River Tay, Wading Advice-near miss 2021.


I have just watched a video of salmon fishing on the River Tay, where an angler loses his balance and ends up swimming in the river. He is wearing a life jacket, but does not have a wading stick and is lucky that another angler is on hand to help him regain his balance and get out of the water.

For anyone beginning salmon fishing, most people concentrate on casting and line management, but wading safely, is a very important skill, that should not be taken lightly. It can make a big difference to successful catching of salmon and, can also make a life or death difference to the angler, if you do it right or wrong.

To my mind, wading safely in the river requires wearing a life jacket and also using a substantial wading stick. I realise that certain anglers have lead in their boots, and like a toy at the bottom of a budgies cage, will bob up again and again even after falling in and are super star waders. Most others are normal people with no superstar traits which keep them safe from drowning.

There are a few good articles and instructions in PDAA website, ’Useful Hints’ ,’Angler Safety’, and these should be looked at by all PDAA members.

When beginning to salmon fish and learning to wade, it is important to remember that although the surface of the river is flat, the bottom of the river is not flat, but can have rise and falls, big rocks, and holes in the floor.

If wading a stretch of the river, for the first time alone, always check safely first, without wading into the middle of the river, without knowledge of how the bed of the river is.

Remember the river has a strong current, and it is easier to wade down, with the current, than upriver against the current. If you are wading downstream and come across a big boulder in your way, be very careful which side of the boulder you choose to pass, as normally one side of the boulder will be much deeper water than the other, as years of current will have undercut the bed of the river. If you go round the wrong side, you may be stuck in deep water with the strong current preventing you reversing your passage.

If you are new to the fishing beat, and alone, try a dummy wade, down the stretch without fishing, just to get the feel, of the river bed.

Some stretches of the Tay are treacherous to wade and can take years to memorize the wading paths. Remember that some stretches of the river have raised paths parallel to the river side, off shore,but could be deep, between the wading path and the bank, and will not allow you just to head for the bank, and you may have to follow the path downstream a long way to get out again.

Every year, anglers drown in the rivers around Scotland and England, basically through ignorance and at times arrogance that they know all, and no one can tell them, what to do. Please do not allow yourself, to become another statistic.

Ted, President PDAA.