Sunday, 17 June 2018

Our visitors

Photo 01 - A gleeful Stuart avoids a blank yesterday!
Our visitors!

This week we take a look at the main website which is used primarily as a resource site for those who have not visited the lochs before. Accordingly, the viewing figures are much less than our news page site. The average number of visitors is 436 per month which in itself is a healthy figure remembering that we are a small rural angling club out in the wilds.

The most visited pages are our Pike and Trout pages with the Pike page taking 73% of visitors followed by our Trout pages which take 19% of our visitors. The remaining species pages are Perch 5% and Eels 3%. Now there are no real surprises there Pike have always been the target species on the site and indeed on the loch.

Photo 02 - The most fragrant bloom, the Dog Rose!

Looking at the demographics the majority of visitors come from the Borders, Edinburgh Glasgow region but this time this area has a much smaller slice of the cake at 55%. Next up is the Newcastle area with 19% and then middle England with 18% of our total visitors. The remaining 8%  are overseas with Poland 3% USA 2% Canada 1% and the other 2% being split between five different countries!

Looking at all of our pages again the Pike page is the most popular close;y followed by our club gallery. The least visited pages are our rules and etiquette pages and our additional information pages. Now, this is problematic in that our rules page should be the most frequented as to go and practice your sport you need to know what the rules are to avoid falling foul of them!

Photo 03 - Lots of colour at the hall!

As a resource site, we are very pleased with how the site performs having received accolades from fishing magazines and angling authors alike. Of course, that does not mean that it cannot be improved and hopefully in the autumn we will give it a refresh! The purpose of the site was to make anglers and laymen aware of the lochs existence and the treasures it holds! It has done that admirably, it does exactly what it says on the tin!
Photo 04 - Lots of Ox Daises make things that bit brighter!

A look around!

Now that Mother Nature has opened her treasure chest for 2018 I thought I would take a look around and see what is happening all around us yet often unseen! In the roof of our boathouse, we have a colony of Bats who are occasionally seen in the late afternoon although more commonly in the autumn.  We have at least two species of birds (Blue Tits and Chaffinch) nesting in the roof space! Our head of mice living in and under the boathouse is now fully active, any scrap of food dropped is gone in a short time as they gather food eagerly!

Photo 05 - bent over trees following Thursdays storm

Outside we see that Red Squirrels are now commonly seen often around the boathouse and Grey Squirrels conspicuous by their absence. The boathouse Song Thrush is still dominating the airwaves singing most of the morning away. Blackbirds interject with their fluting melodies. The Cuckoo has now been heard a few times in the vicinity of the boathouse no doubt selecting foster parents for their chicks!
Unusually Foxes have been noted at various places around the loch looking for food. The early morning angler often catches sight of the Roe Deer in the area and above the Osprey glides often surrounded by squabbling Seagulls or nifty swallows. The predator, however, is unflustered by their protestations! On the ground the most beautiful bush, the Dog Rose opens its fragrant blossom attracting the colonies of Bumble Bees.

On the ground, the many wildflowers burst into bloom among them the Welsh Poppy and distinct Ox Daisy imparting bold colour to the landscape. The May bloom which was absolutely vibrant and dense this year is turning now and food for the birds and mice are being produced. Finally, fresh grass shoots appear in the nick of time to avert a crisis in feeding the many Sheep in the area.

In the water, our species of fish are now fully active often delighting patient anglers. The top predators in the loch the Otters continue to levy their tax on the lochs but not to the extent of impairing our fishing. The loch is big enough to support us and the Otter population. There is a wealth of life all around us, take a minute and have a look!

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Both doing well!

Photo 01 - Stuart Grieve with a low water 10 pounder!

Both doing well!

I am referring to both the loch and the weekly blog we publish each week. Our readership has gradually crept up to a total of 2,363 visits per month and the last few weeks has settled to around 2,100. Its a fantastic figure for a small angling club and 84% of our visitors are from the UK the rest being made up in descending order of Polish Canadians, Americans,  and finally Russians!

