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  1. #1

    Default Introduction and question

    Hi Guys

    New member here from Greater Manchester, or Lancashire, as it would have been in times gone by. Westhoughton in point of fact. I've been fishing on the Ribble, quite near Gisburn, since I was a boy and Iím now in my mid fifties. I used to fish with my father, and we were both fairly skilled at trout and grayling fishing, and him much more so than I at sea trout and salmon. I never caught a salmon with him, but he caught many with me. I had a really big one on once, and for a long time. Then, when I thought it was tired out, I went to net it. Spooked by the net, it went for what I can only assume was one final, massive, run. Head out, tail thrashing, and rod bent nearly double. I was trying to back wind it, and I was just way too slow. I should have released and palmed the reel, if that's what it's called, until that run was finished, but I didn't, and just like that, everything went slack and calm again.

    Sadly my father passed over 10 years ago, and I let my fishing lapse. Just last year I retired, and started fishing again, with my brother in law. Fortunately, it would seem, in all that time, we haven't lost too much of our skill from a trout perspective, but, as the season got round to salmon, we realised we knew next to nothing about what to try, for each of the different water conditions encountered for salmon.

    Not to worry, I started guessing, thinking, remembering back, reading his incomplete journal entries, discussing with my brother in law, and pieced together enough to have some sort of reasonable approach. Net result, between the two of us, my brother in law and I both managed our first ever salmon. By the end of the season he'd managed one more, and I had three more on, but fished two of them very badly, making very basic mistakes, and they got off. One I fished well, but it still got off. Some lessons learned, or reminded of, by the first two that got away, but still away it went. That's life I suppose.

    We return all fish, and as quickly as possible, so we didn't weigh them, but I could guess that each one was between 6 and 8lbs, nothing more for sure. I can't tell you how thrilling it was to actually finally catch a salmon, and one in such fine condition too, and my brother in law was equally thrilled as well.

    Years of fishing with my father, and he just somehow had a knack. I could fish a pool, behind a fallen tree in a flood, with a free worm, tap, tap, tap, type approach, and nothing for 20 minutes. Dad, "How's it going lad" Me, "Not bad, but nothing doing here." Dad, "Let's have a look. Woah, there we go, I'm in." I mean, what the hell. Same gear, same approach, same type of worm, and bang he's in. He once picked up his mateís ledger rod, and said, "Whose rod is this? I'll just check the worm and chuck it in again." "Yeah help yourself, it's done nothing." replied his pal. Dad, "Here we go! I told you it was worth trying ledger." and in came yet another salmon.

    Occurrences like this were commonplace, and brought great opportunities for taking the mickey. 'Lucky so and so', 'Well you just don't know what you're doing', etc, etc. I would guess he managed double, maybe even treble what anyone else did, whoever the visitors might be. He just knew the water, which type of fishing, where and when, etc, on the stretch we fish.

    To rub in my lack of success, I invited up a friend of mine up to fish last year, before I'd had my salmon. He's a coarse fisherman, and was hoping for a nice grayling, chub, or similar. He'd not been with me for probably twenty years, maybe more, and was really looking forward to it. He was fishing light, trotting a stick float, and after having several nice fish already, trout, grayling, chub, he shouted, "I'm in again. Seems like a good one". The fish didnít show for a while, and we were all guessing as to what it might be. He said, this must be a good fish, and as it flashed by, he screamed out laughing, as we each caught a flash of silver, "It's a salmon, I can't believe it". I couldn't believe it either. Still without salmon, and having fished hard for them, several times already that season, and for many years, long gone, in the past, and he just turns up, isn't trying for them, and lands a small salmon.

    Small it might have been, but it looked perfect, AND, it was a salmon, which I'd never had. Tiny little barbless hook, and I can't even get them in with a big treble tube. Arghhh, lol. To be honest, I was delighted for him, especially when he agreed to release it, following my policy, and by the end of the season that had made a total of four that we'd had from our stretch, and returned, so more than happy for him and me, but at the time I have to admit I was more than a little jealous.

    The salmon I was successful with, at a later date, was on a big water, too big to wade, so I resorted to spinner from the bank. I had an old smallish silver meps, and took just a few casts to get the feel again. Around the 5th cast, which I put straight across, as it came around, and I wound in slowly, due to the strong current, bang, there it was and I was I was in. Managed to finally land a salmon, and as I removed the hook I could see just how lucky I'd been. Using very old gear, the treble on my meps had lost 2 of its three points, and it would seem that the one remaining was the only one that had been in good condition. I'd not been stuck on anything prior, so these had just come off during the fight. I figured I'd been lucky, or my dad was looking out for me, and made sure that one of them held on. I've bought new now.

