Podcast: The King of Swing

This week I interview Shawn Brillon, the King of Swing here at Orvis. He’s a master at strategizing on swinging flies for both Atlantic salmon and steelhead, and his strategy works for trout streamers and wets, as well. It should serve to get you jazzed up for steelhead season—I know it did for me.

In the Fly Box, we talk about landlocked Atlantic salmon, best all-around line for a switch rod, a basic saltwater outfit, and flies for almost anywhere in the world—plus I get pressed to pick which three fly rods I would choose if I could only have three for all of my fishing.

If you don’t see the “Play” button above, click here to listen.

2 thoughts on “Podcast: The King of Swing”

  1. Hi and thank you for the excellent podcasts which I discovered a couple of months ago and have been listening to in my spare moments since. I liked this one because it unlocked the mysteries of salmon fishing in Scotland a little. What came across for me as a struggling Atlantic salmon fisher, was the value of a visiting expert’s view on fishing a place, even if that expert like Shaun, is new to the fishery. So, despite your advice to go with local knowledge I’m asking for different perspectives on a water I’ve fished a little; Loch Lomond in Scotland. Loch Lomond’s a huge lake, and is comparatively lightly fly-fished for its Atlantic salmon who are on their way to spawning streams, having run about ten miles up the river Leven, into the loch, from the sea. There are also a lot of sea-trout, which I’d like to ask you about too. I’m aware that this could be received as a complaint that local fishers on Loch Lomond don’t share their techniques. That’s not so. There are a few people who’ve very kindly put details of areas to fish and techniques online. However, it’s still pretty sparse as regards flyfishing for salmon on the loch. The majority of salmon fishing being by trolling rapalas and so on.

    So, if you will, imagine that you’re going to fish a new lake for sea-run trout and salmon. You know that there have been fish caught, the salmon mostly in water between 2 and ten foot deep along one stretch of shore and around a group of islands at one end of the loch. The loch depth to get taking sea-trout is, apparently, between eight and twenty feet.  The colours of the successful flies have been yellows and yellow and red on the bodies with mallard or black and white turkey wings in sizes six and four. Successful lines are intermediates or slow sinkers. Also, I want to fish from my kayak. Are there some approaches or ways of reading the water that might open up the loch as Shaun did on the Spey in autumn?

    I’m wondering; are the traditional feather-winged flies the best choice? This may get me in trouble but just because fish are caught on the flies the majority of people use doesn’t mean they are the best flies. They’re just the flies the fish see most of, and some of those fish are bound to chomp on something that gets in their face eventually. That written, I did try other flies in other styles and colours for three days and caught…one six inch perch. Also, how come people aren’t catching salmon and sea trout at the far end of the loch? There’s another river that flows into the loch up there. Surely some fish at least are running up it to spawn and therefore spending time in the rest of the loch? Is it that the migratory fish are running deep in that upper part of the loch and so never see the lures or flies.? Or just that that very few anglers target the migratory fish in that area? There are a lot of pike caught on Loch Lomond by spin and bait fisherman, who I’d expect to get deeper than the fly fisherman. But if anyone is regularly hooking sea-trout and salmon that way then that person is keeping it very secret. When I say the loch is deep in its upper regions I mean there’s a deeper basin up there that’s 40-50 metres. The very far north of the loch is the really deep part with depths up to 190 meters.

    Thanks again for the podcasts.
    Best wishes

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