Make Your Own Salmon Fishing Luck
By Jock Monteith 3rd September 2022
Regardless of how brilliant you are with a fly rod or how good a beat you're fishing there's always an element of luck involved in catching a salmon. Hooking opportunities are like moving targets on a shooting range that appear and disappear throughout the course of the fishing day and even if they go unnoticed they always do exist.
What Makes A salmon Take A Fly
It could be a very subtle temperature lift after the sun appears in the morning during the cold Spring months or an atmospheric pressure change or the smell of fresh water in a salmon's nostrils following local rainfall that puts a fish in the right frame of mind to take a fly. My advice based on decades of riverbank observational experience is to never allow your head or enthusiasm levels to drop as salmon are indeed 'true masters' of surprise regardless of whether you see any 'favourable' atmospheric benefits or not.
Perfect Salmon Fly Presentation
Obviously if you're able to read a salmon pool effectively and work out where the best taking areas will be based on the current daily water conditions then that's going to help matters. Fishing your salmon fly down through the pool in a measured and methodical manner is also going to help you get lucky! Knowing how to set the hook effectively will also allow you to capitalise on a 'take' rather than squander it. Make sure your presentation & water coverage is as good as you can make it as they are the first vital components required for creating your own salmon fishing luck!
Right Place At The Right Time
In salmon fishing there's a lot to be said for simply being in the 'right place at the right time' even though having a good understanding of the relative fishing skills are vitally important too. To arrange a successful meeting between two parties one of which has swum all the way from Greenland and the other who's likely travelled up the A9 takes a little bit of coordination finesse! I was recently watching a video of a salmon fisher playing a fish incorrectly (low rod position with the fish in a down stream position) just knowing it was going to come off and sure enough it did. Understand the game you're playing and make sure you know how to set a hook properly and play a salmon correctly which are both vital component for success.
Learning To Fish Effectively For Salmon
There's no point investing in expensive salmon fishing equipment and buying fishing access to a quality Scottish salmon beat without fully understanding the salmon fishing skill requirements that are necessary. Learning these important fishing skills should be a top priority for any salmon fisher so that when you finally find yourself in front of a taking fish you'll make it count with 'clinical' precision. Get with a professional salmon guide and make sure your ears have been recently serviced! Good tactical salmon fishing advice has always been 'thin on the ground' unless you make a point of asking for it and are willing to take it fully on board for your own ongoing benefit.
The Top Salmon Fisher Skill Set
A top professional salmon guide or top salmon fisher will be able to not only sense the presence of salmon in a river (without them being able to sense them) but at a brief glance of the pool will be able to pin point exactly where these likely holding areas will be during all water conditions (even if they've not fished that pool before). A professional guide or top fisher who's spent enough time on the Scottish rivers will be operating on a higher frequency and will be able to detect subtle temperature and light changes and other little natural 'triggers' that can assist with a fish opening its otherwise closed mouth! The mindset of a top guide or salmon fisher will have tough consistency of approach yet with sensitivity to be able to identify the best taking times when they appear each day on the river. This is ultimate skill level to achieve in this sport and if you do all of a sudden catching salmon won't be that difficult.