By MARK BURGESS
The annual Viking Angling Festival went ahead this year in punishing weather for two days of the three-day event, but the hardy local and visiting anglers were undeterred and all participants completed three days of fishing without exception.
Catches were surprisingly good given the conditions on the first two days, with the third day offering only a small reprieve as the aftermath of the previous two left a sea state that could only be described as unpleasant to say the least.
This year’s event drew half a dozen anglers from outwith Shetland to the total of 57 anglers in 19 boats who took part in competing for the vast array of prizes provided by the many sponsors. The complex points system used ensures a level playing field for competitors in all boats but on mention of prizes one name is features throughout the core of the weekends overall results and that is the name Kenny Laurenson.
Kenny’s haul for the weekend included supreme champion, best Shetland angler, best two-man team, best four-man team and heaviest fish overall, with a 14.5lb ling that not only won the prize at the festival but was the largest ling taken off Scalloway this season.
Thursday’s competition took place in fresh to gale force south-easterly winds that demanded a lot of determination and perseverance from anglers and skippers in both large and small vessels. Raymond Laurenson had the heaviest basket among the men, with Chris Cummins having the heaviest basket in the woman and Brian McCaffrey in the juniors.
Friday saw a change in the wind to south-westerly, with the same westerly swell running of the previous day and perhaps even more awkward conditions, the only saving grace being the tide running with the wind and not against it through the day. This was little comfort to the anglers being tossed around at sea, however, with conditions described by one angler as leaving him “battered, bruised and weary”.
Catches were even higher than the previous day though, and Winston Watt had the heaviest catch for men, Chris Cummins for the women and Andy Manson for the juniors, with eventual winner Kenny Laurenson second in the men’s heat on this day.
Day three, the ling and tusk day, saw a marked reduction in wind speeds and the sunny intervals looked idyllic onshore, while at sea the surface conditions were still “lively” to say the least.
The shorter day’s event saw Kenny Laurenson land his prize-winning ling and also win the men’s event with Joe Connolly winning best visiting angler, Chris Cummins winning for the women and Bryan McCaffrey the best junior.
The overall winner Kenny Laurenson said his collection of prizes had “soothed” the aches and pains of a three punishing days fishing. “Everybody did exception–ally well and stuck it out with no complaints and there was lots of enthusiasm right to the end.”
The weekend event was rounded off with a buffet and dance which had the dance floor filled from start to finish.
Results Best Shetland-born angler: Kenny Laurenson.
Best Shetland angler: Kenny Laurenson.
Best Scottish angler: Kenny Laurenson.
Best visiting angler: Eion Rendal.
Best two-man team: Kenny Laurenson and Howard Foster.
Best boat: Jimmy Reid (Utopia).
Best fishing skipper: Jimmy Reid.
Best fishing steward: Angus Grains (Ali-Cat).
Specimen fish: Charlie Umphray.
Best pensioner: Winston Watt.
Best woman angler: Chris Cummins.
Second heaviest women’s basket: Shereen Rennie.
Best junior angler: Bryan McCaffrey.
Second heaviest basket: Andy Manson.
Best four-man team: Howard Foster, Kenny Laurenson, John Tait and John Scott.
Heaviest fish: Kenny Laurenson.
The full and extensive list of prizewinners for each day can be requested from Howard Foster of the Scalloway Boating Club angling section.