After a slow July with a few fish landed for guests the rain couldn’t come soon enough to bring the river back to life with some water and most importantly, some fish.

Jack with a fresh run sea trout
Keith with the biggest of 2 sea trout caught on size 14’s
My only salmon in July

Eventually, our prayers were answered, and it turned out to be one of the greatest Augusts for guests, here are a few of the lucky anglers I had on the water last month.

August 3rd

Here’s today’s guest Barry Ward with one of two sea trout he landed today, keeping his 100 percent migratory fish intact on his third visit! I also have to congratulate his partner Alexis for putting in one hell of a session considering we walked over 10km in search of silver today!

A nice Tyne sea trout

August 7th

Tyne Salmon can’t resist a Stokoe

After finally getting a day off myself and having major fishing withdrawal symptoms, I decided to have a couple of hours away from the hustle and bustle and busy beats where there might be a fish or two that hadn’t seen a fly yet.

Literally 10 minutes of fishing this stunning bronze Beast absolutely nailed my Stokoe shrimp tube and gave me the greatest fight I’ve had this season (a very well rested fish), as always a quick pick and back he went to finish his journey.

A stunning tyne salmon around 14lb

August 15th

Double salmon hook up’s and a record days guiding (14 fish hooked)!

Today will personally go down in history as one of the greatest days guiding I’ve been involved in.

Good friends and guests Barry Ward and his wife Alexis came back over the border to try and keep there 100 percent Tyne record going with me for the 4th time, to keep things simple, they absolutely cleaned up.

Out of a total of 14 hookups, including a double one, the dream team managed to finish on an incredible 8 migratory fish, how the hell we’re going to top this one, I’ll never know 🙌🏻🎣🔥!

Barry’s first fish of the day during a double hook up
Alexis wasnt far behind with this sea trout
Barry with a cracking sea trout
Barry with his 6th fish of the day
Alexis with another Tyne sea trout

August 17th

A special fish he will remember for the rest of his life.

Today I experienced one of the highlights of my fishing career to date and something myself and my salmon fishing partner in crime will never forget. My good friend and 11 year old junior England international travelled up north to try his luck with the mighty salmon.

Unfortunately due to relentless rain, we had horrendous water conditions from the start and were constantly on the move battling against a rising river, but as always we persevered and at 4pm he got his salmon, his first but I’m sure it won’t be his last! The best part about this incredible catch was that he couldn’t wait to return the fish to finish off its journey.

August 21st

Swimming with salmon.

It’s amazing how many people want to give up at the end of the day, but those who battle to the end often find success. My good buddy and today’s guest Josh headed up to the Tyne from Brighton to achieve a boyhood dream of catching the king of fish, an Atlantic salmon.

After a hard 12 hour shift yesterday with no silver, and a good 8 hours today, he wasn’t going to give in and was determined to battle on for his prize. At 5pm tonight his dream came true, he managed to land this stunning fish, and what better way to celebrate, than going for a swim 🙈💦

Josh with his first salmon
Josh celebrating his catch

August 22nd

First salmon smiles of the season for today’s guest Bret. What an effort this guy put in today in rising river conditions, he not only managed to land his first salmon of the season, he managed a stunning sea trout. Unfortunately his brother was a bit worse for wear after some birthday celebrations so slept in the car most the day 😂🙌🏻

Bret with his first salmon of the season
A stunning Tyne sea trout

Double migratory firsts 👊🏻💥.

A huge congratulations to my good mates and today’s guests Craig and David on both landing their first ever migratory fish. Here’s both the lads with their stunning Tyne prizes, in which Craig managed to land in only 10 minutes of fishing. David also chipped in with his first-ever sea trout caught later in the day that gave him one hell of a battle.

The smile says it all

August 24th

A silver birthday present on his first-ever days salmon fishing.

When Aaron and James headed up for their first-ever days salmon fishing with me, I bet they never expected a birthday present like this.

Here’s birthday boy Aaron with both his fish, including his first-ever salmon which turned out to be an absolute beast of a fish, topping the scales at 16lb. He also managed to chip in with a cracking sea tout, thank you again, boys, for putting in such a phenomenal shift.

