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When Is The Right Time To Land A Salmon

Knowing the right time to land a salmon after you've hooked it is very important for a successful outcome.

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When Is The Right Time To Land A Salmon

Why To not to rush the salmon fight Procedings

All too many times you'll see anglers trying to bully a newly hooked salmon to the landing net often egged on by an overexciteable fishing colleague or ghillie. This is a foolish approach as even a good hook hold can be dislodged if a salmon that isn't ready to be landed goes bersek with full energy levels due to too much early rod action pressure. Calming the fish down in the early stages of battle should be top proirity and not laying into the fish as all that will do will make the salmon return the compliment. There was a myth circulated a decade or so ago (when 'Catch & Release' was implemented) by fishery management who advised salmon fishers to play salmon hard as that increased the chances of salmon surviving the stress of being caught. The only ocassions I've ever seen salmon not survive was either when they were deeply hooked and lost too much blood or when they were played too hard and never recovered from the exertion stress of trying to resist. 

How To Enjoy The Salmon fight experience

It's not every time you go salmon fishing that you'll catch a salmon (unless you're a dog otter or a grey seal!) so my advice would be to harness the andrenalin enegry you'll most certainly experience on initial contact and relax yourself as best as you can. Now it's a challenge between you and you salmon as to whether you're going to be granted a close up inspection in the landing net or not. Relax and drop the urgency to land the fish as salmon are easy to land once they are ready but difficult when they're not ready. Apart from the buzz from the take the enjoyment in catching a salmon comes from the fight and the powerful runs that make your fly reel sing with the airborne jumps and sub-surface glints amidst the excitement of it all and that plays a big part in the reason we all enjoy salmon fishing.


When an angler hooks a salmon there's always a release of adrenalin which naturally can rush the landing stage well before the fish is ready to be landed. With this in mind learn to keep your composure and settle yourself through the early adrenalin fueled stages to avoid a rushed fight while scanning for a deep snag free area of the salmon pool (out of the main current) to play the fish out in before attempting to land it. One pound of salmon bodyweight to one minute of fight time is fairly accurate for the length of time it's going to take before the landing moment however a hard running salmon that's already exhausted can often be tamed sooner and a well rested salmon with full 'battery power' often takes a bit longer.

How to successfully land A salmon

You can clearly see in this video that the lively salmon lost much of its power quickly as it had been steered away from the main current so after a few acrobatic lunges it was able to be manouvred to the landing net in one steady draw so all I had to do was simply lift the net. You should never have to chase a salmon up and down the riverbank if you carefully pick your moment & area to land the fish. My advice would be to keep your net on your shoulder until you start to see sure signs that you're gaining control of the fish and only then prepare your landing net. To learn more important & generally untaught salmon fishing skills follow this link for details on how to hire a professional salmon fishing guide in Scotland

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