Published On: Sun, Mar 22nd, 2015

Salmon Fishing Secrets – How long does it take to catch a salmon?

Salmon Fishing Secrets – Time

Sooner or later a salmon is going to see your lure and take a bite of it!

Sooner or later a salmon is going to see your lure and take a bite of it!

Sometimes it just takes a great deal of perseverance to catch a salmon. Even the best salmon anglers have “dry spells” when they struggle to catch a salmon. You often hear the saying “…that the first salmon of the season is always the hardest to catch!”

Some anglers go years between fish. The real secret is to put in as much time as possible when the salmon are present in the rivers so you are fishing “high probability water.” Persistence is the key. Just keep at it and you will eventually succeed.

You might hear that a particularly successful angler has caught say 12 salmon for the season. However you often don’t hear about how many actual fishing hours were required by that angler to catch each one of those 12 fish! One year I caught a salmon within 15 minutes at the start of the season. Other years it has taken me a lot longer to catch that first one. Oddly I have often caught a salmon soon after arriving at a stretch of water. Other times I have fished for days on end without touching a fish!

Salmon anglers fishing the Rakaia River surf at first light.

Salmon anglers fishing the surf on the south side of the Rakaia River mouth at first light. They are fishing the bottom of the tide during late February. This is where you need to be to have a good chance of landing a salmon. You need to be casting continually and getting good distance. Winding speed needs to be reasonably fast as the salmon won’t necessarily be on the bottom. Sharp hooks are also a must.

The absolute best time to catch salmon is at first light in the morning. This is particularly so when fishing the surf or a hole as new fish will have arrived overnight. Those fish will not have seen any hardware cast in their direction over night.

Salmon are often caught in the surf at a rivermouth during a two hour period at the top of the tide; with very few fish being caught outside this time period. A line of salmon anglers may take 20 or 30 fish over a couple of hours with not much happening for the rest of the day.

Look for slack water were fish might be resting.

Fishing hard at the right time is the key to surf fishing for salmon.

Fishing hard at the right time, in the right place, is the key to surf fishing for salmon.

Don’t forget that there is a huge difference in the number of salmon returning to run the rivers from one season to the next. The number of salmon returning in a good season can be as much as 20 times greater than those returning during a poor season. During poor seasons the fish are generally smaller. To increase your chances of catching a salmon  you must be fishing in the right places, at the right time.

To anyone unfamiliar with the salmon fishing scene in Canterbury success must appear to be based solely on luck. However some anglers catch way more fish than others – even in poor years. The key factors are knowing the best places in the surf, river, gut, and up-stream to fish, having good fishing tackle and transport, making good decisions about when and where to put in the effort, but above all putting in serious time on the water. Only a wet zed spinner catches a salmon!

About the Author

- Fishingmag.co.nz website editor.

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