Nigel Duncan on fishing: Port Seton angler birthday treat as he enters world championships in Sicily

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Port Seton angler Barry McEwan will be packing his bags for a trip to Sicily later this year to represent Scotland in the world sea angling championships and confirmation provided a special present in the week of his birthday.

The self-employed carpet fitter, who is treasurer of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League in East Lothian, is one of a team of five making the trip in October and the others are Billy Buckley, Nuno Santos, Michael Mcgloughlin and Drew Higgins.

One Lothians-based angler has been picked for the five-strong team for the Home Internationals at Abererch and Pwllheli in Wales in July. Mike Kyle is joined by Mike Horn, the Kirkcaldy-based president of the Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers (SFSA), his son Chris, David Cargill and Bruce McClean. The manager is Alan Combe.

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The SFSA have also confirmed that three members of the Stoker family from Nether Abbey are in the junior side for the Home International fixture, Abbie, Hollie and Jay who are joined by Callum Strang and Callum Brown. Charlene Stoker, mother of Abbie, Hollie and Jay, makes her debut in the ladies team alongside Lesley Maby, Gill Coutts, Joanne Barlow and Edinburgh-based Buffy McAvoy. The youth team going to the same event is Andrew McLean, Callum Cuthbert, Luke Burns, Darragh Maginnis and Scott Henderson and Michael Mcloughlin.

Barry McEwan at Dunbar Harbour. Picture: Nigel DuncanBarry McEwan at Dunbar Harbour. Picture: Nigel Duncan
Barry McEwan at Dunbar Harbour. Picture: Nigel Duncan

Meanwhile, McEwan's bad back prevented him from competing in the latest SFSA Open at Montrose Beach. Chris Horn, one of the organisers, said it was a new venue for most but, unfortunately, not quite fishing as well as was expected.

Stevie Burns hooked 19 fish, an excellent return, and he won Zone C on 381 points with Ian Campbell, manager of Edinburgh Angling Centre, second in the zone with nine fish and 243 points and Neil Cutler from Northumberland third in the zone with nine fish for 242 points.

Michael Mcgloughlin was first in Zone A with ten fish and 267 points with Chris Horn second with 11 fish and 258 points and Gareth Gardiner third on seven fish and 188 points. Stevie Barrett was first in Zone B with eight fish and 198 points with Simon Hogan second on seven fish and 191 points Brian Maxwell third with eight fish on 146 points. Neil McMillan had the longest fish, a 36cm flounder, and the Junior winner was Callum Strang with five fish.

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Meanwhile, Shaun Gardiner from North Berwick won the second round of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League's summer series with three fish for 69cm with club chairman Alan Brown (West Barnes) second with one fish for 21cm and secretary James Ogilvie (Haddington) third with a 17cm fish. Round three is on May 24 at a venue to be decided.

Heriot AC, left to right, Mel Mitchell, Keith Logan and Trevor GibsonHeriot AC, left to right, Mel Mitchell, Keith Logan and Trevor Gibson
Heriot AC, left to right, Mel Mitchell, Keith Logan and Trevor Gibson

On to pike fishing and the second heat in the Daiwa Prorex Lure League is on Saturday, May 27, at Black Loch near Falkirk hosted by the Pike Anglers Alliance Scotland (PAAS) and you can take part providing you join the organisation.

This is the time of year that pike normally respond well to artificial lures, as they have just spawned and are ravenous.However, the first heat at the Lake of Menteith near Stirling proved hard going for most of the 66 competing anglers with a cold easterly making life difficult. However, John Forret, who landed a magnificent 33lb pike, along with another of over 20lbs, is the early leader in the race for the title.

His boat partner, Peter Fish, was also into pike and landed one of 18.5lbs and there was a new lure caught personal best for Andy Irvine with a lovely 23lb pike. In total, the 66 anglers who set sail on the loch landed 76 jack pike, 76 weighing over double-figures and 11 fish in the 20lb range and one over 30lb.

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Points are awarded after anglers submit their top five fish by length (fish must be a minimum of 60cm to count) with one point given per centimeter and a further 15 points goes to the longest top five and five more points to the longest fish.

A fine fish landed at Linlithgow Loch this week by Mr Stilton, a 7lb-plus rainbowA fine fish landed at Linlithgow Loch this week by Mr Stilton, a 7lb-plus rainbow
A fine fish landed at Linlithgow Loch this week by Mr Stilton, a 7lb-plus rainbow

Edinburgh-based Bryan Chalmers, editor of the esoxscotland magazine, confirmed that fishing is only open to members of the PAAS but anyonewishing to join should contact membership secretary, Sean Frew, by email at [email protected]

Elsewhere, the Scottish National River Championship has opened with 11 anglers involved in the first heat with the top seven qualifying for the final. Top rod was Scott Hamilton of Tweed Valley Tanglers with 16 fish for 5,652 points and seven place points. Mike Cordiner of Raemoir Trout Fishers was second with nine fish for 2,935 points and 13 place points.

Close behind in third was Ron Chesney of Crown FF with eight fish for 2,647 points and 14 points. Lee Ross of Coldstream & District AA was fourth with 25 points, Dean Mathew of Team FlyFishing World was fifth with 28 points, Craig Brown of Strathgyfe AA was sixth with 29 points and Scott Robertson of NCR AC was seventh with 29 points.

