Spring Salmon Fishing – Why? Are we Insane..?

Why do we do it? What does it achieve? Are we mad..?

To those if you that don’t fish these are the simple answers

  • No idea
  • Absolutely nothing
  • Yes

To understand the absolute madness of fly fishing for spring salmon you have to have done it in the worst possible conditions. If you are a “fair weather” spring fisher you are probably more sensible than the hardcore idiots, like me, who are stupid enough to fish in any conditions.


For me, an explanation to those three questions is far goes far deeper.

Why do I do it?

My spring fishing adventures started at a very young age with pike. As a gift my mother joined me up to the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain. This was the perfect excuse for some toy shopping and soon I had a huge box full of traces, trebles, spinners, bite alarms and more.

What I didn’t possess was the brain power to know a) How to do it and b) When to do it.


Watching me disappear into snow drifts on a bicycle yielding a huge net, tackle box, rods, tripods,  and tent apparently gave Mum the fear. She never stopped me so I don’t really think she was that bothered.

Tent up, rod racks hammered in, rods set up, baits cast out and bite alarms at the ready. I never caught anything, not even a bite. It never once stopped me, even tough at the point of freezing to death I would pack up, find the closest house, which was usually miles away, knock the door and ask if I could use the phone to call my Mum. Complete lunacy but one that I hope my son picks up.


I have no idea why I thought this was a good idea. At that age you’re basically fearless and mostly stupid. These days, a day like this would not happen (and certainly not knocking on a stranger’s door), however there is nothing that would stop me from going out salmon fishing. Fishing to me is my escape and the only thing that I know of which enables you to clear your mind and just be.

With age, things change, reasons change. There is much more going on in your life.

I go fishing to escape, to relax and to clear my mind.

Fishing to me is therapy. That’s why I do it.


Yesterday, I braved some pretty nasty spring weather on the River Tay. It should have become obvious that the chances were slim when a seasoned rod decided to stay in the warm hut rather than stand in the freezing water battling the upstream wind.

Regardless of this I went out. I needed to go out, I needed that escape and even though it was freezing cold, pissing with rain and blowing a gale, it was worth every minute.

What’s your therapy?

What does it achieve?

It achieves peace. Simple. It makes me think of all the good things in my life. Not a bad thought goes through my mind when I’m arm pit deep in ice cold water.

Is it madness?

Absolutely it is. Complete madness but with the right kit you’re protected from the elements. You’re just not protected from your mind.


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