How about this for a first salmon
Another fiesty Tyne sea trout

August 28th

A huge congratulations to guests and good friends David and John for putting in a monumental 2 days graft! Their resulting hard work gifted David this stunning fly caught hen Fish weighing around 14lb (his first English salmon), unfortunately for John the 2 he hooked managed to do a Houdini and slip the hook, but what a team effort.

Davids first English salmon

Again, I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone that came and fished their hearts out with me, you guys should be proud of what you’ve achieved. No doubt il be seeing some of these faces again next year…..

After a really tough April and May with no salmon to show but lost fish at the net, I couldn’t wait for June to kick off with guiding and some actual rain due. My self and Good friend nick warren did manage some stunning small sea trout up to about 3lb from a little road trip we took to the Dee, I did, however, have the pleasure of netting the Green’s first fish of the year, let’s just say he was a little excited as it hit the net.

Nick Warren with a fresh run sea trout
Robson Green off the mark

The month literally started with a bang, as with great water conditions and the full salmon squad together we went out on the 1st in search of some silver.

Here are some small Blog posts from a pretty hectic June!

June 2nd – What an incredible weekend I’ve had with the salmon squad, even tho we collectively put some serious man-hours in this weekend we finished on a massive high.

I’ve just literally netted an incredible conditioned fish for my good buddy Andy (First photo)!

Andy Blyth with a stunning fish

I managed one of most perfect sea liced fish I’ve ever caught estimated around 14/15lb yesterday, unfortunately, when we went to get the photo the fish had other ideas (last photo) 🙈😂, along with my fish Phil AKA the master chipped in with another fish around 10lb!

Phil with my fish before it decided to dissapear

So the total for our weekend finished on – 3 landed and 2 lost between us, bring on this week 👊🏻🎣!

June 3rd – Sweet silver on a sixteen 🐋…

Well after a crazy weekend of smashing silver in left right and centre, I seriously couldn’t of imagined that the luck would continue.

After netting a stunning fish for my buddy Adam this morning (pics to follow over next few days), I decided to have 20 minutes fishing myself, as always with the water falling the deadly size 16 Fulling Mill crathie was placed on the dropper matched with a stokoe on the point.

Adam with a fish I netted for him

After about 10 casts I hooked what I thought was a small sea trout, after a few seconds the fish woke up and went ballistic taking me 100 yards downstream to a different pool, knowing he’d taken the dropper and constantly worrying where the point fly was I played him hard but still careful enough not to pull the small hook. Ten minutes later he was mine, and he was an absolute belter, who knows what tomorrow may bring 👀😬🎣.

I managed to christen my new rod

June 11th – Here’s a stunning fish I had the pleasure of netting for Zoila (Robson’s partner) on Monday morning, she played the fish like an absolute superstar and I think the smile says it all! The fish was caught on Calvin shrimp matched with an intermediate tip, to make things even better she was the last person to fish the pool through.

Zoila and her prize Tyne salmon

June 18th – Sensational sea trout and 100 percent record!

Well that’s an end to an incredible 2 days guiding with Jason and Carl, both lads fished their hearts out and Carl came close to his first fly caught salmon on 3 occasions today but they just didn’t stick.

All was not lost tho, as Jason caught this fish of a lifetime, an incredible sea trout weighing around 12lb, caught on a size 14 Fulling Mill Rs silver stoat on the dropper. Along with this incredible sea trout, Jason managed a stunning salmon around 10lb, along with Jason, Carl also managed to keep his 100 percent record up with a perfect sea trout giving the boys numbers of 3 fish landed and 4 lost.

Jason with a huge Tyne sea trout
No stopping Jason on this day, another stunning Tyne salmon
Carl with his sea trout

June 19th – Silver saves the day.

After the heartbreak of my guests loosing 3 good fish yesterday, I decided to chance my luck and have a few casts after collecting my rods off them. Small fly’s on the dropper doing the damage again, even in big water, this stunning fish couldn’t resist a size 14 Fulling Mill double fished on the dropper and as fast as possible 👊🏻🔥

Another Tyne salmon

June 23rd – This incredible river keeps on producing some colossal Sea trout, here’s Ian with his first fly caught sea trout from today’s guiding session. A massive shout out to his son James who fished like an absolute pro today but unfortunately lost the fish he connected with. We will get them next time buddy….

Another fish of a lifetime for Ian

June 25th – Silver at 7 PM.

