What've You Learned This Year?

Rennie

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Well, pretty well most of us are done for the year now with the pursuit of Salar. Gears packed away(er, well, maybe, sort of,lol), boredom and that stir crazy feeling are quite a ways off yet and we've probably got a warm rosy retrospective glow of success to look back fondly over(all right, some lucky sod's out there have!).
So, what did we learn this past season ?, not necessarily any thing new or mind blowing, but maybe it's a question of arriving to terms with something thats making a difference, something thats needed a bit of settling into and a little understanding for it to make sense.
I've spent more time at the vice this year(no, not that type, wife says I'm too old now!), I've always been a Tube guy with a more practical sense rather than creative or indeed artistic leaning.
Over the past couple of seasons with there certainly being a lack of fish to angle for I've been focussing on the flee's them selves rather than how I fish them(to a degree any way).I'm finding with less fish about there isn't the competition or raising of aggression between fish that at times makes them grab anything(well some take my shoddy tyings!).
I've been spending quite a bit of spare time watching flee tying videos etc. the likes of that Mc.Phail bloke who seems a bit handy(lol), not for specific patterns, but more for technique-which so far I've been very much lacking! and construction techniques.
I seem at the moment to be taking a leaning towards what many may well call a Scandi influence to my tyings, trying to look at shape and movement.
I'll say it from the off I'm heavily influenced by some of you guys on here,Jockiescott, Rotoenone, to name but two, and EVERY ONE else who tyes well n good and has the danglies to post on here.I'm gleaning as much in terms of shape and construction from all of you!, from your posted examples as I do in experimentation at the vice.
However I'm finding certainly in my fishing that smaller is better(well always known and accepted that) and at the moment am trying to get a grip of smaller patterns that are tyeable which will still produce the goods.Shall we say its an on going thing!.
After Jockiescotts blog about tails such as his long tailed Willie G., I realised I'd been thinking along those lines myself for quite a while, sparse n spindly over paint brush tails every time! and proportion certainly is king!
I suppose I'm trying to say I'm pretty comfy with getting it all out there into the water in a reet and proper fashion, what I'm now starting to think much more about now is exactly what I'm chucking out there for Salar's approval.
Any way, once I'm confident I'm making a good job and that what I come up with actually works, I do intend posting for critique some of my efforts!.Just don't expect miracles just yet.
Yours off back to the vice, Pedro.
 

greenlaner2009

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I learned that salmon fishing forum members are more interested in Brexit than salmon fishing.
 

budge

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Good post Pedro.
I've learned to listen to advice but not be scared of trying something a bit different. The general consensus on the Ribble is to fish small flies. I've only had two fish this year, but both caught on a monstrosity of my own tying. The original was created just messing about at the vice with a few materials. After looking online I realised there were similar flies out there, so I had a look at those and tweaked mine slightly. These are the MK4 versions lol, a bit rough and ready but they worked for me.


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iainmortimer

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Quite a lot as it’s been a lot of years up until this season past that salmon haven’t even featured in my thinking let alone fishing and so things have changed a lot.

Rods, they all seem to be much faster now and so those lovely big loops that used to be needed are now not only unnecessary, but will kill a single spey particularly. Instead, it feels more like flicking the tip as soon as the fly touches down. Thankfully, I quickly adjusted although still had plenty of dodgy casts too as I reverted to old habits!

As with trout fishing, modern materials and hook size means flies have changed dramatically especially as mine used to be shop bought. Having thought I’d be playing with mostly #6 and up, it’s been surprising to be using #8’s and down. It’s been a steep learning curve adapting my trout tying to salmon flies but the monthly competition and examples on here have really helped a lot. I’ve still lots to fine tune and learn which feels hard at times when so few fish means there’s little opportunity to try different flies and see how fish react to adjustments. In fact not hard but near impossible when I’m aiming for a single fish over a number of days fishing.

