Beautiful Tay Springers
By Jock Monteith 31st October 2019
With the 2019 fishing season now mainly over on the Scottish rivers we'll soon be again approaching the best time of the year for that 'once in a lifetime' encounter with the very finest and most perfect marine creature of all the Scottish 'Springer'.
Naturally Occurring Salmon Run Cycles
Unlike many who profess to know this business I've personally been through the 'mill' on the riverbanks of Scotland on a successful professional basis without boring you too much with the details. To my mind and I'm sure more salmon anglers will soon also be realising that the Spring run of salmon that enter the Scottish rivers looks as if it going to dominate for a while until 'Mother Nature' re-shuffles her deck once more. Natural 'ever changing' cycles are a fantastic part of Scottish salmon fishing and should be embraced by all anglers and accepted as part of the magic of salmon fishing. While catches during 2018 were very poor a big part of that for anyone with a free thinking mind will realise the 3 roasting hot Summer months with no water played a big role in that year's generally poor salmon fishing.
Why Do We Ultimately Fish For Salmon
One of the main attractions of Scottish salmon fishing is obviously catching a salmon but that is not the 'be all and end all' if it doesn't happen and I don't know any angler or professional ghillie anywhere who has a 100% batting average. The sheers escapism, natural riverbank beauty, the flows & swirls of the river, the excitement of the tug on the fly reel and many other salmon fishing attributes are what does it for me and thousands more salmon fishers. Being in with the 'chance' of a salmon is another appealing component of the lure of Scottish salmon fishing and there's always a chance in this game. By comparison our old friend Nessie hasn't popped her head up for decades yet over 2 million visitors show up annually on the banks of Loch Ness for the most remotest possibility of a sighting! The 'natural' world is where we all once evolved from and deep down that instinct to return is also present even in the most 'hard core' city dwellers.
A New Era Of Salmon Fisher Hosting
If you're a ghillie with minimally deployed guest hosting skills or have a resistance to taking photographs and posting them on social media then now's the time to learn and make these necessary adjustments to your game for the benefit of the entire industry. We are now well and truly into the 'customer service' era and client hosting skills are absolutely paramount to the client experience for a reasonable chance of repeat bookings. If that means a daily 5 mile run at 6am in the rain to blow the cob webs off then just do it. As a nation Scotland has one of the very finest salmon fishing infrastructures in the world paired with the best salmon fishing traditions and fly fishing style however we are not doing our game justice if we're not maximising the fishing guest experience nor promoting all salmon captures & beautiful riverbank scenery marketing opportunities.
Learn From Salmon Fisher Success
Personally I don't like it too easy when I'm fishing for salmon anywhere and would rather be the 'wise guy' third or fourth through the salmon pool to catch the only fish of the day than have easy fish lined up for me in pool after pool. There's much more of a buzz involved if your mind has had to go deep into 'subsurface' mode to force a salmon that's seen it all to then take your fly than casting for that newly arrived 'sea liced' assassin who's coming for anything you launch at him. If you see the above occurring on any river make that guy your fishing buddy and 'observe' as there are not many about these days with that level of 'tactical wizardry' but they most definitely do exist as I'm fortunate to know a few of them!
Changing Scottish Salmon Runs
Often I do just wonder if the reducing Autumn salmon runs may have something to with the fact that these salmon haven't been protected the same way Spring fish have been in the last decade on the Tay and a few other Scottish rivers or should we really have the right to think salmon runs should remain the same when everything else on the planet is constantly changing. Just my own observations but it is probably more of a temperature driven issue due to the 'naturally' occurring cyclical temperature changes the planet goes through whenever she chooses often forcing the bulk of the Autumn run to appear in the closed season as I've personally witnessed many times before. In the meantime thank God and your lucky stars for being fit & healthy at this place and time and get yourself out into the Scottish Spring salmon zone for another chance encounter with Old Sam and may the next tug on your fly reel once the 2020 season gets underway be from an absolute brute of a heavyweight Springer!