Looking further into the stats 59% of visitors are from the Borders, Edinburgh and Glasgow area. That’s as fine as the data differentiation goes. The Newcastle area sends us 17% of our visitors whilst the rest of Scotland sends us a further 11% of our visitors. The remaining visitors are from the rest of England.  We have recently had a number of visitors from as far as Cheshire and the loch did them proud with a load of Pike!
Of course, the blog is an advertising medium for the club and we now have the proof it is working very well indeed! We have been asked why we do not allow advertising on the site well it’s simple. 

Photo 02 - Mike Wood yesterday with a perfectly marked Pike!

A number of our member's reel when visiting other sites festooned with annoying adverts and we do not want that! Of course, the news page is also our social history the ups and downs of the club as we plough on through the years!
The written word on our site is a treasure chest for social scientists and photography, in particular, helps with research when looking back to see receding banks caused by erosion. Green hills alive with grazing sheep now covered in a blanket of death by the horrific fir trees! But the written word sometimes enlightens, when the local rags spout a load of tripe and the reality is exposed here! The recent farce with the warden is a classic example when high and mighty Tory politicians stand proudly on their rhetoric posing for photos whilst on the ground chaos reigns supreme!

Photo 03 - visitor Steven Jones with a mixed up Salmon kelt!

Readers like to see numbers and species of fish caught but here lies a difficulty. We used to produce catch return data but we found out that many anglers do not wish to divulge their catches and we respect those wishes. Any photo published is done so with the permission of the owner. It is a known fact that if a significant fish is caught it can lead to hordes of visitors seeking to catch that fish leading to mayhem! The capture of significant numbers of bigger fish often do not come to our attention or they may but anglers request no publicity.

Of course many are intrigued by our machinations and have no real interest in fishing. One lady (H) has followed our progress or otherwise since we began and has never cast a line in her life and doubtless, there will be more. Some like to see the expose of chumps such as Mr. Xxxxx, the angling bully and other Muppets that visit under the banner of angling! Of course, many items do not appear here and that will always be the case.
The loch goes through its yearly cycle sometimes giving freely of its fish population and more often in the colder months displaying extreme parsimony! It’s a routine regular anglers get used to and they hang in there because every now and then she bucks the trend and gives out Christmas presents in the form of heavy Pike!

Photo 04 - Quasi caught again yesterday, only fish landed out of 3 offers!

But it doesn’t need to be winter for happy events to take place. Member Stuart Grieve was out on the boat last week with our lure king Davy Forsyth and tried a cast into the bank and landed on the bank.  Some rapid adjustment and his lure (it’s a secret) landed two feet from the bank and got snagged or so he thought. A ten pounder (photo above) in water just covering her back pulled the line into the middle of the loch and led him a merry dance before coming to the net.

Similarly, visitors Steven Jones and mate Gary Pearson came for a bash at our Pike and found the going slow on the day. So they diversified and ended a with a bumper variety pack! An Eel of three pounds is a very good specimen of Eel, Trout, and Perch around the pound mark and a five to six-pound kelt described by Steven as painfully thin!  This mixed up kelt should have dropped back into the sea but it remains in the loch continually losing condition! I fear it will not last much longer, we think this is the same fish caught a couple of weeks ago by Barry Leslie but instead of a Sardine this time she took a spoon!
Yes, both the news pages and the loch are doing very well and the march onwards continues as we walk hand in hand with the ever-evolving lochs. Let the good times roll!

Photo 05-  Black sky, thunder, and lightning yesterday!

The wider world in my view!

National humiliation!

I think that pretty much in every facet of life day to day living is becoming a bit of a challenge. Well, at least a challenge for the majority of those who live off the scrapings from the capitalist table. Already £900 worse off since the suicidal Brexit process began! And it looks to be getting much worse as prices rise rapidly and earnings stagnate those in the know estimate that by the time Brexit becomes a (horrifying) reality we will all be around £2300 worse off with shortages of food medicines and almost everything else! We will, in fact, enter a post-war scenario if the hard Brexiteers get their way!