    Between us, my brother in law and I are learning, and seem to be getting a bit of a feel for the water, and when to do what, etc. Certainly, I've learned how 'not' to fish them once they're hooked, by letting three get off and two of those 'fishing like a **** stone', as my dad would have said. Never really knew exactly what he meant, but that's what he would say, and I get the general idea.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to the coming season, and wondered if it was worth trying in spring? I see from the season that I could be fishing now, but my father never fished early. He would say, 'Wasting your time until late summer'. It may be that he just didn't like the cold, but on this basis, the fact that he never did, and that I never have, perhaps I could ask you guys what the early salmon fishing is like on the Ribble.

    Even if you were to say, 'you're about half as likely to be successful', or 'one third as likely', that would be enough to help me decide if I should be going up there now, when the conditions are right. I'm not really one for the cold either, but if there are fish to be had, I'm sure the rewards would be worthwhile. I know you all already know, but I can't really put into words the thrill I got from landing my first salmon, and I just know my dad was looking down on me.

    If it's really tough going early, I mean it's tough enough anyway, then I guess I'll wait, but I'd love to hear some of your stories and advice from early fishing on the Ribble.

    Thanks for reading my long post.



  2. #2


    As first posts go that is a lengthy one indeed - but nice to know a bit about you and your fishing. Your father sounds like he was a good egg.

    Afraid I know nowt about the Ribble but I most certainly bid you welcome to this great forum!
    Last edited by kramdrazzi; 08-02-2018 at 03:39 PM.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2015


    Yorkie will put you right.

  4. #4


    Welcome to the forum Sutty. Just round the corner from me ! I was born and brought up in Westhoughton
    I'm making a return to Salmon fishing this year after a break of over 15 years. I will be doing most of my fishing on the Ribble as I used to although I never used to fish until June. I will be putting in a bit of effort in Spring this year as there's always a chance however slim.

    Sent from my SM-J320FN using Tapatalk

  5. #5


    Thanks for the replies and the warm welcome guys. Sounds like I'll be sorted once one or two others look in.

    Nice to hear from a fellow keaw yed, budge. I was born and raised here too. I suppose those last two words of yours are the key to the question, "however slim." Right now I have no idea how slim those chances might be. It would seem that you believe they are slimmer than later in the year, unless you also believe the chances are slim later in the year too, lol. I guess considering my previous success rate, going back all those years, the chances are indeed slim, even at the best of times. That having been said, I'm off the mark now, so maybe that will bode well for the coming season, whether it be earlier or later in the year.

    I guess if it were too easy, it wouldn't be worth doing.

  6. #6


    I'm probably not the person to suggest where the best chance of an early fish is. I will concentrate on the lower stretches until later in the season. Maybe if you have access to the counter on Locks Weir you will get an indication of how many fish are in the river ?

    Sent from my SM-J320FN using Tapatalk

  7. #7



    I can offer nothing about the Ribble, but others will.

    Your dad sounds like a splendid chap.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by budge View Post
    I'm probably not the person to suggest where the best chance of an early fish is. I will concentrate on the lower stretches until later in the season. Maybe if you have access to the counter on Locks Weir you will get an indication of how many fish are in the river ?

    Sent from my SM-J320FN using Tapatalk
    Should have been Waddow weir !

    Sent from my SM-J320FN using Tapatalk

  9. #9


    I searched for the fish counter results, but couldn't find anything. Hopefully others will chime in with some further advice, but in the meantime I wrote to one of the associations on the Ribble, and received a reply from the chairman of the Ribblesdale angling Association, and director of Clitheroe Anglers, to whom my enquiry was forwarded.

    He replied in some detail, regarding the water conditions/weather, and the likely number of fish, for any given day, but the long and the short of his kind message was that basically, early in the year, especially where I'm fishing, higher up, the likelihood of any reasonable number of fish coming through early, is low. As he said, there's always a chance, and people do report catches, but the effort/reward ratio is considerably worse during spring, when compared to late summer/autumn. He said he'll be having a try from around March onwards, assuming appropriate conditions, but even then the chances are low and the fish are likely to be few and far between.

    On this basis I think I'll be keeping my number of trips low, until the start of the trout season, when at least I'll have some alternate target fish.

    Thanks to all who've replied. I'll be sure to keep checking in, and if I've anything worthy of report, I'll make a post of what was what.



  10. #10


    Good to have you on the forum and hope you enjoy it.

    Ribble Rod on here is probably the best person for up to date info on the Ribble (edit, looks like you have aleady made contact seeing your post above !).

    A couple of years ago, there was a good run of fish in May and, like most rivers, the runs seem to be getting earlier.

    Certainly come April there will be a few springers about, the waters around Clitheroe are a fairly good barometer as they tend to see a fair few fishermen throughout the season. Normally then increasing numbers through the season although possibly peaking July, August September now rather than Sept/Oct a few years ago.
    Last edited by Occasional salmon fisher; 13-02-2018 at 05:40 PM.

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