What is the best advice I can offer aspiring salmon anglers?
*Learn to lay your line and leader STRAIGHT on the water when you cast. Most salmon fishing involves casting ‘down and across’ – the Americans call it fishing the fly ‘on the swing’. The fly will not swing across the pool if the line and leader are not straight to begin with.
- Engrave on your heart the words ‘A long straight line laid light’.
*Strive to fish elegantly – this means you are fishing efficiently.
*Wear polarising glasses – amber lenses are kinder than grey ones.
*You will only scare a fish once – and you may not know you have done it. After that it is too late. So don’t stride along the skyline down to the head of a pool and then drop onto one knee!
- It is not a race – take your time and look, listen and concentrate. There’s a lot to be said for doing nothing when you arrive at a pool except spending five minutes watching the water. In the old days, this unit of time was how long it took you to roll and smoke a cigarette.
- When you have fished a pool ask your ghillie to do the same. Watch him like a hawk and the way he fishes it is how you should do next time.
The acronym FLADS stands for the things you can change: The FLY, the Length of line you cast, the ANGLE you cast it at, the DEPTH you fish the fly and the SPEED you fish the fly and you fish the pool. Be aware that if you change one you may change another.
*Turn off your phone.
*Avoid casting too square in the belief that every fish is tight against the far bank.
*Fish with your rod at a high angle. The droop of line from the rod tip to the water is the slack a fish needs to turn and for you to get a good hook hold. When the droop lifts or tightens, you lift the rod….and the fish is hooked. Fish with your rod tip low at your own risk!
*Comfort yourself with the thought that when the fly swings across the fishes nose, the salmon does not know if the person holding the rod is a beginner or an expert, a duke or a dustman and nor does it know the name written on the rod or what it cost!
*’To capture the fish is not all of the fishing.’ Zane Grey
‘Thank you for your kindness and wise counsel….you were exceptionally generous…..your wisdom and good company were much appreciated.’ N.L. London
‘Thank you for the Asset Fly. I had eight fish on it before I lost it.’ C.B. Nairn
‘…I would like to thank you most effusively, myself and on behalf of my whole family for the fantastic service you provided…you looked after us all wonderfully, above and beyond the call of duty…your experience, advice and above all patience was invaluable…’ J.F., London
‘…where on earth would I have been last week without you?…a big, big, thankyou…’ R.W., London
‘…just a short message to thank you for all your support last week…you were exceedingly kind and helpful…I hope we may one day use your services again…’ G.F., Suffolk
‘…we had a wonderful time on the Findhorn last week…thank you for making it so enjoyable…’ J.D., London
‘…firstly, may I thank you for an excellent weeks fishing…I learned a great deal about salmon fishing thanks to your excellent tuition…’ A.B. Dorset
‘…thank you so much for the great fishing days…we are still talking about those days so often, rejoicing in the memories…’ C.G., Germany
‘…we both had a marvellous time in Scotland.- the smoked salmon was quite delicious…we hope to come back to Scotland soon to fish and if so we will certainly be in contact with you…you did make the trip a thoroughly enjoyable experience…’ C.P., Devon
‘…this is the first opportunity to sit down and thank you for the wonderful job you did for me personally and for the other members of the party…we were full of admiration for your enthusiastic and tireless services…’ B.S., Wiltshire
‘…our son was so pleased at last to catch a fish…thank you for persevering stoically with me up to 10.40pm on the last night…have you please got us in your diary for next year?’ N.H. Exmoor
‘…it was a joy fishing with you…I hope we can do it again…’ M.G. Sussex
‘Many thanks for your time and help with solving so many of my fishy problems…although I now know a great deal more than I did, I will certainly be in touch again…’ M.H., Burnley
‘I can not thank you enough for all the care, patience and trouble you have taken to teach my grandson to fish…I am both proud and surprised by his expertise, efficiency and enthusiasm…You have done a good job, Mr Cottle!’ H.H-J, Isle of Man
‘I felt that I just had to drop you a line to express once more my deep appreciation of all your efforts in making my short fishing break memorable and not least, successful. As a recent convert to salmon fishing, I found your knowledge of fly choice and method reassuring. Your phrase ‘now fish with confidence’ will be a mantra I will repeat on fishing trips to come. To go from a lifetime catch of zero to four in three days is surely a fitting testimony to the benefits of your tuition and company. Wishing you and your guiding enterprise continuing success.’ J.G., Edinburgh
‘Thank you very much…we all enjoyed your visit and hope that you will come and stay next year’ R.S., Dumfriesshire
‘Many thanks…I hope when I receive my fishing dates for next year that there will be the opportunity to invite you to come and give us your help again…’ A.W. Sussex
‘Thank you for last week. It was a real joy.’ M.P. London
‘He is an exceptional fishing instructor’ E.B. Nairn
‘Thank you for a fantastic week.’ J.B. Kent
‘Thank you for a very instructive week. I think I learnt more that week than ever before. All I have to do now is remember it!’ D.H. Yorks
‘Many thanks for your friendship and expert guidance during the week. I went from no salmon to two nice ones including the 13lb one, so a really good week.’ S.H. Dorset
‘Thank you for looking after me so well. See you next year.’ J.B. London
‘You could not have been more helpful so a big thank you from us all.’ R.H. London
‘Thank you for all your efforts during our week. It’s unlikely we’ll catch anything bigger in our lives.’ A.D. Derbyshire
‘Salmon fishing is not very attractive to me – anyone can hook a salmon.’ Lord Dunraven