Nigel Duncan on fishing: Heartbreak as gold medal is snatched from Scotland's grasp
Scotland led the two-day event until the last five minutes when an Irish competitor hooked into a fish to demote Scotland to the silver medal position. Edinburgh-based Buffy relived the gut-wrenching moment but the Aberdeen-born angler firmly believes Scotland can go one better when the competition returns North of the Border, at a venue which has not been confirmed, next summer.
She now has back-to-back silver medals but desperately wants gold and thought Scotland had secured first position in the event held near Pwllheli last week as the clock ticked down. The finance manager revealed that the squad suffered a massive downer after the result was confirmed, but are buzzing again and can't wait for next July.
She sighed: "It could have been gold. There are two four-hour sessions over two days and we led the competition for 7hr 55min and it was heart-breaking, but, positively, we have one more year to improve our skills. We have a great squad. The girls in the team all get on and we have great camaraderie. We are all anxious to do well. Two silver medals is great, don't get me wrong, and we're all chuffed, but we all wanted gold."
Fishing was really tough with strong winds, a choppy sea and heavy weed. What's more, the fish did not come out to play making it hard going for the competitors from Wales, Ireland and Scotland. England did not take part. Buffy is one of three home-based Scots in the five-strong team, the others are Largs-based Gill Coutts and debutant, Charlene Stoker from New Abbey in Dumfries.
She said: "We went down to recce the venue several weeks ago but the weather changed for the competition and we all found it really hard to locate fish. I blanked on the three practice days but, luckily, I landed one on Day One of the competition to win my zone. I blanked on Day Two. There was so much weed. You would cast out, and the wind was right in your face, and the gripper weight would be back at your feet in minutes, that is soul-destroying and it is so hard.
"However, we are representing our country, so we stuck at it, but it was really tough to do that with the weather. We also had rain, and we were scratching about for fish as there were not many about. Sometimes things work for you and sometimes they don't. Basically, there is not much you can do about the weather and also the fish have minds of their own."
Kevin Lewis, Scotland's team manager, said that the team were catching 20-plus bream each a day during their recce weekend. They also practiced for several days before the competition and it was hard going then. The other teams said the same.
Lewis added: "It looked like we had gold in the bag but, as the final whistle went, an Irish lady reeled in a bass with her last cast. My heart sank and it was a very hard one for the team to take. Overall, the team commitment was amazing and I couldn't fault any of them."
He added: "I would like to mention Charlene (Stoker). I was gutted for her as she did not catch during the match, but never gave up. She has only been sea fishing for three months and has come on leaps and bounds. She will be a great asset to the team. The aim going forward is to prepare for the Home International in Scotland next year and I and my assistant Phil (Pape) are determined to get gold. I feel we have now got a stable team."
For the record, Scotland's men won gold while the junior team, including three members of the Stoker family, won bronze.
Elsewhere, Forth Sea Safaris based in Burntisland are offering mackerel fishing for up to eight on a wide-deck boat to what the owners say are "the best spots in the Firth of Forth". Anglers spend two hours on the water but children under-16 are not accepted and you must bring your own fishing gear.
Organisers suggest warm clothing but the boat has a cabin and toilet and tea and coffee are available and owner Leanne Taylor said anglers should arrive with a bag or tub to take your catch home. She said: "We go to areas near Kinghorn and Inchkeith island and anglers can take home what they catch or fish on a catch and release basis."
Ring 01592 747280 and the next scheduled trip is July 21 but the boat will leave harbour if a group of four charter and trips for groups are available on request. Spaces are available for sea fishing on Aquamarine Charters boats out of Eyemouth on Saturday and Sunday. Contact Derek on 07860 804316.
Competitions now and contact Chris on 07872 944807 for details of the East Fife Summer Open on July 23 with boundaries from Elie to St Andrews. Fishing is from 10am to 3pm and scales close at 4pm. Registration is at Anstruther Golf Club from 8am to 9am and Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers rules apply. Sponsored by Anyfish Anywhere and entry is £15 with £5 towards the heaviest cod.
Local trout fishing reports include sad news from Stenhouse Fishery near Burntisland which is set to close at the end of this month. Andrew Weir, joint owner, said: "We have decided to call it a day due to rising costs. "It needs to happen and these are difficult times. We were putting in a lot of hours and not getting a return."
The boats are out of the water and future bookings are cancelled. Weir said they had made some amazing friends and thanked all their customers. For the next three weeks bosses will allow "any method fishing" from the bank by any legal method as they have a "huge" amount of stock fish that need caught, blues, tigers and brown into double-figures. Fishing is from 8am to 4pm and it is £25 for a four fish limit and £40 for an eight fish limit. Children are free with a paying adult.
Over to Glencorse where Jock Kettles and Mike Connet won the Greys Pairs national heat and they were back in harbour before 10am to earn a time bonus. FAB and cormorant patterns did the damage on a Di3 sweep line. Three fish were caught at The Seat and five at the top end and Connet said: "We had a practice the day before the competition and it definitely paid off."
Dave Moody was second. He fished himself as his partner was unable to attend. It's the second time that a single angler has claimed a qualifying place from this water.
Millhall near Polmont report that variable weather has made things difficult for bank anglers. Boat anglers had it a little easier. Success has come on floating and sinking lines in the deeper water. Top flies include buzzers, diawl bachs, eggs, CDCs and emergers with damsels, dancers, rabbits and snakes all working for lure anglers. Best returns including S Merrier and G Whitrlaw who both had seven, R Cooper and S McCarrol had six while J Mitchell and F Winthrop each returned eight.
The Partners Pub from Fife enjoyed their outing to Bowden Springs near Linlithgow with 29 fish bagged for over 60lb on the bait pond while on the fly pond Murray Rankin hooked into a 14lb trout on an Ally McCoist pattern. Lake of Menteith report a mayfly hatch especially around Sandy Bay with fine catches on dry flies. Fish are coming back from deep.
Coarse fishing now and Drumtassie Coarse Fishery remains closed after a burst water pipe. A Scottish Water spokesman said: "Scottish Water has completed repairs on a 27 inch trunk main at Drumtassie Corse Fishery. Reinstatement and landscaping work is on-going and should be completed within the next two to three weeks. Our team will continue to engage with affected customers.”
Mark Gleave weighed in 54lb 4oz to win match eight in the summer series organised by Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling Club at Snake Lake, Orchil, with Tommy Lauriston second only three ounces behind. Geoff Lowe was third with 25lb 1oz. Martin Pearson still leads the chase for the silverware but Andy Roberts has rocketed up to third spot.
Lets Fish! continues to offer a free introduction to fishing and it is run by the Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling (SFCA). All equipment and bait is supplied and the events are open to anybody aged six and over.
Gus Brindle, the SFCA chairman, said: "We will cater for complete novices trying fishing for the first time, to individuals seeking advice on how to get back into the sport or how to improve their knowledge or technique. Fishing is great fun, it's good for your mind and body, and it is something the whole family can enjoy."
The next dare is July 18 at the Claypits in Glasgow with The Kelpies near Falkirk on July 19. It's back at the Claypits on July 26 and The Kelpies on July 27.