SDAA Junior competitions

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The last of the SDAA junior competitions for Season 2013 was held at Midmar Trout Fishery near Echt on Sunday in some very blustery conditions. 

Despite a cutting and swirling wind which persisted all day, five ultra-keen junior members turned up at the fishery to compete for the President’s Trophy. This was finally won by Will Munro who banked four fish on a variety of wet flies, closely followed by Jamie Buchan who landed three on small Cats Whiskers flies. (Before the Readers’ Letters page is inundated with complaints, I should add that this fly contains no feline parts whatsoever and no moggies were killed or injured in the making of these items).

At the very same time, six adult club members were also competing there for the David’s Trophy. The rules were that the first two rainbows were to be kept (ie knocked on the head and creeled) and then weighed. Every fish caught thereafter was to be safely released after being credited as a two pounder irrespective of size, and the angler with the heaviest overall tally, would become the winner. Almost inevitably, John Rench triumphed by  landing nine fish,  keeping two which were weighed in at 3lbs 3oz with seven returned at 14 pounds, giving him an overall total bag of 17lb 3oz.

Most of John’s fish were taken on his ubiquitous Minkie fly or an Egg Fly.....both of which will be entirely unfamiliar to older traditionalist fly fishers who do not keep up (or perhaps do not want to keep up!) with the modern scene. Runner-up was Iain Laird who took two fish for 3 lbs on his deadly buzzer (chironomid larvae) flies. A variety of lines and flees was used throughout the session by the competitors, who left Mid Mar having enjoyed a day of good-spirited camaraderie despite the tough weather conditions throughout the day.

EVERY Autumn, your correspondent takes a week on the four-rod Middle Drum beat on the Dee for the specific purpose of offering classic fly fishing at cost price for up to 24 Stonehaven club members and their friends who may not often get such an opportunity. Sadly, local anglers will be hugely outnumbered this year by non-members for the first time in four seasons, no doubt due to this singular poor season where drought and a national salmon shortage have briefly reversed fifteen years of rising fish catches on that river. Equally sadly, I shall have to rethink my invitation strategy here, because no tenant of costly salmon fishings - especially an impecunious OAP - is in the business of making a philanthropic loss. Accordingly, absent fair-weather fishers need not even enquire in future. To be fair, there may be some for whom this has simply been a diary oversight, in which case a phone call or email might yet produce a vacant rod or two.

ANY worthwhile community group operates under some form of guidelines or even constitution, to give it structure, direction and purpose. I don’t wish to generalise, but it seems to me as an active retired person that today’s younger generation prefers to adopt a less regimented form of happy-clappy consensus in place of individual decisionmaking and leadership. So many organisations across a broad spectrum are struggling nowadays from lack of commitment by too many of their members, who either stay anonymous or chop and change to suit their own ends, leaving the dedicated few to stem the haemorrhaging and keep the boat afloat. Oh that real life was that easy!

Angling is no different and as the season heads towards the December AGM, the local Stoney club will be looking to more members to step up to the mark and show tangible appreciation of the vital chores like habitat work that others are doing on their behalf, by actually getting involved themselves rather than unsustainably leaving everything to the few.