Anyone that knows me understands I am not keen on loch fishing or competitions. So why then have I just taken part in a competition on a loch and had a thoroughly great time. So good in fact that I am really looking forward to my next session on a loch.
From beginning to end we had a great time at the Highland Wild Trout Challenge on the 14th and 15th of July 2007. Fishing buddy Alex had suggested we take part ages ago and after a quick that sounds like a good idea I then almost put it to the back of my mind, the even then caught up with me and was upon us like a flash.
I was paired with Douglas Fairbairn, winner of many competitions and expert at working the bob fly however he must have been thinking he had drawn a dozer considering I have only fished lochs from a boat much less than a dozen times. We all had a few drams before getting in the boats, Alex had warned me that the competitors liked a whiskey to settle the old nerves before the comp and I managed to gulp down a few before waddling off to the boat.
However the guys in this competition are professionals (professional whiskey drinks that is) and I watched as many more drams were drunk as we all belted (it took us almost 2 hours) up to the top of the loch
The size limit was 10 inches and I certainly caught many just below that mark and a few just above it the first day. I am still in awe how hard these loch trout fight; even on a 7 weight rod these trout were giving a good account of themselves usually after vicious takes.
We camped out on the Saturday night after an evening session on “Little Loch Shin” which is stuffed with small trout.
Sunday was more of the same, the day flashed by and I caught some bigger trout but nowhere near enough to win a prize. I think I was around midway on the table – not bad for a bloke that fishes rivers I thought.
I did not like to think about the ethics involved in fishing this competition. All the trout caught over 10 inches had to be killed (unlike the river competitions) however I am assured the loch is stuffed full of trout and can handle the occasional harvesting. All the trout were put in a box and were given to the local hotel. I have heard of some horror stories on the big lake competitions where anglers were simply putting there catch away in bins as there freezers were so stuffed with stocked rainbows they could not think of what else to do with them. I am glad to say I can never see me go down that route.
I think if Alex and I had just travelled up together we would have probably done better, for a start we would have headed to places that only he knows about and we would have no time constraints put on us. As it was on the Sunday we headed out again after the competition and caught even more trout, we got rained on and I was freezing but not wanting the evening to end. Alex was particularly impressed at my lack of moaning – something which I am renowned for apparently.
I was certainly not moaning about the welcome I received at Alex’s parent’s house, I was most grateful for a warm bed and a meal.