Angler Joanne Barlow set for Scotland debut just seven weeks after Dundee car crash

Joanne Barlow makes her international sea fishing debut for Scotland only seven weeks after being bruised and battered in a car accident in Dundee.

Joanne Barlow (fourth from left) with the Scotland ladies fishing team in the Tay Estuary near Dundee during a training session
Joanne Barlow (fourth from left) with the Scotland ladies fishing team in the Tay Estuary near Dundee during a training session

The Brighton-based captain of Scotland's ladies carp fishing team suffered sternum and muscle damage in the incident near Dundee train station as she was making the trip home from Tayside after a training weekend with Scotland in the Tay Estuary.

And she only returned to beach fishing last week.

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The 57-year-old admitted that it has been a tough rehabilitation and she continues to build her strength by cycling around her home on the South Coast.

Chris Empson at Musselburgh beach. Picture by Nigel Duncan

The injury prevented the Australian-born angler from making a trip to Weymouth - 124 miles one way - to have a cast, but she joined the five-strong team, which has a mixture of new recruits and experience, who assembled yesterday (FRI) at Weymouth ahead of three days of practice on the match beach.

There is a rest day on Monday when the opening ceremony for the shore championship will be held ahead of the two-day competition on Tuesday and Wednesday. The closing ceremony is on Thursday.

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Barlow, who qualifies as her mother is Scottish, said: "It has taken a long time to recover from the crash. I'm not 100 per cent, but close to that and I've been out this week on my local beach trying different things.

"I've spent my recovery time building rigs to use during the competition and I really did not expect to be doing this a few months ago. I've had to buy everything, rods, reels, tripod, terminal tackle, the lot.

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"Yes, it's been expensive, but it has been an exciting journey and I am so pleased to be part of such a good group. The five girls all get on so well and the support from our manager, Kevin Lewis, and Philip Pape (cor), his assistant, has been so good."

Buffy McAvoy from Edinburgh and Barlow are the novices in the team with Gill Coutts from Largs, who is a regular competitor in mixed events in Scotland, plus Lesley Maby from Penrith, Cumbria, the experienced anglers, with Karena Duffy, based at Egremont, Cumbria, having fished in two competitions before.

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The women fish alone in special zones alongside their English, Welsh and Irish rivals, and the team manager is the only person allowed into that zone. No mobile communication is allowed.

Barlow added: "The match is between 10am and 2pm on both days and so there is not a lot of margin for error and our manager could be the busiest member of the team as he walks the beach and advise. It is a big beach."

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Meanwhile, Chris Empson (cor) continued his preparations for the men's Home International at Weymouth by taking part in round six of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League at Fisherrow Beach at Musselburgh.

The 36-year-old was one of only two anglers to catch on a tricky night and the Dunbar-based fisherman is one of two Lothians-based members of the five-strong team. The other is Barry McEwan from Port Seaton who is also a member of the club.

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Empson, a joiner, has never been to Weymouth before but said: "I've been out fishing as often as I can in the build-up, trying different things and different techniques.

"I've also been preparing rigs. The big factor is the weather. It changes the way you fish and the species we will be trying to catch down there are different to those here so there is a lot to learn.

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"The practice days will help us and the boys in the team will share information ahead of the match but I'm really looking forward to making my Scotland debut in a major competition. We'll see what happens." Scotland are sponsored by Ultima.

Scotland's junior team is also on duty at Weymouth. They travel on Monday to save costs and team manager, Lindsay Wilson, said they have been practising hard in Scotland.

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The youngest member is Jay Stoker aged nine from New Abbey in Dumfries and two other members of the family, Abbey and Holly, are also in the pool along with Scott Henderson from Cupar, Callum Strang from Wishaw and Callum Brown from Ayr. Wilson said: "They can all catch fish and the future looks bright for Scotland with this group."

Back home, Stewart and Alan's popular Summer Sweepstake is on Sunday (July 3) from 9am to 2pm with the boundaries from Carnoustie to Auchmithie, three miles north of Arbroath, and registration is at the Victoria Park, Arbroath, between 7.45am and 8am. Weigh in is 3pm sharp.

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Inquiries to Stewart on 07759 379978 or Alan on 07872 899791.

Derek Anderson of Aquamarine Charters confirmed that the mackerel are in with feathers doing the business. Squid has proved a good bait bet for cod and he is now running midweek trips if he has the numbers. Ring 07860 804316 for details.

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Meanwhile, Markle in East Lothian has been fishing well, particularly early morning and in the evening when there have been great rises, with daddies, hoppers and buzzers producing. Bags of seven or eight have been recorded.

Nearby, foam beetles and CDC have been doing damage at Tweeddale Millennium near Gifford despite the wind, with brown trout prominent among fish recently recorded.

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Glencorse in The Pentland Hills has been producing big numbers. David McAdam and his partner recorded 30 to the boat, all on dry flies, including a few nice browns.

Nearby Loganlea are hosting evening sessions on Wednesday during July. Book on 01968 676329 or 07412 079031 after 5pm.

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There has been good sport at Harlaw Reservoir with G P Goh (cor) into double-figures, also on dries.

Cobbinshaw near West Calder host their open day on Sunday, July 3 (11am to 5pm) when anglers can see the facilities and fish for three hours free as a guest on a catch and release basis.

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Bowden Springs near Linlithgow has been busy with Mr Johnstone landing three including a 14lb trout on buzzer and lures and Mr Raeburn hooking into seven fish, best of 11lb, on black rabbit on an intermediate line.

Ggood catches have been reported at Linlithgow Loch with Nigel Muckle returning eight using a Di3 with diawl bach and crunchers. Ian McLaren and his boat partner had 14 fish. Small flies were best.

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Black Loch near Falkirk report 58 rods out last week, including several fishing from the bank, and favourite fly patterns included buzzers, damsels, sedges. Dry flies were also catching. Night fishing has now started, but you need to book on 07527 254811.

One angler on an outing with the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland landed a pike at over 21lb despite testing, windy conditions.

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Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling Club host round seven of their Summer League at Orchill near Auchterarder today (SAT). Scott McGhee has a healthy lead in the table with Darrin Ferguson second and Mark Gleave third with Tommy Lauriston fourth.

Finally, Drumtassie Coarse Fishery near Blackridge continues to produce and Istvan Varga (cor) tempting a carp of 20lb 12oz during a 48-hour session which was bettered by David Smith with a 25lb and 21lb common carp during an overnighter and Christopher Reilly tempted one of over 20lb, a personal best.