Frank’s basket is streets ahead

After last week’s problems with time keeping, all competitors arrived well before the 11am check-in time at the Spiggie boat shed on Saturday for round two of Shetland Anglers Association’s Fly Bank League.

The competition is one of the most popular in the calendar and this year was no exception. After a dry spell of weather, the water clarity had improved and there were various reports that several good bags of fish had come from the loch.

Understandably there was a certain amount of excitement among the assembled fly fishers and they were keen to be off and get their flies on the water. A balmy southern breeze only served to heighten the tension and anticipation as cars were carefully manoeuvred in order to get pole position at the starting gun.

A couple of trigger happy anglers in the form of Dave Wright and Kevin Robertson tried to edge in front but they were quickly reined in by competition secretary Billy Reid before he gave the official signal to start.

The majority of vehicles, led by the irrepressible Leslie Barclay, headed in convoy formation to the south of the loch in order to get the wind behind them and be first to cover the best areas of this large water.

Leslie’s enthusiasm was nearly his downfall when he leapt from his car and managed to impale his thumb on one of his own flies, a “Pink Tailed Muddler” recently acquired from Billy Reid.

Leslie is a man of many parts, however, and in record time he quickly carried out a small surgical operation on his own thumb to remove the offending fly and he was back in business. Exactly the type of fellow one would want to have around if marooned on a desert island.

Another angler getting carried away with all the excitement of the race to be first at the water’s edge was Derek Tithridge. Having quickly exited his car and successfully negotiated the barbed wire fence, he was bouldering down across the park and nearly at the loch when he realised he was missing an important piece of equipment. His fly rod was still securely fastened to the rod holders on his car.

It is one thing of course to hear of good bags coming off a loch and quite another to actually put a basket of fish together. The trout don’t leap into the basket themselves and a certain amount of work is required for their capture.

One angler who is certainly adept at filling his bag with fish is Frank Watt. At the weigh-in his basket of 18 trout for 8lb 11oz was streets ahead of his nearest competitor and was almost enough to win the competition twice over. Frank’s best fly on the day was his favourite “Olive Nymph”. Frank had used all of his experience to get his last five trout from a section of the loch that yours truly had waded through not 10 minutes before.

In second place with another excellent basket was Bobby Irvine with nine fish for 4lb 14oz. Bobby had done most damage with a “Doobry Muddler” – a classic fly for bright conditions.

Third spot was shared by Kevin Robertson with eight fish and Mark Sandison with 10 for 4lb 10½oz. It is interesting to note that Bobby and Kevin’s better quality fish had come from a completely different part of the loch than Sandison’s smaller sized collection.

Other anglers weighing in were Billy Reid, Jeemie Sandison, Barry Robertson, Alan Smith, Magnus Reid, Harry Sandison and Peter Laurenson. Jeemie Sandison weighed in the heaviest fish at 1lb 4½oz which had succumbed to the old classic “Silver Invicta”.

Leslie’s day had gone from bad to worse when, after struggling to put a trout in his bag, he lost two with 20 minutes of the competition remaining and ended up being disqualified for being late for the weigh-in. However, with his exuberance and sense of humour still intact, he did manage to have everyone in stitches with his re-enactment of the day’s events. Many a sportsman could learn a thing or two from Leslie’s positive attitude.

It will be interesting now to see whether Spiggie Loch can retain its water clarity and therefore, hopefully, quality of fishing. Or will we see, as in so many recent seasons, the water turn a turbid brown colour with the consequential detrimental effect on the angling. Spiggie is one of the biggest and brightest jewels in Shetland’s angling crown and it is such a pity to see this famous water go downhill.

The next fly bank league competition is the difficult Central Mainland/Nesting event on Thursday 7th May with a 6.15pm check in at the Nesting junction.

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Anglers and boats on Tingwall Loch

A group of anglers and boats took the water on Tingwall Loch on Sunday for round three of the Shetland Anglers Association boat league.

Conditions on the day were near perfect with a warmish south wind and low lying cloud cover ideal for some good baskets. Excellent fishing was in prospect for those who took part The 12pm start saw five boats set off all eager for an early fish and the winner on the day, the on fire fish catching machine Frank Watt, didn’t have to wait long, taking a fish with his second cast.

Frank went on to have a day to remember, catching a further 11 fish for a bag weight of 8lb 4oz. Remarkably this included a four at a time a three at a time and a double. Frank’s success came at a price though as even the most experienced of anglers can make basic schoolboy errors.

While playing a fish very close to shore to avoid grounding the boat Frank made the decision to start the outboard and move a bit further out only to realise a part of his brand new DI7 line was still in the water. Frank was seen pulling bits of line out of the propeller for some time after.

Second place on the day went to the in form Billy Morrison who again spent all day in the North Loch for four fish for 3lb 8oz. This included joint heaviest fish of the day at 1lb 4oz. Third spot fell to Josh Brush with three fish for 2lb 9oz.

Other successful anglers were Peter Laurenson with two nice fish and Alan Smith. Special mention must be made of Stephen Breivik who finally caught a fish.

Anglers are reminded that the next competition will be postponed due to a clash with the bank league and will now be fished on the 23rd of August.

With three competitions fished the league table is as follows: Pts Frank Watt 46 Billy Morrison 41 Peter Laurenson 38 Steven Leask 29 Josh Brush 28 Alan Smith 24 Johnie Laurenson 14 Stephen Breivik 11 Billy Robertson 11 Jack Standring 9


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