Fishing: Course angling chief wants to hear concerns

If you fish the Union Canal and Forth and Clyde Canal regularly then the Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling (SFCA) wants to hear from you and the request follows talks with bosses of Scottish Canals to discuss concerns raised about fishing on the Lowland waterways.

Gus Brindle, the Dunfermline-based chairman of the SFCA, recently met Richard Miller, chief operating officer for Scottish Canals, and revealed that the organisation share many of the same concerns as fishermen, including the removal and killing of fish.

Brindle added: "They (Scottish Canals) are keen to try to find ways to improve angling participation and the fishing experience on the canals. Some items are easier to address than others, like improving access by cutting back bank-side vegetation and continuing with the enhanced weed cutting program that has taken place this year.

"Other things might take a bit longer and will require engagement with other user groups/organisations such as developing codes of conduct for all groups that use the towpath, installing measures to slow cyclists and developing and implementing a licensing scheme for magnet fishing."

Picture 2: The Forth and Clyde Canal.

Brindle intends walking sections with anglers who come forward to discuss issues and potential solutions and the chairman added: "In particular, we are looking to identify specific locations with good access and parking where we could establish coaching areas to try to introduce more youngsters to our sport.

"We are particularly looking for individuals out to the West of Glasgow and out to Bowling and also on the Union Canal. If you fish the canal regularly and would be able to help with this please get in touch."

The chairman said a major concern for fishermen is predation and illegal fish removal along with building stock restoration into any regeneration plans.

Brindle said: "On the matter of educating and deterring individuals from killing and removing fish, it was agreed that the situation had got worse since the end of the funding for the Canalside Ranger post."

The Forth and Clyde Canal.

Both organisations will work together to try to reinstate the post and Brindle said there was also agreement on the need to move fish back into sections of the canals once work has been completed.

Stock restoration and enhancement was hugely-expensive, he added, but he revealed that Scottish Canals have plans to try to restore the Union Canal to its original depth over the next few years through a dredging program.

Meanwhile, Scotland's ladies carp team recently met for 42-hours of fishing and coaching at Wyreside Lakes near Lancaster, their hew home base.

Captain Joanne Barlow said: "Our coach Callum worked with each of us on the skills of feature finding, markering, and feeling the drop, followed by casting tips. The team worked hard, enjoyed the coaching, learnt so much and all added quite a few yards onto our casting. As a team we also worked on rigs and bait presentations.

Union Canal at Hermiston. By Nigel Duncan

"Alongside the hard work, we caught a few fish. Our team is growing so if you are interested in finding out more get in touch through our Facebook page, Carp Team Scotland Ladies."

Meanwhile, Quintin Glen, manager of Lake of Menteith, confirmed that pike fishing on the fly is possible again due to falling temperatures.

Of course, the Lake is also a premier fly fishing venue and the Scottish Open Fly Fishing Championship is there today (SAT) from 9am to 5pm. The event is catch and release and is run on international rules with barbless or debarbed hooks only. A total of 30 boats are booked.

Glen said that catch returns are improving and pair recorded 25 to the boat. He added: "We are starting to receive booking emails for next year which is appreciated although we cannot act on them until we have the main competition dates agreed. I am not sure when this will be but the sooner you get your dates in for next year the better."

At Linlithgow Loch, cormorant, buzzer, blobs, rabbit, FAB, boobies and yellow dancer patterns have proved successful with 56 rods out and 48 fish were kept with 64 returned.

Anglers commented on dropping fish and being snapped and Tom Lambert, secretary, confirmed that weeds are dying back and water clarity is good.

Nigel Muckle and his boat partner returned nine and Mike Boyle and his partner kept eight and returned ten while Ian Dobbie returned nine rainbows and Mr Buck returned eight. Bosses continue to stock regularly and boats are available on most days for a full day or 4-hour sessions. Call 01506 671753 or book online.

Sea fishing now and Scottish international Chris Empson (Dunbar) won the eighth round of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League's summer series with three fish for over 4lb.

Barry McEwan from Port Seton, who also made his Scottish debut this summer, was second with two fish for 2lb 3oz and Shaun Gardner (North Berwick) was third with a fish of 1lb 1oz. James Ogilvie (Haddington) was fourth and McEwan had the heaviest fish of 1lb 2oz with codling, wrasse and rockling hooked on the night.