Fishing: James Dornom brings bronze back with Scotland coarse angling team
James Dornom travelled home from the two-day Sensas Challenge on the Gloucester Canal with a bronze medal from one of Britain's top coarse fishing matches in his pocket.
There were 39 teams on the bank, spread out over around eight miles, and the former Stewart's Melville College pupil was fishing alongside what he called "a Who's Who of world coarse angling" including, including world championship winners, and others who regularly present instructional angling videos on YouTube.
The self-employed builder was in the same team as James Woodrow (cor) from Cumbernauld who won the silver medal, losing out on weight to England international James Dent.
The other members of the five-strong squad were Gus Brindle, the interim Scotland team manager from Dunfermline, Dave McAuley from Wishaw and Colin Hart from Coatbridge.
They totalled 29 points to finish behind winners Drennan Barnsley B with 22 points and second-placed Drennan Barnsley A with 25 points, teams rated the best in the country by many and the 29-year-old from Midlothian has been a regular member of the Scotland international squad for several years.
The former West Lothian College student, who fishes mostly at Loch Ken and Broom lakes in Dumfries and Galloway, hopes that this significant success will put Scotland on the international map and spark a real surge in the country's fishing fortunes.
Dornom, who fished on one day only two pegs away from Will Raison, one of the most highly respected anglers in the sport, said: "The team has been together for some time and know each other on a personal as well as a fishing level.
"We've fished major event alongside top anglers down the years and have learned. That experience has has been a real benefit to us."
The angler said this event was far from being a holiday with an early start around 6am to prepare bait, moving gear to different pegs along the canal, team meetings, debriefs and he added: "You have to make sure that you have everything at the peg as there is no going back."
The weather was between 15c and 17c with blue skies throughout two days, fine for sunbathing but hard for anglers and the ten-man squad, split into Scotland A and Scotland B, shared information throughout. He said: "You had to be smart and adapt, but we're used to that as we've competed in big events before, so let's hope that this is the start of something big for Scotland."
Elsewhere, Drumtassie's new coarse angling ponds have opened with encouraging reviews from clients. One angler had 32 carp, 15 tench, four bream and a few rudd plus chubb and roach in his session.
Another had 25 carp, bream, tench and plenty of silvers while Thomas Norman landed a carp of 16lb 10oz. Bosses remind anglers that membership is available for night fishing. Day permits are from 8am to 7pm.
On to game fishing and Stenhouse at Burntisland have reported good numbers and so has Lake of Menteith where buzzers have proved the best method. Spots known as Kates Brae and Todhole plus The Butts have been producing.
Keith Logan landed 21 fish on a washing line type set-up on a Di3. Dries and lures have also been working with individuals recording double-figure catches.
Paul Hamer, manager at Black Loch near Falkirk, confirmed that Allan McGregor had 12 had eight and the St Peter’s Club from Paisley killed 21 fish and returned 25. Leslie and Glenrothes members hooked into 42 fish and one boat had 16 fish with damsels, buzzers, hoppers, cormorants and CDC proving the best.
At Linlithgow there have been 39 boats out with 63 fish kept and 161 fish were returned. Tom Lambert, secretary, said that the water being clearer is probably the reason for the good returns.Fast-Glass, Di3, Ghost Tip and midge tip lines with black/green lures, also, various coloured blobs, cats, cormorants and buzzers have been taking the most fish. The east end of the loch offered the heaviest fish. Lambert added: "Anglers are getting lots of tugs but losing a lot of fish but they are nipping flies and lures gently."
Nearby, at Bowden Springs, Robert Birrell had a fantastic day at Bowden Springs near Linlithgow with 21 fish to the net on cat's whisker and Jim Bryce had ten on black egg. Connor Robertson had a 13lb-er and Gordon Reid one of 12 with Nicky Capavanni a personal best of 11lb.
Over 600 fish were caught at Pottishaw with overwintered brown trout among them. Owner Fraser Thomson said patterns haven't been that important and fish have been tempted on everything from size 14 buzzers to three-inch black snake.
Allandale Tarn near West Calder report that 90 per cent of their activity is top-of-the-water. Floating lines with patterns including yellow owl, fly and midge patterns have been producing fine fish, with brown trout among them.
Harlaw opened on April 1 and Robert Ross, the company secretary at Malleny Angling, said: "Choices of fly in the first weeks of the season are likely to be black such as viva, dancer, Ace of Spades tied on traditional size 10 hook. In bright sun, a small yellow dancer will work. Buzzers will also work well. A sink tip line would be a good choice for the start of the season when kamikaze rainbows at are less fussy about the pattern."
Ross urged anglers to observe the kill limit as bag searches by bailiffs are operational. All anglers must check in before fishing and sign out on leaving and all fish caught and also fish killed must be recorded." Prices are £25 for a three fish day kill ticket and £20 for a day catch and release day permit which are only available online at Malleny Angling.
Clubbiedean owner Steve Johnston reports that fish up to 10lb have been landed with eggs under the bung, cat's whisker and yellow dancers patterns working well. There have been reports of 20-plus to the boat at Glencorse with buzzer and cormorant patterns doing the business and fishing has been good at Rosslynlee with diawl bach proving to be one of the best attractors. An 11lb brown is among the top catches and James Dunn had ten on a pheasant tail nymph. Angling re-started on April 1 at Rosebery near Temple.
At Markle in East Lothian, orange hot head damsel patterns have been catching along with black pennell according to manager Jimmy McLachlan. Jim Skilling from Shotts and Mick Mulgrew from Danderhall both had 13with Jimmy Anderson from Ormiston not far behind on ten, one of them an 8lb-plus specimen. Johnny McNeish had eight with Grant Brennan from Prestonpans on six.
Tweeddale Millennium owner John Jackson is open dawn to dusk, weather permitting, and phone 01620 810009 or 07494 474979 for details and bookings.
Finally, Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers (SFSA) host Match 2 of their league at Riverside Drive, Dundee, on Sunday (April 3) and it is full. Registration is at 11.30am until noon and fishing from 13.00 to 18.00 with an 18cm size limit and two hooks. Prizes for a win and the longest fish and a number of Lothians anglers are in the 60-strong field.
The Bass Rock Shore Angling League have their annual meeting in the Golfer's Rest, High Street, North Berwick, on Wednesday, April 13 (7pm) and their first Summer League match is Wednesday, April 27 (7pm). Venue to be confirmed.