Fishing: Scotland ladies fly fishing team going for gold

Scotland’s ladies fly fishing team captain Liz McLellan homed in on The Home International at the Lake of Menteith on Thursday (May 26) and declared: "We're going for gold."

By Nigel Duncan
Friday, 20th May 2022, 2:52 pm
Updated Friday, 20th May 2022, 2:53 pm

The confident Scots have won the prestige event several times in the last decade and the hosts field a 12-strong squad packed with seasoned internationals, some of whom have been fishing for Scotland for over 20 years.They include Helen Philp from Fife, Sheila Mannion from Perthshire and Edinburgh-based Dione Roberts who has competed all over the world.McLellan has been in a winning team on five occasions and the Armadale-based angler, who has nine caps for her country, stressed that Scotland are doing their homework to make sure that the team have the best chance of making full use of home advantage.The squad checked into lodges at the lake earlier this week for extensive practice sessions ahead of the the three days of practice on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

McLellan said it was crucial that the ladies know where to go and when, depending on weather and atmospheric conditions.The format is that two women from different countries are drawn in a boat. They are together for the full eight hours along with a boatman and the first lady out of the hat picks the location for the first two hours then the other angler gets to pick for the next two. They can opt to move or stay.Two hours later the reverse happens and the session finishes with two another changes.McLellan admitted that luck plays a part but it was important that every member of the Scotland team is fully aware of what the lake has to offer and when.She said: "Hopefully, we'll have it sussed. England will field a strong team as will the other countries and, of course, many of the other teams will field anglers who have fished the lake before."We only really now have two waters we can fish this event in, the Lake of Menteith and also Loch Leven, because of boat availability, so our home advantage is somewhat diminished, but we are doing all we can to know the water ahead of the event."At the lake, you must know where to fish and when. There are favoured areas at certain times and we must be aware."

She added: "Everybody has been practicing hard and are ready to go. The spirit in the team is really high."

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Dione Roberts, Liz McLellan and Lana Taylor, the Lothians anglers in the Scotland ladies fly fishing team pictured at the Lake of Menteith ahead of Thursday's Home International. Contributed by Scotland Ladies

No weighted flies are allowed therefore restricting patterns to dries and wets and mini-lures plus blobs and fabs as long as they fit the gauge and are not weighted. McLellan confirmed there is a drogue in the boat which can be used, if required.

International rules state that only one rod can be used but am angler can have another in the boat in case of a breakage and the West Lothian-based captain added: "This is a big event with 48 of the best female fly fishers in the United Kingdom taking part however, we have a strong team and we are going for gold."

SCOTLAND: Liz McLellan (Armadale), Liz Fraser (West of Scotland), Dione Roberts and Lana Taylor (Edinburgh), Helen Philp (Milnathorp, Kinross), Sheila Mannion (Dunkeld), Jean Ferguson and Sandra McTear (Ayrshire), Joy Penrose-Stupart (cor) and Jane Wright (Helensburgh), Deirdrie Dunbar (Hampshire but originally from Annan, Dumfries) and Nikki Wood (Fife).

The international could have come at the right time as Lake of Menteith manager Quint Glen (cor) reports that tremendous buzzer and dry fly fishing has been noted, particularly in the Eastern Basin.

Stewart Inglis who will captain a Scotland men's team against an England team this summer with a superb trout from the Lake of Menteith. Contributed by Lake of Menteith

Ronnie Glass had 18 on dries in International Bay. Other anglers have succeeded on fabs and boobies and one regular stated that it was the best rise he had ever seen.

The popular venue hosted Scottish Police National Championship on Thursday followed by a Scottish National Fly fishing Championship Heat on Friday.

Also, Stewart Inglis has agreed to captain of the 16-strong Scotland team which has annual matches with the English Fly Fishing Association Select Team alternating between the Lake and Rutland Water in July.

Over to Falkirk area and Black Loch report that the water temperature is on the rise, with water clarity remaining excellent, and 51 rods were out last week with 66 fish kept weighing 197lb and 98 fish were returned.

Favourite fly patterns included buzzers, cormorants, damsels, hawthorn, candy blobs and hare's ear while dry flies were tempting fish as the temperature rose. Floating lines, midge tip and Di3 lines were produced best results.

