News by Month


Annual Report and Christmas Message from the Chairman

As I sit down to write this Annual Report and Christmas Message, I find myself wondering where the time has gone.  2022 seems to have gone by in a flash. So, what have we achieved in 2022 and what have we still got on the radar as we look forward to 2023.


Those who have been keeping up to date with progress against our target in our Annual Business Plan will have seen from our quarterly updates that we have made good progress in some areas but been less successful in others.  It is fair to be say that 2022 has been a strange and challenging year for a number of reasons. While we welcomed Jon Paul Neafcy to the Executive Committee at the AGM in the role of Policy and Environment Officer, we have continued to struggle to fill several other key appointments. This has hampered our ability to achieve everything we would have liked by this point in the year, as the remaining Executive Committee members have had to step up and take on additional roles. From a personal perspective, the return to International Competitions, coupled with a decision to enter a team in the Walterland Masters in Hungary, has further reduced my available time to complete other tasks, as did preparations for my retirement from the Army in August this year. Since retiring I seem to have been busier than ever as I have been able to really begin to focus on some of the other issue important to our members, such as engaging with Scottish Canals to try to improve the angling experience along the lowland canal network (more on this to follow soon) and maintaining the SFCA’s position as a driving force within Angling Scotland.  Over the past month or so we have also been heavily involved in designing and building the new Scottish Coaching Certificate in Angling which will replace the old UKCC qualifications. I am currently in the process of producing all the learning resources and assessment criteria for the ‘Support Coach’ qualification before building the course on the Brightspace platform. The hope is to put the first pilot courses through the new qualification at the end of January 2023 so if you are interested in becoming a qualified coach please pass your names to or and I will add you to the list..  The fact that we are still confident of our ability to meet all the targets that we set ourselves by the end of the Business Year on 31st March is testimony to the commitment and hard work of everyone involved.


Following the virtual seminar held back in January 2022, and having gained approval at the AGMs of all three SGB’s, we have collectively continued to make a good progress towards preparing Angling Scotland to become a membership organisation from 1st April 2023. You will hear a lot more about this early in the New Year when we hope to consult on membership costs and publish more information about what roles and responsibilities Angling Scotland will take on behalf of the whole of Scottish Angling and what will remain with the individual SGBs. The Board of Angling Scotland are currently finalising amendments to the Articles of Association for Angling Scotland Ltd to allow this to happen and to ensure that, as members of the new organisation, you will have a say in how it is organised and run. Again, there will be a lot more information published on this in the coming months, and I will ensure that it is widely available. Finally, I have recently been made aware of the 50% price increases that have been set by the LLAIA for coarse permits for fishing on Loch Lomond. I am also aware from the huge amount of correspondence that we have received, that this is a matter of great concern for a sizable proportion of our members. I know that many of you fear that an increase of five times the current rate of inflation, in the current financial climate, will act as a real barrier for individuals from low-income families, and particularly juniors as there is no discounted junior permit available for coarse fishing on the loch.    I know that their running costs will have significantly increased over the past 6 – 8 months and I am also cognisant of the fact that the coarse permit prices on the Loch have not been increased since 2011. But the timing of such a large increase, particularly in the ‘Day Ticket’ price which now sees it set at the same level as stocked commercial fisheries with fully managed facilities, is extremely unwelcome.  Please rest assured that I will be writing to the Chairman of the LLAIA to try to find a way forward and will keep everyone up to date with any outcome.


The 2023 AGM will be held on Thursday 30th March so please put the date in your dairies now as I am intending to dedicate a sizeable slot in the AGM to providing an update on progress with Angling Scotland. I would therefore urge all member clubs and any interest parties to attend. At this year’s AGM there are again a number of key appointments that need to be either re-elected or replaced. These include myself as Chairman, and the urgent need to find a replacement Treasurer. We also need to find a new Lead Child Protection Officer. I will be advertising these posts on the website and social media platforms over the Christmas period and would urge anyone who feels that they would be able to volunteer some time to assist the Executive Committee to come forward. We really need you. If anyone would like an informal, non-committal, chat about what is involved please feel free to email, PM or call me. There will be a range of opportunities on the Executive Committee as I am hoping to conduct a bit of a reshuffle to better utilise the knowledge skills and experience of the Committee members we have and freshen things up a bit.  But I can only do this if I have sufficient individuals to fill the core posts.


At the time of writing this Christmas message, we have 1179 individual members which includes 96 Juniors. This is almost exactly the same as last year and very encouraging as it suggests that we have managed to retain many of the individuals who came back to coarse angling during the pandemic. As I say every year, if you are one of the individuals who have decided not to renew your membership in 2022 we would love to know the reasons behind your decision. Please let us know if there is something that we are doing, not doing, or if there is something that we are not providing which has contributed to your decision not to re-join. Only by knowing what is wrong can we hope to address it.