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The Scottish National Trout Fly Fishing Championship, sponsored by Ridgeline UK, 7Plus7 Construction and R&E Hygiene, continues with the latest heat at Lintrathen and 35 anglers took part with the top 18 moving into the semi-finals.

Top rod with 12 fish for 19lb 3.7oz was the 2021 National Champion, Derek Pozzi of Thalassa AC, second with eight fish for 12lb 12.6oz was Scottish Anglers National Association Competition Clubs (SANACC) chairman, Derek Purves, from Juniper Green, and third was Peter Auchterlonie of Menteith Ospreys with eight fish for 12lb 5.7oz.

Purvis and Auchterlonie are two of the anglers representing Scotland in the Spring International at Draycote in England this week and this means there is a two-week break in the championship heats.

The Scottish Club Championship, sponsored by The Lake Of Menteith, Snowbee, Hope Embroidery, Glencairn Crystal, Thermo Fishers Scientific, Angus Angling and My Fishing Flies is also under way and nine teams took part.

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The 27 anglers tempted 96 fish and Heriot AC A, represented by the 2021 Champion of Champions winner Keith Logan (nine fish), Trevor Gibson (five fish) and Mel Mitchell (five fish) totalled 38lb 12oz. The Heriot AC team received a £30 voucher provided by Thermo Fisher Scientific and each team member received a box of flies provided by My Fishing Flies.

Second with 32lb 7.2oz was Strathgryfe AA A represented by Kenny Finlayson, Ken Oliver and David Fullerton and third with 28lb 1.5oz was Black Bull FFC A represented by James Charters, George Charters and Jamie O'Meara.

The six individuals qualifying for the Champion of Champions were Kenny Finlayson of Strathgryfe AA with ten trout for 19lb 7oz, Keith Logan of Heriot AC with nine trout for 17lb 7.9oz, James Charters of Black Bull FFC with seven for 12lb 12.1oz, Trevor Gibson of Heriot AC with five trout for 11lb 4.1oz, George Charters of Black Bull FFC with five trout for 10lb 2.3oz and Mel Mitchell of Heriot AC with five trout for 10lb.

Locally, Millhall near Polmont continues to fish well with top of the water sport. Dry flies and suspender buzzers have produced good results. CDCs, sedges and daddy long legs have worked well along with dark coloured buzzers. Floating lines with small nymphs like crunchers, diawl bachs and buzzers teamed with a FAB on the point to keep things up in the water also worked well for those anglers fishing subsurface. Anglers using intermediate lines teamed up with a variety of lures, from damsels and dancers to snakes also had good results. S McCarrol with 14 fish, G Vinters 15 fish and D Mier with 17 fish were among the best catch returns and the best fish of the week fell to Scott Brown who safely returned a cracking rainbow estimated at about 18lbs.

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Linlithgow Loch say successful lines for the week were floating, midge tip, sing tip. Flies taking the most fish were FAB, buzzers, muskins, crunchers, black and green lures, cats, cormorants, damsels, FAB and blobs and Top Hats. The loch water is crystal clear. There were 66 boats out over those days with 96 rods, 96 fish were kept, weighing 311 lbs, and 232 fish were returned.

Best catches for the week include Gavin Dunn with 11 fish, Robin Smith fishing with George Mackintosh returning 12, Mr McGrath with his friend returned ten as did Mr Stirton and partner.

The inaugural Spring Competition saw 19 anglers with Trevor Gibson claiming first place with 11 fish, Jimmy Russell was second with six fish and third Jim Mackie with fish. Craig Dalgleish hooked the heaviest fish of 4lb 12oz). Boats are available on most days for a full day or four-hour sessions and call 01506 671753 or book online in advance. Nearby, Robert Birrell had 29 fish during a session at Bowden Springs.

Elsewhere, West Lothian Angling Association (WLAA) have launched an initiative to encourage more people to go fishing. The first session at Mid Calder Community Centre concentrated on fishing theory, rod set-up, and fly tying, the second is a still water fishing session focusing on casting technique and fish handling plus fly selection and the venue is Pottishaw Fishery. The third session is on the River Almond when attendees will learn techniques, fly selection and river history and techniques.

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The cost is £60 for all three sessions and a dedicated women's session is available as well as kids sessions which cost £30 for all three events.

The course was trialed last year the women's session is hosted by members of the Scotland Ladies Fly Fishing team and Fraser Thomson, vice-chairman of WLAA, explained: "Fishing offers many recognised social and health and well-being benefits and the club wants to share their passion for all things fishing and the outdoors. This a friendly and enjoyable course introducing people to the essential skills of fly fishing from experienced members of the association. We want some new blood into the sport and show people responsibilities from the start. rather than training after they have been at the river."

Those responsibilities include the proper way to dispose of used line and notification of pollution on rivers which, he claims, is responsible angling.He said the minimum age for attendance is from ten upwards and disclosure is covered and a bonus in the package is a fee permit for West Lothian Angling Association and a free day ticket to Pottishaw Fishery.

Finally, bailiffs were called out after reports of people fishing off the top of Mid Calder weir. Association officials confirm you cannot fish within 50m of a weir of man made structure.

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