Nigel Duncan on fishing: Currie angler's 1,600-mile road trip to compete for Scotland

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James Dornom from Currie makes a 1,600-mile road trip this weekend to compete for Scotland in next week's three-day, WalterLand Masters in Hungary, featuring some of the world's top coarse fishermen.

The self-employed builder is in a four-man team which also includes James Woodrow from Cumbernauld, Gus Brindle from Dunfermline and Colin Hart (Coatbridge) and it is the second year running that a Tartan Team have been invited to compete in Szeged.

The four warmed-up by competing in last weekend's Sensas Challenge on the Gloucester Canal, featuring a "Who's Who" of top British coarse fishing talent along with anglers from France and the Channel Islands.

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It proved tough going but Woodrow was fourth in his section on Day One third on Day two. Scotland's two teams finished disappointingly down the table.

James Dornom from Currie is in the Scotland team in HungaryJames Dornom from Currie is in the Scotland team in Hungary
James Dornom from Currie is in the Scotland team in Hungary

Dornom said the squad learned a lot on their debut in Hungary 12 months ago and one of the key elements is getting the feeding right. He added: "It is really great that Scotland are represented in this prestige event."

Meanwhile, David Corcoran, who was in the squad at the WalterLand Masters last year but misses this trip due to work commitments, successfully defended the Broom Winter League, defying trying conditions including low temperatures, biting winds and heavy rain. It was a close finish with six men in contention going into the last round.

The Edinburgh-based, Scottish international, showed consistent form throughout with four section wins in the five rounds, beating a strong field including several of his international colleagues, to win the popular event backed by Preston Innovations at the Dumfries venue.

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Now the 50-year-old project manager will concentrate on his summer programme which includes the star-studded Daiwa Masters, one of Britain's top events, in mid-June at Tunnel Barn Farm won last year by Wirral-based Jamie Hughes, a three time Fish O Mania champion and a regular on YouTube with a new series called Winning Ways.

Picturesque part of the Water of Leith near Currie. Picture by Nigel DuncanPicturesque part of the Water of Leith near Currie. Picture by Nigel Duncan
Picturesque part of the Water of Leith near Currie. Picture by Nigel Duncan

Corcoran admitted that luck played its part at Broom as he avoided some of the less productive pegs during the five-leg series.

He concentrated mainly on attracting silver fish, but the Capital angler said he had to constantly adapt tactics and rigs during the event which saw the thermometer dip to low single figures on occasions.

Wind was also a major factor. Ideally, anglers would fish their pole at 14 metres but Corcoran, in two rounds, had to trim back to around nine meters so he could control the pole.

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Feeding of the fish was also critical. Smaller fish were targeted early in the day and then bigger fish like bream and ide as the temperature increased. And, as the light faded, the larger fish became the focus.

David Corcoran with a haul from BroomDavid Corcoran with a haul from Broom
David Corcoran with a haul from Broom

Corcoran said: "It's a fine balance, when to feed and when not to feed, and you have to adapt. Conditions this year were similar to last and there were quality anglers in the field in an event which is well-supported, but it was tough. You have to turn up every week."

He pipped Bulgarian-born Rosen Arsov (cor) from Dumfries for the title with Colin Hart from Coatbridge third.

Elsewhere, the Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling Club start their summer league at Orchill near Auchterarder on Saturday and anglers are reminded that maggot, worm, corn, pellet and punched bread are allowed but meat, prawn and bread flake are not.

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Sea fishing now and Chris Empson won the 12-round winter league hosted by the Bass Rock Shore Angling League, but had to come from behind to clinch the title for the first time.

John Donaldson, winner of the latest heat in the Scottish National Bank Stillwater Championships. Picture by Brian QuinnJohn Donaldson, winner of the latest heat in the Scottish National Bank Stillwater Championships. Picture by Brian Quinn
John Donaldson, winner of the latest heat in the Scottish National Bank Stillwater Championships. Picture by Brian Quinn

The Dunbar-based Scottish international recorded 50 points and only edged former pace-setter Shaun Gardner from North Berwick by three points thanks to his win in the final leg.

Barry McEwan, another Scottish international, was third overall on 38 points.

Jimmy Green from Musselburgh was fourth with 34 points with James Ogilvie, the organiser, fifth 14 points adrift and Steven Biskup (North Berwick) was sixth four points further back.

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Stuart Fairbairn (Haddington), Grant Olesky (North Berwick) and Robert McNess (Edinburgh) were joint seventh on ten points with Edinburgh-based William Stafford eighth on eight points and Alan Brown (West Barns) was ninth on six points.

Over the series, McEwan from Port Seton had the heaviest fish, a 4lb 7oz cod, with Ogilvie second with a 3lb 2oz fish and Fairbairn third with one of 3lb 1oz and eight anglers fished the final leg, a North Berwick Rover, in flat calm seas and drizzle from start to finish. Empson was the only angler to weigh in. His codling of 2lb 1oz lifted the match and the heaviest fish prizes.

