In northern Europe and the British Isles the best time to try surface fishing with an olive bomber dry fly for salmon and sea-trout is during the summer months.
BOMBER DEERHAIR SALMON DRY FLIES Hook size 10 - $US each
At the beginning of the season and at the end, when the temperatures start to fall then it is time to use subsurface. This contrasts with North America where falling temperatures mean you will find big steelheads and salmon lurking in pools resting, whilst looking upwards for food or other fish invading their space, their territory. Drag free dead drifting a cigar shaped spun deerhair hackled bomber dry fly is the traditional method to catch steelhead and salmon in that part of the world. Steelhead parr spend most of the season looking up towards the surface for disturbances and drifting food items. They will take small drowned or swimming mammals and amphibians. Although the bomber fly pattern is termed an attractor, in that it does not try to be an exact imitation of any particular food source, it does have a passing resemblance to a vole, mouse, frog, baby rat and injured bait fish floating on the surface.
Some salmon fly fishermen like to practice disturbance wake fishing, especially on the west coast of America and Canada as well as in Russia. This style of commotion fishing by skating a bomber dry fly on the water surface causing a trailing wake is designed to attract the attention of fish and arouse their hunting instincts. What makes this form of fishing fun is that steelheads and salmon can attack flies presented this way aggressively, which makes for thrilling sport.
Fishing for salmon in low water high summer temperature conditions can be problematic. As an experiment I went to Northern Norway near Tromso, using the new cheap Scandinavian airline Norwegian.com. I met my local fishing buddy Torbjorn who took me to his favourite fjord. I showed him my selection of bomber flies and challenged him to a flyfishing duel. He would use all his local skill and knowledge to catch more fish than me using traditional salmon wet flies. I would only use bombers. I used a mixture of dead drift and wake fly fishing. It had been a long hot summer and water levels in the tributary rivers where low. I managed to out fish him by 7 fish.
On a summer fishing trip near to my London home, I spotted some large sea-trout resting in a pool. This part of the River Test in Hampshire is regularly fished. These fish are used to seeing a variety of artificial nymph and wet fly pattern which they normally ignore. How was I going to grab their attention, I thought to myself. Remembering the success I had in Norway using a bomber dry fly fishing for salmon I deceived to give these big flies an outing in the south of England and see what the sea-trout thought of my offering. The fish were hold up near the river bank. I cast down steam to them. The splash of the fly landing instantly grabbed their attention. The water was very clear and I could see the sea-trout’s movement towards my fly.
I let the bomber fly dead drift towards them and then as the distance between the fish and my fly decreased I started my retrieve and skated the fly slowly on the surface in an attempt to imitate a frog swimming or a small vole doggy paddling. I would add a small pause before continuing with the retrieve. This movement did the trick. I had three good sized sea-trout heading towards my bomber. It was a race to see which one would grab the prize. The speed in which the winner hit my fly was breath taking. It took my fly to the bottom before it discovered its mistake. Then the fight was on. It dashed to the centre of the river three times trying to dislodge the hook before it finally gave up. A fighter like that deserves to fight again so it was quickly released.