There is nothing spectacular about the spring run this season and it is not because fishing pressure is on the low side. Most UK rivers are seeing just a sprinkling of fish apart from the odd good day here and there. Highlights are few and far between, that was until Aaron Grant decided to fish above the falls of Kildonan on the Helmsdale. The Falls are a major temperature barrier holding back fish temporarily hence the reason beat 6 below the falls is generally one of the best spring beats. A fish was taken from the Fall pool last week so it was probable that they were on their way to the upper reaches of the system. Proof is pictured below as Aaron proudly shows off a stunning 20 pounder taken on the deadly Alistair tube.

The river is running low at around 5" so a top up is required to get things going again. Another 3 fish were reported from beat 6, 5 & 2, one of which was a solid 12 pounder from Upper Carew pool beat 2 caught by Andy Sutherland

Aaron with his cracking springer from Gravely pool beat 3 above



Quieter week

The Helmsdale had a pretty quiet week last week with just 5 fish reported. Andy Sutherland got the ball rolling with a lovely shaped fish off the Tail of the bay beat 3 on a Monkey and a few were reported from beat 5 & 6 with one from the Falls Pool. Focus will now be on the upper beats as fish will surely be over the Falls of Kildonan.

We still have our 3 + 1 on all salmon flies running so a great chance to bag some free flies for the rest of the season. Just put 3 + 1 in the comments section when ordering and we will add your free flies for every multiple of 3 you buy, its that simple - no promo codes required.

We have had a fantastic response to our Monkey deal ( seen in report below ) so we now have another fly highlighted and one with a huge following. Ron created this stunner a few years ago based on the super popular Posh Tosh tube. The Posh Willie Gunn was born in 2 options, tubes and coneheads, Check them out below.

Andy with his fish from Tail of the Bay.

The stunning RS Posh Willie Gunn which you can buy in 2 of our categories "copper tubes" and "coneheads" links below...

The Helmsdale produced 7 fish last week with the highlight being a brace for Graham Nichols on beat 6 out of Little Rock and Vale of Tears. The Association water also produced its first fish caught in the Flat pool by Jim Forsyth. Some real stunning fish are now coming off many rivers, the most notable a 26 pounder from the Spey at Kinnermony. Angling pressure is obviously still painfully light and the whole country is full of anglers dreaming of when they can next jump in the car and get that first cast of the season outwith their regional boundaries.

This however is a very exciting time of the season so we are going to take the opportunity to talk tactics using one of the deadliest flies,the Monkey fly. Check out our Monkey fly selection below and have a read on how to use them.

Ron Sutherland owner of the hugely popular Helmsdale company is going to put some “meat on the bone” on how best to use some of his most successful fly designs. Let’s begin with our Solar Monkey and Monkey tubes in general. If you have heard of them but not fished them, you are missing out. The monkey is a fly you need confidence in to let swing at pace and there is no better time to deploy this tactic than now as water temperatures start to slowly creep up. Salmon are predators at sea and specialists at hitting high speed prey, that is the trigger anglers look to exploit when fishing long winged tube flies. It is not rocket science, salmon are hot wired for the chase so be prepared for some heart stopping and savage takes.

So, let’s imagine the water is good and flow brisk on a favourite pool of yours. Water temp is hovering around the magic 50 degrees in this instance. At this point you have an interesting choice, fly density, fly length and fly colour. The Monkey tube works because it’s footprint is big so do not be shy in good water to tie on a tube with a hairwing of around 3.5 - 5”. I like the fly to be sub surface to the tune of around 1ft so the chosen model is a 4”conehead Solar Monkey fished on an intermediate 10ft sinking poly core leader. Next step, how do we fish this fly? Well, if you are on the left bank of the river the aim is to cast almost square and the key once this has been executed is not to mend your line as we do not want to check up or slow the pace of the fly on the swing, as the fly swings round draw the rod tip towards your bank to complete the swim, take a step down the river and repeat, it is that simple. This is a fairly ideal scenario where the Monkey fly will fish very well. However there are many other situations that suit a monkey tube in different sizes and I’ll give you a few examples and rule of thumb.

As we know all pools generally have faster water at the head, a relative dead zone in the middle and a pickup in pace towards the tail draw of the pool. The monkey works everywhere so at the head of the pool you might choose a copper or tungsten tube to cut through the turbulence for better presentation and towards the middle and tail of the pool you are often better to swap for an aluminium or plastic tube. One thing is for sure, whenever you feel the water flow struggling to carry the fly you should mend your line towards your own bank to generate more pace or strip line if needs must, bottom line is keep the fly swinging at pace and you will maximise your chances. Pools vary hugely in depth and flow, try to read the water and calculate how best to fish the pool, the choice is yours. You can vary the fly depth at any time by changing your sink tip and tube density. Heavy water may require a fast sinking tip and Tungsten monkey to fish properly. A shallow run off at the tail of the pool will often suit a smaller plastic monkey tube fished closer to the surface.

A word about the different patterns. The Classic Dee Monkey in black & yellow is the cast iron favourite colour combination in Spring along with the RS Solar Monkey As the season progresses all colours can work and black/orange starts to become more popular as we drift into autumn. Helmsdale Co has every size you will ever need as we know how advantageous it is to have a range of wing length and tube density in your flybox. The picture shows a snippet of the explosive selection we have available. You can buy the selection below or simply grab some individually anytime right here -

So, if you have never used this mesmerising fly, now is the time, You know where to find them and how to fish them. Have a great season when lockdown ends.

We have added 2 of the very best new salmon selections you will see and at a big discount for a limited time. Check them out below...

New RS Pro Monkey selection - buy now here

New RS Pro spring selection - buy now here



Latest report

The Helmsdale was surprisingly quiet last weeks as water levels dropped away, as far as I know there were no fish off so we are taking the opportunity to show you a few of our best selling conehead salmon fly designs.

Please click on the youtube link here and Ron will talk you through some of his unique and super popular salmon flies -

We have also been tying some new RS designs and you can see one of them below using our favourite tying thread and synthetic jungle cock both from Semperfli which we have for sale on our website.

The stunning New RS Black & yellow Spring Alistair copper tube - Semperfli FL Red waxed No 8/0 + JC Synthetic Natural large.