Angling: Fife-born angler Sam Davies wins at the first major competition he's entered in 25 years

Competing in his first major competition for 25 years last weekend, Fife-born Sam Davies, 60, used some of his old skills to win the Kingdom Fly Fishing Championship for the first time and take home a £400 cash prize thanks to an impressive bag of 10 fish.
Prize guys (from left) Andrew Weir, Sam Davies and Greg Davies (Submitted pic)Prize guys (from left) Andrew Weir, Sam Davies and Greg Davies (Submitted pic)
Prize guys (from left) Andrew Weir, Sam Davies and Greg Davies (Submitted pic)

It was only the second time that the landscape gardener, a member of Ballo fishery, had fished Stenhouse Fishery in the last five years.

He also won £120 of Snowbee vouchers, vouchers for Fishing Megastore and Blob and Buzzer, Alt Fishing custom spool lid insert, Flybox voucher and a full day catch and release ticket for two anglers at Wormit Trout Fishery.

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Not bad for a day of sport at a tricky venue which tested the field of nearly 30 qualifiers on the day.

His boat partner, Andrew Weir, co-owner of Stenhouse, was third with seven fish and missed out on second place by only 14oz, and, as a consolation he took home £150 plus other prizes.

He tried to match Davies’ tactics which majored on a really fast figure-of-eight retrieve and Weir, like Davies, had only qualified in the last heat at Ballo near Glenrothes.

Weir could have been the champion but he lost two at the net and was snapped on three occasions as the trout savagely attacked his pattern.

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The runner-up was Greg Davies, no relation to the winner, who was the defending champion, and pocketed £250 plus other prizes after netting eight fish.

A total of 28 anglers contested the final but a cold easterly wind and a forecast suggesting a 20mph win later in the day indicated that it would be a tough day, and so it proved.

Most of the fleet headed for the deeper water behind the island with Sam Davies and Weir heading for the shallow end at the east end of the loch towards Kirkcaldy where the depth is around four feet.

A few boats ventured also towards the pair later in the day in a desperate bid to boost their bags, but did not stay long, and the newly-crowned champion fished an Airflo floating line with a 12ft intermediate tip and a 17ft leader with four flies, two sparsely-tied diawl bach, one with a green holograph collar and the other red, with an olive pheasant tail nymph between them, and a black cormorant on the point.

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Davies, who lives near Cupar, confirmed that all four flies took fish and he added: "I only went into the competition to support one of the organisers, Colin Mcglone, and I qualified on the water I fish regularly, Ballo, where I am an ex-committee member. I also fish Clatto near Cupar.

"I went out with Jason (Walls), one of the co-owners, the week before the competition and fished all over so I knew where to go. Andy (Weir, the other co-owner) left the decision to me and I knew there would be fish at the East End of the loch. Others decided to go where the stocked fish go.

"The wind grew stronger as the day progressed but we were sheltered and my bag was split 50-50 between morning and afternoon. I retrieved as fast as I could with a figure-of-eight.

"With dries the fish would have had time to look at it (the fly) but with the fast figure-of-eight they just snapped at it."

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Earlier, it was Allan Szary (cor) who landed the first fish and then quickly hooked into another, but it soon became clear that the fish were not coming out to play in water which was crystal clear on the day.

Fly boxes were constantly out as anglers tried to find the correct pattern, but pressure mounted as the clock ticked on, and so did frustration. By lunch boats were spread out across the loch hunting for trout.

Davies, a former pupil of Waid Academy, Anstruther, and Weir were largely screened from the rest of the field on the water which is near Burntisland and is popular with anglers from the Lothians and Borders.

The winner weighed in a superb bag of 20lb 8oz. His boat partner used small olive and black, top hat buzzers, hook sized between 14 and 16, positioned six feet apart on a 7lb leader, to take his fish.

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He weighed seven fish for 16lb 3oz. Runner-up Davies also kept away from the fleet and switched between shuttlecock dries and suspender buzzers to take eight fish weighing 17lb 1oz.

Overall, Andy Robb tempted the biggest trout, a rainbow of 6lb 13oz, which helped him claim sixth spot, despite only netting four fish.

Fourth was Darren McPherson, fifth David Stark with Steven Livingstone seventh and Robbie Birrell in eighth position.

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