“The most exciting part about catching salmon is when it bites. When a fish takes the bait, it’s like a very slow roll and then a steady pull and that’s a like a touch of electricity in your hand.
Someone like me will go fishing after the rain, when the waters are high and start to drop. That’s the best time to fish and I will go for maybe a few hours. And I may not catch anything. I go alone. On a big river you might be in sight of other people fishing and might have a quick chat, but basically you are on your own. For a lot of people, including me, if it feels right and you might catch a salmon that day you feel completely tuned in on what you are doing. Which means it’s a kind of therapy, because you are not thinking of your problems, you are reading the waters to see where the salmon is, watching the flyers and everything else goes away. You are totally tuned in on what you are doing as a hunter. Sometimes when you’re fishing for salmon you see just a tiny wrinkle on top of the water where the fly is, that’s the salmons come and have a look at the fly, and under the surface they have left just a little swirl. If you don’t notice that, it’s just not worth it, but if you do notice it, you go back silently and wait for the fish. Sometimes you can see that five of six times in a row in a shallow river before a fish actually takes the fly, but if you don’t notice that, you just carry on to where you might catch a fish. You have to really think, you know — where would I be if I were I fish?”.
Simon Boult is Gamekeeper and Ghillie for the Ardtornish estate. He talks admiringly about the habits of salmons, and you can feel he knows the river and its quirks better than his own home.
(NOMAS Scotland p. 94)