In the past two year the cost of producing and sending out membership cards (printing, laminating, postage, and stationery etc) has increased significantly. We are however determined not to increase the cost of membership, especially in the current economic climate. Instead, from 2023 we will start to fully maximise the benefits of the JustGo Membership system and move to a digital membership card that members can download to the wallet on their smart phone. Those who still want a physical membership card sent out in the post will be able to select the option to have one, but we will need to add an additional £2 production, postage, and packaging charge to cover the cost. A video demonstration/guide to these changes and how to download your membership card will be produced and posted on the SFCA website as soon as the system is on-line. Moving to this digital membership card will also allow us to offer access to a very good membership rewards scheme run by JustGo that we think many of you will find extremely beneficial.  More information will follow on this in the New Year. As we transition to this new system, we would really like your feedback on the JustGo system and if there any barriers of issues with using it. We want to make joining the SFCA or renewing your membership as quick and easy as possible and to this end we will be publishing links to a very short membership survey to inform our work in this area.  You will be able to access it by clicking a link or scanning a QR Code, it will take no more than 5 mins to complete, and you will have the choice to enter your name/membership detail or to complete and submit it completely anonymously. When this comes out, please take a few minutes to help us better understand your needs and improve the system for everyone. Additionally, we are always keen to hear from you so please email us with feedback, good or bad, to As usual, I would also like to call on all members of the SFCA continue to help us to promote membership of the SFCA by encouraging all the anglers they know to join the Federation. Being able to demonstrate a large, active, and engaged membership plays a huge role in ensuring that we are able to keep coarse angling and coarse angling interests high on the agenda of Angling Scotland, sportscotland and Scottish Government.  In addition to FREE fishing across the Lowland Canal network, all SFCA individual members again receive free ‘Public Liability’ insurance cover for all their fishing activities whether engaged in SFCA events or fishing on their own anywhere in the world. In a bid to encourage some of individuals who did not join this year to renew their membership, anyone who joins between 1st January 2023 and 31st March 2023 will receive a membership running right through to 31st March 2023. We are also continuing with our annual membership prize draw on 31st January 2023. Full details will be published early in the New Year. The draw will be open to all paid up Individual Members on 31st January 2023. The name of the lucky winner will be published on 1st February 2023. Remember, you must be an Individual Member to be included in the draw so if you have not yet joined get your application done today.

Again, if you are experiencing any problems with the membership system, please either email or call me on 07812 241816 and I will guide you through it. 


On the domestic competitive front, 2022 saw the Federation run another limited match calendar. It was disappointing that we were unable to run the Scottish Veterans, Ladies or Junior Championships but these will return in 2023. To ensure a full calendar for 2023 we are aiming to run a match committee meeting at the beginning of January, and I will be pushing out the date and timings on the SFCA Match Fishing Facebook page over the Christmas period.

I would personally like to congratulate the following individuals on their success in 2022:

  • Jerry Blythe for becoming the Scottish National Champion
  • Mark Lyons and Barry Lindsay for becoming Scottish Pairs Champions
  • Steve Wood for becoming the Scottish Feeder Champion
  • Gus Brindle for becoming the Scottish Canal Champion
  • Davie Matthew for winning the Harvey Maule Memorial
  • And finally, Darrin Ferguson for becoming Scottish Match Angler of the Year.


2022 also saw our International Teams return to competition.


The first event for the Match Team was the Sensas Challenge on the Gloucester Canal at the end of March where we managed to field two teams. Our first team, comprising James Woodrow, David McAuley, James Dornom, Colin Hart, and Gus Brindle, put in an excellent performance over the two days taking Bronze with James Woodrow taking individual silver and David McAuley coming fourth. The team then ventured to Szeged, in Hungary for the Walterland Masters where everyone put in very creditable performances given that it was our first visit to this topflight annual event which attracts the very best teams and individuals from across Europe.  We were also using this to gain information in advance of the 2023 European Championships which were scheduled to be on the venue. Unfortunately, this has subsequently been moved but the event is still a very worthwhile addition to the International Fixture list. In September, the Team took part in the World Championships in Croatia. I will not go through the event in detail save, to say the that the venue was solid with fish from the first day to the last but that we simply did not get it right and ended a very disappointing. We need to find a way to get better at catch bleak and small channel catfish, difficult in a country that does not have any, but all the more reason to keep doing as many overseas competitions as possible given the financial constraints. The intention for 2023 is to field teams in the following events:


Sensas Challenge, Gloucester Canal in March 2023

Walterland Masters, Szeged, Hungary, June 2023

And either:

European Championships, Hungary in July 2023


World Championship, Spain in September 2023


We have recently been contacted to see it we would like to field a team in a new 6 Nations Feeder Championship being planned by the Angling Trust at Barston Fisheries in October 2023. Clearly this would be a first for Scotland, but we have a good number of very competent Feeder Anglers, and I am hopeful that we will be able to field a highly competitive team.  More information to follow on this.


The men’s Carp Team have had a relatively quiet year in 2022 with only one warm up match in preparation for the world championships. This was against the Army Carp Team and was held at Norton Disney. The match allowed Team Manager, Kev McConnell, to trial a couple of new squad members with Greg McLaren and Ross Thorley both performing well enough to earn a spot in the 2023 line up. The victory in this match, against a very strong Army Team, provided a confidence boost before travelling to Hungary for the World Championships on Lake Deseda in late September.  Unfortunately, the Team were disappointed to end 21st on what proved to be a very challenging venue.  The result was not however a true reflection of the team’s performance as things were a lot tighter than the result suggests. Just one fish in each section would have propelled the team into a top ten finish. Lots on good lessons were however learned and have already been built into practice session before next year’s event in France.