Fishing is such an incredible sport and nothing is ever Guaranteed, especially when salmon are the target. We often laugh and joke about that one last cast at the end of the day, the majority of the time nothing happens but today it did.

Here’s today’s guest John Radford with his biggest salmon to date caught on one of his last casts before he headed home, I’m so proud of you for sticking at it buddy 👊🏻🎣

John with his largest salmon to date

June 26th – Scuba, snorkelling and sea trout.

A huge congratulation to my buddy and today’s guest Marina on her PB and first Tyne sea trout she caught today, both you and Ed grated your arse off for your team prize, and it was a pleasure guiding you.

Also a huge thank you to Beneath British Waters for coming to capture some unreal underwater footage for our The Untamed Anglers series that will be released later this year.

Gibson gets amongst the silver
Mark getting the underwater shots we need for our series

June 29th – Sunny sea trout success.

Well that’s the end to a great two days guiding farther and son team Alex and John. Even with low water and intense heat the boys grafted so hard, and as always their incredible efforts paid off. John managed to land not only his first but second ever sea trout on the fly, I think that grin says it all… see you soon boys!

The killer combo was a size 10 Fulling Mill RS cascade and my AtomSix Fly Rods, A huge thank you again to Phil Adams for having us this afternoon.

John with the first of his Two sea trout

This June turned out to be a bit special, mainly due to the water we were fortunate with, I’ve always said that if we get the rain this can be a hard month to beat. In a total of 12 days guiding my guests finished on 8 fish landed and 7 lost, lets hope that the July weather is kind to us all.

Tight lines guys….

Well September was always going to be a hard one to follow, mainly due to the fact of water temperatures dropping, unsettled weather patterns and the fish having tendencies to switch off later in the month due to spawning time getting closer, but as always changing your tactics to suit the water will always give you a greater chance of silver.

The month started with a great lift of water which was perfect for my first guests, absolute fishing fanatical couple Gay and Lucinda as they went in search of Gary’s first fly caught salmon.  The days location of choice was Lambley, situated way up the south Tyne, I knew we had one hell of a chance connecting with a fish I just didn’t realise it would happen so quickly, 10 minutes to be precise.  After putting Gary in the lower section of the pool I walked Lucinda up to the head of it to get her in place and spent a few minutes changing poly tips and making sure she was happy with her casting (which was epic), we literally hadn’t got going and we heard a cry of “Fish on”, he’d only gone and hooked straight into fish that went ballistic, charging round the pool like a fish possessed.  After running down to him like a mad man, a good 8 minute battle I slipped the net under his prize, his first ever fly caught salmon on belive it or not a Red Stokoe shrimp. Lucinda also managed to connect with a nice grilse but unfortunately lost it at the rim of the net, she did however catch an incredible wild brown in the best condition I’ve seen on our river.  

 

Gary with his prize

Lucina with the nicest Wild Tyne brown trout i’ve ever seen

The salmon squad strikes again!!

It was Great to finally get out for a cast with the Boys (Phil and Robson) after a busy start to the month for us all, as always we decided to fish slightly different tactics, density tip’s and fly’s to maximise our chances of striking silver.  I let the lads go through first seeing that I fish the river way more than them, or in my words let them stir the pools up first.  It just so happened my tactics paid off and i scored first, connecting with a nice hen fish that fell to a quarter inch cone head francis fished on and intermediate tip and small paused short strip retrieves.  After putting up a great fight Phil netted her for me, she was not only a beautiful hen fish but an important one for me – my 20th fish of the season.  I knew for a fact that the lads wouldn’t be far behind me with the conditions looking right, it was the Green machine that hit the jackpot next again fishing down behind phil, i actually joked on when he hooked the fish and started playing it that was it just a trout due to the lack of fight it was giving, Id eat my words seconds later as the fish woke up charging around the pool being a proper head banger shaking its head as if it was at a rock concert, minutes later after playing the fish perfect I safely netted it and the green went into meltdown mode as he does dancing around like and excited kid at Christmas.  There was only the master left to connect with a fish, but he’d have to wait until the next day to strike silver, and what a fish it was another cracking hen fish and the biggest of the 2 days weighing 15.5lb.

