Doing Your Salmon Permit Justice
By Jock Monteith 13th May 2018
What's the point in buying an expensive salmon fishing permit to then turn up unprepared or unskilled on the salmon river. A basic level of tactical awareness should be mandatory in this business even though many fishers probably wouldn't see it was for their own benefit.
Synchronised Catch Statistic Recording
Imagine if the A9 or M8 was full of drivers that had never taking a driving lesson (not that you'd think some of them had anyway!) and just how much danger and frustration would evolve! If you look at any business or pursuit there's usually some form of formal training involved but 'hey ho' not in Scottish salmon fishing. We have developed this 'catch stats' theme as the 'be all and end all' of the business but who's 'catch stat'ing the quality of the fishing effort! From what I see the 'catch stats' recording is actually in perfect 'synchronicity' with the expert fisher numbers that turn up daily on the numerous Scottish salmon beats!
Acquire Some Professional Fine Tuning
While most professional guides won't admit this for fear of upsetting their 'permit only' clients the majority of fishers who turn up on the rivers of Scotland have noticeable flaws in their salmon fishing approach that could very easily be rectified. The male ego being what it makes it a tricky approach that's needed when one of your fishing guests (who's been fishing for decades) has to be told he's virtually wasting his time fishing like that. Often it's just easier for a professional ghillie to just observe and say nothing!
Your Wading Boots Are The Real Weapon
One of the biggest errors I've personally noticed by the vast majority of salmon anglers is thinking that they can 'heron' over a 'showing' fish and pester that salmon into taking. Yes sometimes the fish that shows can be caught but if that doesn't happen in the first 2 or 3 swings of the fly in its general location then the chances are it's just acting as a decoy for the 'taker' who's lying 200 yards downstream that good riverbank movement would otherwise get your fly in front of. Your wading boots are the real unnoticed weapon against the 'King of Fish' more so than any other item of your salmon fishing kit!
Salmon & Trout Hooking Differences
Whatever the catch rate for an individual salmon beat or river is I strongly believe (based on what I've personally seen) that the catch rates would at least be doubled if salmon fishers truly knew how to consistently convert salmon takes into landed fish via an effective & logical hooking procedure. As kids most of us were already pre-programmed to react immediately when a trout boiled at your bob or tail fly. In salmon fishing the reaction to the take is a complete 'polar opposite' to trout fishing and more akin to how you'd deal with a pike after it has picked up and run off with a dead bait!
Correct Salmon Fishing Kit Levels
There's no point turning up with antiquated salmon fishing kit that Uncle Eddie left that was found in the loft above his garage! The salmon fishing rods that are around these days you can either pay a fortune for or pick up the same (or better) salmon rod action for under £150 in the Airflo Delta 15ft 10/11 or 14ft 9/10 as an example. A good reel and multi purpose salmon line will cost you no more than another £180 so there is absolutely no need to go wild with the credit card. Having good kit with a few appropriate salmon flies goes along way to your enjoyment & effectiveness on the fishing day.
The International Salmon Scene
I agree that there are some highly attractive salmon fishing destinations that are located all over the world where there may be more fish around but how's that going to work when you want to go salmon fishing at the drop of a hat in a limited time or finances scenario. Apparently we are lead to believe (even though we've no 'accurate' measuring tool) we are in a low salmon stock position but on a personal basis I think this is brilliant. It was too easy to catch salmon ten years ago and I was starting to bore fishing guests by putting them into salmon far too frequently & quickly. The low river stock scenario challenge is far more exciting as only now 'real skill' will grind out the results and force more Scottish salmon fishers to look inwards!
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