Salmon Fishing – Time to scale down

Jun 27, 2012 | Tackle Box

Summer is here, temperatures are finally on the rise and it’s time to scale down all tackle. No two seasons are the same especially when we are referring to angling, and after a long cold spring we can now concentrate on presenting our fly on or very close to the surface for salmon.

It is the pinnacle of all salmon fishing to turn over a lovely long cast on your favourite pool. To witness only seconds later the faint giveaway disturbance of a salmon breaking the surface and feel the line rip out of your hands, paradise indeed. But what’s the secret to success?

Reading the water, speed of fly, long line or short, mending the line or not? All tactical decisions one needs to compute on a regular basis, the fish can be fickle and often not forthcoming so it really pays to have a full complement of flies & corresponding presentation. Let’s face it, whilst salmon are migrating within a river system they are programmed to fulfil their lifecycle and not attack every offering provided by anglers . So, barring lots of luck, the most successful anglers tend to induce their own action.

Here’s what you need to have in a modern day flybox if you want be best prepared to save a blank day.

Casting aside the fact that you will already be reasonably prepared with an appropriate double handed salmon rod and reel, break your business end tackle, line & flies down to something along the lines of the following.

For salmon fishing you would do well to be equipped with a multi-tip line, this will offer full versatility in all water conditions. Head length is optional and dependant on ability and taste. A selection of nylon or fluorocarbon is necessary to cope with water clarity and fly size but that said, your fly selection and tactical application are more important.

As a rule of thumb for summer fishing keep your flies tied sparse, small and close to the surface. Stick to conventional flies in the main, tube flies in plastic or conehead and small double and treble hook flies. Alistairs, Willie Gunn, Flamethrower, Park Shrimp, Silver Stoat will serve you well. Tactical flies for when the fish seem dour – Large Sunray Shadow/Monkey style tubes fished fast and square often provoke a furious attack.
Another popular method would be to fish deep by presenting a Frances or Snaelda fly very close to unsuspecting salmon. Or go to the other extreme and fish tiny micro flies on very light tackle.

Don’t forget to hitch your flies on occasion, this tantalizing form of presentation can be absolutely deadly in summer wherever Atlantic salmon swim?
(Posh Monkey Pic?)

To be a successful salmon angler you need to keep things simple and, most importantly, be prepared and equipped to change tactics and flies quickly. The more you fish, the more you learn and want to learn. Water temperature, clarity and height, air pressure, wind direction, reading the water, flycasting tactics and presentation, the list could go on.

For some alternative sport to daytime salmon fishing, don’t forget that the sea-trout are arriving in numbers in our estuaries now. These fish are power packed and ready to pull very hard. For best results fish for sea-trout from dusk to dawn generally starting off with small silver bodied flies. As darkness begins to take hold you need to increase the size of fly to 8s and 10s or longer tube and tandem style lures, possibly adding a sink tip to your floating line for deeper presentation. We have a range of new CDC sea-trout doubles which have proven to work extremely well. CDC has long been known to enhance brown trout flies but we have added these super soft feathers to a range of sea-trout flies for the first time and they are proving irresistible to sea-trout. ( CDC pic )

I wish you good luck for the remainder of the season and please remember to be vigilant and keep your options open whilst fishing, be prepared to make a change in tactics and improve your chances.

The Helmsdale company offer full instruction on all aspects of salmon fishing & fly-tying throughout the season. You can also call Ron Sutherland anytime at the Helmsdale Tackle shop to discuss any queries regarding tackle and tactics. Or click on to purchase and view a huge range of innovative and deadly UK and international top quality flies and a range of useful tackle accessories rods and reels.

FishPal would like to thank Ron Sutherland Managing Director of the Helmsdale Tackle Company for the feature.

FishPal the trusted online information and booking system for salmon and trout fishing.  Today we have over 200,000 rod/days to let around the world, with searchable lists constantly updated by the 743 fisheries presently on our system.  For more information please visit our website

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