Choice of line for salmon rookie?

stephenakroyd

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I would welcome some guidance. I have never been salmon fishing before (only fly fishing for trout) and have the good fortune of a week on the Dee in mid-summer this year. I will be buying a 13ft #8-9 rod and one that is forgiving for an inexperienced salmon fly fisher (maybe something like a Guideline elevation), but am struggling with the range of lines and heads available. I am thinking of a Scandi line with multiple tips, ideally all together as a kit. But there are many options.

So, my question - if I was to buy one complete line setup, what would you recommend? This is summer fishing on the Dee and someone inexperienced on salmon, so needs to be easy to cast and forgiving, with multi-tip options. If I then wanted to extend my line options - I am there for week after all - what should I consider?

I know there will not be a single correct answer, but would welcome views from your collective experience.

Stephen
 

Rennie

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Stephen, for the Dee certainly in mid summer you should need nothing more complicated than a floating line, a tapered leader- maybe some 10ft poly tips- clear nylon and dressed flees down to a size 14.
The Dee is a clear shallow river and what you will need to be doing is making sure Salar see's your flee before you, your line or knows you're even there!.
Forget multi tip lines, all being well you won't need them.
A floating shooting head- Scandi head as some call them- to match the rod you choose, coupled to a floating 30lb running line.Now I'd take a punt and say buy a set of 10ft poly tips ( the Airflo ones in the neat plastic wallet ) and a 10ft tapered nylon leader.Now depending on the water during your trip, pick either one of the 10ft polys OR the 10ft tapered leader. To the end of whichever you use attach 5ft of a suitable clear nylon and then your flee to that.Now the polys will let you control the depth of your flee should the river be carrying extra water or the current be fast and powerful.In a normal to low river, pick the tapered leader.A complete leader from shooting head to flee should be in the region of 15ft, it will matter and you will stand a far better chance of catching with such a set up!. The bigger and higher and more coloured the water, the faster the sink rate of the poly and the size and brighter colour of the flee you'll choose. The lower and clearer the water the smaller the flee and finer the nylon off the tapered leader.
Now the Dee will run at times Gin clear and you can use smaller flee's than you would on other rivers, there might be times you can't fish small enough.
I'd look to dressed doubles of 14, 12,10, for a start, if you can get tiny plastic tubes all the better. say 1/4" with 14 trebles, so much the better.However without a crystal ball you won't know exactly what sizes you might need until the time of your trip.A smart move would be to buy just before you set off and take advice on the sizes from those who know, it will make a difference.
Now, every thing will pale into insignificance compared to casting as long a line as you need to cast as straight and neat and tidy as you possibly can, I can't emphasise that bit enough, dead straight from your toes to the flee- its crucial!.
That could well mean preparing yourself with a lesson or two- money well spent trust me here!.The more casts you can get in as straight as its possible to get where they need to be in the river increases your chances of fish.The make of rod, reel ,line, colour of the waders or have you spent pots on your gear or not, thats what will result in Salar interrupting the progress of yer flee, presenting your flee in the right fashion.
As ever thats completely simplified, there's always lots more and nearer the time more detailed info can be given.
Feel free any time and the best of luck with your time on the river.
Pedro.
 

MCXFisher

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Stephen,

welcome to the Forum where you will find all manner of wit, wisdom and everything else besides. There are lots of people on here who will happily give you lots of advice, indeed so much that your head will spin. Just remain focused on the essentials and don't be boggled by the details.

While the purists would suggest that on a large river like the Dee you would be best off with a long headed Spey line (and they would be correct both technically and for long-term benefit), I would recommend something in the 'Scandi' category with a head length in the range 35-40 feet. This is because it is easier to learn to cast with this type of line; gives you half a chance of covering a useful amount of water; and should thereby make your week more enjoyable.

