Salmon & the Worm


David OLoughlin

I'm going to have another go at fishing a small spate river in W.Eire again. I would like to plunder any brains on fishing the worm - float & ledgered.
The rivers in the area run v.low when dry, but when it rains trees can sail past. When running you can be looking at 4oz + of lead.
I read one learned opinion that suggested that fresh fish may be easier to tempt & when they were moving they would be in the top few feet of water. Can Salmon see & take a worm that's shooting past on a float when in flood?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated - I've only got a week to catch a fish!

Colin Brett

Well-known member
Jan 6, 2003
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Cambridge UK
The obvious question is where in the west are you fishing?
As not all salmon move in the top when the river is raging through, rolling ledger can work well but I would wait for the river to start dropping and perhaps try a worm on a fly line!!! if they are in the top plenty of control then!!

Drop me a line if you wish to discuss in private
Mayo is my forte

Rob Brownfield

Having fished the worm for many years on i would say forget the float and ledger tactics. Just trundle it through using a few shot pinched a couple of feet above the hook. Fish as if u are fishing for chub or barbel and feel for bites. When a salmon takes u will feel plucks and pulls. If the Salmon is to be returned...hit it on the wee pulls...if u are keeping it, tradition says to wait for the salmon to turn with the bait.

In fast flood water u will find the salmon right in the edge away from the main current. The Lower Crathes beat on the Aberdeenshire Dee whistles through in a flood, but the salmon take within a foot of the bank...

Good luck

Jon Moores

David, Rob is spot on, just enough weight that you are bouncing it on the bottom without it coming to rest for any length of time. When it stops for no apparent reason you can either hit it on the plucks or wait for it to move off. Only wait if you are intent on keeping the fish and you are not after Sea Trout as they may drop it.

As for a big spate, well it all depends on the individual river, but there will usually be a stage of the spate when the fish take really well on the worm. Usually just after the biggest of the debris has stopped going past. Then any piece of smooth water near the bank might hold a fish

David OLoughlin

Thanks gents, Colin I would like to take you up on that offer soon. I'm talking about W.Cork, 20 ft wide rivers, quite shallow, practically impossible to fly fish due to the banks and deadly to wade except when there's no water. Locals spin, worm & shrimp.
There's one chap, wellies, old rod, who I think catches 50% of the fish. I don't know what a fisherman is meant to look like but he looks nothing like any that I've seen. There appear to be no rules to what he does. After telling me & my mate to 'always fish light', the next day we saw him with a great lump of lead with little flow in the river. He caught a Salmon, spending the 1st 5 mins letting it play itself out by circling the weight whilst he kept out of sight (made me think of 'walking the fish' (Buller & Falkus)).
The 1st time I went I caught 2 sea trout - I never realised a worm could disapear so quick & what a fight. They were both 2lb & I was fishing 15lb line on a carp rod. I'd hate to know what a Salmon (they run 5lb+) would do with a bit of flow.
Just following up what you all said, what size hooks would you recommend, how many worms & how hooked. I've used size 8&6 with 1 or 2. I have also read that DB's are no good & only lobs will do.
There is also a problem with the small brown trout as they are also mouthing, then taking the worm. they are so small it makes it v.difficult unhooking them & I'd rather not catch them for obvious reasons.

Rob Brownfield

Brownies are a total pain in the arse, small parr being worse!! There is no real answer that I know of to get round this problem.

DB will take salmon, but are better for sea trout. The way we fish worms up here is to get up to 10 lobworms, and hook them once through the saddle. U end up with a veritable octopus of a bait. This tends to mean that u wait for positive pulls from a salmon, any wee taps are put down to brownies etc.

Hope this helps a little

David OLoughlin

I'd just like to thank you for your help. I think my mate will get a little pissed if I snaffle all his blues & stick them on 1 hook, but as they say nothing ventured nothing gained.