Regular readers may have noticed we often mention what looks like a fictitious character called ‘Old Tom’. But Old Tom is real! Here’s how Old Tom (and others like him) helped me learn some better salmon tactics.
Until about 3 years ago I had little success fishing for Atlantic Salmon. I had lost a few fish, but generally didn’t really know what I was doing. My salmon fly casting was poor at best, and I was not enjoying myself. Then I came to know a couple of people who took pity on me. On both occasions I asked them humbly for any advice they could give, and they were kind enough to proffer it.
I now want to share these with you.
Killer Tactic #1
The first tactic was gleaned from an 80+ year old chap who I met walking up the river with a fine hen fish he had caught earlier. Now I don’t take any fish myself, and many would frown upon this, but I won’t argue with the right for an angler to take a single fish in a year.
I looked on his fish, and humbly asked him for some advice. He spent the next 15 minutes walking me along the river, showing me some salmon lies, and telling me where my best chance was that day. 1hr later following his advice. I hooked a fish but unfortunately lost it almost immediately. This was a common thing at the time, if I ever did hook a fish by fluke I would lose the fish. But this time I at least understood WHY I had a take with the advice from Tom.
The advice was simple here’s what he told me “The salmon will lie up below the streams coming in to the main river, in the next pool. Particularly in the late autumn, as they will spawn in those streams, as they were born there. Fish the faster water, and fish the fly relatively quickly, and fish the margins!!”
Killer Tactic #2
The next angler was a Canadian, he saw me lose a salmon on the river just down from him. He told me gently, “don’t raise your rod up when you hook a salmon, sweep it low into the downstream bank, and keep it low’.
When it all comes together
3 Months later back in the UK fishing with Tom’s advice, I was fishing into dusk at one of the spots Old Tom had recommended. There was a huge boil in the water where my fly was. An 18lbs Salmon plunged across the river. I simply swept the rod low and into the bank as instructed by my Canadian benefactor, and hooked the fish securely. About 20 minutes later I landed my largest ever Salmon at 18lbs and the first I had caught in 7 years!
Since then I have had much more success, I look for the spots Tom showed me, and I always sweep the rod low and into the bank, which has increased my hook holds immensely.
Remembering those all-important spots
It’s hard to remember everything about a location you fished 3 months ago. So remembering Old Tom’s spots was tough, which gave me the idea for the guide system.
Finygo’s guide system means you can take photos of important features and tag them. Or simply note successful points of interest. You can then fish these features with confidence as you know where they are. You can also share these guides with your friends, and receive them from your friends!
A case in point is this line of rocks which cannot be seen when the river is at its normal height, but due to very low summer conditions, were clear above the surface. So I take a photo and tag the spots in Finygo and also mark the location on the satellite image. Now when I fish in the autumn I will know EXACTLY where the salmon will lie 🙂
I can tell you that #4 is very interesting as it’s a large rock close into the bank, so will be ideal for Salmon when the river is up high.
I hope these tips help, tight lines