The Salmon River Vibe
By Jock Monteith 1st February 2023
Far too much attention these days is spent trying to work out when the best time would be to visit a certain beat or salmon river. The reason I state this is because a wild Atlantic salmon operates over a completely different frequency and set of rules than we could ever fully understand or appreciate.
Forget Salmon Catch Statistic Nonsense
Logically if your a religious 'catch statistics' follower and only book your salmon fishing once you see salmon being caught then in many cases you'll have missed the boat (or there will be no actual rod availability left to purchase when your moment to book arises). Many salmon fishers forget the fact that often when a salmon is caught that it was one fish from a run of salmon that were heading up river and not necessarily a fish from a shoal that has taken up residence in a beat. Rod pressure has never been a reliable or consistent enough measuring tool for quantifying salmon river stock levels (or fishing potential) and until the Scottish rivers apply some type of reliable main stem digital technology fish counters this industry will continue to be based on complete salmon stock guesswork.
The Attraction Of Scottish Salmon Fishing
Our business is largely of case of about being in the right place at the right time (while deploying a consistent and well thought out tactical fishing approach) during the full fishing day as opportunities to catch salmon arise on the vast majority of Scottish salmon beats on a day to day basis. Half the battle for success is being able to recognise these 'windows of opportunity' when they open and knowing exactly how to hook, play & land a salmon in order to take full advantage of these moments. Many opportunities to hook and land salmon are squandered on the Scottish rivers than are successfully concluded by fishers who have never taken the time to take professional tuition to obtain a firm grasp of the basic salmon fishing skills.
Salmon Fishing Senses
When you spend enough time on the salmon rivers of Scotland you'll develop a 'sixth sense' for knowing where & when the time is just right for a cooperating salmon during the fishing day whether you see a salmon move or not. It is this 'sixth sense' that is the real attraction for me and for those who've been in the game long enough to appreciate what I'm saying here. Enough time spent on the riverbanks will develop and fine tune this skill and switch you onto a completely different observational awareness mode than the average salmon fisher will be aware of. This is a vibe type of feeling that'll sometimes be triggered by a shift in the light or weather conditions during the course of the fishing day but sometimes with no physical indications at all.
Scottish Salmon Fishing Brilliance
Salmon fishing in Scotland is a truly magnificent pursuit which is far more in depth than just understanding the various tackle systems and vast array of salmon flies that are on offer these days. The 'vibe' of the salmon river & understanding its moods is when you really start to develop 'real' salmon fishing skills and your 'attempts to catch' ratio will start to increase significantly. Time on the salmon rivers is the only way to gain this skill and it's a completely different thing from learning how to use a salmon fly rod which our industry seems to mainly focus on these days.
Appreciating The Scottish Salmon Rivers
Fine tune your appreciation of the Scottish salmon rivers and the very subtle air and light changes and other relevant factors that can all of a sudden bring a fresh head of salmon up into the pool you're fishing or switch older resident salmon on where they'll wake up and be ready to take your fly. Whatever you do though don't let your head go down or think this business is only about a digit on a carelessly thought out daily catch return marketing system as that often bears zero relevance to the fishing potential if you have the wisdom to look deeper. Reduced rod pressure has always equated to reduced catch figures but remember also that reduced rod pressure on any salmon beat also equates to 'well rested' salmon pools which have always provided a fishing advantage for anyone who has the ability to ignore the brainwashing!