Fishing: Big Fish match prepared for sea angler's Christmas week

Emma Moffat with a 20lb pike landed at Lake of Menteith. (Picture: Pike Anglers Alliance, Scotland)Emma Moffat with a 20lb pike landed at Lake of Menteith. (Picture: Pike Anglers Alliance, Scotland)
Emma Moffat with a 20lb pike landed at Lake of Menteith. (Picture: Pike Anglers Alliance, Scotland)
Sea anglers are invited to take part in the second East Coast Big Fish match on Wednesday, December 22, hosted by well-known, Lothians-based angler Chris Empson.

The meeting place is the ASDA car park at Dunbar and registration is from 6pm to 6.30pm with fishing from 7pm to 10pm with the weigh-in closing at 10.30pm.

Anglers can fish where they like and entry is free. There is a trophy for the winner and medal for the second and anglers can only fish one rod with a three-hook maximum.

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Empson said: "All are welcome and we hope for favourable weather and a good turn-out."

Barry McEwan who won Round 8 of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League.Barry McEwan who won Round 8 of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League.
Barry McEwan who won Round 8 of the Bass Rock Shore Angling League.

Meanwhile, Robert Whyte from Edinburgh was tenth in last Sunday's St Serf's Xmas Open, but it was a man from Scarborough who beat the field of over 120 to take the top prize.

Chris France landed a 7lb 12oz fish in his bag of two fish for 9lb 15oz to take the £1,000 top prize and he was second in the heaviest bag taking home £100.

Rab Gallacher from Glenrothes took home £200 for the heaviest bag with five fish for 10lb 13oz and he was second in the heaviest cod section with 6lb 11oz.

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Chris Horn from Kirkcaldy was third in the heaviest cod section with 5lb 8oz and another Kirkcaldy angler, Colin Hay was fourth with 4lb 2oz. The boundaries were Elie to St Andrews.

Elsewhere, Barry McEwan from Port Seton won Round 8 of the Bass Rock Shore Angling Club's winter league and with it the Christmas Hamper beating a field of ten anglers who fished the event in flat calm seas with fish hard to tempt.

Undersized coley fish made up most of the catch with no cod landed and only one sizeable fish was weighed-in, a rockling.

Amble Open

Looking ahead, a £6,000 prize fund has been confirmed for the Amble Open in Northumberland on Sunday, January 23. Fishing is from 10am to 2pm and entry is £12 for all classes.

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The Lothians are normally represented in this popular event. Indeed, David Cooper from Edinburgh was a major prize winner in recent years.

A total of 478 anglers fished last January with 177 weighing-in with 131 cod, 526 flatties and 12 coalfish.

The winner was Neil Cuttler from Gateshead with 15lb 7oz and this year's event is the 44th running. The headquarters and registration is at the Radcliffe Club, Amble NE65 0RA from 8am on the day.

Coarse Fishing

Geoff Lowe, chairman of the Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling Club, won the latest sweepstake at Magiscroft near Cumbernauld with a mixed bag including a tench weighing 21lb 10oz. Second was Frank Smith on 17lb 6oz and third Stewart Ritchie with 13lb 8oz.

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The third round of the Magiscroft Silver Series takes place tomorrow (SUN) at the same venue with Chris Paton leading the field.

Pike tips

Meanwhile, last week we featured pike angling and how to approach it with advice from Edinburgh-based Bryan Chalmers of the Pike Anglers Alliance Scotland, now he looks at the bankside set-up.

He recommends using two bank sticks and they should be placed 1.5m apart with the alarm on the forward stick and the drop-back indicator on the rear stick.

Slide a bomb weight of around four ounces onto the mainline, followed by a bead and quick release swivel. Clip your wire trace onto the swivel and then attach your bait, still frozen, with the top hook, that's the one closest to the rod tip, firmly pushed into the root of the tail and the second hook in the flank of the fish.

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Cast your rig and don’t forget to try the margins as pike are often found close to the bank.

Next, place the rod on the bank sticks, tighten to the weight but be careful not to drag the bait backwards. The aim is to have a tight line to the weight but as soon as a pike picks up the bait it is free to move off without feeling too much resistance. When you get a run, pick up the rod, close the bail arm, wind down to the fish and strike.

Once the fish is in the net you can unhook the trace from the quick release swivel. Carefully lift the fish in the net and carry it to your wetted unhooking mat.

Slide your hand under the pike’s chin and find a flap of skin that will allow you to safely grip the fish and avoid the gills and the razor-sharp rakers, unless you want “pike knuckles”, sore cuts and scratches which become itchy.

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Pace the fish on the mat, belly up. Straddle it with your knees. Slide your fingers under the chin and gently open the mouth, allowing you to remove the hooks with your long-nosed pliers.

Depending upon where in the mouth the hooks have ended up, you may need to go in via the gills with your forceps, but take extra care not to damage the fish.

By far, the best way to learn to fish for pike is to go with an experienced pike angler but there are some great videos on YouTube – Fox Rage or How To Unhook Pike on Angling Direct.

Edinburgh and the Lothians are not famed for pike waters, added Chalmers, but there are a couple worth a visit. The Union Canal holds pike but the average size is unusually small, a fish over six pounds is seen as a good one and a double-figure fish is a real specimen.

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Summing up, your shopping list should comprise long-nosed pliers, forceps, side cutters, unhooking matt/weighsling, rubber mesh net, 12ft rod with 3.5lb test curve, a 6500 to 10000 sized reel, preferably with baitrunner facility, 65lb breaking strain braided mainline, a few twin treble wire traces, a few 4oz weights, run rings and rubber stops, quick release swivels, bite alarm, drop back bite indicator, two bank sticks, one screw in butt gripper and a selection of frozen baits.

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