Sunday, 21 July 2019

Putting the record straight!

Photo 01 - The mess left by some "anglers"!

Putting the record straight!

It happens every year and usually more than once, this week four anglers were turned away as they only had a credit/debit card with which to make payment! There is no likelihood of us getting a card reader and the Glen Cafe does not have one either. So it is quite simple if you want to fish on the loch you need to pay with good old cash!

Also this week we had an angler who wanted an outboard engine like he had a few years ago. The situation now is that we no longer hire out engines electric or petrol. Yes, we have a number of engines but these are for use by club members only!  Now we were forced into this situation by visiting anglers with no respect for the property of others!
 However, getting money for damage caused is not that easy. Consider when an angler does not lift the engine when coming into shallow water the damage is usually born by the propeller. Now, these range from £45.00 for our electric engines to £140.00 for our petrol variety!

It is then easy to see that any slim operating profit is quickly wiped out by incessant damage. We cannot determine who is and who is not competent in boat craft prior to hiring, therefore, we were left with a simple decision and we made that decision! Please feel free to bring your own engine up to 4 horsepower or your electric one because you won’t get one here!

Pike aplenty!

Over the last few weeks, we have seen a huge increase in the numbers of Pike caught. One visiting angler from over the border snaffled a fifteen pounder along with a couple of smaller ones around six pounds. What really struck him however was how hard our Pike fight when hooked. Even a six-pounder was stripping line with a force which surprised him.

Andy Grey one of our members landed a seventeen pounder and a couple in the six to eight-pound region. Unfortunately, his seventeen pounder did not top the heavy Pike chart since he was intent on seeing the fish returned quickly and no one else was there when the fish was weighed.  To make it on to our heavy fish charts fish must either be weighed and verified by another or a photograph taken with a measurable object included! This may be a rod handle, reel or unhooking forceps.

The Gordon squad fishing at the top of the Lowes bagged nineteen Pike up to eight pounds in an explosive overnighter! Oh and don’t be fooled into thinking the wee loch only holds Jacks, every year the loch returns Pike to near twenty pounds so it's well worth a bash! After the post-spawning drought this is a most welcome situation, if you want to catch a few get those rods into the water!

Our responsibility!

As anglers, we have a duty to make sure that we make no detrimental changes to the area and that in practising our sport we cause no suffering to other wildlife. The photo above shows what some visiting anglers left behind at the end of their session. The wildlife trap was found by one of our members who naturally removed it and gave it to us for disposal!

It is crucial that anglers check the area before leaving. The tangle on nylon and hooks could shackle a bird (its happened before) leading to a slow and painful death. It could also end up in a dogs leg causing unnecessary suffering and expense for the owner! I would urge all anglers to behave responsibly and ensure such incidents do not happen!

Photo 02 - A Carpenter Bumblebee!


Yesterday whilst enjoying the sun later in the day I noticed some bumblebees feeding on the Yarrow plant. Most were the archetypal yellow and black Bombus Bombus variety but one specimen caught my eye. The reason it caught my eye was that it was shiny on the lower abdomen and I deduced it was a Carpenter Bumblebee!

Unlike the common variety, theses critters live a solitary lifestyle and are wood borers! They live in softwood and drill holes into the flowers of the plants they feed on to scoop up the nectar.I have never seen these at the loch before but thats another one ticked off the list!

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Not what we expect!

Photo 01 - The dead Pike along with a dead Perch!

Not what we expect! (1)

On arriving home last night Jenny called informing me of a Pike that had been killed on the Lowes. Of course, this meant turning around and heading back to the loch. On arriving I spoke with Jenny and George Drummond a most helpful member who witnessed the killing of the Pike!

It seems that three adults and a fifteen-year-old boy came to fish and on catching a small Pike immediately killed the fish! Now when we spoke with the group they said they were unaware that it was forbidden to kill any Pike. Now, this is where personal responsibility comes into play!

A thinking angler prior to visiting a new venue must take the necessary steps to acquaint themselves with the rules of that fishery! In our case, that means visiting our website and familiarising themselves with our rules! I find it inconceivable that an angler would visit a fishery and start killing fish without knowing the rules of that fishery!

