that Jamie has been using for years, including the Ocea Pebble Stick jigs that are so effective on Port Lincoln Samsonfish.
Jamie prefers Simrad sounders for their ability to get a great signal return when the boat is moving fast, even in relatively deep water. This enables him to find and mark potential fishing structure whilst he’s in transit to known fishing marks.