Salmon Fishing Preparedness
By Jock Monteith 22nd July 2021
It's not just the salmon beat ghillie who's got to get his beat & fishing hut in top order to receive guests but the anglers also have a responsibility to turn up at the river with everything they need and in good working order for a real chance of a fish.
Salmon Fishing Mind Control
Once this business starts consuming your every thought (if it isn't already doing so!) you'll find it difficult not to dwell on the sport even if you're weeks away from your next river outing. Tackle shops, fishing websites and tying flies will keep you tuned in with all the latest salmon fishing products and fish that have been landed so the reality is that when you're mind is engaged on this amazing pursuit the actual salmon fishing time for most anglers only equates to about 10% at best! What a great sport indeed that can do this and so typical of the magic & excitement that surrounds the capture of a wild Atlantic salmon. It's good to have an obsession in life that's as healthy as pursuing God's finest marine creature on a beautiful Scottish river.
Look After Your Salmon Fishing Kit
A serious salmon fisher will take great pride in making sure they've got the correct equipment levels and everything is in good working order. It's the little things that count in salmon fishing like having a couple of your known favourite salmon flies as spares and an extra length of leader material coiled up in your pocket and a pair of forceps clipped onto your fishing jacket to ease the unhooking process to get the fish back into the stream quicker. Have your tackle bag perfectly organised and your fly reel with that faint smell of WD40 and you'll be amazed when that side of things is in perfect order how you'll then take your fishing approach even more seriously. Clean your fly line frequently too and not just at the end of the season for optimal performance through your rod rings. Airflo Whizz Lube is amazing cleaner and I use this after at least every third river outing once I've dried my fly line & backing at home.
The Productive Messy Salmon Fly Box
Look at the above pretty picture of a well stocked salmon fly box. Isn't it lovely to see the perfectly aligned patterns and sizes all sitting in neat little rows. Well on the face of things a fly box should only look like this as the start of the season after it's annual sort out as the fly box of a productive salmon fisher or ghillie should look like a dog's breakfast but where two or three of the favourite patterns could be selected while the owner is blindfolded! That doesn't mean that your favourite salmon fly shouldn't be dried off properly after use which is always good practice but if you're a professional ghillie or serious salmon fisher you'll find it difficult to sort out your salmon flies to the same degree of perfection which the long 'tedious' hours of the closed season provide!
Modern Day Salmon Fly Tinsel Dressings
The exotic feathers and furs once used for traditional salmon fly tying have been largely replaced by the most fantastic dressings in a vast selection of modern materials and colours. These days you can literally choose the colour of 'glint' your salmon fly is omitting. For me personally it's a gold 'glint' for the first half of the season and a copper 'glint' for the second half. 2 thin long strands of this modern day flat or holographic tinsel tied into the wing of any fly transmits a powerful intermittent 'come and get me' morse code message to a salmon without jamming the radio waves like a more flashy version would do! 2 long strands that are about 1/2 of an inch to 1 inch longer than the wing of the fly (depending on fly size) will flicker like a snakes tongue in the stream and I've seen numerous occasions while fishing a fly with the above where it's even been taken when the fly is virtually static on the dangle!
Guide Business Corner Stones
The 2 main salmon fly patterns I stick with and have accounted for hundreds of personal and guided guest salmon captures are the 'Copperass' & 'Jock's Shrimp' (size 9 & 11) as featured individually on the photographs above. These 2 are just simply consistent with no experimental guesswork needed. My long standing colleague and professional fly tier Danny McLaughlin ties these 2 patterns for me these days and he does it properly and without any corner cutting. He knows exactly what the specification of each fly should be and doesn't deviate because he knows I wouldn't swim them if he did. When you've got literally thousands of salmon fly swim time hours under your belt you soon work out salmon interception preferences and if anyone wants a few of these Danny can be contacted at; firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone; +44 (0)7446 353058. Tight lines.