Over the past few years my primary focus has been trout and saltwater fishing so swinging flies for salmon has taken a bit of a back seat. I have been fortunate to have spent time guiding in Iceland, Norway and Russia for salmon and I must admit I have missed it. This season and a few cracking fish has reminded me how enjoyable this salmon fishing business really is. I admit that it is far easier to lament about successful days than the days that you struggle on, but, had I caught nothing I don’t think I would have felt any different.
It is rather funny how addictive fishing for these nomadic wanderers can become. Over the past week many of my evenings have been spent at the vice strapping all manner of creations for both our chalkstream salmon and for the fish that return to our peatier waters further North. When fishing for salmon especially in the UK there is such a large element of the unknown. Are the fish there? Will they take? What depth? What speed? What fly? This doubt is part of the attraction. A sniff of your fly from one of these tourists brings both surprise and delight for there is always the uncertainty of not knowing how small or large the fish is or could have been. The most delicate and gentle of plucks can come from the largest of salmon.
Like a metronome your line unrolls once more as you cast then swing your way down the pool, this is truly relaxing fishing that allows you distance yourself from the toils of everyday life. When your line is in mid swing and a salmon takes, the feeling can hardly be bettered. The fingers that hold the line feel the tap, tap, tap, the taps increasingly gain pressure until the rod is bent and the reel is singing. One take from a salmon is rarely the same as the last, regardless of the size of the fish. Sometimes they take with a bang, sometimes soft and sometimes they even continue moving upriver, blissfully unaware of what is happening.
Through much of the summer there has been little rain and many rivers have struggled as a result. The rain has now come and cooler conditions have helped to lower the water temperature. With the improved conditions more salmon have been running and catches have increased hugely. Let’s hope this trend continues. The next few months can produce some of the most exciting fishing of the season. Some rivers like the Tay or Tweed may get a great autumn run but even those that don’t often fish well later in the season. Many of the fish will already be in the river. So, you know they are there it is just the small case of playing Poirot and figuring out how to temp one to take.
For more details on some UK salmon fishing options please do not hesitate to contact Peter McLeod or Charlotte Chilcott or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.
About the author: Peter McLeod