The King Of Fish
By Jock Monteith 26th February 2023
Here's a close up of Neptune's finest and most astute fish of them all which is globally regarded as 'The King'. These are precious natural commodities which have amazingly survived the ecological changes of the ocean & river glens to 'still' appear each year in the Scottish rivers to ignite the enthusiasm & imagination of thousands of visiting salmon fishers.
The Amazing Colours Of A Salmon
The beautiful steel blue, aquamarine and silver flanked colours these perfect specimens are dressed in when they arrive back in the fresh water rivers are unique to any creature. Even top performing artists struggle to truly replicate the natural shimmer of iridescence that is inlayed in a fresh run salmon's flanks nor the sea greens and blue beige head colours that perfectly blends this prolific predator into its oceanic feeding environment.
Big Scottish River Tay Spring Salmon
This perfect salmon tipped the weigh net scales at 23lbs and was caught on the famous River Tay during the Spring month of March. The sight of a powerhouse Spring salmon like this in its bright sea coat against the dark light conditions of early Spring is a fantastic thing to see as it battles to avoid capture. This shot was taken seconds before this perfect fish was released back out of the landing net.
Landing Nets And Big Spring Salmon
Handling these salmon properly is a big part of ensuring they survive the rigours of capture. Most salmon net bags that come with even the most popular brands of landing net are only good for the fire and should be replaced with a fine meshed rubberised version before first use. The fine mesh supports the fins of the salmon much more effectively unlike these standard net bags which in most cases can tear the salmon fins. You'll sadly see this fin damage if you look closely at many photographs of captured salmon which is so easily avoidable.
Use Barbless Hooks While Salmon Fishing
Some of the management involved in Scottish salmon fishing know what they are doing and have banned barbed and treble hooks from being used. A micro barbed single hook is all you need to get a good hold of a salmon with no possibility of a 2nd or 3rd hook point catching the landing net as the salmon twists and turns in the net causing inevitable terminal mouth injury to the fish. There's still too many officials in Scottish salmon fishing management positions who lack practical riverbank experience on basic conservation issues like these and who are not tuned in at all with what often happens during the landing of salmon.
The Future Of Scottish Salmon Fishing
Salmon numbers in general have been declining for decades and are often unfairly attacked and sensationalised by the press following abnormally hot and low water salmon fishing seasons when salmon prefer to hold back before running the rivers. Oceanic mortality (commercial exploitation) and reduced outgoing juvenile smolt migrations due to various made made (aquaculture), ecological & predation imbalances being the main three factors for this general historic decline. There have never been guarantees in this fine pursuit and any negativity about anglers not catching fish without consideration for 'media induced' reduced rod pressure or 'natural' low & warmer water seasons defies logic at times. Personally I believe that lower stock numbers increases the value of the capture of a perfect wild Atlantic salmon the same way De Beers slowly 'drip feeds' their vast diamond stocks into the market to maintain commodity value! Personally though I'd prefer a powerhouse sea-liced spanker of God's finest on the fly rod over any piece of ancient carbon!