Top Rod Sandy McConnachie

Last Sunday, the 29th of May, seen the rearranged Bullen Cup fished on Harray. Word had it that it was not fishing well, and the result proved this to be entirely true. The end of May on Harray should be the equivalent of  Irish anglings “duffers fortnight”, with fish gorging on midge hatches of epic proportions and readily caught with a fly representing the hatching insect. This is just not happening just now, with the cold northerly winds we have been experiencing of late halting the hatches of fly. Very early morning and late  evenings, when the wind drops away, are the only times we are seeing anything close to a good rise of fish, when they feed avidly for a short time, only to switch off for the remainder of the day. Well, that's the excuses given, now for the results.
28 anglers assembled for the 11am start, with bright sunshine and a brisk SE wind adding to the doom and gloom in the car park before the off. All the usual drifts were taken up with Biggings, Bochan  and Bankhead most popular for a start. Some anglers chose to fish the shallow ground while there was a fair bit of prospecting being done on the deep water drifts. The weigh in proved that neither method was very successful with many anglers struggling to find any fish at all!
This being the Bullen Cup, Kirkwall v Stromness, it would be the best basket from the team with the best average weight which would win the trophy. This, for once, worked out correctly with the top rod on the day coming from the winning team. Sandy McConnachie’s 7 fish for 5lb 11 ozs was a worthy winner, helping Kirkwall to win the Bullen Cup. The stats were as follows, Kirkwall had 18 anglers weighing in a total of 48lb 14ozs, averaging 2lb 11 1/2ozs, whereas Stromness had 10 anglers weighing in 20lb 8ozs, averaging 2lb 1oz. Runner up, Raymond Miller, had more fish than Sandy but lacked the quality, with 8 fish for 5lb 3ozs. The best if the rest included Kenny Adam with a nice basket of 5 for 5lb 2ozs, Jim Harcus with 6 for 4lb 10ozs, which included the heaviest fish of the day at 1lb 3 ozs, and Ian Hutcheon with 6 for 4lb 9ozs.
Successful tactics on the day were to fish on or certainly near skerries and drop offs with various lines employed. Flies were wide and varied but Sandy could tell me he had most of his fish on one particular pattern, which its originator could tell me he has named” Little Blackie”. Local ghillie, Brian Forman, came up with the pattern last season, and following on from his inspirational naming of James Stewart of Inverness’s popular fly, the Naked Spur, a cowboy western film featuring the aforementioned actor, he decided to continue on the western film theme with Little Blackie as the name of this fly, which was the name of a particularly brave wee nag from the film True Grit, featuring John Wayne. No doubt this one will become a legend in Orkney angling circles too.
The joys of the Stenness Loch are what comes next in the competition programme, here’s hoping for an improvement.









Lb oz


MCCONNACHIE S 7 5 Lb. 11½ oz 16
MILLER RAYMOND 8 5 Lb. 03 oz 15
ADAM K 6 5 Lb. 02¼ oz 14
HARCUS JIM 6 4 Lb. 10 oz 13
HUTCHEON I 6 4 Lb. 09¾ oz 12
IRVINE N 6 4 Lb. 07 oz 11
CHALMERS N 5 3 Lb. 12 oz 10
MUIR THORFINN 5 3 Lb. 12 oz 10
WATT B 4 3 Lb. 09¾ oz 8
MUIR KEVIN 4 3 Lb. 01½ oz 7
MILLER H 3 3 Lb. 00¼ oz 6
KENNEDY K 4 2 Lb. 15 oz 5
BEWS J 5 2 Lb. 12¼ oz 4
LEASK J 3 2 Lb. 06¼ oz 3
LUKE J 3 2 Lb. 02¾ oz 2
THOMSON BILLY 2 2 Lb. 01½ oz 1
WOOD S 3 2 Lb. 01¼ oz 1
CRAIGIE A 2 1 Lb. 08 oz 1
MOAR D 2 1 Lb. 08 oz 1
SUTHERLAND C 2 1 Lb. 00¾ oz 1
MACLEOD K 1 0 Lb. 14¾ oz 1
GRANT J 1 0 Lb. 13¼ oz 1
THOMAS B 1 0 Lb. 11 oz 1
RENDALL M 1 0 Lb. 09¾ oz 1
HARCUS MICK 0 0 Lb. 00 oz 0
MILLER LESLIE 0 0 Lb. 00 oz 0
SHEARER A 0 0 Lb. 00 oz 0
STANGER S 0 0 Lb. 00 oz 0