Twelve anglers desperate for points checked in at the Nesting junction last Thursday evening for round three of the Shetland Anglers Association’s fly bank league.
With near hurricane force south-westerly winds ripping up the island there had been calls from certain quarters that the competition be cancelled. Most notable among the grumblers was Barry Robertson who had voted with his feet and not made the crossing from the Bonnie Isle.
He was by no means alone, however, and with Dave Wright and Derek Tithridge also adding their voices to the dissenters, there is talk of a separate fly league being set up for the more senior members of the association where competitions taking place would be dependant on a favourable weather forecast.
The Central Mainland competition is a notoriously difficult event with the lochs on offer definitely falling in to the “temperamental” category. In the past this competition has been won with as little as two fish. So understandably perhaps confidence wasn’t very high among the competitors at the check in, especially with everyone struggling to remain upright in the wild and windy conditions.
The 6.15am start saw anglers head off in all directions from the Nesting junction ensuring that there would be a good coverage of lochs over the evening. And with Benston specialist John Laurenson making his first competition outing of the season it meant that there would be at least one angler on this notoriously dour water.
At the 10.30 check in it was indeed the case that most of the lochs available in the competition had seen some action. In first place once again was the on fire Frank Watt. His superb basket of six fish out of Girlsta for 4lb 14oz had completely debunked the myth perpetuated by several elder statesmen of the association that Girlsta doesn’t fish well until late July and August.
Frank’s killer fly was an “Andy Pandy” fished on the difficult weather shore. He had shown his great ability and versatility to romp home in first place for the third successive time this season.
In second place was the ever consistent Bobby Irvine who had nine trout from Freester for 3lb 8oz. This was despite having to contend with Mark Sandison – who had been on a magical mystery tour of the east side of Shetland – crashing and splashing through his swim for the last hour of the competition. Bobby’s successful flies were a variety of muddler patterns.
A deserved third place went to Leslie Barclay with five fish from his favourite Sand Water for 2lb 6½oz. His top fly was a “Green Tailed Zulu”.
“Points at last!” he was heard to declare.
Fourth was Magnus Reid with two fish out of Burga Water for 2lb exactly. This included the heaviest fish on the night at 1lb 3oz which had fallen to that legendary and controversial Whalsay pattern the “Hammell’s Spider”. However, as we go to press questions regarding the legality of this fly are being raised.
Other anglers weighing in were Billy Reid, Alastair Jamieson, Mark Sandison and Kevin Robertson.
It is interesting to note that, despite the dour reputation of some of the lochs being fished and the atrocious conditions on the night, the eight anglers weighing in produced a total of 32 fish. Which just goes to show that not going fishing because the “conditions are too bad” is certainly a self fulfilling prophecy.
With three of the nine fly bank league competitions having now been fished the league table shows Frank Watt miles ahead with every else playing catch up.
Current positions: Frank Watt 75; Mark Sandison 52; Kevin Robertson 46; Billy Reid 45; Bobby Irvine 42; Peter Laurenson 27; Magnus Reid 27; Alastair Jamieson 26; Jeemie Sandison 25; Harry Sandison 18; Leslie Barclay 18; Dave Wright 13; Barry Robertson 13; Alan Smith 12.
The next fly bank league competition is on Thursday, 21st May with a 6.15am check in at the Bixter graveyard.