SALMON TACTICAL APPROACH
As many have experienced on some occassions salmon, (and all other fish for that matter) will take anything. This can suggest that fly pattern is not that important. Worrying about what fly to use when fish will take anything is not the problem. Finding a fly/tactic that works all the other time is the real issue.
I have met some fishers over the years and here are a few hints from some:
I met a chap who had 59 salmon (I saw a picture of every one on his big telly with the date and time)
in his last season on public water on the Isle of Lewis, I do not believe this was just good luck.
He used a 10ft rod AFTM#7 floating line, a 10ft 12lb leader and Flamethrower type fly tied on small doubles/trebles, #12/14.
He fished 6am to 9am and sometimes in the evening.
His tactic standing well back from the waters edge was to fish a short line and work the flies slowly.
Using the rod to work the flies and using stalking methods rather than chuck it out and strip back methods resulted in very consistant results.
Try these on any water:
Wee Treble #14 Flamethrower £1 each
Wee Treble #14 Jungle Cock Flamethrower £1.50 each
Wee Treble #14 All Black £1 each
Silver Double #12 Jungle Cock Flamethrower #12 £1.50 each
At the end of the season as the water cooled he favoured a 3 inch tube tied in red and orange, a fly that many would feel to be out of place on a small spate river, but the fish readily took, especially aggresive cock fish.
Try this large Jungle Cock Prawn
Jungle Cock Prawn Double #8
Next tactic to try. In the last hour of daylight through the summer months use a large colourful lure. Cast across the current and using figure of eight retrieve and rod movement work the lure across the river rather than downstream and across. This was the method promoted by A H Wood in the 20/30's an old method that many have forgotten. It presents the fly side on to the fish and hooks them cleanly.
The lure I have found effective is The New Elver Fly and The Big Blue. Use a 12lb leader as if the fish take these flies it can be with a fair bang!
The New Elver Fly Double #8 - £1.50 each
The New Elver Fly Double #10 - 1.50 each
Big Blue Elver Double #8 - 1.50 each
When standard methods fail try a Salmon Nymph. As detailed by Jim Teeny, dead drifting nymph patterns will take fish on any water. The leaded pattern listed will fish deeper than standard tyings and offer the fish something different which on hard fished water may well be an advantage.
Leaded Salmon Nymph #8 - 75p
Leaded Salmon Nymph #10 - 75p