Campbell eyes win in his own tournament

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The Edinburgh New Year Angling League moves into its final stage, information on sea fishing from boats around the Forth and the latest results from the Scottish Stillwater Championship

Ian Campbell, organiser of the popular Edinburgh New Year Shore Angling League, could win the event having moved up the table into a challenging position with one round remaining.

That is next Friday at Newhaven and Falkirk-based Campbell has 30 points gathered from the six previous rounds, a total boosted by a win in the penultimate leg.

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He landed seven fish for 211 points while current leader, Mike Kyle, had six fish for 203 points and Lindsay Bell (Edinburgh) had five fish for 150 points on a difficult night at Newhaven.

Edinburgh New Year Angling League organiser Ian Campbell at Granton HarbourEdinburgh New Year Angling League organiser Ian Campbell at Granton Harbour
Edinburgh New Year Angling League organiser Ian Campbell at Granton Harbour

The easterly wind put off the usual whiting and dabs and most anglers switched to targeting cod. A total of 36 fish were hooked by the 17 anglers who took part and the longest fish was a 40cm codling tempted by Chris Cooper. He was fourth on the night with four fish for 143 points.

Lyle from Easthouses leads the chase with 36 points while Gordon Lyall (Edinburgh) is third on 27.

Next Friday (March 22) sees the final match in the series sponsored by The Edinburgh Angling Centre, The Fishing Megastore and Cox and Rawle and Campbell said: "It is mathematically possible that I can win but, probably, there is too much to make up. I'll be trying though."

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Meanwhile, skippers around the Firth of Forth and further afield are beginning to receiving bookings for chartered sea angling trips.

Anglers show their catches in the Forth on a East Neuk charter from AnstrutherAnglers show their catches in the Forth on a East Neuk charter from Anstruther
Anglers show their catches in the Forth on a East Neuk charter from Anstruther

Aspire skipper Iain Gatherum is one of them along with being among the most experienced. He runs Sea Angling Trips East Neuk and Gatherum and has been taking charters fishing for 40 years off the Fife coast.

The days when he was fully booked by clubs are gone but he still takes up to eight independent anglers on two, four and six-hour trips from Arnstruther.

Trips run from May to October but the skipper stressed that his outings and where he fishes are weather dependent.

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Codling is one of his main target species and the most popular time of the season for anglers comes when mackerel make an appearance in the Forth.

Gatherum confirmed that an angler hooked into a porbeagle shark last year, the first time in four decades that has happened, and he stressed that anglers should bring their own ice if they intend to keep their catch fresh. There is no catering on-board and he does not have a toilet.

Fishermen board the catamaran via a pontoon in Anstruther Harbour and his normal ares of operation is to the fishing grounds from Elie to Kingsbarns, including the Isle of May, around 8km off the coast.

Lugworm is, he suggested, the best bait and it is preferable to have it fresh, not frozen. He has rods and reels available for rent but the skipper encourages anglers to bring their own gear and lead sinkers and the cost of a charter is £150 for two hours, £200 for three hours and £320 for six hours.

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Still in Fife, Forth Sea Safaris ran mackerel fishing trips from East Dock, Burnisland, last year and can carry up to 12 passengers. They are equipped with the latest navigation and safety systems and they can supply waterproofs if needed.

Over the Forth to Dunbar and Andara II has been based in the East Lothian harbour since 2010 and is licensed for six anglers. Skipper Trevor Springford operates within a 20-mile radius from May to October and he is equipped with all the necessary safety equipment.

Further south, Eyemouth-based skipper Derek Anderson operates, weather permitting, throughout the year and coalfish and ling are among the main species he targets with mackerel and bass the focus during the summer.

He operates MV Sagittarius, a catamaran, with a roomy deck almost five meters wide with an island wheelhouse. It is ten metres long and trips can be booked by groups and individuals. They can last up to six hours.

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The boat has a toilet and tea and coffee facilities. Equipment can be hired and the skipper has a small selection of hooks, weights and lures onboard.

On to fly fishing and John Donaldson from Cockenzie won the latest heat of the Scottish Stillwater Championship held at Millhall near Polmont with 21 fish for 28 points.

Chris Mulholland (Falkirk) was second with 23 fish and Greg Hogan (Falkirk) third with 19 fish. His first arrived two minutes after the start and two minutes before Mulholland hooked his.

Other qualifers were David Harrington (Uphall Station) with 12 fish, he was in the gold medal winning team last year. William Brownlie (Falkirk), John Carroll (Kilmarnock), Callum Sharp (Fife) and Graham Baird (Darvel) also made the semi-final and Baird qualified by catching his first fish one minute before the ninth placed angler.

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A Raemoir the qualifiers were Scott Robertson (Fife) (11 fish), Colin Moffat (Forres) (8), Steve Craig (Strichen) (7), Neil Smith (5), Norman Fletcher (4), Alan Patterson (3), Tommy Graham (3) (all Aberdeen) and Ben Bosch (2) (Carnoustie). The final heat is at Drumtassie near Blackridge on Sunday, March 17.

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