Skills course aims to lure West Lothian residents to fishing

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West Lothian Angling Association (WLAA) have upped their bid to attract new people to fishing by helping host a summer course providing the essential skills.

Three sessions in August will be led by a qualified instructor and experienced members of the association and they have been arranged due to the success of the July course which was sold out.

The new dates are August 9, 16 and 23 between 6pm and 9pm and Scot Muir, the WLAA secretary, said: "The July course proved extremely popular and so we have arrange three more sessions.

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"Our aim is simple, to get more people of all ages fishing. Everybody is welcome, youngsters, women and men, but anybody under-16 must be accompanied by an adult."

View looking westwards towards Whitburn from the main path at Pottishaw. Picture by Nigel DuncanView looking westwards towards Whitburn from the main path at Pottishaw. Picture by Nigel Duncan
View looking westwards towards Whitburn from the main path at Pottishaw. Picture by Nigel Duncan

He added: "Overall, fishing offers many recognised social, health and well-being benefits and we want to share our passion for the sport and the outdoors with people who may be thinking of or are interested in trying the sport."

"This is a great opportunity to learn from experienced anglers and the sessions are led by John Hood, a qualified instructor. We believe this is wonderful opportunity to enjoy being outdoors, learn some new skills and to catch some fish and we would welcome everyone, from families to groups."

The first session is at Pottishaw Fishery near Whitburn and this is considered a safe and relaxed environment. Casting from the bank is not a problem and access to the water is easy. Also, there are some sizeable fish in the lake. Cakes and snacks will be available thanks to the owner, Fraser Thomson, and his mother Rea, a great cook.Almondell Country Park is the second venue and here anglers will apply the skills to river fishing. The area being earmarked is The Meadows above the Category A listed Naysmith Bridge. Attendees will learn to read the river, how to match the hatch with fly patterns and to cast to likely fish-holding locations.

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The third session looks at fly tying, knots and leaders and also the essential kit list to get you out fishing. Guidance on the technical elements of fishing will be provided and the venue is Mid Calder Community Centre, the home of monthly fly tying nights hosted by WLAA pre-pandemic.

All equipment is provided for the courses including rod, reel, fly line and flies and the cost is £25 for the three sessions. Bursaries are available if funding is an issue and for that contact [email protected] for more details.

The cost also includes a free season permit to fish the Almond on the stretch administered by WLAA from near Newbridge to near Breich.Muir said: "We have around 34 miles of fishing available with the permit and we have reports that the river has been fishing well. In fact, two anglers reported catching fish of over 3lb recently, and that is sizeable for the river.

"We have noted a lower than average level in the water recently, but our main concern is the temperature of the water. If it rises to above 18c then we would ask anglers to stay away until it cools or to fish early morning or into the evening when the water temperature is generally lower."

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Fish have been coming to dry flies at Linlithgow Loch according to Tom Lambert, secretary. He reports that 41 boats were out and 89 fish were kept and 175 fish returned.

The best catches came to Tam Easton with Gavin Dunn returning 21 fish all caught on dry flies. Nigel Muckle and his partner returned 16 fish using fabs and diawl bachs. Paul Thomson using CDC patterns and sitting in the weeds casting just beyond them returned 19 rainbows.

Ferry Fly Fishers kept 25 fish and Ian Dobbie with Jimmy Russell returned 17 fish. Boats are available on most days and call 01506 671753 or book online.

Some great catch returns Bowden Springs, Linlithgow, where Chris Johnstone tied on an egg pattern and was rewarded with the 15lb-er. Teenager Lachlan Peaston tempted eight fish including a superb 13lb-er with an Ally McCoist on the point and diawl bach on the dropper on a sink tip line. The diawl bach proved the most productive fly.

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Lake of Menteith confirm they have re-stocked with more than 400 fish and more will be added and Allandale Tarn's summer opening hours are Sunday Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 9am to 10pm, closed Tuesday, and Thursday and Friday 9am to 4.30pm.

On to sea fishing now, and East Fife Shore Angling Club host their annual summer open on Sunday, July 17. Boundaries are Elie Harbour to St Andrews Harbour and registration is from 8am to 9am at Anstruther Golf Club. All anglers leave at 9am.

Fishing is from 10am to 3pm and the weigh-in is between 3pm and 4pm.

Organisers say the scales close promptly at 4pm so anglers should ensure they are in the queue.

Entry is £15 and there is a heaviest cod superpool of £5.

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Prizes are for first second and third and the heaviest cod and event sponsors Anyfish Anywhere have earmarked a rod and cash for the winner.

Fishing is to Scottish Federation of Sea Angling rules and this is a Penn Sea League counter. Call Chris on 07872 944807.

Jimmy Milne from Dundee, who has competed on the cod match circuit for years, won the £100 first prize in Stewart and Alan's summer sweepstake at Arbroath last weekend, but it was really close among the top three.

Milne had three fish for 9lb 10oz and second was Alan Combe from Kirkcaldy who was only two ounces behind. He banked £60 and Mike Horn, chairman of the Scottish Federation of Sea Angling, was third only an ounce behind. He won £30. Milne also won the heaviest fish prize of 5lb 14oz and took home £95.

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Most anglers hooked fish with lots of smaller fish being caught, a good sign, claimed the organisers, for the coming months.

Top bait was fresh crab with fish being found all over the kelp.Coarse fishing now and Darrin Ferguson won the seventh of 12 rounds in the Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling League's summer series at Orchil near Auchterarder with 19lbs.

A close second was Tommy Lauriston with 18lb 15oz with club chairman, Geoffrey Lowe, third on 18lb and in the Knockout Cup, Ferguson beat Kris Sloss, Stewart Ritchie beat Roz Cassidy and Scott McGhee was victorious against Sandy McKay.

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