Anyway, we spoke with the group and it turns out the youth had killed the Pike with the aid of another. Now, all these lads knew they had blundered and all apologised profusely which was to their credit! We felt, however, we had to take some form of action given the seriousness of the transgression and we decided to revoke the permission to fish of the two anglers involved in the killing of the fish!

There was really no reason for this incident to have taken place! One of the anglers said that our permit should have stated that no Pike is to be killed but if we were to issue a set of rules with every permit it would mean issuing four sheets of A4 paper with every permit! No, it is incumbent on any angler visiting our fishery to take the necessary steps to familiarise themselves with our rules! Ignorance is no excuse!
And just to remove any tiny fragment of doubt, No Pike or Eels may be taken!

Photo 02 - Andy Grey with a nice jack!

Not what we expect! (2)

Over the years we have seen some right carry-ons usually involving alcohol (usually in the form of Buckfast) or drugs of whatever type! Now, these people come to the lochs carrying a fishing rod but they are not what we would call anglers! Their primary aim is to take as much of whatever mind-altering substance they choose to abuse to send them to another planet!

Yesterday such a group was present on the Cafe Green comprising of two half intoxicated individuals and two that were absolutely bladdered! It started late on Friday night with loud music enough to disturb those nearby making their stay an absolute misery and continued until they were completely overcome by the substance of their choice!

In the morning all was again quiet as it should be until one Noddy burst into a private area of a building by a side door and proceeded to vomit his stomach contents. Now the owners have taken this in their stride and made no big deal about the incident but we as an angling club as well as being embarrassed are concerned that a so-called angler could behave in such a way!

It is very difficult to filter out Muppets on arrival as they all seem to come across as bona fide visitors! It is only after they are intoxicated that we see their true characters! So what can we do to thwart this behaviour? Well, we can remove their right to fish and we have done many times in the past or we could ban visiting anglers altogether though this would have severe negative implications for ourselves and businesses in the area!

The group above were spoken to by our loch keeper and later the police and warned that any further transgression would be met by their permission to fish being revoked and result in a further police presence and removal from the loch!

Not what we expect (3)!

 The third tale is a particularly hard smack in the face for us as you will see! A chap from the Tyneside area phoned up on Thursday to book a boat for two rods. I thought that this would be possible as it was booked for 09.30 on Friday morning and on speaking with Jenny she confirmed that one way or another she could accommodate this booking.

As it turned out Jenny found herself busy with farming issues so she sped round to the boathouse took out the oars and left a key in a pre-arranged place so the anglers could unlock their boat, oars and get a lifejacket if they required one and of course their permit without which it is illegal to fish!

Later, Jenny noted the boat on the water and went round to collect the remittance which was to be left in the safe place! There was nothing there but Jenny assumed that payment would be completed when their day ended. When she checked the safe place for the fees again there was nothing there!

Now, these people gave me and Jenny a lot of extra unneeded work and then whacked us by not paying for their fishing! There was no answer to phone calls or texts subsequently the two anglers are now banned from the lochs! Unfortunately, the actions of a few have implications for the many and as such anglers must now pay the required fees prior to fishing if hiring a boat using our safe place scheme! How depressing!

Interclub competition!

This week we received a very late invitation to put forward a team of 3 anglers to fly fish on the Watch Reservoir! Due to the short notice, we could not raise a team but I have asked the organisers to include us in next years event. The club will cover all fees and expenses.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

No way!

Photo 01 - Loch level getting low again.
No way!

This week rumours have again surfaced regarding opening up the loch with a public launch point allowing all and sundry access to the loch to allow the public to do what they want!  It is, of course, a ridiculous idea that would ultimately end in tears if not worse! Those looking in from the outside feel there is a need to “open up” the lochs to more people!

Can you imagine the mayhem that would ensue if any Tom, Dick or Harry could come and launch a boat whenever they pleased! It’s a non-starter! For any such scheme to be vaguely successful would require at least one full-time employee and one that was competently trained in boat maintenance, first aid and emergency rescue!

