Kailzie trout fishery boss approaches final service on expanded water created from old tennis courts
It is the end of an era at popular Kailzie Trout Fishery near Peebles next month when Jimmy Barrett locks the gate for the last time.
Jovial Jimmy has been at the helm for 15 happy years and admitted that the decision to walk away was not taken lightly.
However, he has decided to retire and is moving to Selkirk with his wife Jane who has also been a key element in the success of the fishery.
Anglers from as far afield as Cumbria and Northumberland, as well as Fife, the West of Scotland and the Lothians, are regulars at the two-acre fishery next to Kailzie Gardens.
And his decision comes only months after Barrett celebrated his best every year in 2020 when the lockdown was lifted following COVID-19.
His other top year was 2007 when he first arrived at the 21-peg fishery, including a disabled platform.
Then, there was only a small hut and a man-made lake.
Now, the size of the tackle shop has doubled, a kitchen and dining area added as well as an immensely popular bait pond which has proved a spectacular success after being dug by Barrett himself.
The pond, well stocked with small trout, has brought joy to countless youngsters who have hooked their first fish and to regular anglers with physical and mental health issues.
Kailzie ranges in depth from 8ft to 14ft and is regularly stocked with rainbow, blue and brown trout and Barrett recalled: "I saw an advert looking for somebody to run the fishery which I believe was created from an old tennis court.
"I applied and the rest is history. No, I had not managed a fishery before but I learned on the job and have loved every minute of it during the 15 years we have been here."
A particular pleasure is the bait pond and he said: "The bait pond has brought huge pleasure to hundreds of people. It has also given so many youngsters their first taste of fishing and, if they come back, we try to encourage them to graduate to the fly pond."
October 29 is his final day at the Kailzie office but one hears that many anglers who love his banter will be visiting the fishery before he shuts the gate for the final time.
In West Lothian, Billy Wilson is the toast of Bowden Springs after landing a 17.5lb rainbow trout, the biggest catch of the season so far.
The Armadale-based angler tempted the superb specimen with a black and green rabbit in a tea-time session and it beats the previous best of over 15lbs netted by regular Gordon Reid recently.
Nearby, Allandale Tarn are changing their opening hours and there are now no evening sessions. You can fish from 9am to 4.30pm on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and Saturday. Sunday and Monday from 9am to 7pm. Closed Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the 128th Scottish National Championship Final saw Derek Pozzi from Glenrothes regain the title he won in 2018. He was runner-up in the 2019 event when the championship was last held.
The weather was cloudy and there was a flat calm on the water with fish rising however as the day progressed the cloud burned away making the conditions trickier.
Quint Glen, manager at the Lake of Menteith, near Stirling where the final was held, said Pozzi made the bold move to stay away from the crowd at International Bay and Road Shore. Most boats fished Gateside and Malling with some trying Lochend and the Road Shore.
It paid off as Pozzi landed 17 fish for 35lbs 10oz and his recent results show consistency and skill. He fished a three-foot midge tip with a cormorant booby. Second was Robert Maxwell with landed 16 fish for 33lbs 4.60oz and third was Gregor Fleming with 13 fish for 26lbs 1.50oz.
The 52 anglers who took part landed 278 fish giving a rod average of 5.34.
On Friday the Scottish Club Championship was hosted at the Lake and several Lothians and Fife Clubs were among the qualifiers.
Heriots AC, including Jimmy McBride, who used to own the fishing tackle shop near Goldenacre, is one of them and Aberdour and Kelso also have teams along with the Ferry Fly Fishers.
There was disappointment for local anglers in the Scierra Pairs Final at Rutland Water. Best placed were Kenny and James Hope from the Borders who landed seven fish for 14lb and finished 37th. They qualified at Glencorse along with Lothians-based Stevie Whitehead and Eck Moffat who were 47th with five fish for nearly 9lb.
Mike Connet from Edinburgh and Jock Kettles of Bonnyrigg, Scotland's international fly fishing captain, admitted to finding it hard going and were 53rd with three fish for over 5lb and Tam Cherry and Andy Hamlin were three places back with two fish for nearly 5lb. Both pairs also qualified at Glencorse.
Over to sea fishing now and The Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers host the next shore league event tomorrow (Sunday, September 26) at Erskine Walkway. The 50 pegs are full and the organisers say there is a reserve list.
This is a two-hook match with an 18cm size limit. It will be pegged with catch and measure and return applying with fishing from noon to 5pm. Registration is from 10.30am to 11am at the walkway car park below the Morrison's supermarket.
Several Lothians anglers are registered including Mike Kyle from Dalkeith, David Cooper from Edinburgh and Barry McEwan from Port Seton plus Chris Empson (Dunbar) who was third overall in the recent Clyde and West pegged match at Greenock.
A reminder that the Jim Boyd Memorial is on Sunday, November 7 at Stevenston Beach from 2pm to 8pm with registration between noon and 1pm. This is a catch and return, two-hook event with minimum hook size of four and 20cm minimum measure. £15 entry.