Anglers are never happy. When they go out fishing it is always “too” something – “too bright”, “too cold”, “too windy” and so on.
Last Thursday, as fly fishers assembled at the Bixter graveyard for the fourth bank league competition of the season, was no exception. A beautiful evening saw the 13 at the check-in complain about conditions being “too calm”.
Experienced fly man Alastair Jamieson was actually heard to pronounce that “a coin might as well be tossed on a night like this to determine the winner” – hardly the type of sentiment to instil confidence before an evening’s angling.
Fly fishermen are a generally optimistic as well as intellectual bunch, however, and it wasn’t long before some of the Whalsay men in the form of Harry Sandison, Magnus Reid, Jeemie Sandison and Barry Robertson had sparked a debate regarding hearsay, speculation and misquotation and how this related to recent angling reports in the local paper.
Luckily primary school teacher Mark Sandison was on hand to give them all a lesson on fact and fiction and the difference between the two.
At the 10.30pm weigh-in it was clear that several important facts had emerged over the course of the evening.
First of all, as Alastair had predicted, the fishing had been extremely difficult. However, this had not stopped reigning champion Peter Laurenson putting together a superb basket of five trout for 4lb 8oz out of Semblister. It included the heaviest fish of the evening at 1lb 2oz and Peter’s top fly was a White Muddler.
Second was the on-form Leslie Barclay who also had five trout for 2lb 1oz out of the Hulmalees. His killing fly was a well chewed “Mini Muddler Minnow”.
Billy Reid took third spot with four fish for 1lb 9oz. He had started in Lunga Water before joining Leslie in the Hulmalees.
Other anglers weighing in were Bobby Irvine, Mark Sandison, Harry Sandison, Alan Smith, Alastair Jamieson, Kevin Robertson, Magnus Reid and Barry Robertson.
There was one piece of fiction in evidence at the weigh in when Dave Wright tried to claim that Turdale Water was listed on the competition sheet. However, it was a fact that Wright was subsequently disqualified for fishing in the aforementioned Turdale Water.
This year’s fly bank league is shaping up to be one of the closest in a good few years. Despite the fact that Frank Watt, who was absent from this competition, is running away with the league itself, the rest of the top six places for qualification for the county team are still wide open.
The next fly bank league competition takes place on Thursday 4th June with a 6.15pm check-in at Mavis Grind.