So you can see that Joe Bloggs from the dole queue would most certainly fit the bill! The employee would also need access to a powerful rescue boat suitably kitted out. A watchtower with telephone, 2-way radio and warning siren would also be needed and that would constitute only a most basic (and frankly unacceptable) service. Any launch fees would quickly be gobbled up and in all likelihood see the loch turned into a circus!

Whoever came up with this idea did not think it through to implement such a scheme would take very significant resource on a recurring basis! And of course, a very important point is that with the influx of people whose identity is unknown come to the risk of increased trouble as we found out many years ago when we opened up the fishing!

There have been a number of serious incidents this year despite the best efforts of Chris the local warden and turning the loch into a free for all with people camped everywhere could only make matters worse! At the moment if you want to sail on the loch you can join the sailing club if you want to fish or just row about and picnic on the loch you come to us!  With the public launch point, we could see chaos on the water and carnage on the banks it would be a health and safety nightmare! It’s a non-starter and as such we will oppose any such moves to bring about what could only be described a ludicrous idea!

No cards here!

Every year we are confronted by a few anglers who come to fish and offer credit or debit cards to make payment! We do not accept cards of any kind and have no plans to do so. Even the Glen Cafe does not accept cards so if you want to fish you need to bring cash! We also do not accept cheques

Recent filming!

Well, it turns out the filming for the series on BBC Scotland’s  “Grand Tours of the Scottish Lochs” took place as planned. Davy Forsyth our man on the ground took care of all their needs and did us proud! One thing he did say was that they were all craving breakfast but nothing was to be had around the loch.  I have no details of when the episode will be shown so tune in to BBC Scotland on a Thursday evening and you will catch the clip.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

is this yours!

Photo 01 - The offending craft midweek!
Is this yours?

The occupants of this inflatable dinghy have visited the loch on three separate occasions with an assortment of inflatables and always with an electric engine fitted. The owners are foreign so there may be a comprehension issue in spite of our loch keeper explaining in simple terms that their outings on the loch break the countryside code!

The code states that is legal to launch a boat on a water providing you can carry it but that the said craft must have no means of assisted power other than oars! It then follows that petrol or electric engines are not permitted! When the owners were spoken to by our loch keeper they stressed that they were avoiding pollution by using electric power which is true but crucially you are still breaking the countryside code!
Since this is becoming a series of wrong moves on your part we would very much like to speak with you to make you aware of the law and the concern that you are causing. 

We also have misgivings about the robustness of your craft and the fact that you are afloat without the use of lifejackets! Boating without a lifejacket might seem macho but it is very dangerous not only to you but for any people involved in a potential rescue mission! So if the craft pictured above is yours please get in touch on 07980350031 and we will make arrangements to see if we can help you to enjoy St Mary’s Loch in a respectful and responsible manner!

Photo02 - Boat Captain Meg taking a breather!

New boat update!

The Flycatcher had her first outing yesterday when Meg (boat captain) took Gordon and me out for a session on the loch. The oars were silent since Mike Christie nipped up during the week to fit the rim protectors which sit underneath the oars. She is a very stable craft and a pleasure to use and pulling her up on the bank is now much easier thanks to the modifications carried out largely by Mike – thanks, Mike!

Who would do this?

Whilst walking the bank yesterday I noticed some white balls floating at the water's edge and on closer examination, they were found to the tiny polystyrene balls used to fill up bean bags and pouffes! So how did they get into the loch? At present we are not sure but our loch keeper is conducting a search to see if any bean bags have been discarded on the lochside! It is beyond me to think that anyone could dump such an item on the banks of the loch! We will keep you updated!

Photo 03 _ Gordon found a few of these yesterday but little rising to them!

10 years and counting!

We would like to extend our congratulations To Mike in Fishers in Penicuick on ten years in business serving anglers not only locally but countrywide thanks to internet trading! In that time we in Galashiels lost our own tackle dealer when Tom Hardy died but the impact of his death was lessened when anglers found they could get the same service just a few miles up the road! 

Comments received from our members suggest to me that we will be running this story in ten years time to celebrate 20 years serving anglers countrywide. Shopkeepers come and go, tackle dealers are there for the long haul! To celebrate this event Mike has some super deals on offer – check them out below!