The francis does the damage

Robson wasn’t far behind

Phil with the biggest of the 2 day’s

After the great 2 day’s me and the boys had i decided to stick it out and try and add to my tally for the season as condition were pretty banging, after having good success days earlier with a small francis, the pool was absolutely rammed with fish, probably the most id seen this year, but for love nor money i could not get a reaction from them to save my life.  The decision was made to change tactic’s, I decided to put a fast tip on and literally dredge the bottom with the biggest francis in my box.  The francis is always a good reaction fly to use especially when all else fails but especially fished with a draw and stop (5 seconds pause), the salmon will often take on the pause, again it was the right decision to change tactics but the fish actually took on my last cast and while i was winding in, to my amazement the fish cart wheeling around the pool like a lunatic wasn’t a salmon but turned out to be a big sea trout.  After a short but very active battle i had a bruit of a cock fish nestled safely by my side, a couple of quick photos and back he went to finish of his journey, i did also manage to hit a hat-trick for the week a day later with another hen salmon around 8lb in horrendous weather conditions that Robson kindly netted for me.

The Francis does the job

Letting the big man rest before his return

Another day another hen

One thing I really love is introducing people from different areas of angling to salmon fishing and I think I may have turned carp fishing England international Ryan from the dark side as i had him back for another 2 days in search of silver.  It was always going to be hard to top his previous visit last season,  due to the fact he landed the biggest guest fish of the year, weighing in at a staggering 22.5lb on his first day ever salmon fishing.  It literally took him 5 minutes to start spey casting again even after a year, to the point of casting off his left shoulder – what a bloke!  It was getting late in the day and I was gutted for him that he hadn’t connected yet as he was fishing his socks off, I shouldn’t of worried however, as minutes later that high pitched scream of fish on and a rod bent was the sight and sound i was waiting for, although the fish wasn’t a shade of last years capture it was still an absolute stunner and kept his 100 percent record in tact.

Cap fishing England international Ryan with another salmon

The season seemed to come to an end faster than I’ve ever experienced but collectively we still managed a cracking last week, landing 6 fish including 2 fish for Phil, 2 for my guests one being a first uk sea trout for Barry.  One of my guest’s Adams landed his second ever salmon, christening his rod he had received 17 years ago as a birthday present that he had promised to take the plastic off once he had caught a salmon on it.  Both myself Robson and Gibson had a hectic last 2 day’s hooking 5 fish but only managing to land 2 between us but it was still an epic team effort and I managed my 25th fish of the season on the 31st on the that killer fly again – The Stokoe shrimp.

Adam christens his rod

Adam and his Prize

The dream team Barry and the Green

Robson and a chunky hen fish

This sea trout couldn’t resist a Stokoe shrimp

Last day fish for the team

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone that has helped and supported me but also to all guests and friends who have fished with me, I couldn’t do this without you all!  Bring on 2019……..!

Looking back over last year i cant help but smile, even tho my personal life away from the fishing hasn’t been the easiest, all the fish caught by guests, successful events and shows, how much i’ve learned, sponsorships, ambassadorships and most of all the people i got to meet and become good friends with made it a year to remember.

2018 literally couldn’t of started any better with the official announcement of my partnership with Sportfish, to have been asked to be an ambassador for this incredible company was an honour and something i was never going to pass up.  What i love about the Sportfish is not only the brands and equipment i already use and have for years but that it isn’t just a bunch of random people put together at a company, the staff all bring something different to the table regarding fishing knowledge and character and is more like a close family.  It also brings back great memories to where i had my last and final audition for the Big Fish before i got selected for the show which changed my life and put me on the path to where i am today. @sportfishuk

The official handshake with Robin from Sportfish

As you may know last year myself and Ripon joined forces to become the Untamed Anglers to carry on from where we left off on our world wide big fish adventure, this time to concentrate on incredible and diversity of species on our doorstep in this country .  This month we start filming our series with Jonny from Shooting photography, our good friend Hywel Morgan and a host of other very familiar fishing faces as we go in search of Britain’s Iconic Fish.  Its still hard to belive that an idea we had all nearly a year ago has materialised into us actually going into production, it hasn’t been easy but a lot of hard work and time has eventually paid off and we cant wait to show you guys the finished product.

The untamed Anglers are go!

