Over many years the River Teifi has gained a reputation as a first class salmon river. Nowadays, the spring runs are less prolific and the majority of salmon are caught in late summer and autumn. Nevertheless, in a good year between 100 and 250 spring salmon are still caught on the Teifi out of a total catch of typically 600 to 1200. Low flows can make a very big difference, however, and in a dry year a total salmon catch of 200 to 300 is typical.
If you are tackling up from scratch it might be helpful to know what equipment local anglers generally use. Here's a typical high-water outfit (for spring and autumn fishing):
Rod: double hander of around 13ft in length. A rod longer than 15ft is more of a nuisance than a help on most beats as the river is too narrow to justify a very long rod.
Fly lines: floater or intermediate, and a medium/fast sink. In high-water conditions a floater with a super-fast sinking braided leader will generally do well in all but the deepest of pools, and such a set-up is easier to cast than a conventional sink-tip line. Double taper lines are preferred by most salmon fishers, particularly when Spey or roll casting. Have at least 50yds of 25lb breaking strain backing, and preferably rather more... just in case.
Leader: tapered to 15lb breaking strain.
Net: a guy net is a good investment if you intend doing a lot of salmon fishing. (Never use a gaf; they are now illegal.)
For summer fishing, when grilse are the main quarry, a reasonably powerful reservoir trout outfit should be able to cope with most eventualities. A rod 91/2ft long and rated for a #8 line is just about ideal, and will give you a very good chance of coping with the occasional large summer salmon, provided the river is not heavily in spate.
Most popular patterns have been shown to work on the Teifi. Those with a particular reputation include Garry Dog, Aly's Shrimp, Munro Killer, Hairy Mary and Blue Charm. In very coloured water, a Thunder & Lightning sometimes works when other patterns fail. But if you haven't been out salmon fishing for a while it's often worth asking local members at The Porth Hotel which patterns have been the most effective lately. Alan Williams, Hairdresser, at 57 Bridge Street, Lampeter has a supply of fishing flies for the Teifi as well as other items of tackle for sale, and that shop is another source of information about local hatches and catches.
Left: Formel committee member Irfon Evans with a lovely Teifi salmon. Most of the Llandysul Angling Association waters provide good or at least reasonable for salmon fishing. In spring the lower beats below Llandysul are generally the best (although spring salmon are sometimes caught in April right at the top of our river). As the season draws on the salmon fishing is often rather better further up the river, around Llanybydder and Lampeter, especially if the river rises due to summer storms.
In very heavy water it is extremely difficult to get a fly down deep enough to reach the salmon. At the time of writing (1998) worming for salmon is permitted until 7th October, and spinning throughout the season. Spinners can be weighted to work at virtually any depth you like, depending on how far upstream you cast and how quickly you retrieve.
There is a wide range of plugs and spinners available. Mepps, Toby lures and Rapalas have long been popular and still catch some very fine salmon today. In recent years the Flying 'C' has become increasingly popular in very heavy water, while the traditional Devon Minnow is often preferred when the water is coloured but the river not particularly high. Yellow minnows seem to do particularly well in such conditions.
If you are going salmon fishing alone (not really recommended), especially when the river is in spate, then inform someone of where you intend to fish and what time you expect to be back. Wear one of the fishing buoyancy aids that are now available; it could save your life! For more details, see our Safety Guide.