Fishing Techniques & Tackle

We at McfISH will provide you with highest quality fishing tackle that you will require or need for any water / weather conditions you are likely to encounter, this includes waders, waterproofs, Flies and lures are also provided.

Below you will find brief on fishing techniques and tackle requirements descriptions (if you do wish to take your own tackle). Please note that you will not be allowed to use your equipment unless you have taken the following precautionary measures to combat Gyrodactilus salaries. Gyrodactilus silaris is a highly contagious bug that has devastated freshwater salmon stocks in a number of countries, without going into the science of it all you would be required to complete one the following.

We do not have Gyrodactilus salaries in Scotland; remember it only takes one bug to start an epidemic.

Fly Fishing

High quality 15í fly rod are required, the rod must be versatile and forgiving, allowing overhead, roll casting and spey casting techniques to be employed with ease. Fly reels are to be of lightweight high grade aluminium large arbour design capable of 200 minimum yards spool capacity of 11 rated lines. The brake systems must be progressive and smooth enabling control from near zero up to stop.

Fly lines must be capable of overhead and Spey casting techniques. Floating, intermediate and sinking lines are required capable of handling and attaching a full range of polyleaders. Flies will vary in size and colour throughout the year depending on temperatures and water height, mostly all the flies used are variations on shrimp designs (your guides advice is best sought in these matters)

Presentation is the key to success, a common fault to so many is to throw a long line, in actual fact, however, is to throw to around mid-water that meets or attracts the fish; unless however you know the lie is far out. It is best to fish comfortable and present well than to put out a line that the fly will not fish correctly. River conditions will predict the angle of presentation anything from 30 deg to near 90 deg and what line should be employed, at times you will be required to mend the line to slow the fly down or speed it up, on occasions strip in line to exert more action.

To cover the water and best lies you will require at times to fish from a boat (boatman will be provided) or not put a toe in the water. There will also be times when deep wading is required wading stick and life jackets are mandatory and are provided. Itís an exiting experience connecting with a fish whilst deep wading on the fly. Fish can take well over a 100 yards on a run after it suddenly realises that this thing that looked so attractive to bite on is pulling it in another direction, be sure to listen to your guide how to set the hook when a fish takes.


Rods and reels must be perfectly balanced, light weight and robust enough to subdue the strongest of migratory fish. High quality 11í rods capable of propelling lures and also have a crisp line pick up to enable perfect line control for bait fishing, but also light enough to let you fish effortlessly all day.

Reels must have a minimum capacity of 200 yds 12lb line, light weight, dyna balanced, floating shaft, power roller and have gearing capable of rear control that is smooth and progressive. Lines must be extremely strong, abrasion resistant, good not strength, near invisibility being able to blend into any environment and have low diameter per weight strength.

Toby Lures & Flying C

Fishing lures is not just the chuck it out and reel in, different water conditions will determine the colour, size and weight. Water height and depth is all taken into consideration to determine the angle, depth and speed of the spin, or can be effective cast out down stream and allowed swing round hanging in the current. The Toby has been a proven winner and will always catch fish and should never be overlooked especially in high water. Favourites are silver, copper, silver and copper and the zebra

The Flying C has become the more popular lure and has a better hook hold than the Toby. Black, red, yellow or combination s of Black and red or yellow known as a wasp, these can either have a silver or copper blade. Fresh running fish will go out of their way to intercept both types of these lures as will resting fish be woken up and take chase.

Devon Minnow

There are two typesí sinkers and floaters, the sinkers are fished with same method as the Flying C and can be effective especially when the upstream cast and retrieve is employed, but it is the floater which requires the most skill and provides the best sport.

The floating minnow being light and buoyant is sunk by a lead weight or bait controllers at varying lengths of trace line depending on the conditions. The trick is to bounce the weight down the river bed with the minnow spinning a few feet of the bottom of the river (the weight only touches the bottom now an again). This enables you to fish deeper and slower with the Devon fluttering, spinning and moving in a more natural manor. Concentration is paramount; when the weight hits the bottom you gently lift to avoid snagging. When the line tightens and you get a pull you have got to set the hooks, some people wait for that second pull; all can be lost in a second.


There are those who believe worm fishing is nothing more than attaching some worms to a hook, a half ounce of lead and leaving it until a salmon gorges on them. Nothing can be further from the truth. Worm fishing for salmon is a very skilled art that not many know how to do properly, those who are skilled catch fish regularly, and will catch fish when no other method is catching fish, and because of this there is a belief by some that wormís are irresistible to salmon. The ďpurist ď wont try them and those who do wonder what they are doing wrong.

Reading the water is most important, to enable controlling the bait so as to trundle along the bottom of the river bed just slightly slower than the river speed and not get hung up, with the worm leading at all times. The feel of every bump has to be recognised, the bottom, a trout, a Parr an eel all have their own feel, and you need to know how to react when the salmon gives itís particular bite.

Rapalas, Kynoch Killers and Plugs

Rapala and Kynochís are fished in various ways, cast out and retrieved instantly, cast out and allowed to float down river then retrieved, cast out tightened into and allowed to swing around with the current working the lure with no retrieve or with intermittent handle turns. Rapala can also be fished as the floating minnow with a weight bouncing down the river bed with the Rapala fishing further down the trace. These lures come into their own when harling or trawled, they account for a large numbers of fish with these methods.


Harling is a method of fishing that is only carried out on the river Tay; such is the size of the Tay harling was born to enable the lies to be covered that no bank angler can. An expert boatman (boatman will be provided) is required to execute this method correctly. Up to four rods are fished, one out each side and two pokers out the back of the boat, two anglers tending them. The pokers are normaly 15 feet fly rods one armed with a Fly and one with a Rapala. The two side rods are 11 feet spinning rods armed with Tobyís or Kynlocks. The lures are expertly worked over the lies. The anglers do not have that much work to do, good company and a dram whilst the boat does the work, then play out a fish. Some say itís not fishing, tell you what though itís fun.


The only way to cover large areas of water is to trawl lures and that is what loch fishing is about. Three 15 feet rods are fished one out each side and a poker out the back. Again as with Harling, Rapalas, Kynochís and the toby are the norm. Get the correct speed and depth for the lure and local knowledge of the best taking places and bang. In the spring the best fish will stop for nothing, they want right up to the top reaches of the river systems, the only place they slow down is when they reach the lochs. Three anglers on the boat, one on the outboard (your guide) and two tending the rods, over the day all are kept busy and when a big fish takes there are three frantic anglers reeling in, two of them clearing the way for the lucky one with his rod double bent into a prize migratory fish. Loch fishing on upper reaches slows down in June and by the end of June not may fresh fish make their way up, best to leave the fish to their own devises to reserve their energy for the long wait till November and December spawning.