Fourteen fly fishers congregated on a beautiful evening at the Bixter graveyard last Thursday for round four of the Shetland Anglers Association Bank League.
As has been pointed out in this column many times before, however, anglers are seldom happy. After moaning about freezing temperatures and Arctic winds two weeks ago, they were now complaining about blazing sunshine, soaring temperatures and flat calms. Hardly ideal fly fishing conditions!
As a result there wasn’t much optimism in the camp. Even the normally exuberant Leslie Barclay was a bit quiet despite unveiling a brand new killer fly – more details to follow.
Club secretary and treasurer Alec Miller had decided to grace the assembled throng with his presence and laugh at all those association members foolhardy enough to go angling on such a glorious evening.
In an inspirational speech Alec announced that he was away home to dig his garden and anyone present was welcome to join him. Strangely enough he had no takers, although Dave Wright, Barry Robertson and Derek Tithridge were definitely wavering until Jeemie Sandison pointed out that there were no worms in Alec’s garden.
Despite the poor prospects there was the usual revving of engines and manoeuvring of vehicles as trigger happy anglers tried to steal a march on rivals as the 6.15pm starting gun approached. The main offenders were Alan Smith, Frank Watt, Harry Sandison, Alastair Jamieson, Dave Wright, Leslie Barclay and Peter and Darren Laurenson.
As a result of these shenanigans competition secretary Billy Reid has decreed that in all future competitions he will be the one making the decision as to when the competition has begun and furthermore all vehicles must form an orderly procession behind his own at the off. In a press release Billy stated: “Any competitor not adhering to this directive will face instant disqualification. One strike and you’re out.”
Competitors had a wide range of lochs to choose from on the West Side ranging from the mighty Stump and Lunga Water to the often overlooked Murraster and Burga Water. All lochs on the competition sheet would receive some attention over the course of the evening.
It was Lunga Water that saw most attention, however, and with the cloud cover increasing the loch soon “came on” to produce some decent baskets. In fact three out of the first four places on what turned out to be a pleasant evening for angling came from Lunga Water.
First place went to the ever-consistent Peter Laurenson with seven fish for 4lb 1½oz. Peter’s top fly was an “Orange Sedgehog”.
Third place went to Billy Reid with eight fish for 3lb 12oz, most of which fell to an “Olive Sedgehog” and in fourth place was Jeemie Sandison with seven trout for 3lb exactly. At the time of going to press details of Jeemie’s top fly were still a bit sketchy.
Mark Sandison sneaked in to second place with seven trout from Flatpunds for 3lb 15½oz. Mark had success with a “Coch Zulu” in the early evening sunlight.
Other anglers weighing in were Harry Sandison, who had fished Mousavord, Barry Robertson and Dave Wright who had both fished Semblister, Darren Laurenson, Alan Smith, Bobby Irvine, Leslie Barclay, Alastair Jamieson, Derek Tithridge and Frank Watt.
With four out of the nine fly bank league competitions fished the league is hotting up nicely. Most of the regulars will be fancying their chances of that all important top six finish as we move in to the second half of the competition season.
Bank league positions: Frank Watt 77; Mark Sandison 74; Peter Laurenson 68; Bobby Irvine 57; Barry Robertson 51; Billy Reid 48; Dave Wright 46; Darren Laurenson 43; Alastair Jamieson 38; Jeemie Sandison 38; Leslie Barclay 34; Magnus Reid 29; Alan Smith 27; Kevin Robertson 25; Derek Tithridge 24; Harry Sandison 15; Craig Smith 12; Jack Stranding 5.
The next fly bank league competition takes place on Thursday with an 6.15pm check in at Mavis Grind.