A new year also means new events and shows to look forward to, i absolutely love being part of these, mainly to meet all the other anglers and people with the same interest and passion as myself and its always a great excuse to have a catch up with old buddies.  Hopefully you guys will be able to make some of the Shows and events listed below =

Scottish fly fair 10/11 March

London Fly Fishing Fair 23/24 March

Sportfish Reading show 12/13 May

The Game Fair 27/28/29 July

The Game Fair team Alaska including myself, Wayne and Marina

With a really successful years guiding last year i cant wait to get started again, it may sound stupid to some but i really feel like i’ve finally found what i was meant to do.  After selling cars since leaving school it was like a breath of fresh air being able to turn my passion into a job, don’t get me wrong it can be mentally draining at times when those pesky fish wont play game but the satisfaction of using your knowledge and craft to successfully get a guest a fish is an incredible feeling and is close as you can get to catching one yourself.  Due to really high demand this year not only do i have access to the phenomenal warden beats I’ve fished all my life near Hexham, i will also be guiding  guests on the stunning lambely beat on the south tyne, which in August, September and October is absolutely rammed with fish due to its location high up on the south Tyne.  Anyone looking to for guided fishing full details of locations and pricing can be found on my Tyne salmon guiding link on my home page and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Robson getting amongst the fish with Phil at Lambley

Along with the guiding i will also be hosting a joint trip of a lifetime to Alaska with the amazing Marina Gibson in September!  Alaska has to be the ultimate bucket list location for any fly fishing addicts around the world. Here is a great opportunity to join both Marina Gibson and James Stokoe as they host a trip in September for an incredible price to the phenomenal Alaska Trophy Adventures Lodge, Alagnak River, Bristol Bay, Alaska, set on the remote banks of the wild and scenic Alagnak River.  This river Hosts a world-famous run of all five species of pacific salmon, the Alagnak is also home to a host of resident fish, such as leopard rainbow trout, arctic char and grayling. The only access to the Lodge is via bush plane, landing on a private airstrip located on the property.  The location has stunning wooden cabins that are equipped with running water, heating and power, that will guarantee you a comfortable stay.

With limited space due to this great price package, please use my contact link on my home page for full details, availability and pricing.

A stunning char from the Alagnak

1 of the five Pacific salmon species to be caught

Id just like to wish you all tightlines for 2018 and i really hope to see you soon!

After a great July with both myself and guests getting into some incredible fish August/September had a lot to live up to, with the runs of fish and talented anglers on the banks there was only going to be 1 answer.  August started with a familiar face in the form of BT sports presenter and England carp fishing team manager rob Hughes as he went in search of his first salmon, not only did he get his prize he ended up with a brace of fly caught fish including the smallest grilse ive ever seen, you never know we may have turned him from the dark side.

A soaking wet rob with his first ever salmon

The smallest grilse I’ve ever seen

 

Getting anyone their first salmon is always a great feeling but on their first ever day chasing silver and using a double hander is on another level.  Here’s my guest Craig with his prize that he worked so hard for, especially after loosing a fish earlier in the day, not a bad effort for his day at all and another angler hooked on salmon for life.

 

Craig and his first ever salmon from the Tyne

Its amazing the friends you get to make within fishing, even half way across the other side of the world, one of them Dave like a lot of anglers has always had his heart set on catching a salmon, so after booking 3 days with me months ago his time to chase silver finally arrived and he absolutely smashed it. Not only did his dream come true he finished the trip an absolute hero, a hat-trick hero, coming from a coarse fishing back ground i just hope he doesn’t expect this every time.

Dave’s first salmon from the Tyne

Salmon number 2

The man completes his salmon hat-trick

England International Carp angler Ryan managed to scrape in a last minute booking with me at the end of august, he took to salmon fishing like a duck to water considering his angling background. Not only did this man mountain land his first salmon on his first ever day salmon fishing, but he managed to land the biggest my guests had the whole season, something that took me 20 years to achieve, a fish weighing in at a staggering 21.5lb!  I don’t think this is the last we’ve seen of that man.

The biggest Tyne salmon caught by my guests

September started at 100 MPH with colossal runs of fish still entering the system and my first guest Larysa literally getting thrown in at the deep end being her first time.  Everyone knows salmon fishing isn’t easy and these fish can drive you to the edge of insanity but Larysa literally smashed it, even tho it was her first day ever fishing for salmon on an unknown river using new equipment she got her prize, a stunning 9.5lb hen fish which as always was quickly returned after her trophy photo.

