Salmon Fishing Tuition
By Jock Monteith 17th August 2022
As a professional ghillie I always love to see anglers catching salmon and especially when someone's fishing for the very first time. We are there to assist when & where possible and even a one liner from a professional ghillie can often be the difference between catching a salmon or not.
Different Salmon Angler Abilities
What I've personally seen on the Tay over the years is a mixed bag of angler skill sets from absolute tactical perfectionists to anglers who are just completely wasting their time if catching a salmon is their real objective. Our pursuit has been through a rough enough time since the Greenland feeding grounds were discovered and were commercially 'annihilated' and clearly stock levels have dipped significantly across the globe since then. We are now decades into an era where you really need to know what you're doing to stand a reasonable chance of catching salmon on any river and gaining better satisfaction from this fine pursuit.
Salmon Catch Statisticians
The problem that's been created these days has been letting 'catch stats' run the show. As we are all highly trained 'statisticians' in modern day living these little 'nail in the coffin' daily digits have been allowed to 'creep' into this most amazing natural pursuit to a point where it now can often negatively influence the booking patterns of salmon anglers. Anglers are now assuming that a blank day on a salmon beat means it's not worth booking or that there was no chance of a fish which will be the furthest thing away from the truth you could imagine in the vast majority of cases.
The Macallan Whisky Poem
No anglers no fish, no fish no anglers reminds me of a beautiful poem that used to appear with a bottle of Macallan where the guests wouldn't offer the ghillie a dram but continued to drink in front of him all week. At the end of the week the fish-less guest says to the ghillie "Ghillie no fish no Macallan" to which the ghillie replies "no Macallan no fish!" This is a similar scenario today as the vast majority of the UK salmon fishers are watching daily catch reports prior to booking their fishing and in many cases that lack of forward planning commitment will mean the fishing trip never happens and a beat doesn't get fished.
Love The Inevitable Blank Days
To counteract the 'stats' dilemma that's now been allowed a firm hold it's now time for salmon fishers who are serious about their approach to get more effective on how they are actually approaching the water. A blank day on any beat should be celebrated if the pools have been fished correctly as that blank day is 'logically' bringing you one day closer to success and back down to earth to preserve the challenge of this amazing pursuit. On the other hand a blank day where salmon hooking opportunities were squandered or the pools weren't even covered (or fished effectively enough) can hurt beat booking revenue and therefore also the local economy.
Take Effective Salmon Fishing Tuition
If you're new to this amazing sport or want to increase your salmon fishing effectiveness then get with a true professional who's highly skilled in whatever method of salmon fishing you want to brush up on. Hire a professional salmon guide for a day who's on top of their game to grasp the basics of effective riverbank movement, perfect water coverage via optimised fly swing spacings, setting the hook and playing & landing a salmon firmly established in your mind will be time well spent. The difference between success and failure in this sport can often be the slightest adjustment to one or more of the above disciplines so if you're serious about catching salmon mastering the above skills should never be underestimated.