Salmon Fishing Tackle
By Jock Monteith 12th November 2018
As we're now all approaching the start of the 2019 Scottish salmon river openings this time of year usually brings about the checking, cleaning and preparing of equipment if you've not already done so at the end of last season. Here's one or two thoughts on different aspects of kit & fishing preparation.
Salmon Fly Line Maintenance
Your salmon fly line and backing should be completely taken off your reel and allowed to dry on the floor before being wound back onto your reel. When you get to the fly line section you should apply a good few spays of a plastic conditioner like armarol onto some kitchen towel and wind the line through this or run it up and down the line. You'll be amazed at the grime that appears on the towel and this will keep your fly line in top condition and shooting well through your rod rings.
Organise Your Fly Box
Salmon fly boxes can become overly cluttered and messy by the end of the previous fishing season so I always like to take everything out and reload my main fly box double checking the hook & dressing condition of each fly before allowing it entry back into the box. Any fly that looks as if it's completely beat should be crimped and tossed into the bin unless it's been a loyal lifelong friend then it should be transferred to your 'special memories' fly box or fishing bonnet!. It's much easier on the eye when your main fly box is tidy and you'll also instantly know which patterns you're getting short of that need tying.
Taping Your Rods Joints
Over the years in my professional ghillie career I've seen loads of things but the one that troubles me the most is when I see a brand new or good fly rod with its joints not properly taped or taped at all. There's been much nonsense spoken about the taping of joints but I can assure you that with the 'torquing and twisting' of the Spey cast all joints can work loose. You do not need special tape to do this as good old regular electrical tape is perfect as long as you're stretching it as you're applying it exactly over each rod joint and five neatly fitted turns are all you need on each joint. I've seen anglers appear on the riverbank with this high costing super stretchy tape and think to myself why are you even bothering as tape that can be stretched further is completely counter productive.
Rod Manufacturer Fake News
As a continuation on the taping of rod joints theme I notice that many rod manufacturers do not recommend the taping of their rod joints but logically a failed joint means the purchase of another rod so don't fall for that one as many anglers have done. The minute you see a fine parallel line in the rod joint varnish you know the rod joint is fractured and your rod's value has gone & life span reduced. Lock your rod joints down tightly before you tape them as taping is pointless if you haven't done this as there will be play in that joint which will eventually split the female joint end. The manufacturer's 'non taping' nonsense was in my opinion to hide the cheap finish on low quality foreign built rods as the joint tape when removed would 'lift off' this low quality rod varnish finish which it could never do on a quality finished salmon rod.
Looking After Your Fly Reel
Your salmon fly reel should trigger memories of epic salmon action battles when you look at it and already be a friend for life. I've seen many anglers clunk the reel down or concrete or gravel while threading their fly line through the rod rings which always makes me shudder. Look after your reel and take it apart at least twice a season and give it a blast of WD40 where the reel manufacturer recommends. Although I've not only read about this I've personally noticed as a former professional River Tay boatman that any time my hands have been exposed to WD40 and I'm tying on a salmon fly that fly usually always gets some extra sub surface attention!