A GOOD turnout of 14 anglers checked in at the Tingwall Boat shed last Saturday morning for the annual Shetland Angling Association pairs competition.
As the draw was made for fishing partners, defending champions Bobby Irvine and Mark Sandison knew that they were going to have their work cut out defending the trophy, as some fairly handy-looking partnerships emerged from the hat.
First out were the ever-confident Alec Miller and Dave Wright. This pair can certainly talk a good game and if they had a working watch between them then anything might be possible! Second out was the top Burra pairing of Peter Laurenson and Leslie Barclay, closely followed by another couple of big guns Alastair Jamieson and Johnnie Laurenson.
The fourth pairing threw together the dangerous Frank Watt and ever-consistent Harry Sandison, a team that has won this competition in the past. The final two draws saw Bonnie Isle stalwarts Jeemie Sandison and Barry Robertson paired up, leaving Billy Reid together with Derek Tithridge.
The day got off to a poor start for Harry Sandison as he discovered his brother Jeemie trying to sell his second favourite fishing waistcoat. In all honesty Harry struggled for the rest of the day to recover from this bit of cut-throat business dealing on the part of his brother.
Another angler having a poor start to the competition was Peter Laurenson who managed to fill his diesel car with lead free petrol at the Whiteness shop. In Peter’s defence he was in a hurry to get fishing and was being distracted by Leslie at the time, but it did result in a few complications during the rest of the day for the Burra team.
Also making a poor start was the dream team of Alastair Jamieson and Johnnie Laurenson who made the unorthodox decision to fish Strand where they were plagued with tiny fish before eventually moving to Sand Water.
Could all these shenanigans be playing right in to the hands of Irvine and Sandison? It certainly looked like it. The defending champs had decided to fish Vaara where they had 14 fish between them at half time.
They were just about to move to Clousta when they met Jeemie and Barry who advised them they “needn’t bother” as Clousta “wasn’t working”. Perfect timing. When things are going for you, they go for you big time.
The pair continued fishing in Vaara where Mark finished with six trout for 3lb 9oz. More importantly however the fish catching machine that is Bobby Irvine had 13 for 7lb exactly to give the pair a combined basket of 19 fish for 10lb 9oz. This was more than enough to give the pair first place and retain their trophy. In fact Bobby was only one fish short of winning it single handed.
In second place were dark horses Billy Reid and Derek Tithridge with 14 fish for 7lb 6oz. The ever-creative Reid had started their campaign behind Ronas Hill before ending up in Eela Water.
Peter and Leslie overcame their fuel problems to take third spot. Initially fishing in the Clings Water area they had nine fish for 5lb 8oz, a very good average – with Leslie also displaying his prowess as a car mechanic.
In fourth place was Alastair and Johnnie with Alastair putting five fish in his basket for 3lb 14oz, including the heaviest fish of the day at 1lb 8½oz.
Despite having taken time out to help and encourage Bobby and Mark, Jeemie and Barry managed six fish for 3lb 13oz, and Frank and Harry had three fish for 1lb 13½oz.
Missing at the weigh in were Alec and Dave. No one was sure whether they had retired early or lost track of time.
In a post match interview Mark Sandison expressed his delight at having equalled the “three in a row” record set a few years back by the legendary Jeemie Sandison/Ian Sales team and said it was all down to having an excellent partner who was in top form.
The final Fly Bank League competition of the season takes place on Saturday 30th August with 10am check-in at the Bixter graveyard. This is sure to be hard fought with team places for next year’s inter-club still up for grabs and Bobby Irvine still in with a shout of tying for top spot in the league with Peter Laurenson.