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Look at the powerful build and shape of this perfect fly caught 13lbs July salmon. You'd think a salmon like this would put up a hell of a fight and indeed this one did! This fish was hooked and landed at the neck of the 'Mike's Run' salmon pool of the River Tummel which is the last pool on this river before it joins the Tay at Kinnaird.
Here's Fritz Seifert from Austria with a perfect fly caught River Tay Spring salmon that was hooked after only a few minutes of starting on day 1 of his 3 day guided salmon fishing trip. This Spring salmon took the 'Copperass' salmon fly and was quickly returned to the Tay after grabbing this fine memoir.
Here's big George Clarke from Washington DC holding one of 5 perfect fresh run salmon he caught that morning near Stanley on the River Tay in July. While we were starting I gave George a refresher on the Spey cast and while doing so the first fish of the day was hooked!
This fisher perfectly covered loads of fly water all day long with no sign of a salmon. At 4.30 pm he landed 2 perfect 'springers' within 30 minutes which was the result of a run of salmon appearing in the pool he was fishing last. Going straight back into the same salmon lie often produces a 2nd fish once you've landed the 1st fish.
Here's young Robbie Fairfull (12) with his first of 2 perfect 20lbs River Tay Spring salmon which he caught on the Kinnaird Beat in rapid succession of one another on the last day of March.
This happy River Tay salmon fisher hook, played and landed this perfect fresh run Spring salmon during late May in the Meetings Pool of the Kinnaird Beat near Dunkeld. A high rod tip is essential while playing a powerful fish like this to avoid a drowned fly line which could exert too much pressure on the hook hold.
This guest caught this perfect River Tay salmon with his very first cast of the fishing day near Murthly. As you can see that a life jacket & eye protection are mandatory with all of our guided fishing guests in addition to salmon!
Here's River Tay salmon fisher Kev MacKay with a beauty of a Spring salmon of 15lbs which he landed in front of the Kinnaird Beat fishing hut near Dunkeld as 2 other anglers were in the hut complaining about the low cold water conditions!
This beautiful big River Tay Spring salmon was caught by yours truly at the right hand bank of the Kinnaird Rock Pool near Dunkeld during the month of May. The absolute dominating power of this Spring fresh run cock salmon had to be experienced to be truly realised. My McLean salmon landing net looks like a McLean trout net behind the fish!

How To Properly Play A Salmon

When you hook a powerful Scottish salmon it is important to keep your composure and know exactly what you should be doing for a successful outcome to the fight.

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How To Properly Play A Salmon

why you should learn how to play a salmon

One of the important things to remember when playing a salmon is to try to not rush the fight as when you try to overpower a salmon it will usually fight back twice as hard increasing its chances of throwing the hook hold. The fight should be fun so take your time and enjoy the sound of the reel and feeling the salmon's power. You'll know when your salmon is ready to be landed as it will start showing its flanks at close range and that is the correct time to prepare the landing net and not before. There's as much skill invloved in playing a powerful salmon correctly as there is in learning the basic fundamental salmon fishing skills that will bring you to that very point of proceedings. Many factors such as keeping your rod position high throughout the fight to avoid the added water pressure strain from a drowned fly line to staying in a 'side on' position throughout the fight are 2 of the key factors for a successful outcome. 

How To Control Your Salmon Fishing Emotions

When an Atlantic salmon starts tugging at your fly when the initial take commences you'll automatically receive a flush of adrenalin induced by the instant realisation of what's now ocurring below the waterline. This amazing feeling not only freezes time but can speed up time too so be aware of this and learn to ignore the compelling urge to react too quickly in this initial stage of the hooking procedure. The exact same emotional control is vital through the ensuing salmon fight and never through excitement try to rush or bully a fish to the landing net before it's clearly showing signs that it's ready as that tactic will often end in disaster. Be aware of your emotions and 'keep the heid' and use this energy & alertness to stick to the basic salmon fight fundamentals like scanning for a suitable slack water landing area, staying side on to your fish and maintaing a reasonable fighting curve on your fly rod.

