Professional Scottish salmon guide career advice on the most effective River Tay salmon fly patterns that have accounted for thousands of salmon.
As a professional River Tay salmon fishing guide who's personally had decades to play about and test various different salmon flies my fly box is pretty much narrowed down to 2 different fly patterns which I'll fish in all sizes from small doubles all the way down to a size 11 and all the way up to a 1 1/2 aluminium or copper tube fly version.
The 2 patterns I'm referring to are the 'Copperass' & the 'Jock's Shrimp' salmon fly both of which were developed by myself on the River Tay over the course of many daily attended salmon fishing seasons and much time on the salmon fly vice perfecting every little tying ingredient that goes into the careful construction of each of these reliable salmon flies.
When you've been lucky like I have in simply having the time to experiment and watch both fresh run easy caught salmon & difficult stubborn resident salmon taking these patterns throughout the different seasons of the year you develop solid faith and faith is indeed the most important component in the any salmon fly dressing. Unfortunately we cannot buy a packet of faith to tie into a fly so there's only one way to truly acquire it!
While the colours of a salmon fly are important I'd say that an equally important factor in salmon fly construction is the type of materials that are used for maximising the 'life-like' appearance of the salmon fly in the stream. A fly that moves & waggles like a live bait will always out perform as salmon fly that doesn't. In other words, if your fly's materials & dressings don't react and move with the flow of the river throw it in the fire and find a fly that's dressed with materials that do.
Once you've tied 3 or 4 flies in your favourite salmon fly pattern my advice would be to go down to the river margins (before you fish) and swim each fly on a short length of leader and observe carefully how each fly moves in the current. Often when you do this you'll identify a fly that moves in the stream better than the others and that's the one to keep and to fish with. Being brutal with selection as to what gains entry to your fly box is another important salmon fishing skill to master.
If you're coming to fish for salmon on the River Tay and you're new to salmon fishing or in need of some professional tactical fine tuning you should consider booking a River Tay salmon fishing guide who'll not only teach you the best tactical salmon fishing approaches but who will also provide you with the best salmon flies and all of the required salmon fishing equipment. There's nothing that betters a quality introduction to any sport and especially one as complex as salmon fishing in order to obtain a quick tactical understanding of this amazing pursuit.