There are many rivers in the UK where salmon can be pursued with the single handed rod; in some instances the single hander is an essential part of the salmon fisher’s armoury. A recent trip to the river Borgie in the Scottish highlands brought home this fact. The pools on small spate rivers offer the angler such a diversity of water to fish, from “miniature” classic salmon pools to boulder strewn “pockets” where only a few casts are needed to fish out the pool. These small rivers take away the sometimes daunting appearance of some of the larger rivers. Distance casting is not a prerequisite; a stealthy approach is however the order of the day. The ability to make simple Spey casts as well as the standard overhead cast can be advantageous in restricted pools with restricting bank side vegetation.
The majority of the pools on small spate rivers are easily covered with 9 or 10 foot rods using standard AFTM 7 or 8 weight forward lines. Those fly lines with a short head length are an advantage if only a short cast is going to be used. However the use of 10 ½ or 11 foot rod also gives the angler an additional option of being bale to “dibble” or “skate” the fly in riffles and runs presenting the fly in the water surface. The use of different sinking tips with a short leader added to the floating lines allows a variation in depth to be achieved for the fly in some of the deeper pools. Dependent on the height of water, the size of the fly will change and can range from small size 18 doubles; Stoat’s tails, Munro’s Killer and small shrimp flies to large plastic tubes such as the famous Sunray Shadow. These flies are simple in construction allowing the average fly dresser to construct their own.
The small spate rivers and the use of the single handed rod makes salmon fishing available at reasonable cost to those who wish to pursue the Silver Tourist, including the avid trout fisher, wanting to “have a go” without the additional expense of purchasing a double handed rod and line.
It is also wise to seek local knowledge before fishing, this will definitely help. Or contact the FishPal offices.
Last but not least, be prepared to walk a little to fish rugged pools and enjoy what can be breathtaking scenery in the Scottish Highlands; do remember the midge cream and midge nets!