After what seems like a period in piscatorial purgatory, fishing is back.

The First Minister’s announcement has loosened the terms of lockdown and we can get back out doing what we love.

Our fisheries and rivers will have taken a big hit over the lockdown period and we’ll need to support them if we’re going to bounce back.

Call ahead to the owners or speak to the club chair to find out about availability of permits and what restrictions are in place so that we can all get catching fish.

I’m looking forward to a flood of Fish of the Week entries as we start working towards “the new normal”.

We’ve been asked to use our judgment, staying fairly local and focusing on avoiding crowds, particularly at popular spots. As the First Minister noted in her speech, we are permitted to travel within a short distance of our local community (broadly within five miles as a guide) for outdoor activities and should travel by walking or cycling where possible.

As one of the first outdoor activities allowed, the angling community needs to conduct itself well and not give any reason to close down again.

So we’ll need to follow the Government guidance in letter and in spirit and strengthen our hand going forward.

Angling Scotland has put together guidelines to help. Before you fish:

●Observe Government and public health restrictions. If you or someone in your household are symptomatic, you should be self-isolating as per NHS advice.

●If you are in the highest risk (shielding) group, then you should stay at home.

●Travel from your home must be in line with Scottish Government guidelines.

●Book in advance with your fishery, schedule your time around the booking.

●Disinfect equipment including waders, nets and any other items that may come into contact with you or the water.

●Ensure you have enough equipment for the entire session as facilities may be closed and you should not exchange equipment with other anglers.

●Aim to arrive no more than 15 minutes prior to your session and park in such a way as to facilitate physical distancing.

While you are fishing:

●Stay at least two metres away from other people before, during and after fishing

●Don’t share equipment, food or drink with others unless from the same household.

●Be aware that onsite indoor facilities will be closed.

●Always follow good hand and respiratory hygiene guidelines e.g. washing of hands, use of face coverings in enclosed spaces.

Taking some simple steps to keep safe won’t be hard and I cannot wait for the wee moment by the water just before the first cast knowing it’s Fish On again.

The winner of our Final First Catch competition is Jayden Barclay on his first fishing trip to a small coarse pond with his dad. After a few hours with no luck, a change of plan was needed. They took a bit of bread from their lunch which the wee lad swung into a different pond, and within seconds he was hooked into this lovely common carp.

Send your entry to: Fish of the Week, Glasgow Angling Centre, Unit 1, Point Retail Park, 29 Saracen Street, Glasgow G22 5HT, or email with a photo and your full address to [email protected]