The Salmon River Vibe
By Jock Monteith 1st August 2020
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 stats' 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 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 and until the Scottish rivers apply some type of reliable digital technology fish counters this business will continue to be based on complete salmon stock guesswork.
The Attraction Of Scottish Salmon Fishing
Our business in 75% of cases is about being in the right place at the right time (while deploying a consistent and well thought out fishing approach) during the 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 observation mode than the average salmon fisher will be aware of.
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 is a completely different thing from learning how to use a salmon fly rod which our industry seems to mainly focus on.
Salmon Fishing Will Remain Magnificent
I read the continuing Scottish salmon fishing hit jobs that the press keep attacking this magnificent pursuit with over the last few years and wonder if there's some kind of deep routed hatred of our fine pursuit. How can you make a record low warm water year back in 2018 the catalyst for numerous systematic industry destroying hit jobs. One of the tabloids wrongly stated that the River Spey didn't produce one single salmon in 2018 which was complete 'local Spey rural economy damaging' nonsense. When was a salmon a guarantee written into the booking condition of your permit purchase anyway and would this pursuit not be predictably boring if that was indeed the case! Right now we're witnessing the Spey producing up to 10 salmon a day for some highly skilled fishers with complete novices scoring frequently too but I see no press coverage on this!
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 an unintelligently 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 and remember also that reduced rod pressure on any beat also equates to well rested salmon pools!