The club hold their annual meeting on Wednesday, April 12, in The Golfers Rest, North Berwick (7pm for 7.30pm start) which will decide the start date for the summer league.

Chris Empson, winner of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League winter seriesChris Empson, winner of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League winter series
Chris Empson, winner of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League winter series

Elsewhere, Empson came third in the Newhaven Sweepstake organised by Ian Campbell with seven fish. David Cooper (Edinburgh) was second with nine fish and Stephen Barrett first with eight fish but more points. He also won the longest fish prize with a 31cm codling.

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The first Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers (SFSA) Open is on Sunday, April 2, at Riverside Drive in Dundee and Tyneside-based Neil Cutler is one of the entrants along with several members of the Scottish men's international team including Glasgow-based Nuno Santos.

Registration is behind the Bridgeview Cafe from 8.30am to 9am. Fishing is from 10am to 3pm. It is pre-book only and there is a waiting list for places.

Meanwhile, Buffy McAvoy has been selected for the Home Internationals sea fishing event at the Welsh resort of Pwillheli in July as Scotland aim to build on last year's silver medal success.

The five-strong squad shows one change from 12 months ago, Karena Duffy from Cumbria having opted out as she is now a proud mum.

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McAvoy from Edinburgh has worked hard over the winter to develop her angling, coming a highly-credible 15th in the inaugural, Edinburgh-based winter league, and 16th in the Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers (SFSA) league against some seasoned male competitors.

The Aberdeen-born finance manager said: "I was chuffed with my finishes in the Edinburgh league as it was the first time I've really fished at night before. You are operating under a head torch, cutting bait and changing rigs, but I stuck at it.

"It was really cold on some of the nights, but it was a good experience and I learned a lot fishing beside really good anglers."

Also in the squad is Joanne Barlow, the captain of Scotland's carp fishing team which won silver in the recent, inaugural, Tri-Nations event at Wyreside Lakes near Lancaster.

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Gill Coutts, who won the flatties bash and was third in the recent Paul Roggeman European Open Beach Championship in Yorkshire, is also selected and the Largs-based angler, a regular in men's events north of the Border, is joined by Lesley Maby from Penrith and mum-of-three Charlene Stoker who takes over from Duffy.

Charlene has gone on regular fishing trips with her family, normally providing juice, biscuits and sandwiches for Hollie, Abbie and Jay as well as husband Michael and the 40-year-old has also attended international matches before, supporting the kids who all fish for the Tartan team.

But now, the busy mum will swop her support role. It's a massive step from borrowing husband Michael's fishing gear to actually wearing a Scotland shirt, but she has splashed the cash to buy a rod and reels so she is ready to take part in the extensive training regime before the big event.

Charlene admits to being nervous, but she is also excited about the challenge and would love to help the squad emulate last year's achievement when they claimed the silver medal in the event at Weymouth in Dorset.

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The newcomer from New Abbey in Dumfries and Galloway said: "I'm on a steep learning curve now."

The women's international is fished in the same week as the men's, juniors and youth events so Charlene would have been in Pwllheli anyway with 14-year-old Hollie, who was 14th overall in the flattie bash - dad Michael was 34th - Abbie, aged 15. and Jay likely to be picked.

Indeed, ten-year-old Jay has already made his mark in competition fishing this season having come fourth overall in the European Open Beach Championship in Yorkshire.

Fly fishing now and Rosebery Fishery near Temple opens on April 1 and anglers are reminded that they must ring 077836 29714 or email [email protected] to book before going to the fishery. Three boats are available and there is unlimited bank fishing and it is £24 for a day ticket and anglers are allowed to kill three fish.

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Dougie Grant, the manager, said the water has been re-stocked.

Malleny Angling open their season for bank fishing on Harlaw and part of Threipmuir above Balerno on April 1. Permits are only available online at and a full day with a three fish kill limit is £28 or £23 on a catch and release basis. Season tickets costing £275 and entitling the holder to fish on every day of the season which closes on October 31 with a three fish kill limit per visit are still available . The Water of Leith also opens to anglers on April 1. Free permits are available at

Black Loch near Limerigg south of Falkirk is likely to open on April 5 but consult their website for confirmation.

Finally, John Donaldson from Cockenzie with 18 fish won the latest heat of the Scottish National Bank Championship at Burnhouse Lochan Fishery near Bonnybridge with Mark Hopkins (Hamilton) second with 16 fish.

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Ex-Scottish international Donaldson was in the heat at Allandale Tarn near West Calder the previous Sunday and netted only one fish. Organiser Brian Quinn said: "That's fishing for you."

The other six qualifiers were Alan Smith (Cumbernauld), Andrew McAulay (Alloa), Greg Howe (Falkirk), Colin Sharpe (Fife), Brian Skinner (Falkirk) and Stewart Inglis (Clydebank). The two remaining heats are on Sunday on April 2 at Loch Insch near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire and Waterfront at Ayrshire. Spaces available and ring the organiser Quinn on 07900 122195.