Nigel Duncan on fishing: Season extended at Linlithgow Loch

Anglers who enjoy having a cast at Linlithgow Loch can do so later this year as the non-profit-making Forth Area Federation of Anglers (FAFA), who administer the water, have been granted an extension for their season.

Normally, the water closes at the end of October, but fishing bosses approached Historic Scotland to see if they could stay open until the end of November. Their argument was that the season has been restricted in recent years because of Covid-19.

Tom Lambert, secretary of the FAFA, said their immediate thoughts were that the fishery would be open from Friday to Sunday in November and they hope that the weather is kind and that anglers get some decent fishing. Anyone interested can book online or call the fishery on 01506 671753 and anglers who have been out recently have reported good catches.

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The federation was established in 1958 and is run by volunteers who have a passion for angling and they became responsible for the fishing in 1962. Most of the sport at Linlithgow is provided by stocked rainbow trout and the feeding in the loch – the deepest part is more than 50 feet - is particularly good and fish rapidly grow in weight.

General view of the loch at Linlithgow looking towards the palace. Picture: Nigel Duncan

Lambert added: “There have been some heavy fish hooked recently, including a 12lb to 15lb brown trout caught by a lady angler with the Dunfermline Artisans Club. Another chap with the club tempted a fish of 8lb. Most of the chaps out recently have been using an orange blob and they either put that on the point and have a cormorant on the dropper and the one that the lady (Sam Hayhurst) caught was on a mini-humongous. You want a fast glass line, a Di3, at this time of the year unless you see fish on the surface. In that case you try your floating line.”

Until the end of October, fishing at Linlithgow is seven days a week 9am to 4pm and you are best to book. Phone or leave a message. The organisation has a Wheelyboat which is available for those with wheelchairs or limited mobility and they have electric engines available for hire. Lambert confirmed there are 20 boats at Linlithgow and he added: “There are loads of fish out there (in the water) and we continue to re-stock every week with quality trout."

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Anglers, he confirmed, come from the Lothians and Fife to fish the water. They also arrive from all over Central Scotland and from the West of Scotland and The Borders. There is a club from just south of the Border who host a weekend trip to Linlithgow annually. Practice day is a Saturday and they hold a competition on the Sunday.Lambert added that the water also holds "good sized" pike and trout anglers have been tempting pike of up to 8lbs on buzzer patterns on a size 10 and 12 hook during the summer.He added: "You can fish here for pike as an individual, but only fly fishing. Some of the specialist pike anglers have been catching fish of around 20lb and if you are a member of the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland (PAAS) you can use other tactics, but only outwith the trout fishing season. They normally come along at the end of November or into early December."

Bass Rock winter series

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Linlithgow Loch at sunset. Picture: Angus Laing

Meanwhile, Robert Mackness from Edinburgh won the first round of the 12-leg Bass Rock Shore Angling League's winter series, landing two fish weighing a total of 2lb 4oz in the Dunbar Rover match where codling, rockling and flounder were hooked. The match was fished around Dunbar Harbour and the golf course and a mixture of different baits were used. The water was almost flat calm.James Green from Musselburgh was a close second only two ounces behind with Alan Brown (West Barns) third with one fish for 1lb 4oz. James Ogilvie from Haddington was fourth with two fish for 1lb 2oz and Steve Biskup (North Berwick) fifth with three fish for 15oz. Shaun Gardner (North Berwick) had two fish for 14oz and the second round will be on October 26 at a venue to be decided.

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Edinburgh Winter Shore League

Meanwhile, Ian Campbell, who is organising the new Edinburgh Winter Shore League, has been forced to change the registration venue for their first match on Friday, October 28. New parking restrictions have forced the change and anglers are now requested to head for Tumbles car park, Westbank Street, Portobello EH15 1DR. Registration is from 6.15pm to 6.20pm and the peg draw will be made after all registrations are in.

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Fishing is from 7pm to 10pm and there has been an encouraging response to the eight-match series which will be held at Seafield, Newhaven and possibly Gipsy Brae. Interested anglers are asked to contact Ian on his Facebook page and he is posting regularly on the Scottish Shore Angling Match Group portal on social media. Campbell stressed that he hopes anglers of all experience will enter.

Tom Lambert on the boat pontoon at Linlithgow Loch. Picture: Nigel Duncan
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Pike Angler of the Year

Finally, the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland (PAAS) held their annual Pike Angler of the Year competition at the Black Loch. Due to a last minute change of date, only 22 anglers fished the event which was held in windy conditions. Competition for the top spot was fierce and two pike over 22lb took Jamie Armstrong's total weight to just over 68lb, but that was only good enough to secure third place. John Needs finished on 70lb which secured silver spot and the title went to Brian Gerrard who landed an impressive weight of 72.8lb. Top junior was Harrison Craig. All pike were returned. Anyone keen to fish for pike on the Black Loch needs to be a member of PAAS. Adult membership is £21 details are available from Blair Davidson at [email protected]

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Jamie Armstrong with a 20lb-plus pike from Black Loch. Contributed by Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland