“This one gets em looking, this’ll do the hooking”
We had four hours of fishing before we had to head back to catch the last ferry to the mainland.
If we could manage one fish between the four of us, then the mission would be a success.
This was going to be a team effort.
We marched up the rocky eastern shore, the wind didn’t favour the Machair drop off on the south.
Spread across the eastern shore, we began to fish. It took awhile to get used to casting the weighted long shank size 8 Humongous but eventually I found my rhythm; roll casting the flies after the hang.
14:10 ... You could feel the tension. The conditions were good and the anticipation palpable. Every so often I’d turn to see how Dan and Tom were doing and kept a close eye on Andrew fishing ahead of me.
I glanced over to Tom to see his rod bouncing. He was in! In a flash I was there stood next to him netting a stunning fish just shy of 3lb. This fish had a small head and powerful shoulders.
He told me “it took off” after being hooked. This fish fell to an oliver green Zonker.
14:25 … We continued fishing and within 15 minutes, I was into a fish, that took the Humongous viciously. After a short run and a few jumps; Tom expertly netted a 3 ¼ lb brown, an identical fish to the one he’d caught. Lovely broad shoulders and full fins.
I released her and she torpedoed back into the loch. Melting away water like ghost.
I continued making my way down the eastern shore until I reached Andrew sat on the bank of the reedy bay on the south east corner. He’d had no luck and was trying to change this with a new team of flies.
15:55 … As Andrew and I marched back up the eastern shore to start fishing. I noticed some commotion on the far north eastern shore.
“Looks like Dan is into a fish”, I shouted back to Andrew. I was already running at this point. “Bollocks!”, Andrew replied.
16:05 … I managed to get to Tom and Dan just as they were taking photos of a 4lb trout. It took the dropper, an Ada Toe, a Goat’s Toe variant with an orange tail and rib and a fiery brown cock hackle palmered body.
A beautiful fish, slightly darker and a cock fish with a permanent kype.
16:30 ... The sun had started to break through and what was slate grey above was deep blue.
We started to make our way back down the eastern shore, back to the car and the ferry.
Andrew was in the water fishing hard, trying to avoid a blank. He told me later he was contemplating staying and fishing and getting the ferry in the morning.
We left him to it and he joined us at the car shortly after.
17.30 … We got to the ferry terminal with 30 minutes to spare. We’d done well, three fish wasn’t bad between four people in four hours on a notoriously difficult Machair loch.
It took Andrew awhile to get over his blank. He didn’t speak on the hour ferry back to the Mainland but after a pint in the pub, later that evening, he cheered up.
Don’t worry Andrew, there’s always next time
The Association embarked on a policy to attempt to stock most of the trout free lochs of the North Isles of Sandy, Stronsay, and Westray starting back in 1989 and these along with subsequent stockings have proved successful with trophy fish now having been taken from most of the waters stocked.
The lochs are Meikle Water in Stronsay, Burness and Saintear in Westray, and North, Roos and Bea in Sanday. Of these, North and Bea in Sanday are the most prolific with some incredible specimens caught each season, with the chance of a fish a lifetime a distinct possibility.
One thing it is not is easy fishing, with the chance of a good fish only coming now and again, you just have to put the time in to increase the chances.
All the above lochs are prone to algae blooms and colour quickly during periods of high winds, this and bright sunshine can curtail the fishing, but early morning and late evening forays can greatly increase the odds on success. The regular anglers who have most success on these lochs say that you have to fish a big fly to catch a big fish, so do not stint on size, palmer's tied on a long shank 8 hook can do the trick.
Top of the list on the trout’s food list is the stickleback, Corixa, and shrimp.
Care should be taken while wading these lochs are there are some soft muddy holes which can make it very dangerous.
Membership of the OTFA is the most active way for the individual angler to support the essential work of conservation and preservation of the trout fishing in Orkney.
For a nominal sum of money, local and visiting anglers may use all the facilities of the association and also ensure the future of some of the best wild trout fishing available.
Discover your next fishing trip and go on a wild fishing adventure.