The Stornoway Sea Angling Club held their Club Championship last Saturday the 25th of June, with a full boat of 12 heading out from Carloway on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis. With the easterly wind off the land the sea was flat calm under the dull sky. The day began with a hunt for mackerel at the back of the islet of Cragaim at the mouth of East Loch Roag, but the normal hotspot failed to produce anything more than a couple of launce. Abandoning the bait hunt the SYSAC2 moved off into deeper water where the competition began in earnest.
Straight away, various species were coming aboard, including haddock, red gurnard and cod with the odd mackerel finally showing to supplement bait supplies. As the fishing progressed the quality and numbers of fish just kept getting better and better. Anglers were occupied with decent cod and ling when a shoal of jumbo haddock made an appearance and everyone was picking up big, chunky haddies weighing 3- 5lb. The biggest of the haddock fell to Gordon Mackenzie, a rather ugly looking one which he hooked in the end of the nose. Gordon also had the heaviest fish of the day, in the shape of a nice ling of 9¾lb. A number of anglers onboard quickly managed their limit of 15 haddock and switched to target other species. While the whiting were not as abundant as the previous week, but they were about and as with the cod, the problem was trying to pick out the other species and avoid the hungry haddock. Some excellent sport was had when a drift over harder ground produced good sized coalfish in the 4-6 lb bracket in among the cod.
Species landed during the competition included coalfish, cod, grey gurnard, red gurnard, haddock, ling, mackerel, megrim, pollack, poor cod, launce, spurdog, whiting, cuckoo wrasse. There were some big fish lurking around; while Ian ‘Nuts’ Maclean was fighting a fish his gear went solid and the rod buckled right over, and line began screaming of the reel rapidly tearing all the braid of his reel, before the mono backing went bang and everything parted company. Most guesses as to the identity of “one that got away” plumped for it being a large tope.
The winner of the Club Championship was Gillies Mackenzie with 238 points for 100% (50 fish, made up of 8 species), with John Nicolson runner-up with 210 points for 88.24% (40 fish, 8 species), followed by Donnie Morrison in third with 201 points for 84.45% (37 fish, 8 species)
There are still some places left for the Western Isles open competition at the end of the July and entry forms can be downloaded here.