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Swinging for salmon

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Mangrove Cuckoo
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Swinging for salmon

#1

Post by Mangrove Cuckoo »

Folks,

I spent the last few days up in Atlanta attending the annual Fly Show. I was able to cast a number of new rods (with my own lines and leader) and I also watched a decent number of casting demos.

I guess the good news is that most every casting demonstrator railed against what they called erroneous traditional concepts like 10 - 2 and “speed-up-and-stop”, although not all did.

And while I saw some very impressive casting, what I found interesting was that none of the demonstrators cast nor taught concepts along the lines of what are generally accepted as truth here on Sexyloops.

Most of the casting was trout stream oriented. There was some salt water stuff, although much less. Even some Tenkara and Spey. Not one mention of distance comp though.

Apparently, as the old sayin’ suggests: there might be more than one way to skin a cat?

The most interesting demonstrator for me personally was of Norwegian descent who highlighted techniques and the advantages of fishing sinking line in saltwater. He suggested that the techniques for swinging flies for Atlantic salmon translate very well… so that might be my next learning endeavor.

Can anyone suggest good books or other learning materials for swinging for salmon?

Thanks!
With appreciation and apologies to Ray Charles…

“If it wasn’t for AI, we wouldn’t have no I at all.”
Mangrove Cuckoo
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Re: Swinging for salmon

#2

Post by Mangrove Cuckoo »

So... 50 reads and no responses?

Is swinging flies for salmon a secret, or does no one do it anymore?

My online investigation turned up one book that was mentioned a few times... and it was published in 1957!

I guess I'll hit up the guide that spoke at the show.
With appreciation and apologies to Ray Charles…

“If it wasn’t for AI, we wouldn’t have no I at all.”
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Paul Arden
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Re: Swinging for salmon

#3

Post by Paul Arden »

Hi Gary,

I would recommend Hugh Fawkus. Maybe the best known salmon (and sea trout) fisherman.

Cheers, Paul
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Bendix
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Re: Swinging for salmon

#4

Post by Bendix »

Hi Gary

Like Paul, I would also recommend “Salmon Fishing” by Hugh Falkus, if you can find a used copy.

I could recommend lots of other great books, but unfortunately the best ones I know are written in either Danish or Swedish…

Unfortunately it seems, that after the invention of the internet and YouTube, not many new books are being published… Which is a great shame I think.

Cheers
Bendix
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Will
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Re: Swinging for salmon

#5

Post by Will »

Expensive now, but I really liked Atlantic Salmon Magic by Topher Browne.
W.
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Re: Swinging for salmon

#6

Post by RSalar »

Mangrove Cuckoo wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 3:21 pm Folks,

Can anyone suggest good books or other learning materials for swinging for salmon?

Thanks!
I've been fishing for salmon for 50 years and believe me you don't need a book! It's a simple down and across cast. You cast down stream at a 45 degree angle with the goal of getting your line, leader, and fly perfectly straight. Salmon fishing is all about efficiency. Keep the fly in the water as much as possible. No false casting. Cast, let the fly swing, pick up and cast again, taking a step downstream with each successive cast. Repeat for 1000 times and if you are lucky a salmon will take your fly. As you become more proficient and understand what makes a salmon rise to the fly you will learn how to control the speed that the fly moves across the current. You control the speed by mending. In slow water you let the line bend so the the current pulls it faster. In fast water you mend upstream to slow the swing. How fast should it swing? Take a size 6 wet fly, tie it on as you would normally, then put a half hitch over and behind the eye so the leader is coming off the eye at about 90 degrees (probably less ... 75 deg maybe... it doesn't matter). This will make the fly skitter on the surface. The speed that the fly swings will keep the eye up on the surface and it will form a small visible wake. If it swings too slow it will sink and there will be no wake. If it swings too fast it will start to skip, spin, or pull under. You want a nice even wake. It's all about the speed that the fly swings that indices the salmon to take. And watch the fly constantly all day, all 1000 casts, because if you look up at the clouds the salmon will rise and miss the fly and you won't see it and you will pass it by and miss the only chance you had all day.

Hope this helps,

Ron
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Paul Arden
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Re: Swinging for salmon

#7

Post by Paul Arden »

Great post Ron. Lars calls that technique “Concentration at all Times”. I’ve always found it particularly challenging and I know some people who can’t do it at all :D
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Mangrove Cuckoo
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Re: Swinging for salmon

#8

Post by Mangrove Cuckoo »

Mangrove Cuckoo wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 3:21 pm
The most interesting demonstrator for me personally was of Norwegian descent who highlighted techniques and the advantages of fishing sinking line in saltwater. He suggested that the techniques for swinging flies for Atlantic salmon translate very well… so that might be my next learning endeavor.

Can anyone suggest good books or other learning materials for swinging for salmon?

Thanks!
Sorry... I can see that my question was vague.

My interest is not in salmon fishing, but in the techniques used for line control of sinking lines.

I actually have fished for salmon in Washington (state) and it was much like Ron described.

Down here in the salt it is a very different paradigm: getting fish to bite is (relatively) easy... it's getting them hooked that is the challenge - especially with sinking lines in moving waters.

BTW...I found the Hugh Falkus book at a very reasonable price. It has not arrived yet but I'm looking forward To reading it.

Thanks!
With appreciation and apologies to Ray Charles…

“If it wasn’t for AI, we wouldn’t have no I at all.”
Bendix
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Re: Swinging for salmon

#9

Post by Bendix »

Hi Gary

In my home river, pretty much all Salmon and Seatrout fly fishing is done with fast sinking shooting heads. And this is on both DH and SH rods. And yes, hooking the fish can be a real challenge!
When I use my DH rod, I will typically do a standard swinging technique with the fly, and when hooking the fish, I rely a lot on the way a Salmon or Seatrout will typically take the fly. They normally do this, by taking the fly in their mouth, and then turn around, back to their holding spot. What I do, is that I hold a loop of line between my index finger and the reel, of about 20-25 inches. And when the fish turns, I let it pull the loop out of my finger, and this action will typically result in the fish being hooked in the corner of the jaw. And this I will create a very positive hook hold, where I rarely loose the fish during the fight. And that’s basically how simple it is…
However, when I use my SH rod (typically a 10 foot #7) I will often strip my line in, in order to give the fly a little more action. And then, hooking the fish is suddenly a little more “hit and miss”, which means that sometimes you will hook the fish badly, no matter what you do… Sometimes the fish are aggressive, and take the fly hard and turn (like described above), giving a good hook hold. And other times the fish will simply nibble the fly, rather than committing, and when I strike these nibbling fish, my landing rate is around 50% (educated guess, not a solid statistic).
So in the end, I find that my catch rate and success, depends a lot on the individual fish, and what mood it is in, meaning, how does it decide to take the fly? This is maybe not what you want to hear, but it is my experience when fishing fast sinking lines for Salmon and Seatrout in running water… In the end, a bit of luck is required!

Cheers
Bendix
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