Here's LAAC Competition Secretary Lewis Ross's report from a day when the big fish went into hiding and a competitor went fishing with his chest waders! Enjoy ........ Stevie Dowds, LAAC Chairman (Posted missing on the day and last seen with bags of frozen peas strapped to his damaged shoulder! )
The 10th of June had arrived, the few hardy souls had assembled in the carpark awaiting transportation to the misty isle. Numbers depleted by a wet forecast and and still all too fresh in the memory of the battering the weather gave us on the last visit 2 years ago to the Storr Lochs, where Hurricane force winds and torrential rain had all but scuppered the day!!
Bus loaded we departed 07:30 sharp, spirits were high and full of optimism as whispers were the mayfly hatch had started. On Arrival just the back of 10 am and conditions looked favourable. A decent wind fairly heavy SOFT rain was blowing in from the south. Five anglers departed at the head of the wee loch, Loch Fada. Three got off at the mid point between the two lochs, myself included, and all the other anglers proceeded to get dropped off around the big loch, Loch Leathan. The pressure was on as a short fishing day was ahead with the bus starting to pick up on the way back at 4.30 pm
The dreaded wooden spoon awaited the individual who had under achieved the most. Would John Cartlidge manage to retain the title of top rod that he ran away with last year on Loch Shin? The Game was on, I spotted Ali hunted bagging a fish early doors so pressure was on, a few smaller fish came to hand, but the bigger fish just seemed to be splashing at the fly or bumping and nipping at the fly! By midday the rain had stopped but the wind was freshening from the south - south east and was making getting any distance on a cast challenging to say the least! Time was running away, must have been about fish No 15 was a good solid take but alas another fish about 9 inches, frustration was creeping in so another change of fly and a change in tactics was required.
An instant hook up with what felt like a decent fish, it tore off to deeper water taking line, not stood in the best of positions thoughts turned as to how best to land the fish were racing through my mind (counting one`s chickens early perhaps!!) 20 yard further along the bank there was a dip in the peat that went down to the water so after a great scrap I decided to beach it and as the next wave hit I slide it up the bank, successes! A cracking butter bellied fish that at the end of the day would tip the scales at 1lb 2oz , in the next three casts I secured another two fish that just made the 10 inch limit.
Skies darkened and the rain returned, a check of the watch and with a little over 40 mins left it was time to get nearer to the road for pick up, with about 20 mins to spare I had time to have a few casts next to the road, a very narrow shore line with it dropping off very fast, I caught and landed another 3 fish but they just did not make the vital 10 inch limit. I spoke to a couple of the opposition boys and both had a few fish but not big enough to the make the mark. At last it was time to reel in, tidy away the gear and head for the weigh in.
The rain had again eased off and it was almost pleasant. With all parties assembled at the fine boat house the weigh in got under way accompanied by lots of talk about fish lost, splashy takes and a story about a man who decided it was so warm he need a dip in the loch to cool off!! He shall remain nameless not! Derick Ritchie take a bow!! Not really - he had stood just a little too close to the edge and the undermined bank gave way, which just proved the worth of his life jacket and that a life jacket should always be worn. Anyway I digress - so with only three people from LAAC weighing in fish and only four rods from Dingwall select catching anything, it was going to be a very close call, results are as follows,
Loch Achonachie AC 7 fish for 3lbs 14 oz
2nd Dingwall Select 5 fish for 3lbs 1 oz
Top Rod Lewis Ross 3 fish for 1lb 14oz
2nd Frankie Durdle 2 fish for 1lb 10oz
Biggest fish Lewis Ross 1lb 2oz
2nd Frankie Durdle 1lb
Oh yes, that dreaded wooden spoon went to no other than the right honourable Mr John Cartlidge, in light of excellent winning result last year - for failing to reach the same high bench mark and for his claim to have "excelled in his duty to preserve the fish stocks on Skye" was deemed a worthy recipient.
A pit Stop in Broadford, for a comfort break and the all important fish supper we said goodbye to the misty isle until next time.
A massive thank you to all who attended, special thank you to Jimmy Mutch for organising the opposition, SPA Coaches for an impeccable service as always, the Waterfront in Broadford for their excellent fair and Portree Angling Club for such a stunning venue.
We're delighted to have teams arriving tomorrow from North Uist, Orkney, Lairg AC, Beauly AC - always a strong team, Dingwall AC, and Portree AC as well as local business teams and our own indescribably named teams of lads o' pairts from Achonachie AC .
