Fishing: All welcome at East Coast Big Fish match in Dunbar

Chris Empson is a keen match angler and tomorrow (Sunday) he is organising the East Coast Big Fish match in a bid to encourage more people into competitive fishing.

Saturday, 20th November 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 20th November 2021, 10:04 am
Chris Empson and his daughter Abby at a local beach. Picture: Nigel Duncan

The event is free to enter and there is a trophy for the winner who lands the biggest fish, one for the runner-up, and the rules are simple – one rod with three hooks as a maximum.

Empson, who was third in the recent Clyde and West Open Shore Championship at Greenock Esplanade, said that all are welcome and he is keen to get as many anglers as possible competing.

The meeting place is the ASDA car park at Dunbar from 4.30pm to 5pm where registration will take place and fishing is from 5.30pm to 9.30pm. Low water is, incidentally, 9.30pm. There are no boundaries so anglers can fish their favourite marks as long as they are back at the scales before they close at 10pm.

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The 35-year-old joiner with East Lothian Council said: “I looked at the long weather forecast and it is favourable so I thought it would be a good idea to get people together to have a match. We’re keeping things simple so people can fish where they like as long as they are back at the scales in time. This gives them a chance to fish their favourite marks.”

If the match is well attended, he said, then more could be held in future.

So far, it has been a good week for the East Lothian angler who won the sixth round of the Bass Rock Winter League in midweek with two fish for 2lb 7oz, one a cod and the other a coley.

Organiser James Ogilvie said the sea was flat calm and clear but anglers had to contend with gusty winds. He added: “Dunbar was hard going trying to get sizeable fish, but codling and coley [which belongs to the cod family] and flounder were caught.”

Second was Jamie McHale (Gifford) with two fish for 1lb 14oz, third Port Seton-based Barry McEwan with one fish for 1lb 12oz and fourth James Ogilvie with two fish for 1lb 3oz.

William Stafford from Edinburgh was next with two fish for 14oz and newcomer, Robert Mackness, an angler from the Capital making his debut in a competitive event run by the club, was sixth with one fish for 8oz. Alan Brown from Dunbar was next with a 6oz fish.

Empson won the heaviest bag prize while McEwan had the heaviest fish and the next match is on Wednesday, December 1 and all are welcome, particularly newcomers. See the club’s Facebook page for the venue which will be posted on the weekend before the match.

On to game fishing and Glencorse reservoir owner Bill Taylor has had his lease renewed after months of negotiation with Scottish Water. Taylor said that all provisional bookings for next year are now confirmed and that opening day is Saturday, March 19 which is already fully booked. So is the next day.

Over the Pentlands at Clubbiedean, owner Steven Johnston said that anglers have been catching on dry flies as well as lures including cat's whisker and damsel patterns.

Into West Lothian and Iona Allan, owner of popular Allandale Tarn near West Calder, reports good catch returns in recent weeks. She benefits from the fact that her tree-surrounded fishery next to the popular zoo is sheltered and the recent high temperatures have been a factor.

The fish have been congregating in the top two feet of water at the fishery which is closed on a Tuesday but currently open every other day from 9am to 4.30pm.

Pottishaw near Whitburn (opening 9am to 4pm) also reports good catches with Neil Irvine and John Kearney using floating lines with snake and egg patterns to land 19 between them on Tuesday, including a cracking 6lb brown trout.

Drumtassie boss Leeanne Aitchison reports that Mark Lawson landed a 22lb fish recently along with one of 19lb 6oz with other anglers recording catches in the 12lb, 13lb and 15lb bracket, including one by Mick Ogilvie in a bag of 17.

Jim Gargaro, owner of nearby Bowden Springs at Linlithgow, reports a 14lb fish was landed on Tuesday despite a strong and chilly west wind.

Jackie Burnett used her local knowledge to tempt five fine fish to her net. The best was an 11lb rainbow and Jackie also landed two of 10lb on a yellow dancer. Her partner, Paul Dancer, also used a yellow dancer and he netted six. His biggest was 9lb and Barry Prentice joined in the fun with seven, including a 10lb rainbow and two 9lb brown trout. His chosen pattern? White rabbit.

R Anthony weighed-in with one of 10lb and Billy Wilson, who had a 15lb-plus trout recently, has been back twice. His first visit saw eight to the net and a best of 6lb on various patterns including lures, buzzers and eggs. His second produced a bag of six with a best of 12lb on buzzers, snakes and FAB patterns. Jim Bryce netted a 14lb and 13lb in a catch of seven.

Elsewhere, Robert Ross, company secretary of Malleny Angling (MA), who look after Harlaw Reservoir and part of Threipmuir, urged members to send in their catch returns.

In a letter to members he said: "During the 2021 season catches by all who fish at Harlaw and Threipmuir have, when possible, been recorded by the duty bailiff. Many of you sent your daily catch returns. This record helped the committee in planning for stocking during the 2021 season. It is conditional of continued MA membership for all members to send their catch return to me no later than the last day of November.”

He added: "We are now reaching that date and fewer than 25 per cent of members have sent their completed catch return.

"Please get your catch return in and avoid the £25 excess payment on your 2022 permit. The return takes only a few minutes to complete."

The management committee, he said, will remain active during the closed season, planning for the new season which begins on April 1.

A reminder that Cramond Angling Association's AGM is on Thursday, November 25 (7.30pm) and secretary Joe Arndt reminded members to send in their catch returns.

Finally, entries have closed for the first round of the Magiscroft float only silverfish series, featuring some of the top coarse anglers in Scotland, which starts tomorrow (Sunday) with the best four results of five heats counting towards the first prize of £200, second £150 and third £100.