Fly Fishing For Salmon
By Jock Monteith 1st November 2019
There's not much in any area of angling that compares to catching a wild Atlantic salmon on the fly which is a very rewarding experience. There's so much information pushed in the direction of those who are relatively new to the sport it often becomes a maze of irrelevance as I'm about to explain.
Scottish Salmon Fishing Information
Forty plus years ago when I got into this amazing pursuit there was only a handful of fishing tackle manufacturers who made salmon fishing equipment. These days it's not just the vast array of brand names but the even more complex casting 'systems' as they're known that can make it a real task when buying a salmon fishing outfit for the first time. I personally prefer a through actioned Spey rod with a reasonably long Spey tapered weight forward line which is lovely to use and as importantly catch and play salmon with.
Scottish Salmon Fishing Equipment
I'm not really a fan of the new regime products like shooting head and Skagit lines as I they lack elegance and salmon fly control while fishing at range. They are however effective for beginners to get a fly out without too much 'normal level' tuition however an experienced Spey casting instructor who knows how to keep it simple and communicate effectively will have you understanding and performing the Spey cast in minutes without compromising on lesser fishing/casting systems.
Salmon Fishing Advice
My advice would always be to learn the simple mechanics of the Spey cast before you consider buying a rod. Even if you then migrate to a stiff butted rod with a shooting head system having learned the benefits and power that can be attained through the Spey cast coupled with little important things such as watching for your straight line (not crumpled) anchor point instead of guessing your timing 'off the water' will allow you to excel with any salmon fly rod outfit.
Reading A Salmon Pool
The important thing in salmon fly fishing is not really all the different equipment brand styles of the vast array of different casting techniques being taught by the hundreds of UK casting instructors. The most important thing of all is observing and identifying the water for areas of the stream where salmon could be present and then swimming your fly methodically through the pool in a controlled manner relative to the prevailing water conditions. The vast majority of UK casting instructors have no professional background in Scottish salmon fishing even if they are good with a fly rod so be careful as to who you obtain your 'salmon fishing' tuition from.
Become Your Salmon Fly
This often unspoken element of salmon fly fishing is known as adopting 'fly mentality' and regardless of how well a salmon angler can cast a fly rod it is when you properly start to 'control the fly' and your thoughts are sub surface is when you really start to consistently catch salmon. What happens above the water line has zero significance to a wild Atlantic salmon so don't be drawn into 'distance fever' concept as that's got little to do with catching fish. Focus your salmon fishing thoughts on the depth, swing spacings and the movement of your salmon fly in the likely salmon holding areas of the river if you want to enjoy more salmon 'take' adrenalin!