Those are my favourite picks but many more deals are available at

Here's to the next ten years!

The wider world in my view!

Absolutely astounding!

It has often been said that my generation has had the best of it and I am in agreement with this! There was a time when politicians were honest (well mostly) and goals would be set with the aim of taking things forward and easing the plight of the poor! When Lord Snooty came along we faced unprecedented austerity and public services cut to the bone!

No one thought things could get any worse but we reckoned without the Maybot! This woman brought new meaning to words like blunder and disaster and things spiralled downwards quicker than before! Having gotten rid of her we are now facing god knows what!

For the last few weeks, we have been subject endless TV appearances by initially eleven of the biggest chumps, liars and absolute losers ever seen in political history! Now whittled down to two Boris Johnston and Jeremy Hunt we have an inept liar and bungler in Boris Johnston and an incompetent daydreamer and sometime wrecker in Jeremy Hunt!

Are we really looking at one of these two diddys being elected Prime Minister? Unfortunately, the answer is yes since 160,000 old fools and old maids will undoubtedly elect Johnston to complete our shame on the world stage! Imagine that clown as our Prime Minister it makes Trump look like someone who knows what he is doing!

And then take the topic of the moment Brexit which if implemented will see a level of hardship unseen post-war! Our posterity will look on this mouths agape at the massive self-inflicted injury we are about to carry out! The last ten years have dragged our standard of living into the gutter and singled out the poor for extra punishment! Have we progressed from the workhouse days? I really don’t think so!

Sunday, 23 June 2019

New boat update!

New Boat update!

Photo 01 - Meg has trained them well, Mike with a nice Pike!

Our new boat had her plastic runners fitted today and what a difference it makes. She now slides over the rocks with ease and I am sure the bumpers will protect the hull from impact damage. Mike Christie and Les Robson fitted runners on Esox Lucius and shoving her into the water today was a piece of cake.

We owe a lot to Mike, Les and Davy Mitchell for their assistance and guidance in this venture and yesterdays helpers Andy Gray and Jenny also carried out sterling work. Mike has crafted a couple of rim protectors for our new Flycatcher and once these are fitted she will be commissioned for use by members.

All our boats are named after indigenous species in the loch but if you have an idea of what she should be named let us know and we will use one of the names submitted.

 Photo 02 - Kind letter from Lawsons family.
Nice gesture!

We had a visit yesterday from the partner of recently deceased club member Lawson  Simpson more commonly known as Big L. It was lovely to hear of some of Lawson’s exploits and the good things he accomplished. Clearly, the last couple of years were difficult for all with one illness following another, as always with the Big L he endured these maladies with great resolve and dignity. We were left a card addressed to club members and I append the contents of that card below.

Photo 03 - Bumpers on the flycatcher!

A treasure found!

I nipped round to the Tibbie yesterday for a catch up on the various goings on and on entering the grounds I noticed a large amount of pine cones scattered on the ground. Alastair was away and Eleanor with her usual grace made a cup of tea and I mentioned the pine cones to her and she said that the cones had attracted a pair of Crossbills!

Img 01 - RSPB photo of Scottish Crossbill.

She said the male was resplendent in his colourful livery the red colouration immediately catching her eye! She said its bill was quite heavily made evolving to allow the bird to dismantle pine cones. So if you are up at the Tibbie tread lightly and keep an eye out for this majestic bird under the pine tree.

To film or not to film!

Of course, I refer to the film crew coming on Monday to film an introductory scene in the BBC Scotland series “Grand tours of the Scottish lochs” playing on Thursday evenings. Well it was all set to go when last Thursday I received a mail asking if we could supply a copy of our boat insurance certificate!

Now we have a boat insurance certificate but it is in the safekeeping of our treasurer in Motherwell. Now, this venture was first mooted around 3 weeks ago and we get this late request for a copy of our certificate. Well, I’m damned if I am going to put people out to accommodate such a late request I never even contacted Elliot to accommodate this request! Their response is that they will carry out an on the spot Health & Safety assessment on Tuesday (Revised date)! So we may or may not see the Loch o the Lowes in a future programme!