On that, is the fishing really that much worse over recent years? In some ways it doesn’t feel like it when 30 years ago I can remember a whole weeks fishing for just two fish between my uncle and I, and my uncle giving up his syndicate place on the Tay 20 years ago due to the number of blanks. It feels like rather than the rapid significant drop that seems to be talked about, that in fact the steep drop happened decades ago and then just carried on slowly deteriorating. I also rediscovered that I definitely prefer not catching when actively fishing with lure or fly than compared to sitting behind a baited rod twiddling my thumbs for hours on end.

As in all walks of fishing it’s easy to have way more gear than needed but very hard to reach a point where you think you have to much!
 
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SP8

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An old lesson re-learnt. Persevere. I was about to give up and go home just before I finally caught my first Ribble fish in October after yet another morning seeing nothing and touching nothing. One last run down the pool and fish on from a lie where I lost a fish a couple of years ago. So there's another lesson, make a note of where you hook or see fish and the height and fish the area carefully.
With all due respect to Rennie I'm still not convinced fly pattern makes a huge difference. We all have our favourites so carry them in various sizes and think about the depth you want to fish them. Of course like most people I don't take my own advice and have boxes and boxes of flies and can never find one which is just right for the moment. Trouble is I like tying them.

SP8
 

Tyke

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Working the fly more in low water conditions to give it a bit of life, it was successful for me this year.

Regards, Tyke.
 

Jockiescott

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A good post Rennie and glad you found my blog post useful.

If there's ever anything you are having difficulty with in your tying, and you think I might be able to help, don't be afraid to send me a PM. I'll do my best to give some guidance if I can.

Have I learned anything this past season? Probably just how much I enjoy being at the river and actually fishing. Also, how much in summer a floating line is really all I need. I used my intermediate line much less this year and came into contact with more fish. Coming into contact with more fish does not necessarily mean more hooked or landed which is extremely frustrating! :lol:
 

Bruino

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The thing I learned is to be versatile in your fishing. Through choice I only fish the fly no matter the conditions. Two of my friends fish to the conditions and spin and worm if required and allowed, in the years that I have known them they are consistently two of the most successful salmon fishers on the local river
 
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Greegs

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I’ve learned that I need a lottery win to pursue my obsession of chasing Salar..


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Rrrr

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Too much to list really, constantly learning new things and improving other things. A few early finishes at work and fishing with the pensioner club through the week in summer has taught me loads as they know every rock and stone in the river.

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Jockiescott

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The thing I learned is to be versatile in your fishing. Through choice I only fish the fly no matter the conditions. Two of my friends fish to the conditions and spin and worm if required and allowed, in the years that I have known them they are consistently two of the most successful salmon fishers on the local river
Since I learned to fish a fly that I feel the fish will see, it is amazing how many salmon you can hook in conditions that are "not suitable for fly". ;)
 

Lamson v10

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I've learnt that working away from home most of the year and salmon fishing don't mix :frusty: so I've had a career change which allows me more freedom and more fishing time,
so I'm I'm raring to go next season :thumb: bring it on 🎣🎣🎣
 
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sneakypeter

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Following on from a few experiments from 2 seasons back, I have learned that salmon really like a vivid fluorescent pink tail on a fly, with very few fish in either river I fish, I hooked a fish in each river within 24 hours, nothing had been caught for 2weeks on one river, and nothing at all from the other. That is a real confidence boast, and I will probably just use that type of fly from now on, why not , it works (and not just on these occasions!!!) It has caught me a good few fish now, and considering the relative scarcity of chalkstream salmon, a winning formula is hard to ignore!
peter
 

offshore

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Try to erase from your mind that the Autumn is the peak salmon season - like it used to be on most rivers I fish. Something has changed.

I have spent the past 4 or 5 seasons keeping my powder (fishing budget) largely dry for the Autumn and then finding the reported conditions don't merit the drive up.

