Three Lothians anglers named in Scotland sea fishing team for Home Internationals

Three Lothians-based anglers - two from the same East Lothian club - have been named in the five-strong Scotland sea fishing team for next summer's Home Internationals.

By Nigel Duncan
Friday, 24th December 2021, 12:24 pm
Updated Friday, 24th December 2021, 12:34 pm
Barry McEwan fishing off the harbour wall at Dunbar during the summer
Barry McEwan fishing off the harbour wall at Dunbar during the summer

And an Edinburgh-based fisherman has been named as reserve for the event next July at popular Chesil Beach, one of the three major shingle beaches in England, running 29 kilometres from West Bay to the Isle of Portland near Weymouth in Dorset.

Chris Empson from Dunbar, Barry McEwan (Port Seton), both members of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League, and Mike Kyle (Dalkeith) are in the team with ex-Bass Rock club member, David Cooper, the reserve.

The captain is David Neil from Salcoats and the other member is another debutant, Nuno Santos, from Glasgow who was in the frame in the recent St Serfs Open in Fife.

Barry McEwan fishing off rocks at Dunbar during a Bass Rock Shore Angling League match

Empson, a joiner with East Lothian Council, and McEwan, a self-employed carpet fitter, are both new caps and this is the first year that both have targeted a place in the squad.

Qualification was over a period of several months and a series of matches with rounds in locations including Arbroath, Luce Bay in Dumfries and Galloway, Cairnryan, Prestwick and Greenock.

Father-of-two Empson is a well-known competition angler who is keen to see more people out fishing and recently organised two free matches in East Lothian.

A third place in the recent Clyde and West Open, where his five-year-old daughter, Abby, won the junior prize, helped the 36-year-old clinch his place.

Chris Empson fishing on the rocks

He admitted never to have fished Chesil but is delighted to have been given the chance of a place on the team and to represent Scotland for the second time as he was a member of the national powerlifting team in the Four Nations tournament for four years.

Empson said: "I've seen a few videos of the beach and fishing for Scotland is a real honour for me. I been angling since I was a youngster and this year I decided to have a go at making the team.

"My results have been good and now I've made it. It's also good to see new people coming into the sport as we have seen a lot of new people fishing in East Lothian in recent years."

McEwan started fishing aged six and fished Chesil Beach as a youngster, having travelled there with the Ogilvie family from Haddington on holiday, but that was many years ago.

The 44-year-old said: "It's going into the unknown for me. We've just had the team confirmed so we await word on what happens now. That's due in the New Year but the family are all chuffed for me."

He added: "It's great to see two guys from the same club in the team and also to see three anglers from the Lothians representing Scotland.

"It's been an exciting time with the qualifiers and my results were good, two firsts and two seconds, so now we look forward to July and going back to Chesil."

McEwan, aged 44, who also has two children, is one of the founders of the popular Bass Rock club who fish regular matches in the summer and winter at various locations in East Lothian.

In fact, he won the club's Christmas Hamper event last week with a 9oz rockling and admitted: "It was tough going that night."

He is the Bass Rock club's treasurer and said: "We started the club several years ago to encourage more people into the sport and it is going well.

"Yes, we fish competitively but members are always welcome to help newcomers and we encourage new people to join us for our matches.

"The whole aim of the club is to encourage more people into the sport."

Empson and McEwan plan to fish together more often next year in the build-up to the event.

Kyle is an experienced angler and Cooper, a self-employed painter and decorator, won a major prize in the Amble Open in a field of more than 400 from all over Britain several years ago.

Meanwhile, Bass Rock members fish Round Nine of their winter series on Wednesday, December 29, with registration from 6pm to 6.30pm and fishing from 7pm to 10pm. The venue is probably North Berwick but check their Facebook page for full details. New members are always welcome.

Alan and Stewart are organising a Christmas Cod Open on Tuesday, December 28 at Carnoustie's Ferryden Light and contact Alan on 07872 899791 or Stewart on 07759 379978 for more details.

Registration is at Victoria Park, Arbroath from 11.30am to noon and fishing is from 1pm to 6pm. Scales close at Victoria Park at 7pm. Entry £15 and prizes for first, second and third in heaviest cod and heaviest bag. Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers rules apply.

At Eyemouth, Aquamarine Charters plan to run boats on December 27, 28, 29, and 30, weather permitting. Boss Derek Anderson said: "There is plenty of cod about. Last weekend saw good fishing and the best anglers had up to eight keepers."

His boats run most weekends providing the weather is OK and he plans to run on January 3, 4 and 5 if there is sufficient interest.

Remember, the Amble Open in Northumberland is on Sunday, January 23 from 10am to 2pm with registration from 8am and the prize fund is £6,000. Entry £12 and 478 anglers competed last year including several from the Lothians.

Meanwhile, onto fly fishing, Drumtassie will be open every day throughout the Festive Period and Eric Gibson is on duty on Christmas Day (8am to 4pm). By the way, a 25lb rainbow has just been stocked.

Bowden Springs near Linlithgow will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. In East Lothian, Markle, who have just re-socked, are closed on Christmas Day but host a Boxing Day competition with prizes. SFSA rules apply.

It is £25 to enter and the fishing times are 10am to 2pm with catch and release applying. Your neighbour checks your card.

Markle has been fishing really well. Black and green lures and pink apps have scored well and one angler, who has fished other waters in the last two years, made a return recently.

Manager Jimmy McLachlan said the fisherman told him he caught more fish in one day than he had in more than two years at the other fisheries.

Tweeddale near Gifford will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing day but host a competition on December 29 which was booked out within hours. Snakes, diawl bach and buzzers have been tempting fish recently.