Many anglers that salmon fish in Scotland get preoccupied with fly selection. Of course, pattern can be important and often is, but there are also other parameters to consider when salmon fishing in Scotland, when it comes to fly fishing.
The depth and speed at which your fly moves through the water can be critical and often more important than the fly pattern itself. It is quite easy to alter these parameters with little effort. Generally, as a rule, the colder the water is, the deeper and slower you want the fly to move through the water. This is because when the water is cold the salmon are less active and are often not willing to chase the fly. So, what is the easiest way to change the depth and speed at which your fly is moving?
After casting, mending the fly line changes both the depth and the speed at which your fly moves through the water. You can mend the fly line by simply flicking the rod tip in circular motion upstream after casting. This forms a loop in the line. This gives the fly extra time to sink before it starts to swing around in the current. The fly not only fishes deeper but also slower, which is exactly what you want during the cold months of spring and autumn. You would only mend the fly line if there was adequate current in the pool for the fly to swing around naturally. This tactic is often used if the current in the pool is very fast. So far, we have looked at an upstream mend as the rod tip is flicked the rod upstream after casting and If you want to speed up the movement of the fly through the water, conversely, you can perform a downstream mend. This involves exactly the same process after casting but instead of flicking the rod tip upstream you flick it downstream. What happens is then you have a pronounced downstream belly in the fly line. When the current catches this, the fly swings through the water much faster. This is a tactic used when there is less flow in the pool you are fishing and you want the fly to move faster. The downstream mend is often used during the summer months in low warm water.
So as you can see, by performing one simple movement of the rid tip, you can change two parameters, the speed and depth at which your fly moves through the water. Both these factors can be critical and often more important than the fly itself. When salmon fishing in Scotland the depth and speed your fly moves through the water can often be the difference between success and failure.