Effective Salmon Pool Coverage
By Jock Monteith 8th January 2021
To achieve the 'desired' reaction from a salmon it's imperative that you don't try to 'nauseate' the fish by letting it see far too much of your salmon fly as the fly approaches its holding position. 'Startling' a salmon gives you a far better chance of it responding favourably!
Sub Surface Salmon Fishing Thoughts
Anyone can catch the fresh run sea-licer that's still in full oceanic hunting mode and still in an excitable state of mind about being back in the river like letting your dog back into the house after leaving him out too long! The true acid test in salmon fishing is can you catch the completely 'over fished' educated salmon that has seen every salmon fly in production! This is when you need to have a mind that can think outside the box and your fishing thoughts must be 'completely' 100% sub surface.
Catching The Educated Salmon
The golden question during periods of the salmon fishing season when there's a build up of older resident salmon in a pool is what can you do to separate your fly from the normal 'boring' fly swing swim of the stereotype fly fisher who's programmed to only go through the motions of casting and who's thoughts stop above the waterline. In this situation there's a few elements to focus in on and that starts with an observant eye that's constantly scanning to see what fly patterns others are failing to hook salmon with! During tough fishing periods I like to select something the fish are not expecting in colour and size and I can think of numerous occasions where that salmon head psychology has worked well and often instantly!
Optimising Your Chance Of A Salmon 'Take'
The other things to study once you've identified the patterns of fly that the salmon have already seen and not reacted to (and selected something different!) are size, depth, speed & spacings. I've always done well with a smaller fly as I'm in no doubt as to the acute eyesight salmon possess. I'm also a great believer in getting right onto a salmon's nose with the fly or certainly into that square foot of water directly in front of a stubborn fish. During late Spring or through the Summer months when most anglers are 'trained' to fish with floating lines with little lightweight sink tip poly leaders I'd typically always be using a 15ft type 3 (braided core) proper sink tip to achieve the above as salmon hold much deeper in the pools during these warmer water periods of the year.
Freedom Of Tactical Fishing Thoughts
Apply a calculated & consistent salmon fishing effort but stay tuned into the river and if you get that 'nudge' to adjust tactics at any point during the fishing day then respond to that intuition as that subtle stuff that drifts into your mind should always be taken seriously on the river. The difference between success or a blank day in salmon fishing is often having the freedom of versatility to react to these little fishing notions that come from your gut to your mind. This could be anything from a change of salmon fly pattern to a heavier or lighter sink tip or changing back to the sink tip you chose at the start of the fishing day. If I 'back engineer' most salmon captures I'm involved with I'll admit that most originated from a tactical adjustment thought and certainly all where full attention to the space, depth and size of fly were under full and constant scrutiny.