The annual trout festival opened last Wednesday with four days of competitions for the heaviest fish and heaviest basket.
Despite the very cold conditions, there was a reasonable turnout of 18 anglers on the opening night and 45 trout were caught.
Benston Loch seemed to be the place for all the action with Rae Phillips taking a trout of 4lb 12oz, followed by a trout of 3lb 1oz caught by Joshua Brush. Rae’s fish was caught on a “Bruiser” fly and it won him both competitions.
Due to improving weather, entries increased for the Thursday competition and 77 trout were caught. Not surprisingly Benston Loch received a fair bit of attention.
After losing a couple of good fish the previous evening, Gordon Waddell was pleased to land his first fish from Benston weighing in at 3lb 1oz. He was even more pleased when he learned that his fish had won the heaviest fish competition.
No trout festival would be complete without a decent basket or two from Spiggie Loch and Frank Watt, fishing from a float tube, kept up the tradition with a winning basket of 7lb 9oz. This was just 13 ounces heavier than Jeemie Sandison’s basket of better quality fish from Clingswater.
A young visiting angler from Wales, Stuart Adams, was congratulated on weighing in a nice basket caught from the boat in Asta.
On Friday evening anglers had a “feeling in their water” that the weather was at last improving and this encouraged Billy Reid to gamble on a venture to Ronas Hill from where he took the winning basket weighing 8lb 5oz, mostly caught on Sedgehogs.
Benston continued to be the venue for winning big fish with Terry Laurenson “jigging” a 3lb 5oz trout, literally in front of his nose.
Saturday was fine and sunny and this encouraged an entry of 27 anglers for the all-day competition. However, most anglers found fish difficult to catch in the bright conditions and this resulted in a few early retirals who decided to watch the cup final.
Due to a “diary mix up” this was in fact the second week in a row that dedicated Dundee United fan Frank Watt had stopped fishing to watch the game. As it turned out he had a double celebration because his team won the cup and he won the heaviest basket competition with 10lb 8oz from Spiggie.
Predictably, Benston again delivered the heavy fish prize with “football hater” John Laurenson concentrating on fishing and taking two nice fish for 5lb 11oz, the heaviest being 3lb 9oz caught on a small Clan Chief.
At the prizegiving Frank Watt received the travel voucher prize presented by NorthLink Ferries for the heaviest aggregate basket, with a total weight of 28lb 10oz. Frank’s night did not end there because he also received the Breivik Fishy Story Trophy for writing the float-tube chapter of his soon-to-be-released book entitled The Do’s and Don’ts of Wild Toileting for Anglers.