Lunchtime Salmon!

Think Salmon and you could be forgiven for the assumption that a trek to Scotland is required.  However here in the South West we sit on perhaps some of the finest migratory fishing in the land.  Two handed rods are rarely required.  Instead this is “stealth” Salmon fishing with single handed rods and nothing more than a spool of leader and a box of flies for company!


It is easy to cover these fish too with a short range Spey Cast, which remember is merely a change of direction Roll Cast.  I often find there seems to be some real mystery surrounding the whole Salmon fishing scene and have met many people who presume that learning the Spey’s is difficult, while Salmon are mythical creatures rarely captured.  It’s not true! 

Granted you do need conditions and we hit it right last week.  I say we because I was fishing with Andrew Maund who has spent most of his life chasing down Salmon, especially in the West Country.  It was great listening to him as like all forward thinking anglers he is constantly seeking answers, trying new techniques and conjuring up seductive flies.  But in all honesty our tactics for the day were pretty simple.  Small doubles fished on floaters and sink tips … standard Salmon fishing.  The Lenton beat of the Mole is anything but standard and possibly one of the most important sections of the whole Taw system.  Last year Head Weir was demolished and a new pool & riffle system created … the first of its kind in the UK, which should encourage more fish into the river.  It didn’t seem that way for a while!

Fishing at close range for Salmon on the River Mole

Fishing at close range for Salmon on the River Mole

After a fruitless morning fishing over some prime pools in excellent condition we had nothing between us to show for our efforts.  The Exeter Inn and a ploughman’s were calling!  But after some discussion we decided that this could be a mistake, after all there was Croy Pool and Wood Pool to thrash, not to mention Sandmartin!  It turned out to be a good decision and leads me to recall that other old Salmon truism “If your fly is not in the water …. “

On single handed rods these fish are truly awe inspiring; half way down Croy my first fish just tightened up the line and then sat in the flow.  For a moment I thought I would have this fish netted in no time … wrong!  When it woke up it just went mental, out on its tail, under the trees … this really is heart in mouth stuff.  I ended up walking through the pool to maintain contact but this was no time to think about catching other fish.  What a relief when it was in the net.  After pictures (thanks to Andrew for hot footing it from Wood Pool where he had just caught a Sea Trout) we safely released the fish and I took a breather.

Nick Hart with a 9lb Salmon caught on a single handed rod from the River Mole

9lbs of Salmon on a single handed rod is a lot of fun!

Andrew suggested I should fish the pool once more, even after all the chaos, meanwhile he headed down stream.  I was not brimming with confidence after all the commotion but the water did look fantastic. 

Salmon fishing on the River Mole - Croy Pool

The stunning Croy Pool - River Mole

 Half way down the pool and the Silver Stoat was slammed again!  An exciting fight resulted in a stunning Grilse of 6lb.  Happy days!  This was followed by a Sea Trout Peal and then right at the back of the pool on the dangle I was into another Salmon … but this one stitched me up and spat the hook.

Fresh Grilse from the River Mole

This fresh Grilse nailed the fly and gave a great account of itself prior to release

I carried on fishing, picking my way through the trees and trying my luck on the various pools until finally clambering out near the bridge where this Sea Trout gave me a run for my money on a previous Mole session.  Arriving at Sand Martin I was pleased to find that Andrew was hard and fast into a fish.  It had fallen to an Usk Grub fished so high in the water that Andrew had actually seen the fish take the fly! 

Fresh 10lb Salmon caught by Andrew Maund on the Mole

Chrome Silver - A seriously fresh 10 pounder from the Mole

Mc Lean Net at the ready we soon had a sparkling 10lb fish, sea liced and glittering in the afternoon sun, safely landed.  A quick photo, some video and the fish was on its way.  Check out a mini video here.  What a session.  3 Salmon, 1 lost and 2 Sea Trout and just think we could have been in the pub just when these fish switched on.

Releasing a Salmon on the River Mole

After the battle - Andrew releases his 10 pounder

We are now entering the back end of the season so a late run of fish may soon appear, in which case you could be enjoying a similar West Country Salmon experience.  Try looking into some of the Angling Passport possibilities or contact us for guided fishing on the River Mole.  This is one of our own exclusive beats and as the fish above show … it is pretty special!

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