Fishing: Accessible angling helps Kenneth land monster rainbow trout

Kenneth Harper can be seen bankside fishing at four days a week, come rain, hail, sun or strong winds. Nothing odd in that, you may think, as many anglers clock the hours in winter, spring, summer and autumn.
Kenneth Harper pictured at Drumtassie. (Picture: Nigel Duncan)Kenneth Harper pictured at Drumtassie. (Picture: Nigel Duncan)
Kenneth Harper pictured at Drumtassie. (Picture: Nigel Duncan)

However, the former long-distance trucker, who used to drive throughout Europe, is only able to pursue his passion from a motorised wheelchair.Sadly, Edinburgh-born Kenneth suffered severe spinal problems, but he remains cheerful, believing that fishing provides his relief from his physical problems, and the Rosyth-based fisherman recommends angling as a therapy for others who go about their daily lives with the aid of a wheelchair.Recently, he landed a 14lb 7oz rainbow trout at Drumtassie Fishery near Blackridge, the second biggest trout in his angling career which stretches back to when he was a youngster.Then, he used to fish Duddingston Loch in Edinburgh catching perch, travelling there from the family home in Drummond Street. Later in his angling career he also used to fish Lake of Menteith and other top venues.Now, he seeks fisheries which allow easy access, a must for wheelchair users, and that's where Drumtassie fits in. Kenneth and his wife Linda leave home at around 8.30am and head for Blackridge. They head home at around 4.30pm and then Kenneth gets out his vice and fly-tying gear to work on more flies to tempt more fish.Other venues can accommodate disabled anglers, but Drumtassie is flat and the car park is only yards away from two fly lochs. What's more, since he has been coming he has made countless friends.Everybody knows Kenneth and those bonds come in handy. The angler explained: "When I hooked into the big fish recently other anglers sensed I was in a little difficulty because of the sheer pulling power of the fish."Chris Mulholland came round to help as did Richard Gray and they netted the fish for me. It was a great fighter, but not my biggest fish. That was around 17lb and it was also caught at Drumtassie two years ago."That took me around 12 minutes to net while the latest one took about 15, it was some fish. It raced away about 100-yards down the fishery and I did not have much backing line left on my reel when I was able to turn it."That was a memorable day, but why does he fish? He said: "I get peace and tranquility and I'm among friends, that's a precious commodity these days, and I would urge anybody who is in a wheelchair to consider angling as a hobby."You can get a fly fishing kit for £60 and either buy flies on the internet or make them as I do. I only got into that side of the sport recently, but it's a great hobby."Being in a wheelchair does inhibit casting a fly line, but resourceful Kenneth has devised a way to get his home-made flies out there to tempt the fish on a regular basis.Elsewhere, bosses of the Black Loch near Falkirk say their water clarity currently is excellent. There were 29 boats in the water in the past week, with 42 rods, 13 fish kept and 203 returned. Favourite fly patterns included cat’s whisker, Ally McCoist, diawl bach, blobs, buzzers, Kate McLaren and black and green lures.At the Lake of Menteith, the Fario Boat League starts at 6pm on Wednesday, May 11 with new members welcomed. Boat partners are randomly allocated and organisers say it is a great way to meet people and learn.Fishing has seen some great catches in terms of numbers and fish quality. Buzzers on a sink tip washing line-style have produced the biggest catches in The Butts, Lochend and Roadshore areas and also out in the middle in areas of the eastern basin and east of The Gap.Scottish Ladies fly-fishing team host trials at Harelaw near Neilston, Glasgow, on Sunday, June 19 (9am to 16.30) and Lake of Menteith on August 28 (9.30am to 17.30) and the top 13 will comprise the team and a reserve. Entries close on May 9.Another two dates for your diary are a Ladies Open Day on Sunday, July 10 at Burnhouse Lochan Fishery, Bonnybridge and the ladies AGM on Sunday, December 4 (2pm) at the King Robert Hotel, Stirling.This year's Home International is on Thursday, May 26 at Lake of Menteith and the organisers are still looking for nine boatmen who receive £70 for the day. Contact Sheila Mannion via Facebook. More information is on Springs bosses re-stocked this week and report Scott Morton hooked into eight trout, including a 12.5lb rainbow. Paul Dancer also checked in with eight while Andy Peaston had five including a best of 8.5lb. His son Lachlan recorded three including a 6lb brown trout while K.Gibb had six including an 8lb trout and R.Forsyth four with a best of 7lb.There has also been good sport at Allandale Tarn near West Calder and boss Iona Allan suggests anglers set-up a floating line with foam beetles, black and yellow smokers, Klinkhammer, black midge, Griffith's Gnat, tiny black CDC, yellow owl, white Eggstacy worms or white squirmy wormy working well.Near Balerno, Robert Ross had a great session at Harlaw with 15 netted and Ronnie Robinson had ten with Willy Kelly and Les Williams having eight and six respectively with buzzer, damsel and black and green lures working well.At Rosslynlee, the Scottish Power Galashiels angling section held their first monthly competition and enjoyed "stunning fishing", their words. They kept nine trout for 28lb.Recently-opened coarse angling ponds at Drumtassie continue to produce good reviews and Allandale anglers have enjoyed sport on the float with bait around 18 inches deep with Powerbait, sweet corn and grubs working.The Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling Club host the second leg of their Summer League at Alex's Pond in Orchil Fishery near Auchterarder on Saturday.

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