The Scottish Salmon Game
By Jock Monteith 8th November 2018
The Scottish salmon fishing game is a fascinating business without a doubt as it's unbelievably multi faceted from the psychology & preparedness of the visiting salmon fishers to the subtle 'nudges' the river environment will give you if you listen to your gut feelings. Here's my view on where the game has been and where improvements can most definitely be made.
The Salmon Prize Prize Is Worth The Price
Especially through the Spring months the condition, power and sheer beauty of a Scottish Spring salmon (as seen here) is truly in a league of its own and on a personal basis I'd take 1 Springer over 10 old resident late Summer or Autumn fish. Yes there's calculated effort involved in getting hold of a Spring salmon on any river but to my mind that is a big part of the challenge and excitement of fishing for them. Learning the appropriate 'logic based' salmon fishing skills is obviously going to make a huge difference to any angler's success ratio.
Poor Salmon Fishing Client Qualification
The Scottish salmon fishing industry has been poorly presented to date by the main agents and mainly sold to the lowest bidder via 'permit only' access with zero attempt to provide a proper qualification process as to what the client actually needs. The quick cheap permit sale trick has put tens of thousands of potential salmon fishers out of the game who have taken a brief look at the sport via 'permit only' access then exited due to a lack of knowledge and far too many blank days. Many agents unfortunately don't understand client qualification and the 'long term' value of doing their job correctly & conscientiously.
Salmon Fisher Preparedness
For anyone who thinks that a Spring salmon or any salmon is just going to surrender itself to a few launches of a lure or fly I've got bad news for you as that's not going to happen. From my experience on the river most visiting salmon anglers are no where near tuned in enough as they've never taken the time to be shown the logic that lies behind successful salmon fishing. These anglers have also to a degree assumed a permit & some fishing kit is all they need but the most important component is and always has been missing and that is acquiring the actual salmon fishing skills themselves.
Take A PHD IN Salmon Fishing
You could spend your entire life in Scottish salmon fishing in a full time career basis and gain a huge & intimate understanding of all the 'subtleties' that go hand in hand with this amazing pursuit. After taking this PHD you'll still always be learning as that 'free thinking' salmon will ultimately have the last say on many surprising occasions so the educational process is truly a never ending one. A basic salmon fishing education for any angler starts with proper kit selection (including knowing the flies or lures that consistently work) and a good grounding in casting, riverbank movement & how to set the look when your 'logical' riverbank movement inevitably gets you in front of a taker!
Listen To Your Inner Self When Fishing
Once a new salmon fisher has invested the time to learn the vital basics of the sport and bedded these new skills in with a few successful days on the river it is then important they quickly move to the next stage where the real intrigue lies. This is now the time for the angler to start fully tuning into the mood of the river and have the tactical 'agility' to be able adjust the fishing approach to match the often changing water or light conditions. This is also the time to start listening to your gut and make sure your fishing thoughts are always 'subsurface' as to how your fly or lure is behaving in the stream. Learn this game thoroughly and become successful and don't end up being one of the thousands of poor souls who've been conditioned to think a salmon permit on its own is all you need when you're new to the sport.
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