Nigel Duncan on fishing: Veteran lands Kingdom fly fishing prize

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Landscape gardener uses old skills to win the Kingdom fly fishing prize

Sam Davies used to be a regular competition angler but he quit the circuit more than two decades ago. However, the landscape gardener used some of his old skills to win the Kingdom Fly Fishing Championship for the first time and take home a £400 cash prize thanks to a cracking bag of ten fish.

It is the first major competition the Fife-born, 60-year-old has entered in 25 years and only the second time the Ballo member has fished Stenhouse Fishery in the last five years.

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But he also won £120 of Snowbee vouchers, a Fishing Megastore voucher, Blob and Buzzer voucher, Alt Fishing custom spool lid insert and a Flybox voucher as well as a full-day catch and release ticket at Wormit Trout Fishery for two anglers. Not bad for a day of sport at a tricky venue which tested the field of nearly 30 qualifiers on the day.

Sam Davies with the Jock Callison Trophy after winning the Kingdom Fly Fishing ChampionshipSam Davies with the Jock Callison Trophy after winning the Kingdom Fly Fishing Championship
Sam Davies with the Jock Callison Trophy after winning the Kingdom Fly Fishing Championship

His boat partner, Andrew Weir, co-owner of Stenhouse, was third with seven fish and missed out on second place by only 14oz, and, as a consolation he took home £150 plus other prizes. He tried to match Sam's tactics which majored on a really fast figure-of-eight retrieve and Andrew, like Sam, only qualified in the last heat at Ballo near Glenrothes.

Weir could have been the champion but he lost two at the net and was snapped on three occasions as the trout savagely attacked his pattern.

The runner-up was Greg Davies, no relation to the winner, who was the defending champion, and pocketed £250 plus other prizes after netting eight fish.

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A total of 28 anglers contested the final but a cold easterly wind and a forecast suggesting a 20mph win later in the day indicated that it would be a tough day, and so it proved.

Davies, who lives near Cupar, confirmed that all four flies took fish and he added: “I only went into the competition to support one of the organisers, Colin Mcglone, and I qualified on the water I fish regularly, Ballo, where I am an ex committee member. I also fish Clatto near Cupar.

“I went out with Jason (Walls), one of the co-owners, the week before the competition and fished all over so I knew where to go. Andy (Weir, the other co-owner) left the decision to me and I knew there would be fish at the East End of the loch. Others decided to go where the stocked fish go.”

“The wind grew stronger as the day progressed but we were sheltered and my bag was split 50-50 between morning and afternoon. I and retrieved as fast as I could with a figure-of-eight.

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"With dries the fish would have had time to look at it (the fly) but with the fast figure-of-eight they just snapped at it."

Earlier, it was Allan Szary who landed the first fish and then quickly hooked into another, but it soon became clear that the fish were not coming out to play in water which was crystal clear on the day.

Fly boxes were constantly out as anglers tried to find the correct pattern, but pressure mounted as the clock ticked on, and so did frustration. By lunch boats were spread out across the loch hunting for trout.

Davies, a former pupil of Waid Academy, Anstruther, and Weir were largely screened from the rest of the field on the water which is near Burntisland and is popular with anglers from the Lothians and Borders.

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The winner weighed in a superb bag of 20lb 8oz. Overall, Andy Robb tempted the biggest trout, a rainbow of 6lb 13oz, which helped him claim sixth spot, despite only netting four fish.

On to rivers and Cramond Angling Club remind members that water levels are low and anglers should ensure that fish are fully revived before being released. Anglers are also requested to keep their fish in the water at every opportunity when unhooking. Also, the club's sea trout evening will be at the waterfall in Cramond from 7pm on June 23 and all are welcome. There will be a BBQ.

Local reports include Millhall near Polmont. Hot and bright sunny weather and smallwater fisheries normally don’t go together well, but the loch has been consistent with small flies like diawl bach, pheasant tail nymphs, cormorants and buzzers fished slowly on floating lines working well.

Anglers on lures caught fish, mostly on intermediate or slow sinking lines, with damsels, dancers, rabbit and snakes the most successful and B Archer returned ten fish, P Tanner had 11 fish and J Wilson returned 14 fish.

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Kailzie near Peebles, where water temperatures have been 20c-plus at 3ft down, switched to all fishing on a kill ticket in midweek. The fly pond was shared with bait anglers and charges have been changed.

Allandale Tarn closed on Wednesday at 4.30pm and anglers are advised to look at their Facebook page for re-opening details. Bowden Springs remains open and Kenny Telford hooked into a 7lb brown in his haul with buzzer and diawl bach working. Glencorse have evening sessions on June 20, 22, 27 and 30. Booking is essential.

Clubbiedean is monitoring the weather but a fine 7.5lb brown trout was hooked and one pair of anglers had 14 to the boat.

Further afield, fly fishing for pike is not available until further notice at Lake of Menteith and anglers are also requested to limit the amount of trout on catch and release. West Lothian Fly Dressers, B team, represented by Jim McBride, Jamie McLeary and Ross Wilson, were seventh in heat five of the Scottish Club Championship.

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On to sea fishing and William Stafford from Edinburgh won the fourth round of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League's summer series with eight fish for 161 cm leaving the rest in his slipstream.

He used mackerel strips and was into two fish on his first cast but weed troubled anglers all night with the sea calm and showing only a 1ft swell.

The fish were close in to the shoreline but a cold easterly wind forced anglers to don waterproofs to keep warm but Norrie Anderson (North Berwick) was second with five fish for 81cms and Shaun Gardner, lso North Berwick, third with three fish for 66cm.

Scottish international Chris Empson was fourth also with three fish for 65cm and Haddington-based James Ogilvie, one of the organisers, was fourth with two fish for 39cm and James McHale (Gifford) sixth with one fish measuring 17c.

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Empson from Dunbar landed the biggest fish, at 25cm and the venue was Thorntonloch Beach near Torness.

Coarse angling and Maisie the sturgeon has been caught again at Drumtassie and she weighed over 37lb. Two big carp were tempted, one of 18lb and another of 14lb.

Elsewhere, Martin Pearson fishing worm won matchday six of the summer series organised by Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling Club at Orchill with 52lb 3oz with Bruce Lawrie, who was four pegs away, second with 48lb 12oz and Stewart Ritchie third on 35lb 8oz.

Pearson now leads the chase for silverware with Tommy Lauriston a point behind and Geoff Lowe, the club chairman, third.

The match was fished on Snake Lake, a change from Alex's Pond, in dry, sunny but windy conditions. Silver fish were prominent but double-figure carp were also bagged.

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