The Orkney Trout Fishing Association team travelled south to Rutland Water last week to take their place at the prestigious Anglian Water Airflo International Fly Fishing Final. 24 teams comprising, 9 from England, 5 from Scotland, 3 Irish, 3 Welsh and 4 from Overseas had qualified, all focussed on winning the coveted Silver Salver. Most teams had practiced for at least three days prior to the first match day, all needed, considering the sheer expanse of the water. Practise went well for the OTFA team, catching plenty fish and identifying areas where they were concentrated.

Match Day 1 dawned and the anglers were greeted with very strong winds for the 10am start, and they were to increase further as the day wore on. Although not ideal, these conditions are quite common in Orkney, and the team as a whole did extremely well to finish in 6th place, while some other fancied teams failed to deliver in the wind. OTFA had caught 34 fish, with Malcolm Russell their best rod, catching his 8 fish by 5pm, a tremendous effort, keeping them well in contention for a medal on the 2nd day.

John Munson, Ken Kennedy, Stu Leslie, Norman Irvine,Sandy McConnachie and Malcolm Russell

The 9am start on Day 2 saw much more conducive conditions, with a light breeze and full cloud cover, no doubt that the fish would be feeding hard and catch rates for all teams would undoubtedly increase. At the weigh in, it soon became obvious that OTFA had not fared so well, only bringing 25 fish to the scales, with Stewy Leslie their top angler, catching his 8 fish limit by 4pm. Many teams had mastered the change and at the final tally, OTFA had dropped down to 10th position, still a commendable finish in such a strong field. Top Welsh team, the Welsh Hawks had compounded their lead from first day, winning the title with a total of 80 fish for 152lb, with Scottish team FNF Falcons in second with 74 fish for 140lb, and third were Northern Drifters with 67 fish for 133lb. OTFA’s total was 59 fish for 106lb, so still not that far off the mark, but it can probably be put down as an opportunity missed. Top Irish team, the Melvin Devils, won the Overseas Trophy with 61 fish for 115lb. There was some good news for the OTFA team as they were automatically given an invite to the Airflo Spring Invitational match at Rutland in May 2019, something to really look forward too.
Once again, the OTFA would like to thank their sponsors, Northlink and Drive Orkney for their continued support, it is greatly appreciated.



Orkney Trout Fishing Association were represented at the recent Spring Home International on Loch Mask, with Ken Kennedy joining the Scottish team for the journey to the West of Ireland.
The match was fished out of Coushlough and organised by Ballinrobe and District Angling Club for the Irish Fly Fishing Association. Organising an International is a big undertaking but the Ballinrobe club are well versed in this, with the Fly Fishing World Cup fished out of there every August, over four days, with up to 600 anglers competing.

Ken Kennedy

There were three official practise days, one hampered by strong winds, where there were areas out of bounds for safety reasons. The Scottish team were very well organised by manager Derek Keenan and left no stone unturned in their preparation for match day. The International was fished with total Catch and Release with only fish over 12” counting. The fish caught were measured by the boatman and carefully returned.
Match day arrived, and with it even more wind. There were words of delaying the start, but they eventually decided to go ahead with the 10am start. It was a tough day for many anglers with measuring fish hard to come by. The Irish team had been hoping for a big blow all week and they got their wish with huge waves running the length of Loch Mask. To put it in context, Loch Mask is about 30000 acres, ten times the size of our own Harray Loch, with boulders the size of a car all over the place, no place to be without a local boatman, who, it had to be said were brilliant all week.
The International Presentation Dinner that night confirmed that Ireland had indeed won the gold medal by a good margin, with their tactics, perfected over the previous weeks, excelling on the day. They were worthy winners of the team event and also had the top rod in Dave Egan, who boated 8 fish, superb angling.The three other home countries were in very close order, but it was Scotland who had landed the wooden spoon, a very disappointing result for all concerned. Scotland did take one other honour on the night with Andy Dunn receiving the Cup for landing the heaviest fish.
Participating at the highest level of fly fishing requires a huge commitment of both time and finance, especially coming from Orkney with the extra days of travel, ferries etc. Ken was very kindly sponsored by his employers, Bryan and Tony at RS Merriman’s Electrical Contractors and Bob from R Clouston, Building and Joinery Contractor. These people have no specific interest in fly fishing, but what they do have is a great interest and satisfaction in helping local sportsmen and women achieve their goals and ambitions, which is most commendable.