When you hook a powerful Scottish salmon it is important to keep your composure and know exactly what you should be doing for a successful outcome to the fight.
One of the important things to remember when playing a salmon is to try to not rush the fight as when you try to overpower a salmon it will usually fight back twice as hard increasing its chances of throwing the hook hold. The fight should be fun so take your time and enjoy the sound of the reel and feeling the salmon's power. You'll know when your salmon is ready to be landed as it will start showing its flanks at close range and that is the correct time to prepare the landing net and not before. There's as much skill invloved in playing a powerful salmon correctly as there is in learning the basic fundamental salmon fishing skills that will bring you to that very point of proceedings. Many factors such as keeping your rod position high throughout the fight to avoid the added water pressure strain from a drowned fly line to staying in a 'side on' position throughout the fight are 2 of the key factors for a successful outcome.
When an Atlantic salmon starts tugging at your fly when the initial take commences you'll automatically receive a flush of adrenalin induced by the instant realisation of what's now ocurring below the waterline. This amazing feeling not only freezes time but can speed up time too so be aware of this and learn to ignore the compelling urge to react too quickly in this initial stage of the hooking procedure. The exact same emotional control is vital through the ensuing salmon fight and never through excitement try to rush or bully a fish to the landing net before it's clearly showing signs that it's ready as that tactic will often end in disaster. Be aware of your emotions and 'keep the heid' and use this energy & alertness to stick to the basic salmon fight fundamentals like scanning for a suitable slack water landing area, staying side on to your fish and maintaing a reasonable fighting curve on your fly rod.
While the battle proceedings are underway you should be also searching the salmon pool and its riverbank for a suitable area for playing the salmon in after you've gained reasonable control of the fish. The type of area you should be looking for will have some reasonable depth and be out of the main current. This area should also not contain any signs of boils or swirls on the river surface which indicates the presence of sub surface features which the salmon could snag your line on and break the leader or dislodge the hook hold. The best position to take while playing a salmon is the 'side on' position (opposite the fish) when possible therefore not allowing your salmon to get into a downstream position where you’ll not only lose control of the fish but the hook point pressure will be focussed at an out-of-mouth angle which could end in disaster when the fish enevitably starts shaking its head from side to side in an attempt to dislodge the hook.
Remember after you’ve hooked a salmon to keep that high rod tip as this acts as a shock absorber against sudden power surges and significantly reduces the salmon’s chances of wrapping the leader or fly line around a sub surface obstacle (via a drowned line). Keeping a steady pressure on the fish is important too so as the fish has to expend energy to resist that pressure you’re applying. Without this pressure you'll lose unnecessary fishing time (& possibly the chance of a double!) so be firm and when the fish starts pulling back simply release your hand from the fly reel and let it take line. This 'to & fro' period of the fight can last anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour (with a big fish) so take your time, relax and enjoy the battle. When the time comes to land a fish it’s simply a case of sinking your landing net, drawing your fish over the net (in one continuos movement) and then simply lift the net. Under no account should it be necessary to chase a fish about the river margins with the landing net. Book a professional salmon fishing guide in Scotland and be taught all of these vital salmon fishing skills and give yourself the best chance of a successful outcome to your fishing day.