Nigel Duncan on fishing: Pike Anglers Alliance line up star speaker

The Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland (PASS) host their annual meeting in the Beefeater, Newhouse, Motherwell ML1 5SY on Saturday, April 15 from 10.30am to 4.30pm and the headline talk is by Dale Turner, a young angler from near Caerphflly in South Wales who building a reputation for both his angling skills and his entertaining talks.

The 33-year-old bricklayer has already landed two pike of over 30lb and is closing in on 100 of 20lbs plus and now he is setting his sights on bigger fish and something even more challenging, blue and porbeagle sharks, fishing from his 17ft boat off the Welsh coast and in Cornwall. He has already hooked into two of around 100lbs. They are, he said, not dangerous in the water for swimmers, but extremely dangerous if they are landed and in a boat.

Turner stressed that anglers contemplating going pike fishing should treat the fish with the greatest respect. Basically, they have hundreds of sharp teeth in their mouths and they all face backwards so if your finger is trapped there is little or no escape.

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The pike angler said: "My talk will be about pike and also sharks and my advice to people thinking about taking up pike fishing is to go to the water with somebody who knows what they are doing. A lot of people are scared of pike, Yes, you should give them respect, but the main thing is to be firm and gentle."

Dale Turner, the headline speaker at the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland (PASS) annual meeting at Newhouse on April 15. Cobntributed by PASSDale Turner, the headline speaker at the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland (PASS) annual meeting at Newhouse on April 15. Cobntributed by PASS
Dale Turner, the headline speaker at the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland (PASS) annual meeting at Newhouse on April 15. Cobntributed by PASS

He fishes with a minimum of 65lb braid and 60lb wire trace and with two standard size 4 treble hooks and he prefers to bring the fish in as quickly as possible. Having heavy tackle helps with that and also eliminates the risk of being broken by a big fish.

The Welshman admits to being methodical in his approach, including stealth on the bank, and he uses dead and livebait and also lures to tempt the fish. Turner generally goes fishing with three rods, one of which is left in the water for a long spell and the other two for around two hours before a bait change.

There is, he said, no magic formula to catching pike once you have learned the basics but Turner added that preparation of terminal tackle and correct bait and spending time on the bank are key elements. The Welshman, who cuts costs by using some second-hand gear, is no stranger to Scotland having fished waters North of the Border including Loch Ken, Loch Lomond and Loch Tay and he said: "I'm now targeting shark, blue and porbeagle, and they, like pike, have a lot of teeth.

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"They are not dangerous to swimmers in the water but they do have a lot of teeth, like pike, and when you get them in the boat they thrash about. Their teeth are sharper than sharp."

The joy of netting a salmon with a Mackenzie Fly Fishing FX2 rod. Contributed by Scott MackenzieThe joy of netting a salmon with a Mackenzie Fly Fishing FX2 rod. Contributed by Scott Mackenzie
The joy of netting a salmon with a Mackenzie Fly Fishing FX2 rod. Contributed by Scott Mackenzie

Incidentally, the official record for a porbeagle shark caught in the United Kingdom stands at 507lb, caught by Scottish fisherman Chris Bennett of the Orkney Isles in 1993 and the blue shark have always been present in UK waters in the warmer summer months.

The busy day starts with committee business which is expected to run until 11.45am and Turner's talk will begin around 1pm and will be followed by the raffle and prize draws. A large prize list is on offer including tackle from Fox, PikePro, Dave Lumb Specialist Tackle and boat fishing on many of the PAAS waters. There will also be a range of tackle on sale from lure specialists My Fishing Lures.

Rapala and Okuma will be showing off some of their new ranges and there will be a second hand stall for anyone wishing to catch a bargain or sell some unwanted gear. In addition to the raffle, there is a guess the weight competition, a prize draw with a £700 top prize and the Golden ticket - a chance to win a free boat and fifteen minute head start at any PAAS event (open to PAAS members only).

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There is a bar and restaurant on site and the event is open to all and prospective members can also join the PAAS on the day. Admission to the talk and exhibition is free. Onto fly fishing and Tweeddale Millenium near Gifford is fishing well with buzzer, damsel and humongous scoring on a mixture of floating and sinking lines and John Jackson, owner, plans to re-stock today (Saturday).

Craig Cowan with one of his bag at Linlithgow Loch.Craig Cowan with one of his bag at Linlithgow Loch.
Craig Cowan with one of his bag at Linlithgow Loch.

Rosebery near Temple is also fishing well with Aaron Willis again into quality fish. Nymph and lures have proved best here and Dougie Grant, fishery manager, says fish are staying down but fishing the margins could prove profitable.

Nearer the city, Loganlea in The Pentlands above Flotterstone report that damsel, bloodworm, humongous and diawl bach patters have worked well and the water is fishing well.