Larysa with her prize, her first Tyne salmon

One of the biggest characters i’ve had on the river has to be Phil, he literally had me in stitches constantly through the few days a guided him.  Again things started at lightning speed hooking into 2 salmon for them both to throw the fly feet from the net, it was going to have to be third time lucky, which it was as he managed a nice double figure fly caught fish from the north tyne.  This as a lot of the fish this season was a first salmon for him which only makes the moment even better.

Phil and his prize, a lovely fly caught salmon

One of the highlights of the season was 20 year old Liam who only took up fishing 2 years ago, and this was his first ever day salmon fishing, he not only managed his first sea trout but at the end of play managed his first salmon. What made the day extra special was out of about 20 anglers he was the only one to catch anything, and looking though fish pal catches he’s stayed the only one that managed anything to the net.

Liam with his sea trout

Double trouble and Liam gets his salmon

Its always great having 2 guests fishing at a time as not only does it obviously double your chance but the banter is always great and the competitiveness even better.  Near the end of September i had 2 absolute legends Jason and Karl come in search of their first tyne fish! As i mentioned above its always great to catch fish but it’s everything that comes with it, the banter, the learning and of course a ballistic lunch time spread with the lads brought with them, ive never seen anything like it. In the end the boys finished with 2 fish lost and a stunning sea trout.

Jason with a fresh sea trout

One day that will go down in history in my fishing career for a number of reasons was a day i spent at countess park with Robson Green, not only did I manage 3 salmon on my Atomsix fly rod with one of them being a 20, all 3 were caught on a red Stokoe shrimp. Along with my incredible hat-trick I witnessed Robson catch not only his first but second ever fly caught Tyne salmon. To top it off Robson’s uncle Matheson got amongst the fish making it 6 for the day.  A day i thought would never happen and now im lucky enough to call Robson a great friend.

The dream team

Salmon number 1 after 10 minutes

A heavy hen! Salmon number 2

The salmon hat-trick complete

At the end of the month waters levels seemed to drop which put a lot of local anglers off, for me the low water only means one thing, the fish get condensed in certain areas.  My guest Dean had no trouble at all finding the fish as he managed his first Tyne salmon on a day others that were fishing struggled, he stuck at it hard and got his not so silver prize, still a stunning fish.

Dean and his bronze prize

Last but certainly not least Myself and the salmon master Phil caught some incredible Salmon and sea trout on the fly throughout August and september, to many to mention but here are a few to wet the appetite.

Phil with a 20lb beast of a salmon

A Bronze beauty i caught from the south tyne

The fly’s doing the damage were as always a red Stokoe shrimp and small cascades…….

As with any type of fishing the most important factor is understanding your quarry, and due to the salmon’s life cycle being very complex there is a lot to learn about these magnificent fish. In the last issue I gave a brief description of what these fish actually go through, and this time I’ll explain it in a bit more detail which will then help us to choose the correct and suitable equipment and locations to catch these silver tourists.

Once hatched from an egg high up the river system in the spawning grounds the salmon go through numerous stages of change before heading back to sea. Initially hatching as an alevin they gradually turn to a fry, then after a year into a salmon parr which resembles a small brown trout but can be identified by what looks like 4 finger prints on the side of them. After another 2-3 years of aggressively feeding a dramatic change of colour occurs turning them bright silver and into a salmon smolt, still very small fish of around 6 inches long. Something tells these smolt to go back to sea and a phenomenal migration towards the oceans and the rich feeding grounds of the Atlantic waters near Greenland begins.

After being at sea for between 1-3 years gorging on prawns, shrimps and small fish, instinct and an incredibly strong urge to return to their spawning grounds take hold and the incredible journey starts again – not only do the fish return to the same country and river of birth, but the same stream they were actually born in. It’s as if they have a built in sat nav, that allows them to actually smell their way back to water that they came from.