The long summer evenings of June and July are a precious commodity, and great to be out and about in - as 30 hours of continuous rain and dark, miserable sky reminded me this week!
 

scoops

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Ensure I’ve all my pockets zipped up properly as things tend to disappear if you don’t 👎
 

Ben-Macdui

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It just come to my attention this year how much the song birds have disappeared :(:(. It is bad enough the Autumn Salmon have disappeared and the fly life but now I cant even see or hear a song bird.


What have we done :doh::doh:
 

westie4566

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Salmon fishing is always a learning curve no matter how many decades you've been doing it. The major learning curve for me this year was patience in fishing a river that oftentimes appeared lifeless yet had fish there. Once I got my head past that, then it was game on. Not so many landed but more hook ups and the 'tug drug' well and truly fed, lol. (River Don in case your asking!)

The rather sad thing I learned this year was the identity of the individual who has been spreading rumour, conjecture and lies about me across many a river....well actually the really sad bit has been the acquaintances who have been sucked in by the lies.

The 2020 season isn't that far away and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in already. It will be a different one for me....but at least I know I can trust the friends who I'll be fishing with /spend time on river blethering with.

It will be a smaller circle but better for it!:thumb:
 

Lancsflyman

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Fishing the fly in all conditions, even in really high water that I would only fish the spinner in previous seasons.
It's all about using your imagination on where low water & high water fishing is best tagarting on the river. The amount of time I've heard I haven't seen a fin at all day is becoming common these days. All the fish that I've have manage to hook this season, I haven't seen a single fish in all the time I've fished, resulting hooking 4 fish in 2 hour one evening. I don't let seeing fish bother me anymore. I do better fishing in low water than when the river is running high TBH:thumb:
 

Gauldalen

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Well, after 64 years of fishing and 61 years since my first salmon, one could think that there is not much more one can learn, but there is! First there is one important factor that one tends to forget: age and its effect on health! I had to cancel my Spring trip to the Spey, due to heart problems and a trip to the gorgeous Rauma river in Norway for the same reasons! Very frustrating indeed! But living on the banks of another great Norwegian river, the Gaula, I could still look forward to some great fly fishing! What I had not factored in were the weather conditions, which led to the fishing being cancelled for three weeks in the best period, due to lack of water and high water temperatures! Earlier in my «salmon fisherman’s life», these unconvenient events would have made me mad! But this time, they did not!! For the first time, I could actually take the time to reflect on the situation and I did come to a great conclusion, which is « it’s not the hours you put in fishing that give you the greatest satisfaction, but what you put in these hours!!». Fishing with a good friend, meeting with very interesting people and some not interesting at all, travelling to places you would never had been to, were it not for fishing, for me the Pechora in Central Russia to the Karluk in Alaska, the Rio Gallegos, the Rio Grande and Irigoyen in South America, many great places in Scotland and Ireland, so many places which gave me a solid number of catches and memories! So that’s what I learned, or more precisely took the time to reflect upon this year! As to my catches for 2019, a very modest figure of five fish, with a best of about 13 Ibs, but that’s not the important thing! For the first time, while fishing, no stress, no mobile phone, just nature and me! That what fishing should be about! It took me a very long time to understand it!
Sorry for those of you who disagree and still just see fishing success as the number of catches! I am just an old f..t who remembers what his tutors tried to teach him: «just enjoy yourself»! :cool:
 
