Angling: Arrival of mackerel on east coast adds to already stellar sport

Alex Keenan aged 80 and a regular on board Sagittatius shows one of his haul of cod. Pic: Nigel Duncan Media
Alex Keenan aged 80 and a regular on board Sagittatius shows one of his haul of cod. Pic: Nigel Duncan Media
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Social media has been buzzing with news of the arrival of mackerel to the Forth Estuary.

Fishermen on the Fife coast – some using kayaks – and into Edinburgh have noted activity.

Mackerel flesh is high in omega-3 oils and millions of tons are landed by commercial fishermen.

Sport anglers value the fighting qualities of the species, which have vertical stripes on their backs and deeply-forked tails.

I joined a boat run by Aquamarine Charters off Eyemouth and my three feathers were all covered by lively mackerel on my first cast off Burnmouth.

Other anglers onboard were also quickly into these darting, hard-fighting fish which, when hooked, provide great sport for all ages.

However, because they are easy to hook they provide delight for youngsters who may be new to the sport and need a lift.

That’s why taking a charter, where there are fellow anglers around to assist, and which are run by experienced fishermen, are so popular.

Rods, loaded with suitable line and feathers, were provided on-board Sagittatius and my bag eventually included mackerel and cod, both tempted by the colourful red, yellow and white feathers.

The company run charters subject to numbers and some of my fellow anglers, some of whom came from as far away as Denny in Stirlinghsire, preferred using frozen sand eels and mackerel.

Several hooked into cod, including Glaswegian John Williamson, one of several pensioners on board. He used a white Sidewinder rubber lure to claim several nice cod.

Our skipper was the genial Ronnie Marshall. He is local to Eyemouth and knows the water like the back of his hand.

Ronnie is a former trawler skipper and he even provided a demonstration on-board on how to gut the fish once caught.

Pan-fried mackerel, incidentally, take three minutes to cook skin side down in olive oil (depending on the thickness of the fish) and once done, turn them over for a minute or so off the heat then serve.

Aquamarine are one of a number of firms housed at East Coast ports and names include Bee Cool, also from Eyemouth, and Andara II operated by Trevor Springford out of Dunbar.

He reported that anglers were landing plenty of cod and he added: “Mackerel have become more plentiful and some reasonable ling have also been caught.

“Sidewinders are still going well, but fresh bait takes a lot of beating.”

Now, to fly fishing and Bowden Springs fishery boss Jim Gargaro reported that lots of damsels have been seen on the water and damsel patterns and buzzers have been catching.

Notable catches have included Raymond Clark from Glasgow with three rainbow trout for 9 lbs4oz all caught on a size 14 black spider on a floating line.

Angling newcomer Alan Rennie also from Glasgow had two fine fish for 7lbs 4oz with the best at 4lbs 4oz.

Bowden’s bait loch has also been fishing well, with worm on a float working well for several anglers.

John Grieve from Falkirk caught five 14lbs 8oz on deep fished power and the fish of the week was caught by Chris Sorley from Maddison of 6lbs 4oz on ledgered power bait.

Remember, Fraser Thomson at Pottishaw near Whitburn is offering free fishing plus tuition on a Friday from 1pm to 4pm during the school holidays. Ring Pottishaw to register an interest.