Fishing: 200 anglers to chase the massive £1,250 top award

The annual St Serfs Xmas Open, which features what is believed to be Scotland's biggest sea fishing prize, is on next weekend and nearly 200 anglers are expected to chase the massive £1,250 top award.

The angler who hooks into the heaviest cod receives a competition record prize and the heaviest bag prizes go down to tenth position in the field which is expected to be well over 150 strong.

What's more, the heaviest fish prize goes down to fourth position and all junior entrants receive a prize.

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Sports accessory wholesaler, Sonik Sports from Blyth, Northumberland, are assisting with the prizes in the 24th running of the event which this year falls on Sunday, December 18.

Colin Hay with a 13lb cod from near Crail.

Anglers from as far afield as Northumberland and Cumbria and others from Aberdeen have already been in touch to register an interest and a strong contingent from the Lothians is expected.

Anglers can only register on the day at Anstruther Golf club from 9.00am to 11.30am with fishing from noon to 6pm. Tackle and bait will be available on the day from local tackle dealer, Deals on Reels from Cowdenbeath, who will have their regular stall in the golf club. The weigh-in is back at Anstruther Golf Club from 6pm to 7pm.

This prestige event is in the Penn Sea League and George Harris, St Serfs secretary, confirmed that it is 26 years since the popular annual event started. They missed two years because of COVID-19.

St Serfs is a Kirkcaldy-based club with 22 members and Mr Harris said: "It's been the same few members who have organised this event since it started. Our chairman, Rab Kelly, and the rest of the committee have contributed enormously to the success of the competition over the years.

Chris Empson with a skate.

Mr Harris added: "There has been a lot of interest since the poster went out with telephone calls from people in Aberdeen and the North-East of England, including South Shields and Newcastle, but I stress to all that there is no pre-registration. you can only register on the day at Anstruther Golf Club.

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"Fishing is over an area of coastline from St Monance to St Andrews which must be 15 miles. People do decide to fish piers and harbours, but most entrants have their own marks which they have worked out down the years. Many are on rocks so they can target gullies where fish tend to congregate.

"You don't have to be a champion caster and don't have to cast far. Some of the fish are only yards from the shore and the competition is held at a time when sea fishing is normally at its best in the East of Scotland.

"November through December and into January is considered to be the best time to fish this coastline and we expect to have some top anglers, including members of international teams, taking part.

James Dornom
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"Guys from local clubs in the Forth Estuary, like the Bass Rock from East Lothian, and the East Fife club, are regulars here and as it is a Rover event people can pick and choose their own mark. Bait is up to the angler and the North-East of England boys sometimes prefer to use crab wings.

"However, lugworm and mackerel is popular and others prefer a cocktail of frozen baits like squid, peeler crab, mussels etc. The fish will tell you which baits they like on the day and much depends on the conditions. Some of the fish are within ten yards of the shore, it just depends on your luck.

Meanwhile, 25 anglers fished the third leg of the Edinburgh Winter Shore League at Newhaven and 170 fish were counted including whiting, dabs, codling and flounder.

Ian Campbell, the organiser, said that due to the colour of the water the fishing was not quite as hectic as during the second-leg at the same venue but there were still plenty of fish around to keep the anglers busy.

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Anglers from Falkirk and as far afield as Arbroath took part and Gordon Lyall topped the list with 18 fish while Chris Cooper was second on 16 fish and Stevie Souter third with 15 fish. The longest fish was shared between Lyall and Chris Anderson and it was 23cm.

David Cooper from Edinburgh leads the series with 21 points and Chris Cooper is second on 16 with Mike Kyle from Midlothian third on 15 points.

Steven Barrett is fourth on 13 points with Lyall next on 12 points with Stevie Burns and Campbell sixth with 11 points, Stevie Souter and Chris Barrett on nine points and Ryan Venters on eight.

Campbell said: "Only three legs have been fished and an anglers best five results will count so there is still plenty of time to get in the top places for a chance to win the sponsored prizes and vouchers to spend at Edinburgh Angling Centre of the Fishing Megastore.

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The fourth leg of the eight-match series will be back at Portobello Beach on Friday, December 9. That was the venue for leg one.

Registration will be between 6.15pm and 6.30pm at Tumbles Car Park, Westbank Street, Edinburgh EH15 1DR with fishing from 7pm to 10pm. Campbell is taking names now.

Elsewhere, Mike and Chris' popular cod league is back and it starts on Saturday, December 3, If you wish to enter contact Chris on 07872 944807 for more details.

The boundaries are from Carnoustie to Ferryden Lighthouse and entry is £10 payable on the day or before the event.

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Fishing is from 14.00 to 19.00 and registration is at the Victoria Car Park at Arbroath with all departing at 12.00. The other dates are January 14 and 21 and February 4 and 11 and the weigh-in is back at the Victoria Car Park one hour after the end of the match. Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers rules apply here.

Elsewhere, Scottish international Chris Empson (Dunbar) won the fourth leg of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League's winter session with four fish for 13lb 4oz. There was a good sea running and light southerly wind.

His international colleague, Barry McEwan (Port Seton) was second with two fish for 5lb 15oz and Shaun Gardner (North Berwick) was third with two fish for 2lb 8oz.

Haddington angler James Ogilvie was fourth with one fish weighing 1lb 14oz. McEwan had the biggest fish, a 4lb 7oz specimen and the next round is on Wednesday, December 7. The venue has not yet been confirmed but see the club's Facebook page over the weekend.

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Gardner leads the title race with 25 points with McEwan second on 14 along with Empson and Ogilvie with eight legs left in the series.

Finally, the second round of the Magiscroft Silver Series is on Sunday, December 4, with some big names from the Scotland international team including James Woodrow and Colin Hart plus James Dornom from Currie along with Gus Brindle, the international team manager from Dunfermline. The competition is closed and the draw is at 8.30am, the all-in is at 10.15am with fishing to 3.15pm.