Salmon Fishing Approach
By Jock Monteith 24th March 2020
There's a vast array of tactical salmon fishing skills and approaches to learn for success in salmon fishing. One of the biggest attributes for success in Scottish salmon fishing is having the ability to control your mind as success often does not come within your first few casts of the day.
The Ocassional Quick Salmon
In saying that I have hooked salmon on numerous occasions with the very first cast of the day and even while extending a line for a client before he started to fish I've seen the fly grabbed as I was handing the guest the rod. These instances however are few and far between and most of the time you've got to persevere for that one 'take' at some point throughout the course of the fishing day.
Salmon River Fever
When all of us are en-route to the salmon river there's a huge sense of expectation & excitement that never seems to leave us. As a professional career ghillie this never diminishes and every day is an exciting adventure and even more so for recreational salmon fishers who can only visit the river a few days of the year due to their own personal work & life commitments.
Pacing Your Salmon Fishing Energy
The recipe for success in Scottish salmon fishing is to keep your expectation levels low and your perseverance levels high. Don't allow your enthusiasm levels to dip if you've not seen a splash after the first hour or two. The opportunity to catch a salmon will always be there on any Scottish salmon beat at some point in the fishing day so realise the game you're playing and understand exactly how it works.
Your Salmon Fishing Tactics
If your water coverage is good enough and you know exactly how to hook a salmon when that opportunity arises then just keep going. Take your mind off the task in hand but keep fishing methodically & correctly down through the salmon pools. It is often during this almost hypnotic 'automatic pilot' state when a salmon takes which will instantly wake you up and sharpen your senses like nothing else can do. This initial tug is a huge part of the thrill for many and probably much to do with the instant adrenalin rush it creates.
Salmon Catching Opportunities
Look at the salmon river as a shooting range with targets that 'pop up' from time to time but not all the time. We often do not see when a few running salmon appear and stop in a pool in a state of excitement that would readily take a salmon fly if one was there. With that in mind fish with confidence that sooner or later you're going to swing your fly in front of a cooperating salmon and if you don't at least you know you've given it your best tactical approach throughout the entire fishing day.
Salmon Fishing Skill
It takes skill to catch an often elusive & completely wild fish like an Atlantic salmon so make sure you know as much as you can about effective water coverage. Don't expect results if you've not obtained a good grounding in the correct salmon fishing tactics. Once you've learned enough of what you need to know you'll develop an inner confidence that will more or less guarantee you a tug on the fly during most outings to the salmon river.
A Split Second Salmon Decision
It takes a second for a fish to switch on to the presence of your fly in the stream so the difference between a successful day or a blank day is indeed a fine line. To maximise your chances of obtaining a positive reaction from a fish it's important to remain effective with your water coverage for as much of your fishing time as possible. Sometimes you'll be fortunate and cover a taker within the the first hour or two but more often than not you'll need to push on with a consistent and well thought out battle plan over the full course of the fishing day. Just remember that all the hours of searching will be instantly deleted from your mind when the first tug on your fly reel occurs!