Angling: Heatwave forces cancellation of two major fishing competitions

Organisers have been forced to postpone two major competitions due to the soaring temperatures and the current state of the Forth and Clyde canal.

By Nigel Duncan
Saturday, 24th July 2021, 4:55 am
The Forth and Clyde Canal has been ruled unfishable due to weed growth caused by a combination of the long, hot, dry period and a lack of boat movement. Picture: Michael Gillen
The Forth and Clyde Canal has been ruled unfishable due to weed growth caused by a combination of the long, hot, dry period and a lack of boat movement. Picture: Michael Gillen

Gus Brindle said he looked at the water in midweek and ruled the canal was unfishable due to weed growth caused by a combination of the long, hot, dry period and a lack of boat movement.

Scottish Canals are, he said, taking their weed boat through the area in the next few days but Fife-based Brindle, chairman of the Scottish Federation of Coarse Anglers (SFCA), said that would not have give the organising team enough time to prepare pegs for the scheduled date on Saturday, July 31.

The competitions on hold are the AT & CRT Canal Pairs Qualifier and Scottish Canal Championships, hosted by (SFCA) and they were due be held at the Stables, Kirkintilloch. No provisional date has yet been set.

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Stuart McKee with two six-pound pollocks caught aboard an Aquamarine Charter out of Eyemouth this week. Pic: Aquamarine Charters

Anglers who intended to fish, either as a pair or as an individual, should look at the SFCA Facebook page for further updates.

For reference, the entry fee for the pairs qualifier was £20 per head and SFCA members will have £5 of their annual membership refunded. There will be an optional £10 pool payment per competitor payable on the day.

Brindle said it is planned to peg both sides of the bridge when the competition is run and the pairs final is on Saturday, October 16 on Shropshire Union Canal at Soudley.

Elsewhere, Brian Docherty is the Scottish Veterans coarse angling champion thanks to a runaway win on Ellie's Pond at Springwater Fishery.

He netted 37lb 8oz in the match with Gordon Woods second on 15lb 12oz and Tommy Lauriston third on 15lb 5oz.

Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling Club host the next round of their Summer Series at Orchill near Auchterarder today.

On to fly fishing and West Lothian Angling Association have a new lease following talks with Crown Estate Scotland and the new agreement includes the right-hand bank upstream from Newbridge Industrial Estate, the left-hand bank upstream of Illieston and all tributaries including Breich, Killandean/West Calder Burn/Harwood Water, Murieston and Linhouse and the main stem up to Harthill.

Secretary Scot Muir said: "The WLAA permit therefore now covers all these areas."

He stressed that there was no migratory fishing above the canal feeder aqueduct at Almondell Country Park and added: "We have not had a chance to approach local landowners to discuss any access (for the new lease areas) so please be respectful. If you encounter any problems please email [email protected]"

Muir added: "With the river temperatures being so high I would ask members to consider carefully whether they need to fish at the moment due to the stress that the fish are under because of the elevated temperature."

A number of fisheries have been closed due to high temperatures. One of them is Allandale Tarn at West Calder who hope to re-open again on Monday, July 26, if the water temperature at the popular fishery goes down.

Owner Iona Allan decided to shut the fishery this week because of oxygen levels after looking at the temperature predictions for this week.

She added: " They looked well into the 20's again. The PH of the spring fed waters are superb for these conditions however the water surface temperature has been steadily increasing so we'll give the fish a well-deserved break.

"All going to plan, we will re-open a week on Monday, that is the 26th."

Glencorse Reservoir intend to re-open today (SAT) after being closed since last Sunday. Owner Bill Taylor said the temperature was 21C a metre down when he tested it last weekend which prompted him to stop fishing.

Tweeddale Millennium near Gifford, however, remains open and they host the last round of their Summer Competition on Sunday and you can still enter. The qualifiers go through to the final on August 1 and there are cash prizes. The water continues to fish well according to owner John Jackson with dries and buzzers working.

Loganlea in the Pentlands is open and either static dries or wet flies have been working and Bowden Springs at Linlithgow is still functioning as is Rosslynlee near Penicuik who have had extensive weed clearance work done this week.

Markle in East Lothian and Harlaw above Balerno are both operating but fishing is hard and boats are available at Linlithgow Loch where the fish have been going deep.

Tom Lambert, the secretary, said dry flies have been working. Anglers have opted for midge tip lines with diawl back and buzzers - blue especially - profitable along with cormorant and damsel patters, particularly with a silver or gold flash.

Over to sea fishing now and the next Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers match on August 7 at Monreith will be a closed event to individual members only. Registration is from 1pm to 1.30pm and fishing from 2.30pm to 7.30pm.

The peg draw will be done night before and the entry fee is £15.

Tayside-based Kevin Lewis won the East Fife Shore Angling Club's Summer Open which attracted 53 entrants including several from the Lothians.

Lewis landed eight fish for 15lb 11oz with Alan Combe second with four fish for 10lb 10oz and Simon Hogan third with five fish for 9lb 7oz.

Combe also landed the heaviest cod at 4lb 10oz and an organiser said: "Unfortunately, it was poor fishing all round. Hopefully, it will improve for next year's event."

Locally, Jimmy Green leads the race for the Summer League title with the Bass Rock Shore Angling League after five legs with three remaining.

The Musselburgh angler has 26 points, two ahead of Alan Brown with James Ogilvie third on 20 points. He won the fifth leg fishing at Dunbar Harbour where he landed two fish for 3lb 12oz. Alan Brown was second with one fish weighing 1lb 4oz.

Simon Swift is fourth with 14 points while Barry McEwan has four points in fifth position with the next leg due on July 28 and the venue should be confirmed on Sunday on the club's Facebook page.

In Eyemouth, Derek Anderson, skipper with Aquamarine Charters, said the fishing recently had been mixed with good and bad days.