Rods : 12-15ft. Shorter rods can used in lower flows where delicate presentation maybe important or if fishing dry fly or riffle hitch.
Lines : Floating to Sink 1 shooting heads or Speylines with various densities of sinking tips or versi-leaders. Faster sinking heads or lines i.e. sink2/3 could be useful in extreme conditions.
Leader : Standard Nylon e.g. Maxima or similar 12-18lbsBS / Fluorocarbon e.g. Grand Max Soft or similar 18-22lbsBS
Hooks : Double, small treble or single. Please ensure you have a good pair of forceps to remove hook-hold!!
Waders : Chest waders recommended and necessary
Safety : A life jacket is recommended but not supplied as standard.
Success factors in salmon fishing, as described by “expert salmon angler and author” Francis T Grant in his book – SalmonFishing, The Dynamic Approach, can be summarised in 3 catagories (the 3 Ps): Preparation, Persistence and Presentation.
I will start with Presentation. In very simplistic terms there are 3 ways of presenting a fly : FAST, MEDIUM, SLOW
Let me try and explain :
- J-curve cast – SLOW presentation – casting square and mending the line (sometimes 2/3/4 times) to ensure the fly swims slower than the speed of the current. This cast can be used to good effect over known lies as it can allow the fly to “hover” in front of the fish. Smaller flies can be used with this type of presentation as the fish will typically view the fly from the rear. If using sinking-tips, typically the fly will be fished deeper using this method.
- Down and Across – MEDIUM presentation – normally this cast will be made at a downstream angle with no mend. The fly will typically fish as soon as it hits the water and will swing across at the same speed as the current. Normally the fly will be presented at a medium pace and side on to the salmon’s view. This may be classed as conventional tactics.
- Square Cast – FAST presentation – this is achieved by casting square to the current and either not mending or mending downstream. Fly is pulled across the current faster than the speed of the flow. This can result in aggressive takes as the salmon has very little time to make its decision. Bigger flies (Sunrays) can be used to great effect with this method but depending on flow and conditions, smaller flies can also be successful. Hand-lining can also be used to increase fly speed and induce takes. Figure-of-8 pulls and stripping can be very effective particularly in sluggish pools or just to add some extra life to the fly. Try it, you’ll be surprised!
Preparation is not just about packing you fishing bag well and having sandwiches and your best chablis ready for lunch (although that is quite important!!). This is about ensuing your equipment is up to the job, your terminal tackle is faultless and you have informed yourself well enough to know what you will fish and how you will fish. The better you are prepared the better your chance of success. Ask questions-be ready.
Persistence is a must in salmon fishing. I’ve heard many times the phrase “There’s nothing in that pool – Ive fished it well”. Salmon don’t follow our time tables nor do they need to pop up and say hello when they arrive in a pool. If you know fish are running then they could arrive in your pool at any time. (tides, height, light, temp etc will determine this) Fish good pools often (resting in-between) and do not get despondent if first run through doesn’t produce a take. Change tactics if needed.