Across the hill at Clubbiedean, Steven Johnston, owner, reports that one boat angler toiled all day and then hit into a 12.5lb trout on an red apps worm. He went home happy and it is the best fish hooked this year. Damsel, buzzer and egg plus eggstacy patterns are working here.

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Nearby Harlaw reservoir was "fishing its socks off" according to one regular in midweek and octogenarian Ronnie Robinson had 19 from The Dam Wall on a damsel pattern one morning with double-figure returns reported the same day.

In West Lothian, Morton Fishings near Livingston have re-stocked for the 14th time since they re-opened in early March and catch returns remain good while nearby Allandale Tarn at West Calder has been busy and is fishing well.Retired policewoman Rhona Jackson had a red letter night hooking fish after fish and several anglers, including Mr Gage from Denver, USA, were also successful.

Iona Allan, owner, said that floating lines with natural buzzers patterns have been consistent catchers. Incidentally, she is tying more black buzzers as she has sold out. Gnat patterns have also been working and fishing is now until 8pm. Pottishaw near Whitburn was "magic" early this week according to owner Fraser Thomson. Realistically, any pattern dangled in front of a fish was proving tempting but black and white lures were especially effective.

Around four double-figure brown trout have taken the fly and Thomson said: "It has been some turn around as March was the worst I can remember."Further into Central Scotland and best catches at Linlithgow Loch have been with anglers using floating lines, midge tip, fast glass and Di3, 5 and 7 lines. Fish were taking blobs, buzzer, black/green lures, cats, cormorant, dancer, humungous and snake patterns and among the best returns was one from Ian Dobbie of 20 while Mr Hawag had 16 and Nigel Muckle 14.

Paul Dancer had a fine day at Bowden Springs near Linlithgow with 12 to the net on Ally McCoist. Alan Purvis had ten on diawl bach, cormorant and buzzer and Rab Edwards was also prominent with seven.

Anglers at Millhall near Polmont have been enjoying great sport. Earlier this week, 12 anglers returned 301 fish with the best boat netting 102 and the best bank angler 44, the vast majority taken on buzzers. Warm day and cloud cover helped.

And Black Loch near Falkirk report that cormorant patterns have been the best producers. The Scottish Fire Service outing returned 27 fish and Kelvinside AC 36 trout during outings. Best to book to fish here and angling is from 9am to 4.30pm Wednesday to Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday.

Lake of Menteith boss Quint Glen recommends bringing buzzer, dries and damsel patterns and said the East Bay, in particular, has been reporting good catches. The lake hosts the first heat of the Scottish National Anglers Association

Competition Clubs (SANACC) championship on Tuesday and there is another heat at Harelaw near Neilston, Glasgow, on Thursday. The Greys Pairs (formerly Scierra) are at the Lake on April 22.Heat one of three in the Kingdom Fly Championship is at Stenhouse near Burntisland today (April 15) with the second heat at Eden Springs near Cupar on April 29 and the third at Ballo near Glenrothes on May 13. The final is at Stenhouse on June 10.

Meanwhile, West Lothian Angling have confirmed that they are now open on a Sunday from 9.30am to 2pm.

Onto fly fishing and Inverness-based Mackenzie Fly Fishing have launched a new FX2 range of fly rods which are available as from today. The rods are made from the lightest, strongest material known to man and the Scottish company were one of the first in the world to introduce graphene into their fly rods.

They are recognised as world-leaders in tackle design and their talented team has over 150 years of experience and Scott Mackenzie said they make tackle designed by fishermen for fishermen. The new range, he added, uses the latest aero-space carbons and there FX graphene technology for rods which are said to be amongst the lightest and strongest on the market.

The new rods flex deeper and provide a more progressive action the Mackenzie FX graphene technology creates a faster rod tip speed, if the tip moves faster then your line goes faster and further.

The businessman said: "We put a lot of time and effort into the action and cosmetics of the rod we use the best Portuguese cork for the handle and the custom-made reel seat allows the fly reel to sit perfectly on the rod. Titanium eyes are also featured throughout." There is a full range off double and single handed rods starting from £749.00

Finally, two further bits of information on coarse angling. The second leg of the summer league hosted by Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling Club is at Orchill near Auchterarder today (SAT, April 15).Scotland's four-man team in the star-studded WalterLand (cor) Masters in Hungary suffered a major disappointment. It all looked good after day two when the team of James Woodrow, James Dornom from Currie, Gus Brindle (Dunfermline) and Colin Hart from Coatbridge were in 13th position.

Woodrow was fourth in his section, Dornom third, Hart sixth and Brindle 18th on the day and Woodrow said they were hoping for a top ten finish but, sadly, the final day saw them tumble down the leader board to finish 25th out of 46 teams.

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