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westie4566

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Well, after 64 years of fishing and 61 years since my first salmon, one could think that there is not much more one can learn, but there is! First there is one important factor that one tends to forget: age and its effect on health! I had to cancel my Spring trip to the Spey, due to heart problems and a trip to the gorgeous Rauma river in Norway for the same reasons! Very frustrating indeed! But living on the banks of another great Norwegian river, the Gaula, I could still look forward to some great fly fishing! What I had not factored in were the weather conditions, which led to the fishing being cancelled for three weeks in the best period, due to lack of water and high water temperatures! Earlier in my «salmon fisherman’s life», these unconvenient events would have made me mad! But this time, they did not!! For the first time, I could actually take the time to reflect on the situation and I did come to a great conclusion, which is « it’s not the hours you put in fishing that give you the greatest satisfaction, but what you put in these hours!!». Fishing with a good friend, meeting with very interesting people and some not interesting at all, travelling to places you would never had been to, were it not for fishing, for me the Pechora in Central Russia to the Karluk in Alaska, the Rio Gallegos, the Rio Grande and Irigoyen in South America, many great places in Scotland and Ireland, so many places which gave me a solid number of catches and memories! So that’s what I learned, or more precisely took the time to reflect upon this year! As to my catches for 2019, a very modest figure of five fish, with a best of about 13 Ibs, but that’s not the important thing! For the first time, while fishing, no stress, no mobile phone, just nature and me! That what fishing should be about! It took me a very long time to understand it!
Sorry for those of you who disagree and still just see fishing success as the number of catches! I am just an old f..t who remembers what his tutors tried to teach him: «just enjoy yourself»! :cool:
An excellent post G...however it saddens me to hear of your health issues. The longer we have been fishing for salmon the more likely we are to have to put up with 'old age' taking it's toll. My left shoulder was causing issues the last few weeks of the season casting left hand up, to the extent that I didn't fish a favourite pool on the South Esk on closing day which has always been kind to me. Though my shoulder would ease but it's got steadily worse so will be making an appointment with the Dr this week.

That said, I'm kind of glad reading your post, we ended up on the same number of fish for the year and all mine were within a 70 mile radius of home.

I hope your health improves and look forward to seeing your reports next season!
 

Hardyreels

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After 14 years fishing the same stretch of the same river I finally began doing something I've thought of the entire time. I've been fishing it all wrong and overlooking what I thought of as marginal holding water. This fall I began working that water which people walk past or wade through while headed to the "Really good spots" and the results were 5 steelhead and 9 char!

I may be slow but I eventually catch on :)
 

iainmortimer

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... For the first time, while fishing, no stress, no mobile phone, just nature and me! That what fishing should be about! It took me a very long time to understand it!
Sorry for those of you who disagree and still just see fishing success as the number of catches! I am just an old f..t who remembers what his tutors tried to teach him: «just enjoy yourself»! :cool:
I couldn’t agree more for that’s pretty much my answer whenever someone asks me why I do it. Catching a fish is bonus not a necessity so long as there’s a chance I might. I have seen or experienced many beautiful, thought provoking and sometimes challenging things that would never have happened otherwise to add to the longer list of places and people I’ve been to and met.
 

Neil W

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This is a refreshing and enjoyable post.
I have learnt a few things this year. Firstly to always completely fish out a cast. With modern shooting heads I have found myself thinking about the next cast too much and how far it will go rather than fishing and focusing on the fly actually in the water. I have caught a couple of fish long after I would have normally recast.
Secondly I have really simplified my fly choice to a handful of choices depending on conditions. For my most successful week of the year I used one pattern all week, a small copper bodied ally. Not worrying about changing the fly and fishing a pattern I have complete faith in means I fish better
As Hardy reels observed, on a small river I fish in the autumn I have fished water I usually have not fished much and had success. If left undisturbed salmon will sit in surprisingly shallow water.
Finally like others have stated I love salmon fishing, being out on glorious rivers, fishing with good friends and enjoying the beauty of nature.
 

PerryPoker

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What have I learnt this season?

I have learnt that being a fly only angler has seriously damaged my catch rate and it has also limited my options and days spent on the river in previous seasons.

This year, although I still fished the fly most of the time, I decided to fish the spinner and worm when conditions were far better suited rather than just plugging away with the fly knowing my chances were slim. As a result of this, my catch rate increased and my enjoyment of fishing also increased. Instead trying to convince myself that it was fine just to be outdoors, I went out thinking I was actually going to catch something. With that in mind, there was never time in the season (unless the river was in full spate etc) where I felt I was wasting my time. It also gave me a bit more confidence of catching something whenever I did venture out.

It'll be interesting to see if my catch returns are similar next season using all methods available again. I'll certainly look forward to given it try!
 
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