Nigel Duncan on fishing: Scotland’s ladies carp team face a race against time

Scotland’s ladies carp team face a race against time to hook sponsorship to allow them to make their debut in the world championships in France in September.
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The six-strong team are seeking a five-figure sum to compete against the best at Lac de Panneciere, a huge expanse of open water in central France, planned following major floods of the Seine in 1910. There, the Tartan Team is likely to face ten countries including England, who took silver in the first ever women's world championships in 2022, pipped by Ukraine by only one fish.

England also won an individual bronze at the event at Linear Fisheries in Oxfordshire, a highly-successful competition which helped inspire Scotland to take part. The Scots are rank underdogs but they recently won silver in the inaugural tri-nations at Wyreside Lakes in Lancashire behind Wales who finished fifth in the world championships last year.

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England were last in the tri-nations but are ranked No 1 in the world. They will want to go one better than 12 months ago and anglers will aim to tempt carp of up to 15lb which are said to be in abundance in the French lake. Buch background work has to be undertaken before the team make their way across the Channel and Scotland captain Joanne Barlow and her husband David plan a recce to the venue to experiment with rigs and baits.


The Australian-born angler, whose mother is Scottish, said that they are up against fully-sponsored teams and the Brighton-based angler believes it could cost around £10,000 for the event. Barlow, who won silver with Scotland in the Home International Sea Fishing Championships in Weymouth last year, said: “It may come as a surprise to some, but we are completely self-funded with no sports grants and no sponsorship.

“Wales actually qualify for a grant, but no grants are available in Scotland. We have to fund everything for ourselves. There is travel for the team by either train or plane, we have to get our gear over there so we have to hire vans, we have volunteer drivers to get it there, and we also have volunteer chefs to feed us during the 72-hour event.

“The three pairs in each team are all allocated areas which are cordoned off and we have to stay there for the whole event. That means we need chefs to cook our meals and deliver them to us. Adding all things together, we are six anglers, a manager, an assistant manager, plus volunteer drivers and chefs, and we have to buy all the equipment, bait, food and accommodation so it amounts to a major outlay."

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She added: “We are super excited to be going to represent Scotland and the girls are putting in an enormous amount of work practicing. They are out most weekends either fishing or practicing casting at various lakes like Drumtassie, Strathclyde Park or Broom, or in England, and they have learned an enormous amount.

Scotland's ladies carp team, left to right: Niki Wildman, Joanne Barlow (captain), Catherine Robertson, Emily Barlow (manager), Eleanor Mitchell, Ruth McCormack, Margo RobinsonScotland's ladies carp team, left to right: Niki Wildman, Joanne Barlow (captain), Catherine Robertson, Emily Barlow (manager), Eleanor Mitchell, Ruth McCormack, Margo Robinson
Scotland's ladies carp team, left to right: Niki Wildman, Joanne Barlow (captain), Catherine Robertson, Emily Barlow (manager), Eleanor Mitchell, Ruth McCormack, Margo Robinson

“They have improved immensely and are relishing the prospect, but the cost of training, equipment, bait etc is huge and then add the cost of entering these big competitions, which is likely to be around £3,000. The bill will be high, it could reach £10,000, and that is why we have set up a crowd funding page. We are seeking sponsors and donations and a gofundme section has been placed on the Carp Team Scotland Ladies Facebook page.”

Within hours, five donations were received, and the captain is really grateful, but they need more. The silver medal in the tri-nations, Barlow said, proved that Scotland can compete and she added: “We need to go there and do ourselves proud. If we can get into fish then you never know what will happen. Wales were fifth in their first year. If we perform and we catch fish then anything can happen, but we must be at our best and the girls are working hard to ensure that we are.”

Meanwhile, successful lines at Linlithgow Loch have been floating, midge tip and intermediate and flies taking the most fish were fabs, buzzers. muskins, black and green lures, cats, cormorants, damsels and blobs. Dries taking fish include Top Hats.

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Secretary Tom Lambert reports that Tam Easton and Gavin Dunn were among the most successful recently, returning 14 fish and Nigel Muckle and his boat partner returned 15. Jimmy Russell and his son had a great day returning 22 fish. Ian Dobbie, out on his own, returned ten and Dobbie joined Jimmy Russell and they returned 14. Boats are available on most days for a full day or four-hour sessions. Call 01506 671753 or book online in advance.

Trevor Gibson with a fine fish from Linlithgow LochTrevor Gibson with a fine fish from Linlithgow Loch
Trevor Gibson with a fine fish from Linlithgow Loch

At nearby Bowden Springs, Robert Birrell popped in for an evening session and tempted 14 on buzzer and Rob Edwards had 13 on klinkhammer. Mr Young had five including a superb 12lb rainbow but Billy Wilson topped the lot with 26 fish on buzzer and FAB.

Lake of Menteith report that three boats had in excess of 40 fish, a combination of buzzers and boobies doing the business, and the water hosted the first heat of the Daiwa Prorex lure fishing league for pike. Millhall near Polmont hosted a Sunday event and George Telford won with 13 fish. Kenny Hunter was second with nine and Wullie Brownlie third on eight fish.

Harlaw near Balerno has been fishing well with hothead damsel, black buzzer, apps and marabou bloodworm scoring with G P Goh among the most successful tempting 17 trout while Mark Delves had 14 to the net. Morton near Livingston continues to provide good sport and Euan Leckie, in only his second time fly fishing, landed a 17lb trout, reported to be the biggest single fish since reopening, and Kailzie near Peebles has enjoyed a good opening week.

On to coarse fishing and the the overall winner of the three-day festival at Broom near Annan, which included anglers from Aberdeen, Cumbria, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Lancashire, was Barry Young with a perfect score of three section points and a combined weight of 285lb 10oz.

In the team section, Foster (Wigan), Mike Hammond (Wigan) and Mark Clow (Dumfries) were the overall winners with 14 points and 673lb14oz while Derek Brady (Glasgow), Barry Young (Dumfries) and Phil Baird (Preston) were second on 23 points and 549lb 12oz and third were Rosen Arsov (Dumfries), Dave Wardman (Penrith) and Eddie Bibby (Wigan) were third with 24 points and 586lb 04oz in weight.

Conditions on the first day were not ideal bright sunshine and flat calm, and Day 2 saw high winds gusting to 70mph, making it impossible to present a bait, and there was bitter cold on Day 3 after heavy rain overnight. There was no team competition in the inaugural event last year and this year entry was capped at 30 over the three waters, Bruce's Acre, Queensberry and Wallace. Anglers fishing this years match are guaranteed a place in next year's competition.

Sea fishing now and nearly 50 anglers are scheduled to take part in Sunday's Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers (SFSA) pegged match at Montrose Beach including Barry McEwan (Port Seton) Stuart Fairbairn (Haddington), Ian Campbell, manager of the Edinburgh Angling Centre.

Five members of the Stoker family, including mum Charlene, a recent recruit to Scotland's ladies sea fishing team, plus fellow team members, Edinburgh-based Buffy McAvoy, Joanne Barlow and Gill Coutts, are also listed along with team manager, Kevin Lewis.