The Atlantic salmon is one of the most mysterious fish in the world. Considered by many to be the king of fish, its reputation as a fighter, its great stamina and unusual lifecycle is still fascinating despite our increased knowledge.

Tackles and techniques for salmon fishing depend on three main elements —the time of the year, location of the beat (particularly to its distance from the sea) and weather and water.

Salmon fishing in Britain and Ireland begins in the early days of the new year, and on some rivers closes as late as the end of November.

From January to midApril, you not only have to catch your fish, but also identify whether or not it is ‘clean’. In the early months, many salmon will be fish which entered freshwater the previous year, spawned in November and December, and are now dropping back to the sea as kelts. These fish are protected by law, and should be returned carefully to the water. They do not provide rod and line sport.

Big autumn fish require heavy tackle and strong lines. Flies too should be bigger. As the water cools, return to sinkingtip or fastsink lines and bigger tube flies. By November, 23in tube flies are common.

Other methods

Although spinning and fly fishing form the basis of most salmon fishing techniques there are several other legitimate methods which the angler may resort to when the going gets tough. It is possible to limit all salmon fishing to small flies and floating lines in late spring and summer and big flies and sinking lines for early spring or late autumn. However, worm, prawn or shrimp have many a time saved an otherwise blank day or week. At certain times and seasons the use of these natural baits can be very effective, but there are still too many anglers who will resort to them without trying other more sporting methods.

It should not be implied that fishing with any of these natural baits is easy. There is a sense in which successful fishing with a worm or prawn is more difficult than fly fishing, but there are times, conditions and situations when they might prove too effective and spoil the sport for others.