where is the best river area to play a salmon

While the battle proceedings are underway you should be also searching the salmon pool and its riverbank for a suitable area for playing the salmon in after you've gained reasonable control of the fish. The type of area you should be looking for will have some reasonable depth and be out of the main current. This area should also not contain any signs of boils or swirls on the river surface which indicates the presence of sub surface features which the salmon could snag your line on and break the leader or dislodge the hook hold. The best position to take while playing a salmon is the 'side on' position (opposite the fish) when possible therefore not allowing your salmon to get into a downstream position where you’ll not only lose control of the fish but the hook point pressure will be focussed at an out-of-mouth angle which could end in disaster when the fish enevitably starts shaking its head from side to side in an attempt to dislodge the hook.

why to keep a high rod tip when playing a salmon

Remember after you’ve hooked a salmon to keep that high rod tip as this acts as a shock absorber against sudden power surges and significantly reduces the salmon’s chances of wrapping the leader or fly line around a sub surface obstacle (via a drowned line). Keeping a steady pressure on the fish is important too so as the fish has to expend energy to resist that pressure you’re applying. Without this pressure you'll lose unnecessary fishing time (& possibly the chance of a double!) so be firm and when the fish starts pulling back simply release your hand from the fly reel and let it take line. This 'to & fro' period of the fight can last anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour (with a big fish) so take your time, relax and enjoy the battle. When the time comes to land a fish it’s simply a case of sinking your landing net, drawing your fish over the net (in one continuos movement) and then simply lift the net. Under no account should it be necessary to chase a fish about the river margins with the landing net. Book a professional salmon fishing guide in Scotland and be taught all of these vital salmon fishing skills and give yourself the best chance of a successful outcome to your fishing day.


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This perfect Spring salmon showed up for an interview during March on the River Tay near Dunkeld. These are amazing creatures which always give a great account of themselves even after swimming all the way home from Greenland.
This perfect River Tay Spring salmon was still quite lively after being landed so I placed him in the collapsed landing net for the photo in case he swum away. This fish still readily took the fly on a cold Spring fishing day during April.
This super powerful July Summer salmon from the River Tay took my fly at dusk then about turned and charged downstream. It stripped my fly reel backing pretty quickly and started actually pulling me along the riverbank like a big dog on a lead. I was falling about as it did so as the fading light made it very difficult to see where I was running! Eventually I caught up with the fish and landed it in the darkness. The light you see here was from the flash on my camera! What a great memory and had it broken me I'd have sworn it was a 40 pounder!
This River Tay Spring salmon beauty was captured near Pitlochry using the kit you see here which is a Bruce & Walker 16ft Spey rod, a Van Staal C-Vex 9/11 fly reel, a Sharpes of Aberdeen salmon landing net and a Monteith Speycaster Multi Tip salmon Spey line. The salmon had no chance!
This beautiful big River Tay Spring salmon was caught by yours truly at the right hand bank of the Kinnaird Rock Pool near Dunkeld during the month of May. The absolute dominating power of this Spring fresh run cock salmon had to be experienced to be truly realised. My McLean salmon landing net looks like a McLean trout net behind the fish!
This beautiful Atlantic salmon weighed in at 18lbs and took the deadly Monteith 'Copperass' salmon tube fly in the high water conditions of January. You can see the tube fly still in its mouth and this shot was taken moments before this perfect River Tay Spring specimen salmon was safely released.
This River Tay Spring salmon is temporarily parked in a McLean salmon landing net which had the then upgraded rubberised fine mesh landing net bag which minimises damage to the mucous membrane and scales of the fish.
This little sand bar is just below the River Tummel / Tay confluence on the right hand bank of the River Tay near Pitlochry. It's a great sand bar for landing salmon at when it's exposed during lowish to medium height water conditions.

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