Kirkcowan Fishing Competition

15th Sep 2023
by Jamie Ribbens

On Saturday 26th August we held our annual Kirkcowan Fishing Competition. 35 adults and 12 juniors entered the competition this year, providing a fund of £211 that is put back into the event via prizes and a buffet.

Kirkcowan Comp winners
Kirkcowan Comp winners

With the generosity of Bladnoch and Tarf river beat owners, we are able to open up almost the entire river and offer a variety of game and coarse fishing opportunities to anglers for a very small entry fee.  Sadly the river height was too low for salmon.  

GFT have been hosting this event for over thirty years and it always provides a great opportunity for a spirited gathering with friends and family.  This year was one of the best junior entries we have seen in a long time and all juniors went home with a prize.  A change in venue saw us dry and cosy for entry and drawing of beats within the town hall.  Once maps and directions to beats had been circulated, anglers were left to fish their selected area of the river.  We had asked anglers to return for prize giving by 4:30, but given the good weather this year, I don’t think anyone was in a rush to come home!  After a healthy buffet supplied by the Riverbank cafe, Newton Stewart, prize giving got underway at 5pm. 

There were a ‘lost’ salmon and sea trout on Kirwaugh at the very bottom of the river.  Sadly, if it isn’t landed, it doesn’t count.  So with no salmon catches recorded, ‘Best Fish’ falls to the largest fish recorded.  This was won by Nick Chisholm who landed a generous bag of pike at Red Brae – one of which weighed in at 12lb.  Nick was thrilled to take home a bottle of Bladnoch Whisky alongside the John Ryman Winners Trophy.  Mark Godfrey equalled Nick’s best fish, with a single pike of 12lb caught on a fly to take 2nd Best Fish and a bottle of Hills and Harbour Gin.  3rd Best Fish was won by Alan Whiteside who took home a trout fly rod and a box of flies.  Dick Scott and Robert Rennie very kindly donated a bottle of whisky each to provide further adult awards and these were presented to Kenny Galt and Abbie Ribbens.  Next stop was Adult ‘Best Bag’ which was won by Rab Sherry for a bag of perch and jack pike.  Rab took home the Chink Cup and a Jack Pyke Game Fishing bag. 

Luckily, we had a suite of prizes this year and Hazel on hand to help judge a competitive junior competition.  ‘Biggest Fish’ went to Jack Rudd for a 7.9lb pike from High Barness.  Kirkcowan Angling Club sponsor this prize and Jack took home a £50 Stranraer Fishing Shop voucher and the Peter Greasley Cup.  The Bill James Shield and a spinning rod and reel were presented for ‘Most Fish’ caught by a junior angler.  Aiden Whiteside was a very worthy winner of this award for 17 perch landed upon Shennanton water, upper Bladnoch.  It was neck and neck between the Ryman brothers Cameron and Jamie with Cameron taking ‘Best Trout’ and a £25 Galloway Angling Centre voucher for three trout, a 2lb pike and an eel on the lower Tarf.  Jamie took home £20 (kindly donated by Robert Rennie) for two trout.  There followed a lucky dip of prizes for all the juniors. 

Amidst the jubilation of this year’s event, there was one noticeable absence and GFT paid tribute to Colin Richardson, a keen salmon angler, very enthusiastic long-standing member of the Bladnoch District Salmon Fishery Board, a pivotal founding member of the Kirkcowan Angling Club and a great friend and support to many people in the community.  Colin has kept us right at the fishing competition for as long as I can remember and he has been sorely missed since passing away earlier this year. 

A last word of thanks to the generosity and helping hands who enable us to put this event together.  To the beat owners who donate their fishing for the day; the sponsors of prizes including Bladnoch Distillery, Crafty Distillery, Kirkcowan Angling Club, Jonny Haley, Kenny Galt, Galloway Angling Centre, Dick Scott and Robert Rennie.  And finally, a special thanks to Hazel for making it all possible with the new venue and for the unenviable task of selecting the winners!            

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