First, when fishing the River Tay, using the right fishing tackle, flies, lures and gear, will increase your chances of success, targeting salmon.
Secondly the brand preference of your tackle is a personal choice, however this article will help you understand what to bring and what to wear.
Spin Casting on the River Tay for Salmon
Lastly, the River Tay is a big river. Undoubtedly, it’s the King of rivers in Scotland. Therefore, it needs a big spinning rod. With this in mind, an 11ft spinning rod is excellent for striking the balance between light enough to fish with all day and strong enough to play a big fish. In conclusion, we use the Daiwa whisker salmon rods, 11ft, rated 10-60g casting weight.
Subsequently the ideal reel match for that rod is a 4000 or 5000 spinning reel. Nevertheless, loading that reel with mono or braid is a personal choice. We prefer braid and use Suffix 131, rated at 35lb breaking strain and with a diameter of 0.285mm. This is not cheap, but excellent quality braid and will not let you down.
Lastly, the braid terminates at a barrel swivel, and then approx 700mm length of Maxima this is attached to the lure at the business end.
River Tay Spinning Lures
Firstly, the following list of lures are tried and tested and catch salmon on the Tay. With this in mind, the following lures are highly effective
- 28gram Toby – Copper and Silver are popular colours. An orange tiger pattern works well in coloured water
- Megabass vision oneten – Rhubarb and custard, Carrot (high water) our favourites
- Flying Condom – we use hand made versions – Black, yellow and orange are good colours
- Payo Aegis 110 – These come with 3 trebles. We change them to be “Tay rigged” The Carrot is deadly in high water. Rhubarb and custard highly effective too.
Spey Casting and fly fishing with double hand rod for salmon on the Tay
To begin with, a double hand Spey rod 14ft or 15ft in length is perfect for a big river like the Tay. Secondly, marry this to a good spey reel 9/10 weight with plenty of Dacron backing and a floating spey line. A short head Spey line (Scandi) is a good choice, unless you are an expert Spey caster. For experts a 65ft, spey line offers excellent presentation and line control. On the other hand, if fishing heavy copper or brass tubes, a shooting head or skagit will give you that extra punch, to cast the additional weight.
Importantly, you should bring a range of poly leaders, that match the fly line. These should include, a floating leader, a slow sink, sink 3 and then sink 5. This will cover most bases.
River Tay a wading staff is essential
Alarmingly, some of the wading on the Tay is highly dangerous, so always use a wading staff and wear a PFD. This could save your life, and make your fishing experience safer and more enjoyable. Additionally, your Alba fishing guide will know the river bed intimately, and will not let you wade anywhere with risk.
Lastly, bring a BIG landing net, like the one you see in the photo above. The Tay has a reputation for big fish and you should always be prepared.
What are the best salmon flies for the River Tay?
Firstly, the following salmon flies are tried and tested and have caught salmon for our guests over the last 20 years of guided trips on the River Tay:
- Willie Gunn
- Shitey Whitey
- Park Shrimp
- Banana Tube fly
- Monkey tube fly
- Red Francis
- Sun Ray shadow
- Black and Yellow (Spring)
What to wear on the Tay when salmon fishing?
First of all, breathable chest waders are the safest best option. Partly due to comfort and secondly, having a tight belt around your waist, minimises the chance of your waders filling up if you fall in. With this in mind, we use Orvis, Redington, Vision and Patagonia chest waders. In contrast to other companies who’ll provide you with cheap rubber soled waders and boots, our boots are fitted with tungsten studs. Coupled with quality breathable waders, you’ll stay dry and get a good grip on the river bed when wading.