The tackle required depends on where you are fishing. For salmon fishing on the middle and lower Tamar, 12ft to 14ft double-handed rods are the most popular. Further upstream, or when fishing the tributaries, single-handed rods of 9ft to 10ft, rated 7-wt to 8-wt are the usual choice. Short-headed Spey lines or shooting heads help to cover the river, especially as space is often restricted due to high banks or vegetation behind. These lines also allow the angler to strip the fly more effectively - a favourite technique, especially on the Tamar's slower pools. Sink-tip and intermediate lines are most commonly used, with medium or even fast-sinkers in powerful water or in spate conditions. With the Tamar at normal height, a floating line with a sinking polyleader should suffice.
Where allowed, many anglers opt to spin in high water conditions. A 9ft to 10ft spinning rod will be required with a large-capacity fixed spool reel loaded with 12lb to 15lb line. Popular baits include Rapalas and Mepps, with Flying Cs not encouraged by some fisheries due to their tendency to hook fish deeply.
For night sea trout fishing, a 9ft to 10ft rod rated 6-wt to 7-wt will suffice, erring on the shorter side when fishing tributaries such as the Lyd or Inny. As most fishing is done in shallow pool tails, floating lines are by far the most popular. It is, however, worthwhile carrying a sink-tip or intermediate to be used in deeper pools at times.
Flies to bring
Fly choice will depend on the time of year and river conditions. Due to the Tamar's tendency to carry colour in the water, flies used are usually on the large size, particularly during high water conditions, or early in the season. Historically, one of the most popular fly patterns has been the Yellow Torrish, and any fly carrying yellow and black is often a sound choice. The ever-expanding range of modern shrimp patterns - such as the Cascade, Ally's Shrimp and Flamethrower - are increasingly popular with Tamar fishers, as are Tempeldog-style tube flies.
For sea trout fishing, the local anglers will tell you to try "anything as long as it's big, black and hairy". The most popular pattern on the middle Tamar and the River Lyd is Pilk's Black Bumble - a large, black, palmered fly with a front hackle of teal, tied on a size 4 or 6 single hook. Simple black and silver tubes are also popular, as are surface lures tied with clipped deer hair or foam. In late summer and during very low water, the sea trout can become finicky. At these times, smaller flies - size 8 to 12 - can make all the difference.
It is advisable to contact your beat for up-to-date information on what flies to bring on your trip.
Visiting and local anglers are able to purchase tackle from local tackle shops and mail order outlets. Those marked with an asterisk (*) in the following list of suggestions also hire out equipment.
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Some form of eye protection is strongly recommended, whether in the shape of polarised sunglasses or clear safety glasses to protect your eyes while fly fishing.
As far as wading goes, it is advisable to check with the fishery as to recommendations. There are many sections of the Tamar that can be fished entirely from the bank.
Should you be wading, a strong, sturdy stick comes highly recommended to provide additional support while in the river.
A fully-automatic lifejacket is also advisable when wading deep in the river or when fishing from boats. Some beats provide lifejackets to guests wishing to use them