Nigel Duncan on fishing: High hopes for Drumtassie with coarse ponds set to open in March

It was eerily silent at Drumtassie. The only noise was the constant whirring of the giant wind turbines in the adjacent field and splashes of fish desperate to free themselves from anglers’ hooks.

By Nigel Duncan
Friday, 21st January 2022, 4:52 pm
Updated Friday, 21st January 2022, 4:52 pm
The top lake at Drumtassie, from the main car park. Picture: Nigel Duncan
The top lake at Drumtassie, from the main car park. Picture: Nigel Duncan

The busy fishery sits at Blackridge Heights, high above Harthill on the busy M8 motorway between Scotland's Capital and Glasgow.

It is now four years old, with a growing reputation within the angling community.

However, the popular fishery is about to enter a new era with a mouth-watering prospect for coarse anglers as the long-awaited coarse ponds are scheduled to open in March.

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Drumtassie, looking towards the car park. Picture: Nigel Duncan

Bosses are set to release the pricing structure at the end of this month and have confirmed that the manager will be Chanelle Maver, daughter of Drumtassie manager Leeanne Aitchison.

The coarse lakes are about half a mile from the trout facility – and a large number of anglers, including specimen carp hunters, are likely to fill the car park judging by calls seeking information.

Leeanne said it was their intention to make Drumtassie “Scotland's finest coarse fishing location”.

Bosses have certainly made a success of the trout facility and so excitement is high that they can do the same for the coarse ponds.

Drumtassie, the top lake looking down the facility. Picture: Nigel Duncan

Meanwhile, Drumtassie’s trout ponds continue to produce.

Recent catches have included one of 22lb, another of 17lb and a good number of double-figure fish.

Weekly stocking is a feature.

Buzzers, cat’s whisker patterns, yellow dancer, diawl bach, FAB flies, mini-lures, particularly black and green, and chamois patterns have regularly delivered over the winter and, if there is a wee ripple on the top of the water, a sedge hog can be deadly, according to Leeanne.

Drumtassie fish are reared on quality pellets and the lakes are fed by a nearby stream, continuing to oxygenate the water which caters for anglers of many degrees of competency.

Beginners, for example, do not have to cast far to locate fish.

Car parking is just a few steps from the Kingfisher and Mallard ponds and the access is flat, which makes Drumtassie ideal for those with a wheelchair.

Indeed, wheelchair-user Kenneth Harper fishes the water several times a week – and he was all smiles recently with a 10.5lb trout safely landed, after being tempted by a Millennium Bug.

Drumtassie hosts clients from all over Central and West Scotland plus Fife and the Lothians and bosses say their growing footfall includes a large following of regulars plus an encouraging number of newcomers.

More are likely to be heading that way to the coarse ponds when they open.

Meanwhile, James Woodrow produced a near faultless performance to win the Del’s Fresh Produce Silverfish Series at Magiscroft near Cumbernauld with a perfect score of four points, dropping the shock section he suffered in round three.

David McAuley pushed him all the way to end on five points and third was Gus Brindle on six points just edging out early pace-setter Chris Paton who had seven points.

Over to sea fishing now, and Mike and Chris's Winter Heaviest Cod League is into its final stages with the fourth round today, Saturday, January 22, and the final round on Saturday, February 5.

Registration today is at the Victoria Park car park in Arbroath between 2.30pm and 3pm and all depart at 3pm. Fishing is from 4-9pm.

Organiser Chris Horn asked that anglers bring the correct money, which is £15.

The matches are in the dark to give everybody the best chance for a few fish and he stressed anglers can fish each match individually without entering the league.

It is £10 to enter the league and there is £200 in the pot and the heaviest cod landed so far has been 6lb 14oz.

Contact Chris on 07872 944807 and the weigh-in is back at the Victoria Park. The scales close one hour after the match is finished.

Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers rules apply, including minimum landing size limits, a five yard rule, one rod and three hooks maximum.

The league is still being led by Billy Buckley, from Glasgow, with a cod of 6lb 14oz.

Second is Tony Cook, from the North-East of England, with 5lb 13oz.

Mike Horn, organiser, said: “All to play for in the last legs.”

Last week's match was fished by 23 anglers in calm conditions, which was not ideal.

Stuart Cresswell, from Ayr, with a bag of 12lb 13oz and heaviest fish of 4lb 8oz topped the list and second was Sanny Wason, also Ayr, with 12lb 12 oz.

Third was Chris Horn, from Kirkcaldy, with 11lb 11oz.

A reminder that the Amble Open is tomorrow, Sunday, January 23, with fishing from 10am to 2pm. A number of Lothians anglers are due to compete in the field which is expected to top 400 anglers.

Registration is at the Radcliffe Club – sat-nav NE65 0RA – from 8am and entry is £12 for all classes. There is a £6,000 prize fund.

In East Lothian, Chris Empson (Dunbar) won the tenth round of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League's Winter League, with Jamie McHale taking the biggest bag prize.

Barry McEwan (Port Seton) was third with Steve Biskup (North Berwick) fourth in windy conditions, gusting to more than 30mph.

The next round is on Wednesday.

See the club's Facebook page – – for confirmation of the venue.