Nigel Duncan on fishing: Teenager managing one of Scotland's newest coarse fisheries

Chanelle Maver was studying child care at college when her family decided to open a leisure business. Now the teenager is managing one of Scotland's newest coarse fisheries which is developing well after being open only eight months.

Anglers from all over Scotland, including as far afield as Aberdeen, have fished at Drumtassie near Blackridge and bosses are currently building a 'canal' pond so fishermen who prefer to use a pole can enjoy their sport. The 13m wide and 200m long canal, with a depth of around 6ft, should have around 20 pegs and digging will continue throughout the winter, providing the weather is suitable.

It's the fourth lake to be built at the extensive site at Blackridge Heights which is adjacent to the highly-popular trout fishery which has two fly fishing ponds and one for anglers who prefer to use bait to catch trout. Chanelle is on a fast learning curve and admits it is a big change from child care. However, her level six qualification will come in handy as bosses are eager to encourage more youngsters into the sport.

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Drumtassie is predominantly a day ticket water but there are members who are seriously into carp fishing. Doris, the water's prize carp, has been caught three times and has risen in weight from 26lb 12oz to over 28lb. Bosses recently introduced a sturgeon, reared in England and named Maisie, into the top carp pond which has yet to be hooked, but the main concentration is the two ponds adjacent to the tackle shop which contains a number of coarse fish including carp, bream, roach, ide and tench.

Chanelle Maver points to the new 'canal' being constructed at Drumtassie Fishery near Blackridge. Picture by Nigel Duncan

The seven-days-a-week fishery reports good recent catches with the current hours being 8am to 5pm and Chanelle admitted: "It's been a steep learning curve for me. Of course, I knew something about trout fishing as the trout fishery has been open for the past five years. However, coarse fishing was new to me and I'm learning. I have my own whip rod (around 12ft long with no reel and a length of monofilament line attached) and I regularly catch about 16 fish when I go out using maggot bait. I fish the margins so casting is easy, but nobody should feel intimidated coming here. We are all here to help and, indeed, experienced anglers have been known to spend some time with youngsters and less experienced fishermen showing them what to do and what equipment to use."

Drumtassie's coarse ponds opened in March and Chanelle said: "Our numbers have been good and the lakes are fishing well. We provide landing nets in a bid to cut down on the transfer of disease from other fisheries but, if specialised carp anglers want to bring their own, then they should be between 38 inches and 42 inches as we have some really big fish in here. We also recommend that anglers come with their own unhooking mat - we have them in stock if they don't - and to always use barbless hooks and we always ask that they dip their equipment."

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The well-stocked fishery tackle shop has most items anglers would need and they stock a range of baits plus their own house pellets. Chanelle said: "We know they work as anglers use them regularly. Robin Red also works and we have that as well. We also have the Dynamite and Krill range of bait and groundbait and liquid plus pop ups and wafters, but we allow anglers to bring their own provided they are manufactured by well-known brands. We also ask anglers to use no bigger than a size six hook. Monofilament we recommend at 8lb."

The 'canal' pond is progressing to the left of the entry road and she said: "It is being build for pole anglers and fishing will be one side only. The area will be screened by trees to give shelter and we envisage that matches will be held regularly, possibly once a week. The water will be home to lots of small fish and carp of around 4lb and we would love to see anglers catching bags of over 50lb in a match."

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Chanelle Maver in front of one of the three current coarse fishing ponds at Drumtassie. Picture by Nigel Duncan

No date has been set for the opening of the new facility, but bosses plan to take their time, finish the digging, let the water settle and then introduce fish.

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Meanwhile, the nearby trout fishery continues to attract. Apps, buzzers and green and black lures are the current best catchers with a slow retrieve and fish up to 18lb have been landed recently. Trout are currently sitting at about 3ft deep, but that could change because of the weather. A west wind is considered the best for big bags.

A competition is running currently and Mich Ogilvie leads with 147 fish from seven visits while Danny Connolly is his nearest challenger with more than 100 to the net so far. The event closes at the end of October.

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October is turning into one of the best months for fishing at the Lake of Menteith near Stirling according to manager Quintin Glen who confirmed that the lake is open all winter. Bookings at or telephone 01877 385664. Among recent visitors were the Army Angling Federation (Game) who held their annual championships at the lake and the competition enjoyed some outstanding sport.

Darren from Dunbar tackling up to fish the top carp pond at Drumtassie. Picture: Nigel Duncan
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Fish over 59cms were caught and the two-day event landed 247 fish for a rod average of 4.75 and trout were caught in both open water and close to the shoreline on sink tip lines with candy boobies and cormorants. Winner captain Dean Rudd took his fish on shuttlecock CDC emergers over the sandbank/sunken island, opposite Sams Point.

Longanlea boss Karen Jack confirmed that they close for the winter on Sunday (October 30) and recent catch returns have been inconsistent. Bloodworm and FAB have produced but fish are lying deep.

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Linlithgow Loch report that olive snakes and chartreuse lures have been tempting trout and Allandale Tarn say that olive apps have been productive. The fish here are still high in the water.

Nearby, Bowden Springs boss Jim Gargaro reports that Gordon Reid hooked into a 15lb rainbow fishing a mango-coloured eggstacy pattern found in a bucket. Other successful anglers include Jim Bryce with 11 fish, biggest 6lb, on egg and lures and Billy Wilson Jun had seven, biggest 10.5lb, on cormorant and lurees.

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Ross Davies used a white snake and cat bung to tempt seven fish including one of 10lb and another of 8lb and Connor Robertson hooked into an 8lb fish in a bag of three. He used diawl bach and wotsit..

John Jackson, owner at Tweeddale near Gifford, said brown trout were featuring high in his catch returns with sinking daddies, black and green lures and snakes the best patterns.