It's a hard day out whatever the conditions - today's rain has been incessant overnight so a bit cold and very wet for an unusually dry and warm May. Them's the breaks! Tight lines to all teams - we've had some fine fish already this month from 'The Meig' including these nice fish pictured from me and Lewis Ross, and watch out for angling's Meig Maurauder Dave MacGregor - who can conjure fish from a stone - there could be great day ahead! Stevie Dowds, Club Chairman
Loch Watten Charity Competition yesterday - first team event of the season - and when the word came early from Watten that the weather was "cold, windy, haar in off the sea ...... other than that no bad" ....... there would have been a few Achonachie members glad they had missed the cut at April's competition qualifier!?
Those Hardy boys George Eccleson and Lewis Ross were representing our club on the easily wind affected but wonderful Loch Watten. Lewis kept us up to date with progress on a challenging day and sent this photo of a bonnie brace each for himself and George - 2 for 2lb 8oz and 2 for 2lb 9oz respectively. A decent bag on a very windy day.
Others tactics teams were using included Di6 lines teamed with big black & green muddlers or Soldier Palmer muddlers, or at the Watten village end of the loch using intermediate lines. The fish were down right enough.
In the end a good performance for Orkney saw them win the competition - heaviest bag 10lb 7oz - largest trout 3lb 6oz fish for and overall 79 fish caught. More details to follow - thanks to Lewis & George for representing the club. Stevie Dowds, LAAC Chairman
“Mystic Meig” our beautiful yet, on occasion, enigmatically dour water can test the most skilful of anglers and yesterday was no exception with almost half of the competitors with empty bags at the weigh in. An excellent turnout though and a very amenable crew including new member Steve Philips flying up from London to take part and Achim Reisinger in from Germany for his annual competition outing. Fishing from 9.30am to 4.30pm in a constantly shifting wind and sky that never gave the trout a chance to settle - very few fish were seen at the surface and only one or two took flies on or near the surface. It was however, a very pleasant day’s fishing, only occasionally chilly as the wind veered away from southerly to the west and north-west as it swirled around Strathconon. It was nevertheless a very pleasant a day out on the boats.
As the teams shifted up and down the loch during the day, trying to find a steady drift and some feeding trout, tales were exchanged and rumours passed on of a very good fish taken from down towards the dam where most of the boats had headed from the off. At the weigh-in a hefty looking bag of 7lbs 12oz in the hands of Alasdair Hunter looked certain to win him top rod, whilst Okain McLennan looked on anxiously with his already weighed in 2lb 15oz “stockie”. However, a good looking fish of just over 3lbs secured the best fish trophy for Ally Hunter too – a harmless looking “hare’s ear” nymph proving successful. .And ever modest Ally was able to claim three in a row when his boat partner Neal Drummond weighed in 3 fish for 3lbs 12oz to take the best boat category and a clean sweep for the pair with a combined total of 11lbs!” A repeat of their successful clean sweep in last year’s competition!
Never far from the pace in club competitions Lewis Ross & Neil McRitchie had bagged 5 trout each for 9lbs 9oz to take second best boat and Lewis second rod spot, whilst Ian MacPhail & Stephen Dowds came third overall with 6lbs 5oz. Brian Scobie’s one bonnie trout tipped the scales at 2lbs 7oz , third best fish of the day. Dave MacGregor claimed to have landed the least good-looking trout in the world ever? No one who saw it disagreed! Ten anglers with no trout to show for eight hours fishing told a story of a quietly difficult day for fishing Loch Meig.
The Chairman presented the awards and prizes back at the Cottage Bar & Restaurant, where Traci Payne’s team produced an excellent curry & sweet for a most receptive and hungry crew. A really enjoyable day out and a great way to end the season. A very big thanks to Lewis Ross for organising and pulling off yet another fine series of competitions for 2017 – great work Lewis!
Tight Lines at Loch Watten - and we're hoping for decent weather tomorrow for Beauly Angling Club's summer invitation competition. It may not be as calm and blue skies as this photo but for sure those lovely Watten brownies will be there to challenge the skills and persistence of the teams heading North early tomorrow morning. If it's been a bit windy there this week then the water conditions might be very tricky to combat. Anyway, we have four or five boat pairs to fight Achonachie's corner and with more substitutes and call ups tomorrow than a Lion's Rugby squad it will be tight! C'mon Achonachie anglers ! Stevie Dowds, Club Chairman
Another weekend - another competition? Not just any competition though it's the "Skye All-Nighter" as we call it and those rugged Achonachie Club types Neil MacRitchie and Lewis Ross are heading out west, expanding their chests and fishing like the real McCoy - hopefully to retain the Iain Urquhart Memorial Trophy for the club. Weather seems likely to be slightly better on the Storr Lochs than we were anticipating yesterday and certainly not anything like these glorious pics but feeling a cold 9C by mid evening and with West-South Westerlies blowing in gusts around 35 mph the going could be tough. Aye, that's midsummer for you! Tight lines - don't forget your drogue and hang on tight ! Stevie Dowds, LAAC Chairman
Competition abandoned due to wild weather!