The wider world in my view!

The only choice!

The Maybot is in the dying embers of her disastrous tenure and the future is becoming clearer and the outlook is very grim indeed! It looks like one incompetent politician is being dumped only to have a more incompetent one to take over! Yes, the choice looks to be between the inept Health service wrecker Jeremy Hunt and the super inept Boris Johnston!

Its Hobson’s choice over which bungler to choose but the irony is that the general electorate will have no voice in this diddy contest! Both will seek the same outcome of punishing poor people whilst lining the pockets of the well-heeled! Yes, we are now facing the reality of having an absolute dummy as Prime Minister and worse, he will be appointed by old grey haired upper-class twits and of course the group of bewildered Scots who voted in 13 Tory MPs to their eternal shame!

All I can say is that as we sink ever deeper into the mire the only lifeline is that offered by Nicola Sturgeon and independence! Surrounded by fools and jesters our only salvation will be to rid ourselves from the never-ending chaos and wholeheartedly grab the opportunities that only independence offers!

Sunday, 16 June 2019

This is what you get!

Photo 01 - Gordon with a beautifully coloured Pike with Meg in the background!

This is what you get!

I have occasionally heard usually through a third party that members didn’t know they were entitled to a free boat. Well below are all the benefits your membership entitles you to –

(1) As a member, you are entitled to a boat to maximise your fishing experience. This can be one of the Lomond’s or one of the bigger Arran’s. You must book your boat through the usual number (07980350031) and you can book it for up to seven days! Naturally, we expect the boat when returned to be free of rubbish.

(2) You are entitled to the use of our engines free of charge. Currently, we have 2 x 4HP four Stroke motors and 2 x 37lbs thrust electric motors. You need to supply your own petrol (no oil to be added) For the electric engines, you need to supply your own batteries You can also book these engines for up to 7 days, lifejackets and anchors can also be booked and are free of charge.

(3) You are entitled to use the club boathouse and all facilities therein if you have purchased a boathouse key (£5.00) You may store your equipment here, but you do so at your own risk. The area must be kept clean and tidy.

(4) You are entitled to use the clubs two petrol generators but again you must book them and supply your own petrol. The generators are 3.5Hp (red) and 4.0HP (yellow). The club also has a 6,000lb lifter which is powered by a 12-volt battery and you may access this. We were also recently gifted a Calor gas cooker/grill and this can be booked for use. There is a cylinder of gas attached.

(5)  Most of all you get unlimited access to St Mary’s Loch and the Loch o the Lowes. Every year heavy Pike and Trout are encountered and just now they are feeding with some zeal. So get your rods out and enjoy the picturesque surroundings and all this for £35.00 per year! Now you know why there is a waiting list to join the club!

    Photo 02 - The return of Quasi courtesy of Martin caught at 02.00

An old friend is gone!

I regret to have to report that one of our members and previous committee members Lawson Simpson passed away last Saturday.  Lawson assisted us with many projects and was a well-respected member of the club. He was a keen all-round angler and simply a good guy! In spite of his imposing outline he was a gentle giant there was not a bit of malice in him!  Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

 The funeral is being held at the Melrose Crematorium at 11.00am tomorrow the 17th. We have made a donation of £40.00 on behalf of the members to the McMillan cancer service in line with the wishes of the family. R.I.P

Photo 03 - Even I got one yesterday!

Sunday, 9 June 2019

She's here!

She’s here!
Photo 01 - Alastair and Eleanor aground, looking for the loch as Jenny looks on!

Indeed, after a delay, I was phoned by the hauliers on Monday at 14.30hrs  to say that our new boat could be delivered around 16.30hrs! Now, this was too little notice to get the hands we need to safely transport the boat to her new home! I spoke to the driver and he came up with a solution.

Photo 02 -Alastair lifts the "Flycatcher" and heads lochwards!

Photo 03 - Alastair prepares to lower the boat into the loch!

He was about to sign off for the night and said if we could arrange some hands for 08.00hrs on Tuesday morning he would park up at the cafe car park. At 08.00hrs I arrived to meet Jenny and Alastair and Eleanor from the Tibbie and that was us. We unloaded the boat via the tail lift and bedded her down safely.

