|Papil Water, Fetlar|
I was sorry to leave Gardiesfauld Youth Hostel. It was a true home from home and had saved me from a very uncomfortable night. But I had one of the best lochs in Shetland to fish today: Papil Water on the island of Fetlar. From what I had read this was possibly the best loch in Shetland with “fish to 2lb common and 4lb+ fish also caught”. To say I was excited would be an understatement. It was an early ferry to Fetlar via Yell. I’d eaten a small breakfast in the youth hostel but the plan was to eat again on arriving at Papil Water then start fishing. Excitement got the better of me and the plan changed. I’d walk to the top end of Papil and fish one side of the loch, get something to eat back at the car then fish the other side...
If ever there was a perfect looking loch this was it. Conditions weren’t bad either with a light ripple and thin cloud cover. I expected to cast my flies onto the loch and have my rod almost ripped from my hand by a large, fit, trout. Well I blanked! There was a lot of weed that didn’t make fishing easy, but on reflection I think the 2 previous days bad weather had ruined Papil Water for me. It is meant to be a crystal clear loch but it was far from clear. It was decidedly cloudy and I couldn’t see my wading boots in water just above knee depth. To put it into perspective a fish rose that I could have touched with half my 10’ rod. You don’t get that on peat stained lochs never mind crystal clear ones! I covered every inch of water from the bank and drove away dejected. There’s not much fishing on Fetlar and my whole trip centred on fishing Papil Water.
|Skutes Water, Fetlar|
|A Speckled Peter Sedge & Colin's Deer Hair Imitation|
|A good fish from Skutes Water, Fetlar|
I was booked for the next 2 nights into a camping bod at Aithbank, in the middle of this small island. I didn’t know what to expect but what a lovely place it turned out to be. A little cottage with fully equipped kitchen, living room, sleeping for about 8 upstairs and of course full shower and toilet facilities. It was perched right on the cliff above a little inlet and beach and I had it all to myself; another place I fully recommend.
An evening walk along the cliffs from the camping bod gave me my first encounter with an Otter. Shetland has one of the highest densities of Otters in the country but they’d been elusive until this evening, despite looking very hard in every likely looking place. This was followed by another otter sighting the next morning as my ferry departed Fetlar back to Yell.
|Loch of Winyadepla, Fetlar|
I had a choice to make: return to Papil Water and hope it has cleared or catch the next ferry back to Yell. The ferry won despite how happy I was to see the back of Yell last time I was there. As the ferry pulled into Yell the weather was a complete contrast to what I’d left behind a few days previous. The rain, cold, wind and greyness was now replaced with bright sun, cloudless blue sky, virtually windless and amazingly warm for this northerly latitude. My first port of call was Kirk Loch at the northern tip of Yell. It was reputed to be another dour loch, but with monster trout for those prepared to persevere. Colin had told me to put in some serious time here in search of a biggie, but it just didn’t feel right. The conditions were against me again. It was far too bright and the water crystal clear, so I fished one side and packed up.
|Breckon Sands, Yell|
Both lochs were described as being very dour but with some of the biggest trout on Yell – fish to 3lb! They both looked the part and confidence was high, especially after catching a trout of about a pound within a few casts on Brough, but that was to be all I caught there. Then I was heading south to a ‘campsite’ at Burravoe, which turned out to be no more than a few electric
hook-ups for caravans and the odd patch of (long) grass where a tent could be pitched. It looked nothing like a campsite! This is no criticism, it is typical Shetland. Camping was charged on an honesty system at £4 per night so I put £5 in my envelope and paid it gratefully. Campers and caravaners had the use of a building housing toilets, showers, microwave, washer, dryer, etc. Everything you could wish for and all spotlessly clean, modern and in good order. I put another £5 in the honesty box for the washer and dryer and did my first bit of washing! The most striking thing about Burravoe Pier Trust Campsite was the roof of the toilet block: an upturned lifeboat from the P&O liner "Canberra" – very ingenious, simple and unique!
|Burravoe Pier Trust Campsite|
After supper and pitching the tent I decided to have my first night fishing session through the simmer dim (Shetlanders word for the summer nights when it doesn’t get dark). I probably wouldn’t have bothered but just down the road was another of Shetland best lochs - Loch of Littlester. Reputed to contain lots of trout, with many over 2lb, it was just too tempting to leave until morning and I hadn’t yet tried fishing through the Simmer Dim. I fished the roadside shore quite hard but the only pull I got was from a patch of weed, which momentarily got my heart racing. I’d have carried on fishing but there was a pair of oystercatchers that weren’t too impressed by my presence. They were flying in circles round me, while loudly alarm calling incessantly. Eventually I could stand no more of the din and so I returned to my tent with my ears ringing!
I returned to Loch of Littlester after breakfast and fished most of the way round. Conditions were again poor for fishing with a strong wind and very bright sun in a cloudless sky. It did, though, dry the remainder of my washing that I’d hung from a makeshift washing line between my car’s roofbars and the fence! I caught a couple of trout that were around a pound in weight but it didn’t live up to its reputation. I left feeling slightly depressed that another ‘good’ loch hadn’t produced. That’s fishing I suppose and it gives me a reason to return!
And so it was time to return to the mainland; my trip was drawing to a close with just 3 days fishing remaining. It had been tough fishing on the Islands, though enjoyable, but I was now starting to feel like I was ready for home...
...Trout Fishing In Shetland Part Five – Return To The Mainland
...Trout Fishing In Shetland Part Five – Return To The Mainland
You can view all the images from my trip on my flickr album.
Aithbank Camping Bod: http://www.camping-bods.co.uk/Aithbank-g.asp
Burravoe Pier Trust Campsite: http://visit.shetland.org/caravan-and-camping-parks.php
Shetland Anglers Association: http://www.shetlandtrout.co.uk
Trout Fishing In Shetland Guide: http://www.shetlandtrout.co.uk/information-brochure.html
Inter-island ferries: http://www.shetland.gov.uk/ferries/default.asp