After migrating thousands of miles back to their river of birth they start a treacherous journey upstream avoiding seals, otters, cormorants and other threats whilst battling strong currents, rapids and weirs. During this time the salmon enter a fasted state by not feeding at all once in fresh water. The run of fish on most rivers is greater in the months ranging from June – October, and these months also see the greatest increase of anglers targeting these fish. The salmon fishing season varies thought different rivers within the UK, with some opening in January and finishing in November but the majority staring February 1st running until the October 31st. Once the season ends, the break over the winter is very important as it allows the fish to spawn in peace high up the river system, before heading back out to sea for the cycle to start all over again.

Now that we understand these fish, their lifestyle and their habits a little bit more it will hopefully help us towards our prize trophy, a stunning Atlantic salmon.

Before jumping in with two feet and buying any equipment it’s always important to do your homework and decide where you’re going to be fishing, particularly on which river as they differ so much in the size, colour and the runs of fish they see. Local knowledge is key to any river fishing and even after 20 years of salmon angling I still learn something new every time by reading the river as the water conditions and fish are never the same twice.

The equipment needed for salmon fishing can just about be covered by 2 set ups, first (and my favourite) a double handed salmon rod ranging from 13’-15’ depending on the river you’re looking to fish. A 14’ foot would cover most situations and my preference for this would be Grey’s, any of the GR models because you get fantastic build quality with a great action for reasonable money anywhere from £250 – £400 for a good quality rod. Second, you may think the reel is the most important part of the set up but it’s actually the line, and this is a mistake made by many as Spey casting involves no weights or heavy lures just the weight of the head of the fly line, so matching the weight of the line (#8,#9,#10 etc) is critical. For lines I personally use either a Cortland Spey or Rio outbound which vary between £50-£100, and for Spring time and back end fishing I also add a Rio sinking poly tip to help me get down to the fish, and this also saves on buying a whole new line. As for reels, as long as they have a good smooth drag and enough room for a few hundred yards of backing line you’re sorted and you definitely won’t break the bank with one. Lure fishing is also a very popular way of targeting these fish, especially when the water is high or fishing deep slow-running water, and for that I personally use a Rovex lure pro with a 22-50g casting rating matched with a medium sized fixed spool reel and 30lb braid. Again you don’t need to break the bank with spinning gear, I think mine totals £100 for the lot, light or medium pike rods would suffice.

One of the biggest decisions a salmon angler has to make by the river is what to put on at the business end, and the biggest problem we face is the characteristics of these fish, as they don’t feed in fresh water we have to get a reaction from them in some other way. I personally think there are a few reasons why the fish take a fly or lure, the first being that when you’re using an imitation shrimp/prawn fly or fish lure it reminds them of what they were feeding on at sea, and as their instinct takes over for a split second and they grab it. Another is annoyance and agitation – imagine travelling all those thousands of miles then finding a nice lye (resting spot) and all of a sudden your personal space is being invaded, they may even see it as competition and their natural aggression is triggered and in a instant they snatch at the fly. Last is that they are just inquisitive and being that they don’t have hands they use their mouth, which happens a lot of the time. Sometimes the slightest of tweaks, literally the lightest of pulls on a fly is salmon just mouthing it, how they don’t get hooked I will never know.

My preference for flies are always shrimp imitations, it’s advisable to have a good range of patterns and colours as like trout fishing one day it could be orange the next red and so on. Certain colours do fish better at different times of the year with greens and yellows working in Spring, oranges throughout most the year and red is a must in the back end as studies suggest that salmon can actually see red easier when it’s close to their spawning time. As for lures I love to use Rapalas, mainly floating ones ranging from 7cm – 11cm in bright colours as it’s only when the waters high and coloured, and age old favourites like Flying C’s and Toby’s still have their place and can be deadly.

Now that we are ready and set to target these fish we need to find them, and to do so it’s important to search out and find characteristics in the river like rapids, obstructions, rocks, pools and water seems. Fish will always have their favourite lies, holding pools and runs and in different heights of water these will change – in the Summer when oxygen and water is low they will sit high up in pools near the white water, and in higher water they will sit just off the fast water looking for the easiest route possible up stream. Always remember that local knowledge is key, you could spend hours and even days trying to find these fish so always get as much info as possible when fishing new water and always take advantage of a guide, it’s these guys’ jobs to know the water like the back of their hands and put you on silver.

Lastly. be patient and enjoy your fishing, it will happen and when it does you will never look back.

Tight lines.