Now there are those who say piffle, but when you look closely as to who those people are you begin to realise that we are indeed in a mess! Yes, the likes of Boris Johnston, Michael Gove, and Liam Fox possibly the best caricature of the three stooges ever, all mouth and no action barring blunders and U turns! Yes, these three fools are leading the Maybot into a place the likes of which we have never seen before! Experts from all walks of life are warning that it is an impending disaster but this government like a robot not responding to controls simply carries on regardless!

It’s quite a laughable situation if you do not live in the UK that is that the most incompetent government in living memory is leading the country kicking and screaming into an unknown situation! These idiots have abandoned all normal government business concentrating only on Brexit and astoundingly have managed to make zero progress! Using only Fantasy Island as a guide they are coming up with the most nonsensical ideas hoping the EU will be fooled into biting! Of course, the EU negotiators are not that stupid they just send the lot back with the instruction to try again!

If you tune in to news stations other than the BBC or ITV you would see without a shadow of a doubt that the once respected world power that was the UK is now the laughing stock of the world! Foreigners delight whenever Brexit comes up with the mandatory backbiting, bungling, and incessant U turning!

These Tory fools have dragged the country into the gutter, our standing in the world has been trashed by unceasing blundering, we are nothing more than a second-rate comedy show! The EU negotiators are completely exasperated at the lack of any sense emanating from these dolts and had I been in that team would have blown my top many months ago! They do not seem to be able to grasp the concept of negotiation being unprepared and having little grasp of reality!

The implications of this chaos will live on to blight any future dealings in a whole host of avenues! This inept government must be the most shambolic ever, our leader in the Maybot the most useless! Incapable of agreeing among themselves, oblivious to the majority warning them of the detrimental consequences of their actions. The Maybot has turned out to be a ditherer of the highest standard unable to decide the most simple of problems simply kicking items down the road! Some Brexit supporters are calling for her to be ousted but the whole rotten lot of them need to be consigned to the rubbish bin!

Whether you are against Brexit or for it (god help us!) you must see that the negotiations are going very badly! We have the spineless Maybot faffing around trying to hold her broken party together getting nowhere fast! The talks, in reality, are nothing more than a systematic capitulation as the cretins that call themselves our government backtracks unceasingly! According to the latest polls, 71% of the population think Brexit will be a disaster and 96% of businesses think we should stay in the EU. Sounds like a shambles because it is an unmitigated shambles! The whole fiasco is just a national humiliation that will do for us good and proper! 

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Fishermann Lure Competition!

Photo 01 - The competition winner!

Fishermann Lure Competition!

Last Sunday was probably not the day you would pick to stage a fishing competition but fate dished up a day of blistering heat, bright sunshine and heavy gusts of wind. Nevertheless 45 anglers turned up from all over Scotland to savour what the lochs have to offer and speaking to early arrivals they were deeply impressed by the surroundings!
Now you might think 45 anglers would lead to a bit of congestion especially with the east side of St Marys being ruled off limits by the organisers but there was none. Competitors fished unhindered by the crowds so often seen at the “plastic” fisheries! We often forget the circumference of both the lochs is over 8 miles, room aplenty!

Photo 02 - Competitors rushing to their intended fishing spots!

These were keen anglers as you can see from photo 02 they sprinted off to their chosen spots. Surprisingly reports of catches were soon coming in with all species excepting Eels being caught. In all too short a time it was the final reckoning where the photos and measurements were submitted and the winners were identified. The prizes were rods, lures cups and we donated three yearly permits for the top three prizewinners.
The photos show the winner of the competition but I am afraid I do not know their names.
Photo 03 - The junior champion Victoria with an armful of prizes!

 I was particularly pleased for the wee lass Victoria who won the junior championship youngsters in our sport are few and far between! The total catch for the competition was as follows – Pike 32 fish caught, Brown Trout 26 fish caught, Perch 4 fish caught and Salmon smolts 18 fish caught so that was a very satisfying number of fish caught!

Photo 04 - Competitors listen attentively prior to kick off!

