Islay Tope Fishing Festival 2008

With a record turnout of boats and an army of enthusiastic anglers, some of whom came all the way from County Durham just for the occasion, the Stormcats Islay Tope Fishing Festival once again proved to be a hugely enjoyable and successful event for the third year running. The chosen battlegrounds this year, where contestants hooked up and cast their weapons, were Bowmore on Saturday 9th, and Port Ellen on Sunday 10th of August. After an initial two hour delay on the first day, due to strong winds and rain, the weather eventually cleared, the boats headed out to sea, and by the end of the day, six tope had been caught in as many hours, with the biggest weighing in at 46 lb. (see also the video below)

On Sunday the tope were surprisingly elusive, so much so that, in spite of the dedicated efforts of 29 boats, not one could be found. However, there were indeed other fish queuing up to take the bait, and catches from Port Ellen showed a greater variety of species than in Loch Indaal, including Squid, Gurnard, Sand and Conger Eel, Pollock, Mackerel, and even Starfish... which is still a fish is it not?! On Sunday evening, after weighing in and admiring the loot, there were burgers, hot soup, drams, and an exciting range of well earned prizes to look forward to. First prize for the Heaviest Tope went to 10 year old Millie Mitchell, the star of the show, who swept the board by winning five major prizes altogether. Paddy Macgranaghan won second prize for the Biggest Bag, and Anne Gredley took home the award for ‘Most Unusual Fish’, a stunning bright red and white Gurnard with blue tipped fins. Continue reading.....In the Junior Boys’ category, Stefan Robertson caught the Biggest Tope, while Stewart Aitken won the prize for the Heaviest Bag. The money raised for charity was a tremendous £2900. This includes a £1000 donation from St James Place, and a £250 donation from Paddy Mcgranaghan, who kindly gave back his winnings from Anvil Arts to the fund. Proceeds will be divided between the Islay and Jura Sick Children’s Fund and the RNLI, A huge thank you goes out to Bowmore and Port Ellen Harbour Associations for allowing us to use the piers, and to all our sponsors for their very generous prize donations: Gus Newman from Stormcats, Ross Heads from Anvil Arts, Bruichladdich, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Bowmore, Ardbeg, Bunnahabhain distilleries, Jane Mitchell from An Gleann Tablet, Islay Ales, The Bank of Scotland, The Port Charlotte Hotel, Ian Laurie, Minty, Jimmy Cambell, and ‘Boat Fishing’ Magazine.

Also, many thanks to Marie and Yvonne from RNLI for providing soup and rolls, Ellen Brown from Port Ellen Playing Field Association for the bar, Douglas and Dougald for the music, and Neil Campbell and Linda Peatrie for the burger stand. Gus would also like to thank the Tope Fishing Committee for all their help throughout the year in organising the event: Bertie, Ian, Minty, and to Karen for her help on the day. A very special thank you goes out to Jane for all her help over the last three years. She’s leaving to pastures new, will be sadly missed, and we wish her all the very best with her new ventures. Thanks to everyone who took part, making it a great weekend, and we look forward to the next one!

Prize winners: Heaviest Tope – Millie Mitchell (£500 from Stormcats) (ron: well done!! Congratulations!!)
Second Heaviest – Ian Mitchell (Bottle of Laphroaig)
Third Heaviest – Donnie Stevenson (Bottle of Bunnahabhain)
Fourth Heaviest – Mark Tulley (Bottle of Bowmore) Fifth Heaviest – Stefan Robertson (£50 voucher from the Bank of Scotland, plus Rod & Reel from Stormcats.)
Sixth Heaviest – Ian Mitchell (Bottle of Ardbeg) Biggest Bag - Paddy McGranaghan  (£250 from Anvil Arts)
Most Unusual Fish – Ann Gredley  (£50, plus Tablet from An Gleann)
Fish caught closest to respective distilleries: Bruichladdich – Mark Tulley  (6 bottles of Bruichladdich waves)
Lagavulin – Gordon McAffer (bottle of Lagavulin)
Biggest tope caught by a female – Millie Mitchell, (£100 from Ardbeg)
Heaviest bag caught by a female – Anne Gredley, (£50 from Islay Ales)
Heaviest tope caught by a junior – Millie Mitchell (£150 from Stormcats)
Biggest fish caught by a boy – Stewart Aitken  (£50 from Bank of Scotland)
Biggest fish caught by a girl – Millie Mitchell (Rod & Reel, from Minty)
Heaviest bag caught by a boy – Stewart Aitken (Rod & Reel from Stormcats)
Heaviest bag caught by a girl – Millie Mitchell (£50 from Bank of Scotland)
Winner of entrants draw, dinner at Port Charlotte Hotel for two – Dave from County Durham

Story published with kind permission of the Ileach

Below a video made by Stormcats where you can see Gus Newman in action when he catches a Tope

Tag: tope fishing stormcats video

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