Woodrow eyes £50k Golden Reel prize

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James Woodrow has made history by being the first Scot to reach the final of the Golden Reel which potentially carries a massive prize of £50k

The 37-year-old totalled a staggering 148.06lb in his heat at Partridge Lakes near Warrington, beating on superstar of the sport, Jamie Hughes, well-known for his podcasts and on YouTube, and the Scot now moves forward to the final in Worcestershire at the end of September.

The Scottish international celebrated with a visit to a nearby McDonald’s and then sat in his hotel room to sort his top kits for his pole for the Daiwa Masters later this month.

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Just to make it a great weekend, the mechanic with Arnold Clark won his section with 76lb in an open competition at the same venue 24-hours later.

James Woodrow with a net bulging after a matchJames Woodrow with a net bulging after a match
James Woodrow with a net bulging after a match

Woodrow now plans two long weekends at the Golden Reel venue to sharpen up for the big day and he said: “Yes, I’m the first Scot to make the final but I believe Dave Corcoran (who lives in Edinburgh) came second in a qualifier some years ago.

“The final venue at Larford is around 300 miles away from my house so I’ve not been there for around ten years, but my concentration now is the sold-out, Daiwa Pole Masters at Tunnel Barn.”

That is near Warwick from June 17 to 19 when 120 anglers, including British ‘super stars’ of fishing, are likely to be in the field.

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In last weekend’s qualifier, Cumbernauld-based Woodrow drew a peg with lots of cover and he fishing across the water with his 10m pole, but the wind was strong during set-up to he switched to Plan B, fishing short in around 2ft of water on his 6m pole with pellets.

Feeding casters was the key and he caught steadily, but it was in the last hour of the match that he really struck gold.

Woodrow said: “I had a run of fish in my right edge on groundbait and worm and weighed over 148lb. Incredibly, that won the match booking me a place in the Golden Reel Final on the specimen lake at Larford. Can’t wait.

“You do not realise how much it has taken out of you until you finish and I was working on adrenaline at the end of the qualifier. Jamie Hughes was on the same water opposite me and I could see he was catching, but I was catching too and thought I had done well.” He had.

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Woodrow added: “I am absolutely delighted to be there. Yes, there will be some super stars there, but it is what you do on the day that counts and I’ll do my homework.”

Top angler, Andy Power, won last year’s Golden Reel and the final is contested by 24 qualifiers at Larford Lakes, on Saturday, September 24. The competition, which is in its eighth season, is fished on the specimen lake and the second placed angler potentially nets £5,000 and third £3,000.

Locally, Shug Smith won Match Three of the Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling Club’s summer series with 43lb 7oz, well ahead of Geoff Lowe with 29lb 1oz with Dougie Campbell third on 19lb 4oz.

On to fly fishing and the Lake of Menteith are looking for more coaches to assist Alisdair Mair with the Cormorant Youth Club held on Tuesday night from 6pm to 9.30pm. Contact Alisdair on 07860 368472 or [email protected] if you are interested and some previous members have gone on to represent Scotland at junior and senior level.

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Burnhouse Lochan near Bonnybridge, hosted the Scotland Ladies Fly Fishing team’s Open Day last Sunday in a bid to recruit fresh blood to the squad, and it is fishing well according to owner, Maisie May.

Millhall near Polmont is now open until 10pm, Monday to Friday. Their new number is 07939 437691 and they do not have a landline.

In the Lothians, C Walker tempted a 10lb trout at Bowden Springs near Linlithgow and owner Jim Gargaro reports that the two-acre fly pond and five-acre bait pond have been restocked.

Tom Lambert reports that Linlithgow Loch has excellent water clarity but bright sun and changing gusts have been affecting catch rates. Best flies have been buzzer, candy booby, diawl bach, muskin, orange blob, FAB and cats.

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Allandale Tarn near West Calder are fishing from 9am to 10pm every day except Monday and Tuesday. Gates open at 8am.

Colin Dalgleish was among the leading performers at Harlaw in the Pentland Hills with eight rainbow and two brown in his session. Over the hill, a club from Aberdeen enjoyed their day at Loganlea and the top rod was 12 with fish tempted on daddies and Ally McCoist.

Meanwhile, entries are invited for the Scottish Youths National fly fishing championship. Day One is on Saturday, September 7 at Harelaw Trout Fishery near Glasgow. Day Two is on Sunday, October 13 at the Lake of Menteith Fishery and fishing on both days is from 9am to 16.30pm.

Anglers must be aged 12 or more and under the age of 18 on August 1 and the competition is fished to international rules,. Entry is £70 per angler and this covers both heats. Forms are available on www.scotlandyouthflyfishing.co.uk.