There are lots of brands to choose from although only 4-5 companies actually manufacture Spey lines. The rest is design and branding, and you'll get as many opinions on here as there are lines. Nowadays just about everything is good quality. Most are expensive because they're made in such small quantities, and the multi-tip versions are more expensive still. However, if you think you're going to commit to salmon fishing, the line will last 10+ years, so think of it as an investment, not least because the line is the most important part of the whole system. If you wish to save money, and bearing in mind that you're going to the Dee in May, it may be that a straightforward floating head from John Norris and a selection of Airflo poly leaders will be the most economic choice.

May I offer some advice from the perspective of someone who started fly fishing for salmon the same way from the basis of long experience with trout. Whatever else you do, please spend money on instruction in 2 handed casting. if you arrive for your week able to get a line out you will enjoy yourself far more than the frustration of thrashing and experimenting. It's totally different to trout casting, a whole new game in every dimension, so `a couple of lessons with a qualified instructor will make all the difference.

Finally, if you want a range of basic tips to help you get started, have a look at Just One Week. As its name implies it's a blog written for the benefit of novices for whom salmon fishing begins with just one week's pleasure before hooking you for life.

Tight lines, have a great week and welcome to our world.
 

stephenakroyd

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Pedro / Michael,

Many thanks for your comments and useful guidance. Just what I was looking for. The advice on poly leaders makes sense, and I will definitely be getting some casting lessons in preparation. The plan was to visit the Dee last year, but Covid put paid to that. Our booking has been rolled over to this year, so keeping fingers crossed. Michael, thanks also for the link to your Just One Week blog posts which are both helpful and interesting. I have come across some of these recently as I have also been looking at Vision rods, particularly the 13' MAG for which I am keeping an eye out for 'used'.

Many thanks,

Stephen
 

kimbo

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My setup up for the Dee is an Rio afs 8/9 or 9/10 coupled with a 15ft intermediate airflo polyleader. Used this setup in June to sept for the majority of the time.
I prefer small double flies in sizes 10 down to 14 on a fluorocarbon tippet or Maxima nylon whichever takes you're fancy.
Flies are s matter of choice but silver stoat, Willie gunn, black and yellow and cascade are my go to patterns.
There are numerous other patterns but you have to start somewhere
 

iainmortimer

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Having come back to salmon in the last couple of years I suggest that if you can get hold of one (e-mail Mike and he'll tell you when in stock) then the Barrio Short Head Spey is a brilliant line to start with. I use an #8/9 version on my 13'6' rod and it flies out with a 10' polyleader. It also won't break the bank! If you then travel further and want a multi-tip or similar system, by then you'll have a much better idea of what suits you and what you really need to extend your season or range of rivers.

Rod wise, the Airflo Delta Classic performs well and again won't break the bank while being nice enough to use that it'll be in your hands for years!
 
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SalmoNewf

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Never let it be said that I would discourage anyone from buying tackle and I won’t start now, but if you have experience fly fishing for trout with single handed rods, you may have what you need already. A 9 1/2 or 10 foot, 7 or 8 wt. rod, a reel with at least 100 (200 would be better) yards of backing, a floating line and some 10lb test leader material and in summer conditions you would probably be good to go. Certainly would agree with the fly sizes mentioned above as well.
 

MCXFisher

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Stephen,

for rods I would recommend widening your search aperture. The Vision Onki is a better choice for a novice than the MAG on account of having a fuller action that tells you more of what's going on in the cast. The Tool is also a nice easy-casting rod. Both should be easier to find than a MAG for the simple reason that most MAG 13 owners love theirs so much!
 

stephenakroyd

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Many thanks everyone for your contributions - this has all been very instructive. I now have a much clearer idea on line options for salmon. Michael - point noted on the Onki, and have just read your review of this rod. Seems a good option and at the right price point for me. Having nearly completed my first own-build trout rod (a good lock-down project), I may have a go at a Salmon rod - but not until next year, by when I will hopefully have some idea what I want. Anyway, that is a whole new topic.