Of particular note was the fact that the lads and girls caused no disturbance, left no litter and were an example of anglers behaving in a commendable manner. Polish anglers are not a problem it is the small minority of troublemakers who cause problems and they occur in every race. You only need to look at the antics of our own angling bully who embarassed anglers all over the region!

The chairman of the Scottish Federation of Coarse Anglers was down and he said that the aim of his organisation was to sponsor improved relations between Scottish and Polish anglers and I would say Mission accomplished! I have written to Daniel Grabowski of the Fishermann angling club thanking him for the professional manner which supported this competition and invited him down to fish as our guest. The total number of fish caught by the competitors was 80 fish broken down as follows – Pike – 32, Brown Trout – 26, Salmon parr/smolts – 18 and Perch 4 and Daniel was keen to mention all fish were returned to the loch unharmed – Magic!

Photo 05 - Barry with a six pound Kelt! See below.

That man again!

Of course, it's Barry Leslie a man who is never far from our headlines and last Saturday he broke the surface again! Yes, current holder of the heaviest Brown Trout and the heaviest Pike he goes and catches a Salmon Kelt at the end of May! Now this is Barry's second kelt at the loch and this one took a ledgered Sardine and it was hooked in the mouth!

One of our past treasurers John Wright also caught a kel t in the loch also at the end of May and it also took a dead bait! Both these fish were intent on feeding but what they were doing in the loch in May remains a mystery! If you have any theories give us a shout! 
Photo 06 _ Quasi, named by Davy Forsyth see below.

An important fish!

The Pike in photo 06 was a Pike I caught yesterday and indeed we had met before around a year ago! He or she has been caught many times before by Davy Forsyth and Davie Wilson. The spinal deformity makes it easy to identify this fish so we can monitoe its weight gain or loss easily. I think it has put on only around a pound since I last caught it which is well below the average weight gain of Pike in the loch. From our Pike tagging project we found the average gain per year is 2-3lbs per year! I wonder if the deformity limits its ability to dart forward prior to a strike, what do you think?

Dead Pike!

We received a report last week of two dead Pike lying at the bottom of the loch which is always disappointing to hear. One was a small 2 -3 pounder with no visible cause of death apparent. The other was a scraper double at 10 - 11lbs with a severed wire trace in its gullet. I am told the trace looked robust but might it have been kinked? It all boils down to anglers using the correct tackle and making sure it is in servicable condition. We at least owe the Pike in the loch that!


Since the season started we have received a few enquiries as to where around the loch bait may be purchased. Well the current answer is nowhere!  The  Glen Cafe may stock some Pike bait in the future if and when this happens you will read it here! If you have to travel from the loch to get bait then you have a choice to travel to Fishers in Penicuick or Libby’s pet store in Hawick. The answer to the question is don’t forget your bait!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Appalling behaviour!

Photo 01 - Andy with his smashing duck breaking 12 pounder!

Appalling behaviour!

A visiting angler was in touch last week telling us of his success in nabbing a 12lbs Pike from the bottom of the Lowes! Great work said I but what he relayed to me in subsequent emails was a tad more worrying. The angler was quite content but that was soon to end. A couple of Transit vans appeared loaded with Kayaks/canoes, I don’t know how to differentiate!

Anyway, the group consisted of a bunch of testosterone-fuelled teenagers but no red-blooded male would object to a few high jinks! However, worse was to come when the group leader asked the group to come together above the anglers rods (effectively ruining his session) and when he enlightened the group leader that this was ruining his sport he was subjected to a torrent of misinformation and muttering!

Now, this fool of a leader thinks he can practice his sport wherever he likes, WRONG! What he should have been aware of is the section in the countryside code where it says sport should be carried without detriment to other user groups. They were so close to the anglers rod tips that he had to remove them for everyone’s sake! In Borders terms the lochs are huge yet they choose to carry out their activities next to an angler!

That effectively was the end of his fishing trip bullied off the water by an ignoramus! Now the theme of this tale of woe is nothing new, it has happened many times before in many guises! Why do anglers and indeed sailors pay for the privilege of using the loch and these people do not! There is something seriously amiss here!