Pentcaitland Angling Club are among recent visitors and they kept 20 fish and returned 15, ABCD kept 11 and returned 14, and Penicuik Angling Club kept 20 and returned 16.

Hot spots were the far east bank where shoals of fish were picking up a fly hatch being blown into the loch from trees and the reedy bay at the West End. The next stocking is due on Friday, May 27 with around 380lb of rainbows and blues to be added. Night fishing will start of June and anglers are advised to book.

There has also been good fishing at Bowden Springs near Linlithgow where owner Jim Gargaro reports that Gordon Reid tempted a 14lb rainbow and a 10lb trout during his session using black spiders and black buzzers. Nicky Capavani had a superb 10lb brown trout on a squirmy wormy and young Lachlan Peaston hooked into an 8lb trout. David Mahoon had a fine 10lb rainbow on a stickleback lure in a bag of four.

Bosses have re-stocked the five-acre bait pond with fish over 7lb and regular Robert Laing was rewarded with a 10lb fish on yellow Powerbait. D Smith also used Powerbait to tempt one of over 7lb in a fine bag of tour with R Williams netting five with the best 5lb.

Nearby, Drumtassie bosses report that Lee Harris had a 24lb rainbow this week on Kingfisher Pond.

Harlaw near Balerno has also been fishing well. One evening permit angler had four in an hour, three on black dry fly and none on a small black and green nymph.

Fish have rising in the evening all over the lake according to head bailiff, Steven Oliver, and fish appeared to be taking flies off the top of the water. Oliver said: "There is great evening fishing to be had."

Also in The Pentland Hills, Clubbiedean report good returns on dries and hare's ear while in East Lothian manager Jimmy McLachlan reports that Markle has experienced some of the best fishing in years this week.

He had 20 in less than three hours while Derek Demarco had 12, Grant Brennan had nine and missed three times as many on dries, and Billy Guild had nine fishing size 16 buzzers coloured black, red, green and orange.

The three lakes were re-stocked last Saturday with plenty of mint-condition, four and 5lb fish from Belhaven and the entry road has been re-surfaced.

Coarse fishing now and Edinburgh-based David Corcoran won the Partridge Lakes Open last Saturday from a field of 70 with a bag of 123lb 15oz of fish, beating second-placed Mark Halliwell by eight pounds.

Corcoran said that mostly carp ended in his net and they were tempted by luncheon mean and maggot, a popular bait at this time of year on the popular ponds near Warrington.

He said: "The weather was warm and the pond flat calm and we fished shallow in the margins on a pole." It was a good day.

Another Scot, James Woodrow, was fourth on Sunday's Open at the same venue with 123lb, a bag made up of F1 on casters. Woodrow caught the odd fish on pellets in the first half of the match, but had a great second half, catching the fish shallow.

Meanwhile, Drumtassie near Blackridge report good returns on their coarse fishing ponds.

Onto sea fishing and Sean Gardner from North Berwick tempted four fish for 99cm to win the second round of the summer league organised by the Bass Rock Shore Angling League.

The pegged match on Belhaven Beach saw nine anglers returned cards including Haddington-based James Ogilvie who had the longest fish of 35cm.

Two new Scottish internationals took part, Barry McEwan from Port Seton was second with five fish for 97cm, and Chris Empson finished eighth with two fish for 39cm.

The three-hour match was fished in breezy conditions but the surf was not bad but it was chilly when the sun went down and there was only an odd piece of kelp and the favoured bait was small strips of mackerel on a three-hook flapper with size six and four


RESULTS: 1, Sean Gardner, four fish, 99cm; 2, Barry McEwan (Port Seton), five fish, 97cm; 3, Stuart Fairbairn (Haddington), four fish, 90cm; 4, William Stafford (Edinburgh), four fish, 88cm; 5, Neil Anderson (North Berwick), three fish, 65cm; 6, Jamie McHale

(Gifford), two fish, 55cm; 7, Alan Brown (Dunbar), two fish, 48cm; 8, Chris Empson (Dunbar), two fish, 39cm; 9, James Ogilvie (Haddington) one fish, 35cm. The third round is on Wednesday, May 25 at a venue to be decided on Sunday. See the Bass Rock Shore Angling