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Turning point as fly fishery lures hundreds of visitors tourist draw

A FLY fishing destination near Falkirk is aiming to turn over between £80,000 and £100,000 in its second full year of trading after proving to be a popular draw for enthusiasts at home and abroad.

SUCCESS STORY: Fraser Adams has built up the major tourist destination in Falkirk along with his brother Scott.
SUCCESS STORY: Fraser Adams has built up the major tourist destination in Falkirk along with his brother Scott.

Brothers and local businessmen Fraser and Scott Adams launched Black Loch Fishery in March last year to indulge their life-long love of the pastime, while creating a business they could work on and build together.

They expect the fishery to attract more than 2000 visitors in the forthcoming fishing season, having already seen the facility used by the Scottish professional teams and leading amateur clubs around the UK. It is now listed by Visit­Scotland as a tourist destination in the area.

Fraser Adams, who has run a removals and storage business for more than 30 years, said: "We've had some good write-ups in the fishing magazines because really, apart from possibly the Lake of Menteith, which is the number one fishing facility for Scotland anyway, there is no one else doing what we are doing.

"We're getting visitors from all over. The word has spread through clubs around Scotland and our books for the weekends are pretty full of fishing clubs now."

Mr Adams said the entrepreneurs have invested more than £100,000 in the venture so far, which has included a £10,000 Forth Valley and Lomond Leader grant, accessed through Falkirk Council's Business Gateway, and a further £3,000 business grant from the authority.

The investment has extended to the purchase of seven and a half acres of land adjacent to the water, 17 fishing boats, and a new electricity generator.

Steps have also been taken to improve access to the 124 acres of water they lease from British Waterways. A new road and tar paths have been built, while a new jetty and pontoons have been constructed, ensuring full disabled access to the water.

John Paterson of Larbert-based digital agency Evolutio was lined up via Business Gateway to advise on the fishery's website, and was later contracted to overhaul its digital platform.

The website, which Mr Adams said provides information on everything visitors need to know about the site, is now a "major" source of customers for the business.

He highlighted the importance of local authority support in accelerating their plans.

Mr Adams said: "That's been really important. It has allowed us to stuff we couldn't possibly do at the moment at all. It's allowed us to tar the place, which has allowed disabled people to access the water, it's allowed us to buy engines for all the boats so people can come and hire and petrol outboard from us. If the wind picks up you really need the outboard - it's really not suitable for rowing.

"It's just allowed us to do things quicker than we would have been able to do normally."

Visitors to Black Loch Fishery effectively pay £25 per head, which covers boat hire for a full day and the entitlement to take home five fish.

The water is stocked once a week with a tank of fish purchased from Dumfries at a weekly cost to the business of £800. The bulk of the fish are rainbow, blue and brown trout.

Mr Adams said it is an attraction for people who are "very serious about their fishing".

He noted: "It's a challenge. It's 124 acres, so most people are going out on boats. They've got to go all over the water and chase fish. All the fish in the water are class A fish, which is the best of fish. We're just not interested in class B or C fish.

"What serious fishermen want is the fight from the fish - that's their big thing."

Mr Adams added that, having made the major capital outlays to set the business up, the brothers are targeting year three as the "turning point" for the fishery in commercial teams.

He said: "We'd like to get up to 20 boats. We now have the building done [and] the car parking is done. Really the big expenses are all done now, so hopefully it will just be the day to day running costs from now on."

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