Northern jolly for Loch Fyne Anglers

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The Loch Fyne Sea Angling Club couldn’t have asked for better weather for its annual soirée to the fertile fishing grounds of Stornoway.

The crossing from Ullapool was as smooth as you like and a sure sign we were in for a good couple of days. Day one saw us head out from Carloway aboard the SYSAC II under the watchful eye of skippper Robbie Bell who knows these waters like the back of his hand.

The day kicked off with a bait hunt in the East Loch but the mackerel were pretty scarce, it took an hour or so to fill the baskets before steaming out to the two-mile mark in search of spurdogs. By then there was a fair wee wind picking up and it was a tad rough to say the least, with the heavy swell claiming a few breakfasts along the way.

All that was soon forgotten as the battle commenced with the mighty spurs. The action started on the first drop with some thumpers coming aboard, single and double shots causing mayhem thrashing about the deck and we lost count of the number of rigs sliced through on the way up. But that’s what we came for, not everyone’s choice but great sport all the same.

In between the madness we picked away at the haddock, whiting, grey and red gurnard, ling and pollack, until we had our quota and decided to seek the smoother waters of East Loch Roag for some flattie bashing on the soft ground. It was good to get into the calm and fish the light gear, picking away for dabs and plaice. There was plenty around, nothing huge but a steady flow coming aboard taking us to the end of the day with a good mixed bag of species.

Day two set off in brilliant sunshine and not a breath of wind, it was almost tropical conditions. We quickly got our supply of fresh bait in West Loch Roag and set off for the rough ground in search of a few more species, but there was little or no drift so we took a turn into Cliff Bay and settled in for a day on the rays. It was brilliant fun, everyone got their fair share with loads of thornback rays and a few spotted rays coming aboard, plenty of dabs, plaice, dogfish and a bonus 4lb 7oz turbot to add to the tally. It was a great opportunity to brush up on some of fishing techniques that don’t get practised much at home.

We decided to hit the hard ground on the way back to the harbour. It was quite slow, maybe a wee bit early yet, but it produced more haddock, a lovely 1lb cuckoo wrasse and pollack bringing our two day adventure to an end. All in all another excellent club trip.

This year we picked up 14 species, 144 counting fish and a few personal bests. Add to that, great company, loads of banter, a good skipper who makes a mean cup o’ tea and you have the ideal ingredients for another memorable few days away on Lewis. We’ll be back next year for sure.

Results: Nikki Thompson 125 points, Robert MacBrayne 110, Nick Friel 99, Jim Smith 93, Gary Sinclair 63, Steven MacBrayne 49.