The principles of presentation / control over the fly when fishing salmon are no different from those when fishing other salmon species. In 90% of cases, we fish salmon by a method that is described as a wet fly method (we'll talk about the streamer and other methods separately). If you understand the principles of fishing trout or grayling on the wet fly, agree with me that these skills can be used when fishing salmon. Then the meaning of what I mean by the correct presentation and control of the fly will be understood. You can use all the known versions of classic or aggressive wet flies. They are, as a rule, quite effective in any conditions when fishing salmon. And salmon reaction is similar to the ones that we have when attacked by grayling and trout. It depends on factors 1-5, which we listed in previous article.
If you have a good control of the fly - you can feel all sort of interactions of salmon with the fly - from barely noticeable touch, to a sudden strike and breaking the line.
For example, when fishing on calm shallow waters with small wet flies, the salmon rises and gently takes the fly. We can notice the movement of fish under the water, splash on the surface or feel the light movement of the line. Salmon pull can be very delicate. The speed of movement of the fish aligns with the speed of the fly's drift, same thing happens when fishing grayling. If we manage to fill and pull the line, we often hook it by the nose. Same with any fish, regardless of whether it has just entered from the sea or is already ready for spawning.
But to link directly reaction of salmon with the size of a fly, its color or movement is very difficult. But there are some provocative moments you can notice that cause a nervous reaction of salmon.
Often the fly moves down to the right or to the left from where the salmon stay. Fish bite is felt in different ways, depending on which way the fish is moving - to us or from us. It is better if it turns around from us, then the line instantly stretches and we feel a strong pull. Power of the pull depends on what directions and what speed the fly and fish were moving at the time.
If salmon turns in our direction, the line is not stretched and the fish have a high chance to spit the fly out unnoticeably, until we feel the tension of the line. Even with a well-executed cast and proper control over the fly, we do not feel a large number of bites. If we miss the bite, the salmon spits out the hook and returns to the bottom. If salmon could not get rid of the hook, its running away pulling our line. So usually some time gone already before we feel the tension of the line, which we perceive as the moment of bite.
Therefore, it seems to me very doubtful the idea of keeping the loose loop of the line ready and not to hurry with hooking the fish. We don't know exactly how long the salmon is already swimming with our fly in its jaw. It is necessary to cut fast and clearly. What to do next - depends on the fish, your position in the water and so on.
The strongest strikes were observed when fishing passive salmon provoking it with a fly on the surface. For the first time, with this technique of salmon fishing i was introduced by George. This is also a method of wet fly fishing, its aggressive version. After the cast, George stopped the fly at the level of the supposed salmon position and pulled the line. The fly stopped and moved towards the surface forming a small wave. Now George does one or two strips against the current and the salmon impatiently jumps out of the hiding place to strike the fly on the surface. It's not so important in this situation which side salmon attacked from, what's important is that the line was stretched at the moment and salmon usually attacks such a surface fly with a move down afterwards. This is the most unpleasant situation for the angler if he presses the line with his right finger. If you have a loose line loop or not, automatically you will pull the line and the fish will have a chance to break a fishing line or tear out a piece its jaw.
Such a provoking fishing is very effective, and the position of the hook in the tongue or in the throat indicates an aggressive attack of the fish. You can cope with such a bite without delay and extra loose line. If you are aiming for the downstream bite of the fish, simply remove the finger and release the line. If the reel brake is in your normal state, then just pull the line, you will not break the line and you will not lose the fish.
But even in such a specific situation there could be many options. Last fall, we received a record number of false bites and a record number of salmon that fell off the hook. For each salmon we caught, there were 3-4 fish that we could not land. This is heavily depend on behavior of salmon, presentation of a fly and of course with landing skills. Personally, i can boast that I lost only 3 salmon in 2 months of fishing and had not more than a dozen falls bites. At the same time, some anglers had 3-5 falls bites per each fish caught and lost up to 25 fish per week. I already mentioned the importance of presentation and control over the fly in the diagnosis and implementation of bites. Landing the fish is a separate topic and we will definitely talk about it later.
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