Many people ask what tackle they should bring prior to starting their Scottish salmon fishing holiday. As anglers, we always want to take every possible piece of fishing gear we possess, with us on a fishing expedition, just in case we need it. In reality, what usually happens is we only go on to use probably around a tenth of the tackle that we brought in the first place. When clients ask what tackle is best to take when salmon fishing in Scotland, we try and keep it as simple as possible.
When it comes to rods, you only need to take a maximum of two. If you are fishing on larger rivers like the Tay, Tweed or Spey, we would always recommend using a fifteen-foot fly rod. That is a perfect length for these rivers and can cover almost every eventuality. If you are salmon fishing on some of the smaller rivers in the Scottish Highlands, we recommend that a fly rod of around thirteen feet or a Switch rod would be perfect. Often these rivers are smaller and if the water is low and clear, stealth tactics can pay rich dividends. The smaller rod is ideal in such circumstances.
In terms of lines, we recommend a decent ten weight floating line (either Spey or Shooting head, whichever you prefer) coupled with a variety of polyleaders with different sink rates and lengths. This would almost cover every eventuality. It is also worthwhile taking a fast sinking line just in case the water is very high and you need to get your fly down in the water column fast.
In terms of flies, a selection of tubes flies of different lengths and weights are perfect for the job. Willie Gunns, Cascades and Park Shrimps all work well, when salmon fishing in Scotland. Also pack some nice dressed flies of various sizes, as they can be particularly effective when the water is low during the late spring and summer months.
Most of the time, Maxima nylon with a breaking strain of between twelve to fifteen pounds is perfect for the job. However, if the water is very low and clear it is also good to have spool of fluorocarbon.
For anglers that prefer to spin, a ten or eleven-foot rod is more than adequate. If you couple this with a fixed spool reel loaded with eighteen-pound nylon or braid, you have everything that you could possibly need. At the business end, good lures include spoons like Tobys between eighteen and thirty grams in weight. Flying C’s, Rapalas and Vision110s can also be very effective.
As you can see you don’t need any fancy tackle when you come for your Scottish salmon fishing holiday. Just standard fishing gear and of course a bit of luck, usually does the trick!