Stephen
 

MCXFisher

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Stephen,
if you hunt about you may find an Onki at a dealer at a good price: the wholesale/UK distributor Guide Fly Fishing doesn't have any in stock, which suggests that it is being superseded by the new Hero at a marginally higher RRP of £450, due in the UK in the next fortnight. The Hero is only currently offered at two lengths, Switch at 11' 2" and salmon at 13' 7" #8, which incidentally is a great all-round size suitable for many rivers. I hope to get my hands on a Hero to test as soon as I'm allowed out.
 

stephenakroyd

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Stephen,
if you hunt about you may find an Onki at a dealer at a good price: the wholesale/UK distributor Guide Fly Fishing doesn't have any in stock, which suggests that it is being superseded by the new Hero at a marginally higher RRP of £450, due in the UK in the next fortnight. The Hero is only currently offered at two lengths, Switch at 11' 2" and salmon at 13' 7" #8, which incidentally is a great all-round size suitable for many rivers. I hope to get my hands on a Hero to test as soon as I'm allowed out.
Oooh - very tempting. Pics look, good. Found an Onki, but am now tempted to hang on for the Hero. What to do, eh? I do like Vision - slightly quirky company, but great products. Have a few of their reels and one of their pike fly rods.
 

MCXFisher

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Stephen,
I can't advise on the Hero without trying it, whereas the Onki is a known quantity.

I confess that I'm very fond of Vision rods: out of a dozen that I've either owned or tested I only encountered one that I didn't like, and even that was adequate rather than horrid. Indeed, of all the Vision rods I've bought over the years that's the only double hander I've sold: the other 6 are all still in use. I really like their actions which deliver excellent clarity of feeling to the hands, in both acting and fishing. In contrast, my hit rate for liking the rods from other manufacturers that I've owned or tested is probably short of 50%. But the simple fact is that the only 'best' rod is the one that best suits you as an individual, irrespective of brand, prestige or price. Coincidentally, the two rods I most disliked were the most expensive.

You're right about the quirky company! They certainly come up with some odd names for their kit, but on the other hand Finnish is pretty impenetrable and replete with nicknames for all sorts of fish and stuff.
 

Rrrr

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Oooh - very tempting. Pics look, good. Found an Onki, but am now tempted to hang on for the Hero. What to do, eh? I do like Vision - slightly quirky company, but great products. Have a few of their reels and one of their pike fly rods.
Was browsing the other day and uttings had a good chunk off the onki double handers. I was looking for new 13 footers but they only had 14 and 15s left.

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Rennie

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I have to say, fancy doing a Rev. W. Gibbons,wearing some cheap sunglass's and getting a 14ft Onki, seems rather tempting at that price.
Pedro.
 

Rrrr

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I have to say, fancy doing a Rev. W. Gibbons,wearing some cheap sunglass's and getting a 14ft Onki, seems rather tempting at that price.
Pedro.
I was tempted by a 14 for the money but deep down i know itl not get used. Been on the hunt for something slower than my lpxe lately as my shoulders been playing up when using it.

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bassfly

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If you can find a second hand Vision GT4 Catapult in either 13ft or 14ft they are a great rod. The 14ft 9/10# is still my go to rod and matches well to a Rio AFS 9/10. A set of 10ft polyleaders and you are good to go.
 

Rrrr

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If you can find a second hand Vision GT4 Catapult in either 13ft or 14ft they are a great rod. The 14ft 9/10# is still my go to rod and matches well to a Rio AFS 9/10. A set of 10ft polyleaders and you are good to go.
Theres a 3pce on a few of the fishing facebook sales pages at the moment for good price.

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stephenakroyd

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Quick update - my Onki 13' 8-9wt arived today from fly-fishing-tackle.co.uk (30% off). Think I may have got the last one. Everyone else also sold out it seems. Spoke to them first, and they said the same as MCXFisher - the Hero will probably be good but is as yet untested, whereas the Onki is a known quantity. I can use what I saved to get a decent line, polytips etc. Planning to self build a Bloke 11' 3" 8wt as a back-up / switch rod. Will be interesting to see how they compare. Thanks for all the advice.

 

MCXFisher

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Congratulations, you got a very good price. With the money you've saved you can now afford a premium line.
 
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