Sea anglers finding new friends and fish at Portobello | Bass Rock Shore Angling League result
It is 6.15am on a Sunday morning on Portobello Promenade. It is just above freezing and the only sound is surf moving shingle on the beach.
We get closer and see several men preparing rods for sea fishing and, as dawn nears, more join these hardy sea anglers in search for fish in the River Forth.
There is no wind and it is eerily silent in the clinging, chilling fog. Still more anglers arrive having seen the get-together advertised on social media on the fast-growing Edinburgh Anglers Facebook site.
Nearly 20 eventually make it, some from as far afield as Balerno in West Edinburgh, but most from East Lothian and the city.
Scottish internationalist Paul Stewart arrives to provide casting hints and tips for those with multiplier reels. The group remains until around 1pm when the tide turns.
Curiosity promoted many dog walkers stop to chat, interested that such a large contingent of anglers were on the promenade behind The Cat and Dog Home, and keen to know what is being hooked.
Thomas Slow was one of the anglers. He is keen to see more gatherings of like-minded angles and claimed Portobello fishes well.
He digs his own bait and added: “You get small lugworms here but bait is available from local angling shops. Bluey, mackerel, ragworm, squid are other baits worth considering.”
He fishes all over East Lothian from any beach and said: “Get a rod and get out there.”
Another is Alan Cormack. He was one of the early risers and said: “I love anything to do with fishing and early is best to get peace and quiet. Here you meet nice people and, if you catch a fish, it is a bonus.
“Portobello is an under-rated beach. I was here at 6.15am to get as many hours fishing in as possible.”
Asked if it cost a fortune to get the gear he added: “I started with a very cheap rod and reel.
“The best way is to get a basic set-up rig which does not cost much and get yourself some mackerel from Morrisons.
“Your bait is as good as anybodys in the water no matter what rod they’ve got.”
Along the coast, Craig Ogilvie won the latest round of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League based in East Lothian.
The North Berwick-based fisherman landed two cod weighing a total of 8.40lb in the eighth round of the popular event held at Dunbar.
Second was local angler Chris Empson with a bag of 4.40lb, including two cod, and John McHale from Bonnyrigg was third.
Craig also won the biggest fish, a 6.60lb cod and the hotspot was the harbour sea wall at Dunbar.
The club run a summer and winter league on the second Wednesday night in the month and registration is at 6.30pm. The fishing starts at 7pm and ends at 10pm.
The club is on Facebook under Bass Rock SAL or call or text Craig on 07840 770643. The next event is on Wednesday, December 19 which is the club’s Christmas Hamper evening. Visitors are welcome.