Do you ever think that the odds are stacked against you? Well that’s how I felt about salmon fishing. Being brought up mainly course fishing, trying to catch something that doesn’t take a bait out of hunger (or a fly for that matter) seemed completely alien to me. However, the salmon is the king of fish and I am not one to shy away from a challenge. Since I live right on the banks of a great salmon river, the River Ribble, I just had to give it a go.
Ten years of my life
For ten years I tried and I tried and I tried, and in all that time all I caught was trout, with the occasional chub for good measure. I did hook one salmon while trying a new rod out, but I am sure it was a fluke.
Then yet another trout!
It was mid-September last year and my old mate and Finygo CEO Chris convinced me that the river was no good for the trout, but was in fine fettle for some salmon fishing. Oh great, I thought, a whole day of not-salmon-fishing or casting practice, as I had come to think of it (and after ten years who wouldn’t?). So after arriving at a beautiful pool on the River Ribble and full of optimism, I opted to let Chris fish through the pool first while I tackled up and enjoyed the scenery.
So there I was, having some casting practice and enjoying working down the pool when the surface erupted and I shouted to Chris “I am in!” to which his reply was “Is it a salmon?”. “No, it’s a trout” I replied, or so I thought! It didn’t feel that heavy and was coming in with relative ease, but unbeknownst to me, this was because the ten pound salmon that had taken my fly was swimming towards me!
The fish was now swimming upstream and getting close enough to see. I swear that the fish was as surprised to see me as I was it and at that point decided to do a U turn and make off down to pool like an F1 car! “Salmon!” I cried in disbelief, wondering if I had my lucky pants on and how many things I could cross and still stay in touch with the fish. Salmon fishing is not for the faint-hearted because for the next twenty minutes or so I felt every emotion going.
Bad gilling or pay-back?
The fish led me a merry dance both up and down the pool and just as I thought she was ready for the net, Chris decided to jab at her with the net, blaming it on an optical error. “Yeah, right!” I thought, but only half-seriously, as some years ago Chris had lost a fish at the net and we have a running joke that I knocked it off, especially since he was using my rod at the time!
Finally in the net
After eventually getting the fish in the net and putting an end to my ten-year quest, I realised why people fish for salmon, the adrenaline rush you get from catching such a beautiful creature is immense. The photos were taken, the fish was admired and best of all, she was released unharmed, to fight another day.
Tight lines, Matt (Harry)