Effective Salmon Fishing
By Jock Monteith 10th May 2020
The moments leading up to a picture like this are some of the most exciting you can experience in the natural world. From the initial tug on the fly reel indicating the presence of a fish you'll receive a shot of adrenalin which will enhance your focus on the magnificence of what's occurring.
Salmon Fly Fishing Composure
The key to catching salmon on the fly is that you don't react to these initial nudges on the fly reel. This can be particularly hard to do if you've come from a trout fishing background and are fully trained to immediately set the hook. In 99% of cases a salmon needs enough time to turn on the fly before the time it right to let the fish know who really owns the fly!
Don't React Too Soon To A Salmon
With the above in mind it's crucial you have the composure to wait until you're at least several seconds into the take before setting the hook. You must wait for the steady draw of fly line off your reel before simply clamping the face of the fly reel with the rod tip pointing down. This logical procedure allows the salmon's own bodyweight and forward momentum to properly squeeze the hook home for you.
The Logical Salmon Hooking Approach
Logic will also tell you that the above hooking method will be far more effective than the normal 'lift into the fish' approach which engages the soft action of the fly rod & lightly set reel clutch which exerts little pressure on the hook point to set it effectively. If you don't set the hook properly a salmon will usually demonstrate how good it is at getting rid of an unwanted object from its mouth and will often demonstrate that within the first 60 seconds of contact.
Wait For The Salmon To Turn With The Fly
Wait until you're over the initial tugs stage and are well into the 'steady draw of line' part of the take and keeping the fly rod tip down clamp the fly reel face until you feel the weight of the fish for a few seconds. This way you'll know beyond doubt that your fish is hooked properly and at that point you can relax into the fight knowing that the fish has been properly hooked and escape is highly unlikely. I know I've repeated this effective salmon hook set procedure twice which is just my style of brainwashing!
Make Your Salmon Fishing Day Count
There's often a lot of water coverage skill and patience involved in manoeuvring yourself into that 'magical moment' during the salmon fishing day when you get that golden opportunity to put a fish on the scoresheet so making it count is of paramount importance to your own personal satisfaction. There's nothing worse than leaving the water after a day on the river dwelling on a careless reaction to a great take on the fly and wondering just exactly what size and condition of fish you felt before your fly line went slack. The above salmon fly hooking advice was hand carved over many years of professional daily involvement in this amazing pursuit where the vast majority (95%) of salmon takes were converted into a close up riverbank inspections!