Benston proves prolific in annual trout festival
The annual trout festival organised by Shetland Anglers Association took place over four days last week and it was well supported with a total of 92 entries.
Catches were good despite the difficult conditions, which were mainly bright sun and cold easterly winds.
During the festival, competitors could fish in any loch they wished and boat, bank or float tube fishing is allowed.
The winner of the heaviest basket on the first night was Bobby Irvine with 5lb 3oz from Lochend, with Alec Miller second with 3lb 10oz from Bressay.
Dave Wright had a good night in Griesta, taking the heaviest fish of the night at 2lb 2oz, while the second heaviest of 1lb 6oz was caught by Gilbert Williamson.
Thursday night saw the biggest entry of the week, but at the weigh-in only about a third of the 30 competitors registered a catch. Stephen Leask demonstrated good skill by winning with the best basket of the week, three fish weighing 6lb 7oz from the notoriously difficult Benston. His basket also contained the heaviest fish of the week, a typical Benston specimen of 3lb 8oz. Over many years this loch has a tremendous record of providing the top fish in the festival. There were other good baskets on the night from Ian Birch and Gilbert Williamson The competition moved on to Friday evening and this turned out to be a better night with over 40 fish weighed in. Just to demonstrate how fickle a sport angling is, the four who fished Benston on this night all registered blank returns – they shall remain nameless in order to protect the innocent.
The heaviest basket of 4lb 8oz was caught by David J Anderson, who had apparently drawn the “Lochend straw” at the Laxo check in. The second best basket went to Billy Reid with 3lb 10oz, mainly from Girlsta Loch.
Saturday was an all-day competition and this gave Billy Reid time to take an early trip to Ronas Hill where he caught the heaviest basket of 5lb 3oz, narrowly beating Bobby Irvine who had 4lb 15oz from Housetter Loch.
Alistair Jamieson collected a heaviest fish prize for his 2lb trout from Burraland, while Kevin Learmonth was second with a 1lb 9oz specimen, part of a good basket from Clingswater.
At the prize-giving, Bobby Irvine received the prize for the best aggregate for the festival with a total weight of 16lb 9oz and second was Billy Reid with 11lb 9oz.
Stephen Breivik won the “fishy story” trophy for launching his new angling coaching business called Stephen’s Casting (Mostly Underwater) School or SCUMS for short.
The Excursion Trophy to Yell (fly or spin) takes place on Saturday, 30th May and there will be a bank competition on 4th June, check in at Mavis Grind. Anglers are reminded that divers are currently to be found nesting on eggs at the side of many lochs and disturbance of the adults should be avoided because their eggs or chicks could be predated or chilled during cold, wet weather.