In Scotland, many rivers get their first decent runs of spring salmon in March. These fish are usually large and very hard fighting. As each week goes by, there will be more salmon entering our river systems, increasing the chances of encountering that prized springer. March and April are great months to be out on the river. The weather usually gets better and the fish arrive in ever increasing numbers. Traditionally, there has always been a run of larger salmon that enter our rivers in March. Looking back at records, March is definitely a month when big fish are caught across the country. In the past, there have been numerous fish over twenty pounds caught and plenty over thirty. So, for the specimen hunters among you, this is the time of year to wet a line.
Springers can be extremely powerful
When considering the tackle required for catching a Scottish spring salmon you need to take into account the size and power of the fish. Spring salmon are invariably very powerful and often large in size and so it is important that your tackle is robust enough to cope with a prolonged and often savage fight.
The length of the rod you choose is often dictated by the size of the river you are fishing on. A powerful salmon rod between fourteen to sixteen feet is usually sufficient. The rod needs to be powerful for several reasons. Firstly, if you are fishing in very windy conditions, it can be advantageous to have a powerful rod to punch out the fly line. The rod you choose should also be able to comfortably cast heavy sinking lines and weighted flies. In the spring, river levels are usually high and the water is cold. In such conditions, sinking lines coupled with heavy tube flies are frequently used. It is therefore important to make sure that your rod has enough power to be able to handle this. The other factor to take into consideration is the fish itself. Early season spring salmon can be extremely powerful. If you hook a springer in high water with a strong current, you really need a rod, which has a stiff action so you can control the fish. It is important that you are in control of the fish and not the other way around. Large spring salmon will regularly sit close to the riverbed through the course of a fight and can prove difficult to move. So, it is important that your rod is capable of handling such a situation.
The reel itself is also a very important piece of the tackle jigsaw when it comes to spring fishing. Probably the two most important features to look for in a reel are an adequate line capacity and also a good drag system. As we have already mentioned springers are very powerful fish and they can strip yards of fly line from your reel in a matter of seconds. It is therefore important that your reel has got enough capacity to hold a decent amount of backing. I have seen a fellow angler lose a large spring salmon because he had run out of backing line. The fish had stripped off all his fly line as well as around the eighty yards of backing that he had on his reel. Eventually, all that was left connecting the fish to the reel was the backing knot. Unfortunately, the fish broke the leader and the angler in question was heartbroken.
A powerful rod can be vital when playing a large salmon
A good drag system on your reel is also very important. Having a good drag system coupled with a stiff rod ensures more control when you are playing a big fish. A correctly set drag also ensures that the fight is not prolonged and can help tire the fish, especially if you get into a situation as described before when a springer is lying close to the riverbed and proving difficult to move.
It is also better to use heavier nylon during the spring months as it is not only limits breakages during a long and savage fight but also helps turn over heavy tube flies (often used in the spring) when casting.
A reel with a decent line capacity and drag can be so important
The Scottish spring salmon is an unpredictable, powerful beast, which will give you a long fight that will strain every sinew in your body. Just make sure that the tackle you are using is up to the job. There is nothing more heart-wrenching than battling away for what seems like hours with a heavy springer on the line and then going on to lose it due to a tackle malfunction. Underestimate the power of the Scottish springer at your peril!