Nigel Duncan on fishing: Kailzie reopening explained as boats go out in Menteith to herald new season
The popular fishery next to the botanical garden at Kailzie, just outside the town, has been shut for over a year, but the self-employed, 26-year-old hopes to open in April once he re-stocks the water and he has great ambitions for the location.Newcombe is "buzzing" at the prospect of running Kailzie and work to get the location looking good is under way.
There are two ponds, a previously popular bait pond, which catered for young anglers and those with an emotional and physical disability, and the two-acre fly pond, one of the locations where young Newcombe was introduced to the sport. The former Peebles High School pupil, who also runs a Peebles-based carpet fitting business, admitted: "Both ponds look a bit tired and need a tidy up as well as the hut, but I will be keeping people up-to-date on the progress on social media."
The call offering him the lease came through in the last 14 days so Newcombe is quickly putting things into place. He will also have around a mile of the nearby Tweed to administer. He added: "We're working on getting trout supplies right now and we will be taking a step at a time. Looking back, it was my great, great grandfather who was a really keen fisherman and my uncle took me out and I loved it. I'm not a competition angler, only a leisure one, and I love to salmon fish, but I also enjoy trout fishing."I want people who come here to enjoy the experience and to catch fish as I did as a youngster. I used to come here with the school and loved it and we want to bring the youngsters back. We also want to bring back fishing for people with a an emotional and physical disability as it was really popular with people from all over, including people from Midlothian, before the fishery closed."
Newcombe stressed that he plans to turn the area around the fishery into a well-maintained, garden-style area and he will be reinstalling the putting green. Hosting corporate days is a distance away, but he added: "We're working on the hut now and will be offering hot drinks, sweets, crisps and even pies from a local supplier when we re-open.
"We're also in touch with Fishers tackle shop in Penicuik to provide goods for our small tackle outlet" And he added: "I always wanted a (fishing) pond just never thought it would be as big as this."
Elsewhere, Lake of Menteith Fisheries held their 58th official opening day last weekend and reports indicate that one boat reported 42 fish and the average catch per boat was around ten with reports that there was plenty of fish feeding activity focused on a prolific buzzer hatch. The weather was wetter than had been forecast with showers and a fickle wind. This affected catches for some, but all 30 boats were out.
Keeping with tradition of asking local ladies and or VIPs to open the lake, two Ukrainian women refugees, mother Olena and daughter Darya Zakharchenko, from Bakhmut, who now live locally, imparted good luck to anglers as they officially opened the season. They were presented with flowers to mark the occasion before anlgers were piped aboard their boats by Glen.
He said the lake has a good stock of overwintered fish as well as 1,200 stockies inserted last week and hot spots over the winter have been the Eastern Basin with bung and bug, buzzer snakes and dries. Boat maintenance has been undertaken over the winter and engines have been repaired along with life jackets being tested. New fish pens have been built as the fishery rear their own trout. Fish are delivered from 50grammes upwards and they are bedded in.
He added: "A fishery managers job is never done with a lot of administration undertaken and we have developed a new membership deal which has been passed by the board. It took some time to do that. The membership deal is basically a fishing discount card and to get involved is easy. You get a percentage off items in the shop and early access to bookings. It is open to everybody and if you fish here more than six times you make savings."
The 700-acre fishery, situated in Scotland's only natural lake and claimed to be the best known in Scotland, operates seven days a week, opening at 8am and closing depending on darkness falling. Six major competitions are scheduled for this year including the seniors international and the Scottish Anglers National Association Competition Clubs (SANACC) Championships plus the Fario Boat League and he added: "Almost every club who comes here fishes a competition."
Meanwhile, Glen has been presented with an engraved glass jug by the fishery directors to mark his 25th season as manager and a culinary note for anglers. If ham hock soup is on offer, grab it. It is wonderful and the Taste of Trossachs pies, particularly the steak ones, are ones to savour and they are provided from a multi-award-winning company based in Central Region.
The Scottish National Bank Stillwater Championship moves on to three-acre Burnhouse Lochan Fishery near Bonnybridge on Sunday. Last Sunday, more than 20 fished Allandale Tarn and Ayrshire-based Kevin Andrews, the Scotland team manager last year, won with 11 fish.
Second was Michael Ward from Clydebank with nine fish, two in the morning and seven in the afternoon, and third Davey Evans, a local angler. The rest of the qualifiers for the final were Stevie Plank, Kyle Courtney, Kenny Hunter, Graham Baird and Dylan Kefferty who got in thanks to catching a fish two minutes before the end of the event.
On to coarse fishing now and some of Scotland's top coarse anglers, including Jams Dornom from Currie, are competing in the annual Sensas Challenge on Saturday and Sunday against domestic teams from across England and Wales plus international squads from France, Ireland and the Channel Islands.
It is on the Gloucester Canal and all are vying for a place in the Sensas final in France in October. Last year, Scotland A - James Woodrow (Cumbernauld), Davie McAuley (Wishaw), Dornom, Colin Hart (Coatbridge) and Gus Brindle (Dunfermline) took bronze, an unbelievable result according to team manager Brindle.
Woodrow won the individual silver medal. He was first on day one and two 12 months ago but lost out on gold be weight of fish and and McAuley came fourth. They are both fishing this time along with Brindle, Dornom, Colin Hart (Coatbridge), Chris Paton (Glasgow), Derek Brady (Glasgow), Mark Lyons Glasgow), Barry Lindsay (Cunbernauld) and debutant Brian Wallace (Cumbernauld).
The Scotland B team was last after day one last year but finished sixth after changing their tactics on day two. Practice days were Thursday and Friday and a total of over 160 anglers are scheduled to take part in the competition.
Brady said that the weather is scheduled to improve but the opposition will be tough and many teams were on the water earlier this week working on tactics. The match, however, is used as a development event by Scotland with a view to bringing more anglers into the international squad and to build for the future.
A reminder that the annual meeting of the Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling (SFCA) is in the King Robert Hotel, Glasgow Road, Stirling FK7 0LJ on Thursday, March 30 (20.00) and is open to all individual, club and corporate members of the SFCA.
A copy of the agenda and any proposals for constitutional change will be published ahead of the meeting to allow club officials to consult with their members. There is only one officers’ post due for re-election this year, the chairman, and the post of treasurer is currently vacant.
The draft annual business plan was published for consultation with clubs and individual members on February and Brindle, who is also SFCA chairman, said: "With Angling Scotland offering a direct individual membership from April 1, 2023, this is a pivotal time for Scottish angling and all clubs are encouraged to ensure that they are represented at the AGM."