Centenary fly fishing festival weekend proves to be a roaring success

Everything went in the anglers’ favour last weekend with perfect weather conditions and Harray loch fishing its socks off. The Festival weekend had been in the planning for some time and although there were the odd hitch to contend with, it was heralded as an unqualified success by both local and especially visiting guest anglers.Harray Brown Trout
On Saturday, following a very enjoyable get together at the Merkister Hotel on Friday night, where 100 specially grown on trout from the OTFA’s hatchery at Wideford were released to mark the occasion, 74 anglers weighed in following an enjoyable day on Harray. A mixed bag weather wise, with calm and humid conditions in the morning changing to windier, very wet conditions for the last couple of hours of the afternoon. Boats were spread the length and breadth of the loch, fishing both in the shallows and the deeper, open water drifts. Top individual rods for the day were Ken Kennedy for the locals with 11 fish, and heaviest basket for the guests was Edinburgh's top tackle dealer Jimmy McBride who boated 12 fish. The whole weekend was fished to a catch and release policy. Jimmy fished dries mainly in the Josey’s and Esselmont areas with Orange Elk Hair Sedge his top pattern and Ken fished a mix of dries and wets with Hares Ear Shipmans and Olive Dabbler his best flies and fishing at Lochside and Clay Face. Top pairing on the day was Andrew Morgan and Jimmy McBride There were many more good baskets taken with the trout feeding heavily on Caenis and Cow Dung. Following the weigh in, a splendid barbecue, courtesy of John Leask and friends was enjoyed by all. Much needed liquid refreshment was administered by staff from the Merkister Hotel.
Incredibly, Sunday’s angling surpassed the previous day and everyone enjoyed some memorable fishing with Harray showing why it is widely regarded as the top wild brown trout fishery in Europe. The north end of the loch fished marginally better for most, with the top basket of the day coming from Tenston where Kevin Muir took 15 fish on Hoppers and Foreman’s Favourite, with the guests top rod, Davy Malcolm from Perth also taking his fish on the the top with Hedgehogs in Merkister Bay. Top boat pairing for Sunday was Stewy Leslie and Wyn Pocock from Llanelli. The overall best aggregates over the weekend were Stewy Leslie for the locals and Jimmy McBride for the guests.
The buffet and presentation of prizes held in the Girnel in Kirkwall finished of the weekend. The buffet was an outstanding testament to Orkneys’ fresh, local produce and beautifully presented by Clinton Rendall and staff. The prizewinners over the weekend received engraved glasses as mementoes and event organisers Andrew Morgan, Stewy Leslie and Malcolm Russell thanked all those who contributed to the weekend’s success, especially John Leask, the Merkister Hotel, Charlie Kemp of Orkney Builders, Billy Sinclair, Clinton Rendall, Highland Park and Orkney Brewery. Celebrations went on into the night with everyone unanimously voting the weekend as a roaring success and an honour to be there taking part.
Ken Kennedy

The weigh inn Hatchery Fish

Mable Miller,Georgie Kent and George Skea release the tagged hatchery fish

Perfect hatchery trout ready for release

Ken Kennedy & Jimmy McBride Weigh in

Top individual rods for day one were Ken Kennedy and Jimmy McBride

Malcolm and Stewy organise the weigh inn

The "Doo" Bobby & Kevin

Members and guests enjoy the social evening in the Girnel

Top local angler for day two Kevin Muir

Bobby & Wyn Harray Fishing

Wyn Pocock was top boat with Stewy Leslie

Mike Low and Raymond Miller at the Ess Holmes

Harray Site Becalmed

The OTFA site on Harry

Becalmed at the start of day one

Dave Malcolm Day two weigh inn

Perth angler Dave Malcolm had a superb day in Merkister Bay on hedgehogs

Day two weigh inn