It looked quite a lift to the lochside so Alastair came up with the idea of borrowing Tommy Hepburn’s tractor and lifting the boat down into the water. With the boat suspended from the tractor arm Alastair expertly guided our boat into the loch and finally, she sucked in the cool water of St Mary’s Loch.

Photo 04 - On her maiden voyage!

The rest was plain sailing as we mounted the electric engine and hooked up our battery and she was off. With the keel filled up, she assumed the reassuring stability inherent in our Lomond’s! It was a great feeling on the way down and I have no doubt that our new 15ft Flycatcher will lead many anglers to the day of their lives!

Now, it was entirely down to Jenny and Alastair and Eleanor that we were able to bring our boat home in the space of a few hours and we extend our grateful thanks to them! But that was not all as well as cups of hot tea we were treated to a freshly grilled Nottingham (yes they import them from Nottingham) sausage roll and by hell it wiz guid!

Photo 05 - In her new home, ready to serve!

 These are the kind of stories you read in books how satisfying to encounter it in real life! We are also indebted to Tommy Hepburn for the loan of his tractor which made the job considerably easier! We are very fortunate to have such good neighbours!

The boat whilst moored at the boathouse is not yet ready for general use. We need to get the poly piping on the keel and fins, we need poly protectors under the oars, we need the Thule pins removing to aid turning her over but we did not have a deep 17mm socket so was unable to remove them (one ordered) and we need a larger diameter ring for chaining the boats up. The new oars have already been scuffed and given a couple of coats of auto lacquer. Once these tasks have been done she will be ready for use!

The secret angler!

if you look at the clubs gallery you will see some fine specimens of the lochs inhabitants and some well-kent faces! However, speaking with a member last week I was shown a gallery of fish that had my eyes popping out of their sockets! Lovely Brown Trout up to around 3lbs and all caught this year on the fly!

You likely won't see him around the loch but instead find him in the darkest recesses of the loch, you might see the flash of a black Pennel as it exits the bushes heading for the water! Not a man seeking glory just content to enjoy all around him pitting his wits against our wily Brownies! who is this man? I'm not telling, but I look forward to meeting him again later in the season to view his updated gallery. So next time you see a willow bush move and there is no wind look closer, it might just be the secret angler!

 The wider world in my view!

Circus in town!

There was palpable relief when the Maybot resigned and tried to recount her successful policies but ended up being stuck for words and as “Private Eye” put to paper her achievements published a blank piece of paper!  Yes, it's a huge scar on the country that we have wasted £billions and three whole years chasing the unicorn that is Brexit! But she did leave some stunning nonsensical phrases such as "Brexit means Brexit" "Nothing has changed" and of course "Strong and Stable"!

It’s going to be fun over the next weeks as the chumps and Diddy’s standing for the Tory leadership and more worryingly our Prime Minister vie with each other to claim the crown! It seems already most of them are junkies which would go some way to explain the persistent gaffes and unmitigated bungling!

It looks like Boris Johnston is the bookies favourite and if he does win we are in for a short but very rough ride! Don't worry about our reputation its already trashed thanks to the Maybot! Learning nothing from his many previous blunders he again is starting off with pie in the sky soundbites such as withholding the £39billion we have already agreed to pay to meet our existing commitments!

Look forward to lies and more lies as they twist facts to meet their goals, I really do wonder how stupid people who vote Tory are! Can they not see through all this bluster? Anyway, there are some super chumps in the race Johnston aside, look out for Esther McVile a failure on TV and an even bigger one in politics! Jeremy Hunt who managed to lower the morale of all NHS staff to a new low with his dictatorial style of management!

Rory Stewart who when he is not taking opium is wandering all around the country preaching the gospel of unity to sort Brexit. Brexit cannot be sorted! When Lord Snooty called the referendum he sowed the divisions that will be with us for generations to come. On the plus side, he has a very comedic manner always game for a laugh!

It's going to be a tragic comedy that will see other TV shows spurned with a mixture of laughs, blunders, doubtless embarrassing revelations and utter tosh! Make sure you're tuned in!