Fly Fishing In Scotland

By 18th August 2018

It's important when you're fly fishing on the perfect Scottish rivers that you tune you mind into all of the important fishing aspects that are crucial for success in this amazing pursuit. While most fly fishers only focus their thoughts on the arial performance of their fly line there's far more mileage in focussing on the speed & depth of your fly and how its materials are moving in the stream.

Fly Fishing In Scotland

As a direct result of a few of the Scottish Spey casting distance records being broken over the last decade by a few very talented Scottish ghillies the entire focus of Scottish salmon fishing switched from 'fishing' to 'distance'. Personally I've never seen something as unnecessary than a 65 yard plus cast with an 18ft rod and 100 foot headed Spey line where the caster is completely physically exhausted after a few minutes and that ever could ever be regarded as a real salmon fishing cast or anything associated with actually fishing a fly correctly.

Salmon Fishing Lines

As a follow on from that most of the Spey line manufacturers sold thousands of 100 foot headed Spey lines to their clients. As a professional River Tay ghillie at that time I witnessed on many ocassions anglers handing me these monster Spey lines and their fly reels hoping I would fit the line for them to discover their full sized salmon reel couldn't even take the 'competition' line even without their actual backing line being on their reel.

Spey Tapered Salmon Fly Lines

At the same time period the focus had recently been switched from ugly tapered 'shooting head' type lines to really elegently Spey tapered 'weight forward' lines that were designed to fish the fly at a pre-determined depth with a choice of sinking tips to ensure this happened under all water conditions. Had this 'obscene' distance theme not sneaked into our game where even those who could cast a long line had little control of their fly for the first third of its journey back in to the riverbank I honestly believe Scotland as a nation would have produced more fly caught salmon.

Shooting Head Salmon Fly Lines

The same obsurdity existed with the easy to use 'shooting head' lines that have since become big business as a monkey could present a line with one after a very brief casting lesson. Again the 'effective range' fishing distance cast of 25 to 40 yards with these systems didn't offer the same control of the salmon fly as the Spey line therefore less effective presentation was the end result accommpanied by less salmon being caught. These systems also lacked fishing elegance and their arial performance resembled that of a brick on a string.

Teaching Salmon Fly Fishing

When I'm teaching this sport to newcomers I focuss on the 'fly control' aspect of the game fairly intensly as salmon are just not interested in too much of the other stuff and for them it's often a split second reactionary decision as to whether or not they are going to come to the fly or not. If you have full control of your salmon fly from when it lands on the water to the end of its swing and it swimming at the desired depth then you're 'fishing' and not just 'casting'.