Fishing: Falkirk footballer leading the line as top trout boss at Linlithgow Loch
Wilson Hoggan earned a reputation as being a resolute defender/midfielder for Falkirk Football Club. Now he's a pivotal man for a group of anglers who look after a leading trout fishery.
The man who graduated from Linlithgow Rose to senior football is in charge of stocking for the Forth Area Federation of Anglers who administer Linlithgow Loch, a popular water with fishermen from all over Central Scotland and even as far as Northumberland.
He forms part of a management team which has created a water with a sound reputation for quality fish and it re-opened on March 1 for the new season with good early season reports.
The 25-year-old organisation reports that bookings for boat and bank fishing are encouraging going forward and the hard-working committee plan to keep the fishery open until later October.
Their 20 boats and a Wheelyboat for disabled anglers are moored at a pontoon only yards from their well-appointed clubhouse which has a kitchen, toilets, including a disabled facility, storeroom, boardroom and office.
It sits near the sizeable Water Yett car park accessible from Linlithgow High Street and the current fishing hours are 9am to 4pm, seven days a week. Evening sessions are due once the clocks change.
Damsel, cormorant, cat's whisker, yellow dancer and Ally McCoist patterns along with Kate McLaren, red or green Montana nymph, cruncher and buzzer flies, traditionally work well.
Dry flies also catch including daddies, Ffly, CDC (brown), black spider and sedge and hare's ear nymphs have been known to tempt a resident rainbow or brown trout.
A leader of between 12ft and 15ft on a floating, sink tip or intermediate line is suggested and the usual is three flies on barbless hooks.
The boats all have anchors but anglers can use their own drogue and the pontoon is only 150 yards from the car park providing easy access.
Tom Lambert, the club secretary, confirmed that the record trout from the water is around 10lbs and the club re-stock regularly with fish of a minimum of 2.5lb with some up to 4lb. They use Borders-based Yarrow and Kindrochet near Crieff.
The water has an average depth of around 15ft however some channels can reach between 35ft and 40ft.
Popular areas include the Town Bay, Ponsonby Bay, Hatchery Bay while the North Bank, towards Bo'ness, provides bank fishing although anglers have a fair walk to get there. The tree-lined area can work well at the right time of the year.
Locals say the best time to fish is morning until 11am and then later as the temperature cools and a full day charge is £33 for one angler with a five fish kill ticket and £62 for two anglers sharing a boat on Monday to Thursday with the price rising to £34 and £64 on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Anglers preferring to catch and release pay £25 or £46 for a boat on Monday to Thursday and that price rises to £26 and £48 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Booking is recommended.
Life jackets are provided and youngsters over seven can fish with a parent and, for anglers who enjoy pike fishing, there are some big fish in the loch but you can only fish for them with a fly.
Meanwhile, Scottish Water were contacted by the Evening News after deep potholes were discovered driving to Loganlea in The Pentland Hills.
The response was: "“Scottish Water have a contractor engaged to carry out some repair works on the sections of road that is within its ownership. Any works required out with that would be the responsibility of the respective landowner.”
Loganlea reports that buzzers, bloodworm, hare's ear and lures are among patterns to have been tempting fish in tricky conditions due to the wind, while nearby Glencorse re-opens opens on March 19.
Clubbiedean above Colinton re-stocked this week and launched their boats. The reservoir is now open seven-days-a-week for day tickets from 9am to dusk and buzzers, yellow apps and olive rabbits have been tightening the lines of season ticket holders who have fished the water over the winter.
Allandale Tarn near West Calder re-opened on Friday, March 11 and at Bowden Springs near Linlithgow Gordon Reid tempted a 15lb trout with a yellow dancer om an intermediate line. Simon Jones netted a 12lb rainbow and owner Jim Gargaro confirmed that he re-stocked the fly pond this week with 20 double-figure trout.
Pottishaw near Whitburn hosted a fund-raiser for member Vince Manning who is taking part in the Big Battlefield Bike Ride in June and nearly 30 anglers took part, some from as far afield as Fife and the Borders. Several fine fish were landed.
Drumtassie bosses report that Bert Smith netted a 21lb trout and Kathleen Mallon a 15lb fish this week and the fishery's new coarse pond will open on Saturday, March 26.
Bosses stressed that the coarse fishery is a day ticket water but anglers who wish to fish overnight must pay a membership fee is £95. Anglers still have to pay for a day permit. More coarse fish were scheduled to be stocked into two of the three coarse ponds.
In Midlothian, Rosslynlee near Penicuik confirm they are open from 8am to 5pm until the end of March then their hours will change. Bosses remind anglers that they are currently cash only. Kevin Walkinshaw and Alf Ball were top rods last weekend with nine fish each. Kevin used eggs and Alf buzzers and damsels.
To East Lothian and Markle bosses have re-stocked all three lakes and egg and bloodworm under a bung, hot head and green and white lures have been tempting fish. One angler hooked 12 in one session.
Stenhouse at Burntisland on Sunday (March 13) hosts the second heat of this year's Scierra Pairs, one of Britain's top fly fishing competitions.
On to sea fishing and match two of the Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers league is at Riverside Drive, Dundee, on Sunday, April 3. It is a lugworm and mackerel only event with registration from 11.30am to noon and fishing from 13.00 to 18.00.
There is an 18cm size limit and anglers can only use two hooks. There is an upper limit of 60 anglers and a number of well-known Lothians anglers are already in the field.
Derek Anderson, skipper at Aquamarine Charters of Eyemouth will run charters, weather permitting, from Saturday, March 19. He has ten tons of frozen squid for sale in 10 kilo boxes for £12 a box to use as bait.