There is a stretch of river I’ve wanted to fish for many years, not only because of its potential to hold big wild trout, but also because of its unrivalled natural beauty. To my surprise, a conversation with Andy, founder of Rigged and Ready, revealed that he too had long wanted to fish the river. So much so that he had been on the syndicate waiting list for about 7 years and had finally been accepted as a new member.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to join him fishing there using one of the extremely limited guest passes, and I couldn’t have been more excited about it. Finally, the day came, and it was time to get fishing. The river level was low, and the water was very clear, not boding well for a successful trip. Coupled with the bright sunshine, the odds were definitely not in our favour.
My set up of choice was the Fish Rig 180
semi-telescopic travel rod, paired with the RR1000
spinning reel, and I had this loaded with 15lb braid
, down to a 12lb fluorocarbon
leader. Sometimes I use an 8lb leader,
but going a bit stronger on this trip was a decision that could well have made all the difference.
We began by targeting some fast-flowing water, then moved on to deeper pools; neither of which were successful.
Between us we tried a variety of lures and methods, and nothing seemed to be able to tempt the trout. I cycled through pretty much everything in my box before eventually settling on a size 2 silver spinner. Andy decided to persist with a worm rig, which eventually resulted in a couple of bites, but unfortunately neither trout fully committed to the bait.
We had nearly finished fishing for the day, but before we headed back, I decided to cast under some overhanging trees where a tiny waterfall-esque flow of water was entering the river. A couple of casts later and bang, I had something big on the end of my line. At first, I thought it was a trout, but a big flash of silver in the water indicated otherwise. It was a salmon.
A 3-minute adrenaline fuelled spine tingling fight unfolded, with the fresh fish making numerous jumps up to three feet out of the water. I held on to my tiny telescopic rod and prayed for the best. I’ve only caught two salmon in my life, both years ago. Since then I’ve had a few on my line, but time after time I was repeatedly bested by what can only be described as the hardest fighting freshwater fish in the UK.
Because of past experiences I was all too aware of how one wrong move would inevitably result in the fish shaking the barbless hook or breaking my line. There was a couple of hairy moments for sure, with the fish darting beneath Andy’s net, swimming around him and making charging runs up and down the shallow river.
When the fish was finally netted, I was over the moon to see my GoPro had captured the full thing, which is now available to watch on YouTube by clicking here.
I had finally done it, my first salmon in 4 years and in rather extraordinary circumstances. The conditions couldn’t have been worse, and it was caught in early April on a river that doesn’t typically have a salmon run until June.
But that’s salmon fishing isn’t it! I’d really appreciate it if you checked out the video and watched for yourself, it’s one I’m really proud of. Some have said it’s the best fishing footage I have captured in my three years of making fishing videos. If you enjoy it then don’t forget to hit that subscribe button, leave a like, and drop a comment below to let me know what you think!
Many people call salmon the king of the river, so following the recent coronation it seems fitting to be bringing you this story now! Are you looking to celebrate this historic event by picking up some new fishing tackle? If so, then you're in the right place, so check out our store now and support a proudly British brand.