The Team also managed to secure Castle Loch as a training venue allowing the squad to work on various tactics and skills which will benefit all individuals in the long run, especially as we now start preparations for the world championships in France in 2023. Steve Warwick and Darren Pearse represented the team in the BCAC, making it through to the semi-final and were unlucky not to reach the final.


Plans are now being prepared for 2023. Team Manager, Kevin McConnell is in conversation with the other managers from the Home Nations trying to organise the Home International event for May. Going forward this will return to being an annual event. Training events will be organised in March and April to prepare the team tactically for the venue selected by England. Over the 3 years that the event has been held, all three nations are tied on points so this next one will give the bragging rights to the winner.


Other matches are being organised for June (against the Army) and July (against the Tri Services and Wales). These matches will be used to prepare the squad for the World Championships in late September which will be held on Lac De Panneciere near Chateau Chinon in the Burgogne region of France.


I am also pleased to announce that the appointment of Joanne Barlow as the Manager of the Scottish Ladies Carp Team has provide the focus and leadership to really get things moving. The Ladies squad have all been working hard throughout 2022, training Wyreside Lakes, near Lancaster, and will be fishing their first “friendly” match against Wales in March 2023. This will hopefully be a precursor to Scotland fielding its first ever Ladies Team at a World Championships in France in September 2023.




The formation of a Scottish Lure Team has been put on the back burner for a number of years now and I am determined that our plans will come to fruition in 2023. The intent is therefore to hold another meeting in January 20232 for all those interested in being part of a Scottish Lure Squad. The aim will be to hold the meeting virtually as well as face to face and details will be published over the Christmas period. We will then be looking to run a series of selection events, a Scottish Lure Championships and at opportunities to field our first ever Scottish Lure Team in a Home International in 2023. More details to follow.


Towards the end of January 2023, we will be holding a Coach CPD/Planning event which will include the International Team Managers and a selection of Internationalists to try to put together a forecast of coaching activities at various fisheries through the spring and summer to attract new youngsters into the sport and provide development opportunities for those who are already participating.  Our focus will continue to be to provide opportunity and encourage more juniors to get into competitive angling and re-establish the junior teams and this means finding new and innovative ways to provide a simple and sustainable pathway from recreational angling into competition.


We have recently held very productive meeting with both Scottish Canals and Strathclyde Country Park with a view to running more grass roots coaching events across the central belt during 2023.  These will include a combination of drop in, and pre-booked, coach led taster sessions for the general public as well as Club Angling Program deliveries targeted at Schools, clubs and community groups.  As always, we desperately need more coaches to support our programs and provide opportunities for the next generation of anglers.  As I have already mentioned we will be delivering the first pilots of the new Scottish Coaching Certificate – Support Coach courses towards the end of January, so if you are interested in becoming trained as a coach, or know someone who might be, and would like more information please email me at or call me on 07812 241816 and I will be happy to speak to you. 


As a Federation, one of our key roles is to act as the representative body for coarse anglers and coarse angling interests and to engage with and lobby Scottish Government and other key stakeholders at all levels and every forum where we can have an influence, to shape future direction, and protect and promote our sport for future generations.  The Executive Committee and I are now beginning to work on the draft SFCA Business Plan and Risk Register for 2023/24 with a view to having it published on the website in early February for consultation. We will, as always, ensure that clubs and individual members have at least 4 weeks to respond to the consultation prior to the AGM at the end of March where it will hopefully be ratified and issued. I encourage you all to read it once it is published and if there are things that you feel we have missed, or things that you feel should be given more weight or priority, then we would love to hear from you. While the Executive Committee are your representatives, we do not have the monopoly on good ideas. It is your sport, and we are your governing body, you need to tell us what is important to you. This is your annual opportunity to tell us what you want and voice any concerns. Please use it and help us to develop a Plan that delivers what the sport needs. You can provide feedback and comments through your clubs or direct to me at


As we look forward to 2023 and the fresh challenges that it will undoubtedly bring, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Executive Committee, our coaches, and the other volunteers, for the huge amount they have put in to support Scottish coarse angling over the past 12 months. We are a small, totally volunteer run Governing Body and thus totally reliant on the amount of time that these volunteers are able to commit to working on our behalf.  Without their commitment, determination, and willingness to go that extra mile, at their own personal cost, we could not hope to protect, promote, and grow the sport of coarse angling in Scotland.  There will, as always, be a more work to do that we can cope with so, as I say every year, if you feel that you have a skill set that could benefit the SFCA and can spare some time, however little, we would love to hear from you. In the meantime, I would urge you all to continue to play your part by simply promoting coarse angling as a totally accessible and ideal sport to engage and capture the imagination of young Scots, and by encouraging everyone you meet to join the SFCA.

In closing, I would like to wish all our members, and indeed all coarse anglers in Scotland, a very Merry Christmas and Tight Lines for 2023!


Gus Brindle


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