Strong northerly winds persisted throughout the early part of the month and severely hampered sport. On the better days, fish were pretty much locked on to midge, taking very small adults of the surface and proving quite tricky. Harray saw a lot of action from both bank and boat, and as the month progressed the big loch started to fish quite well. Shallow drifts were the order of the day, with floaters, intermediates and midge tips seeing a lot of use. Fly patterns included Hutch’s Pennell, Midge Hogs, Hedgehogs, Coch Zulu and anything with a touch of peach. Baskets included 17 for 13 lb 6 oz for James Bews; 14 for 10 lb 2 oz for Bill Taylor; 11 for 8 lb 13 oz for Norman Irvine; 9 for 7 lb 1 oz for Stuart Leslie; 10 for 6 lb 15 oz for Kenny Adam and 9 for 6 lb 13 oz for Malcolm Russell. Towards the end of the month the going got tough and anglers were waiting in anticipation for the Olives to hatch and improve sport.
Stenness continued to produce mixed catches of brownies and sea trout. The Brodgar shore and Deepdale were particularly popular but as the month progressed boat anglers found sport on the Dogger bank. Jimmy Grant’s 4 for 3 lb 11 oz was the best basket I heard about, and James Harcus boated a fine 2 lb 3 oz specimen.
The only Boardhouse basket I heard about was taken by Kenny MacLeod, with into double figures of fish up to 1 lb 8 oz. Over on Hundland, Shane Stanger took a fine 1 lb 12 oz fish.
May usually sees the smaller lochs receiving some attention. Later in the season these waters are inclined to weed up, and all are prone to turbulence. Skaill continued to produce specimens with fish in the 3 lb to 5 lb range for James Bews and Kenny Adam. James Bews went on to score with a cracking 5 lb specimen from Clumly plus a smaller 2 lb fish there. James’s run of fortune continued with 5 up to 1 lb 4 oz from the Loch of St Mary’s in Holm. Your correspondent had a great afternoon on one of the smaller west mainland lochs, with 17 fish in the 12 oz to 1 lb 8 oz range taken on Hedgehogs and Mosaic Butcher. Some of our smaller lochs do not stand much pressure, and catch and release is the only way to sustain stocks and ensure sport for all. Sadly, there are still a minority of anglers who kill everything they catch – often for display on social media. Hopefully, an absence of “likes” will deter.