Fishing the right depth for Atlantic Salmon
Having fished and travelled extensively during the last 20 years running fishing trips I have noticed that there are two areas that always seem to affect how many Salmon customers catch. First is casting skills: A big mistake people often make is they either do none or little practice, secondly, if they do practice they will only do it with a full floating line. Many times when fishing you will need to use some of the more modern multi-tip density lines which are going to feel and cast totally differently. Getting out and doing some simple practice with the actual rod, reels and all the lines you will be using ensures that you and your equipment become finely tuned. Many people think that to be a good Salmon angler you need to cast distance. However, I would disagree and would say a better Salmon angler is one that can handle casting multi-density lines ranging from full floating line through to heavy sink lines which takes much more practice to cast proficiently. Anglers who cannot cast these multiple lines will stick with what they feel comfortable with and by doing so have vastly restricted their fishing capabilities and subsequently their results. Second is presentation: Many salmon anglers are happy to just keep casting and swinging flies and have little understanding of what or how the fly is being presented to the fish. If you have ever been lucky enough to fish clear waters and watch a Salmons reaction to a fly. Then watch the reaction to the same fly but presented in different ways. This would open up so many traditional Salmon anglers eyes and make them realise that they have possibly been spending hours, weeks and even months of fishing 50% of the time ineffectually.
So assuming that you make sure you have plenty of practice before your fishing trip or even better go have more lessons, we all need additional tuition as we never know it all.
So how do you improve your presentation? Simple, think about the depth and speed you are actually fishing and change it up. When you find the right combination of speed and depth on a given day is when you will start to catch more fish.How do you control the depth of your swing? Its simple, your fly line. I’m 100% convinced that the presentation given by the fly line is much more important than the fly pattern itself. Watching a salmon go from not being interested as they cannot be bothered to rise much to shooting forward to grab a fly that’s at its right depth is amazing. The simple method to increase depth is to throw upstream mend to allow the fly more time to sink. However, this also slows the swing right down. What happens when Salmon are sluggish so the fly needs to be right down in front of their nose, but they want a fast fly to wiz past their nose, just a simple mend is not going to do the job. This is when the multi-density lines and multiple tips really come into their own. For now, you have everything to hand that will allow you to present a fly both at the correct depth and speed. By using a multi-density line with a sink tip we can cast but this time also put a downstream mend, this means the fly is going to get down into the zone very quickly but the downstream mend will speed up the swing. With this flexibility, you can now cover pools at all depths and make sure you are getting down in the zone of the Atlantic Salmon. So next time you go fishing and you fish through a pool with no action, instead of going back through the same pool but with a different fly consider changing your presentation with depth and speed. If there is salmon there you will entice some takes.
So what lines do I recommend? Personally, I now use Mackenzie Fly Fishing lines for all my freshwater fishing for Atlantics I cannot highly recommend enough the G3 Phased Density 5 Shooting Head Multi-Tip Range.
Tight lines, Peter