Fishing in late May or early June on the Kola Peninsula along the Northern Rivers is all about catching the biggest brightest silver Atlantic Salmon. Average fish weights around this time are 18lbs and much larger fish can be expected. To enjoy your fishing at this time and to improve your chances you must come prepared. WhereWiseMenFish Top 10 tips to assist you in your preparation.
CLOTHING: If you are warm and dry you will enjoy your day's fishing-it is pretty much as simple as that.
FISHING TACKLE: In cold conditions it is much easier to become lazy, the impetus to change flies, knotted leaders etc becomes more of a challenge. Coming well equipped with the right gear will often make the difference between success and failure.
1. Come prepared for cold and potentially wet weather-There are absolutely no guarantees at this time of the year so ensure you have a good waterproof jacket, multiple layers of warm clothing and any extra warm items such as good scarves, hats etc. No-one will snigger at the Michelin man look-alike if he is the one who is warm whilst you are cold!
2. Bring a waterproof fishing bag or something with a liner-Dry days can become wet days and dry fishermen can fall in on occasion! Bring some reserve clothes, gloves and a spare woolly hat.
3. Fish slow & deep-It is essential to get your fly down and close to the fish. Whilst we all like to hit the far bank sacrifice some distance for an angled cast at 45 degrees to ensure that the fly has not only a chance to sink down but will not whip past at high speed. Below temperatures of 8C salmon will rarely chase a fly but will take a fly fished slowly past their noses.
4. Fly-Lines-Whatever line you use you want to be able to cast heavy flies a good distance with a fast sinking line. Rio Skaggit Lines are amongst the best in the business for this sort of fishing with their floating but heavy bodies allowing fast sinking tips and big flies to be cast with relative ease. You should aim to have your fly touching the bottom. You should loose some flies in the process-that is the sacrifice for ensuring you are fishing deep enough and it should significantly increase your catch potential.
5. Check your Backing-It is not often that a salmon takes significant amounts of backing and the odds are yours has not seen the light of day for sometime! Anglers do get spooled each season during the early weeks by huge fresh-run salmon-often loosing everything-fish, flyline and backing as the knot snaps. More frequently the fish is lost as a forgotten tangle deep within your spool rears its head at the worst time possible. Strip all the line from your spool and wind it back again tidy and tight to avoid any problems.
6. Bring a spare Line-Fishing slow and deep with very strong nylon and hooks has a disadvantage and that is that it is possible to get snagged on the bottom resulting in either the sink tip or on occasion the main fly-line snapping. Bringing a reserve may seem unnecessary until you are faced with the lonely walk back to the lodge mid-morning
7. Hooks-These need to be big and they need to be strong-size 4 tube doubles. If you catch a fish it is more than likely going to be of an above average size with anything from 15-30lbs being par for the course at this time of year. Added to the size is the fact that it will be bright from the sea, probably very keen to return to the sea and will have the assistance of a powerful river. Do not take chances-Loop or Ken Sawada Tube Doubles are top of the range of options.
8. Nylon-Thick cord is appropriate for this time of year! If you want to have a chance of landing a monster then the big salmon experts recommend nothing short of 30 - 40lb nylon. Do not worry about the thickness compromising the movement of the fly let the hackles on the fly do the work thick nylon will stand you in much better shape when your fish of a lifetime has circumnavigated 5 boulders in his bid for freedom!
9. Tube Flies-In the early season it is unlikely that your fly can be too big. Large obvious flies with a big signature in the water such as the Temple Dog Series designed for early spring conditions. The 1 inch copper tube bodied Snaelda Krinkle is a serious contender for the best fly of them all for Spring Fishing on the Kola Peninsula.
10. Mentality-It takes a certain mental reserve to fish for long periods in the cold with the hope of catching just 1 or 2 fish in a week-albeit beautiful, very strong and hopefully very large fish! Have realistic expectations, pace yourself, take a break if you are tired or cold and keep your hopes up for that once in a lifetime fish!
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