It was worth braving the bad weather to discover what Eliburn Reservoir can offer

Friendly fishery with locals willing to discuss best pegs and tactics

Saturday, 15th February 2020, 6:00 am
Gordon Lees with a 22lb common carp

It was 9.30am on a Sunday morning. The sky was slate grey and the rain was pouring from above. The temperature gauge on the car said 5°C and the windscreen wipers were working overtime as I drove through Livingston.

The sat nav took me through a number of roundabouts, through an industrial estate and then to a private housing area. There was no sign of Eliburn Reservoir.

As I stepped out of the car the chill wind hit me and it felt a lot colder outside in the elements.

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Frustration was creeping in as I couldn’t see the four-acre lake, despite the fact that the sat nav indicated that I was at my location.

A soaked man walking a West Highland terrier baled me out when he said: “It’s down there, past the play park, to your left.”

Luckily, I had an umbrella and strode out into the deluge. Four minutes later I arrived at water which is just off the Houston Road in Livingston, ten miles west of Edinburgh.

I took a left and about 100 paces further on through the woods I spotted two damp anglers. One was packing up after a fruitless hunt for an elusive carp. Another was consoling his fellow-member but was determined to soldier on. He was able to take shelter in his extensive bivvy tent. Yards away lay his two rods on rod rests, linked to bite indicators. No messing around here, the indicators cost around £600. We chatted for around 30 minutes as the rain continued to pour down. Sadly, the indicators did not go off. That’s fishing. The angler is one of the regulars at the popular coarse fishery where people return regularly and permits cost £5 a day (£2 junior). They are available from wardens on site.

Carp of more than 20lbs are in the lake along with sizeable crucian carp, ghost carp, roach, tench and bream brushing fins with rudd, perch, ide, barbel and pike. There are a number of pegs but there are strict rules. They include using barbless hooks and a landing net must be used at all times.

Anglers must also have an unhooking net to minimise harming the fish and all fish must be returned. A maximum of two rods is allowed but there is no fly fishing or spinning. Bait can be maggot, power, bread or sweetcorn. You decide.

It’s a friendly fishery with

locals willing to discuss best pegs and tactics and for £5 a day who can argue. I’ll be back, with my rod this time and I’ll park in the fishermen’s car park next to Livingston FC Community Club (EH54 6LF). Telephone: 01506 436265.