If any reader knows the identity of this group please contact me so we can educate these people! I asked at the Tibbie and the cafe and whilst they both saw them they did not know who they were. The worrying thing here is that the youngsters will see the example of their leader and think it is the proper way to behave! The affected angler suggested posting signs but the problems are people like this think they are too smart to read lowbrow notices and there is no one point at which they embark.

Oh, I was forgetting the warden well he was nowhere to be seen. You expect Tory politicians to make chumps out of themselves, we would expect better from an organised group of so-called sportsmen!

Photo 02 - Some of the Champagne bottles recovered yesterday!

A busy Sunday!

A word of advice to any anglers seeking to visit on Sunday the 27th of May, the loch will be very busy! The Fishermann Angling Club are holding their annual lure fishing competition over both lochs and there will be 44 entrants. Now whilst the lochs can accommodate this number of anglers with ease there will undoubtedly be a crowded feeling compared to normal weekends. Seeking the quiet life? Give Sunday a miss. The club wishes all entrants good luck and tight lines!

Photo 03 - Loch level now quite low!

Affluent boozers!

Last week Les noted a pile of empty Champagne type bottles under the water near the boathouse. Well, this week Andy Grey fished them out and retrieved 27 bottles. Were they dumped there? Possibly, or they could have washed down from further up the loch. Either way, these affluent boozers should have known better, they were simply littering louts!

From our recommended dealer!

This week Mike has some cracking deals on Snowbee fly lines. Whether you are looking to be on the surface, deep down or somewhere in between they have the perfect line for you. Click the link to see what’s on offer -

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Stop press!

We have been informed by the sailing club on St Mary's Loch that the two events where they utilise the full length of the loch are as follows - The laser and solo open meeting, 19th May 2018
               Annual regatta for mirrors and enterprises, 25th-26th August 2018.

This is short notice but due to circumstances beyond our control earlier publication was not possible. There should be no problems but any angler encountering difficulties please phone 07980350031

Sunday, 13 May 2018

A rough guide!

Photo 01 - 3lbs 2oz or 4lbs 4oz? Irrespective, a delighted visitor!

A rough guide!

You will see from photo 01 above a visiting angler holding a very nice Brown Trout caught last Saturday on the Loch o the Lowes! At a glance you can tell its a special fish but how big is it? Well, the lad who caught it was practicing for the lure fishing competition in the next couple of weeks and in that competition each centimeter earns points.

Photo 02 - Gordon with a super St Mary's Brownie!

Now, that’s all very well but for competitions such as our yearly heavy Trout, a weight is essential. The wonderful 53cm Trout has a possible weight range of3lbs 2oz up to 4lbs 4oz depending on condition and time of year.  Now an angler must make a subjective judgment as to the condition of that fish.

Photo 03 - A headless Gordon, with yet another cracking Brownie!

Now even a fairly minded angler can easily pick the wrong category by adding or subtracting 4 to 8oz from the actual weight. In a similar vein, a desperate angler could add over a pound to the weight by skillful photography and a brass neck!  It is clear then length to weight charts is nothing more than a rough guide, there is no substitute for a weighed fish.

Photo 04 - Gordon with a splendid midweek Brownie!

I should point out the angler who sent in the photo of that splendid Brown Trout stated only that the fish measured 53cm, he never made any claim as to its possible weight! All we can say is well done mate that was indeed a most splendid fish!

Photo 05 - Visitor with a welcome Pike!

Waking up!

Yesterday proved to be one of the warmer days since our prolonged winter and it was very pleasant indeed. The sun all too often a distant friend was bullishly sending out welcome rays of warmth. A Pied Wagtail was busily picking insects no doubt some for herself but the majority for her young brood.

Photo 06 - Visitor to the lochs with a nice Lowes Pike!

Coming from the Bowerhope side the welcome and instantly recognisable call of the male Cuckoo, first heard a couple of weeks ago once the breeding season is complete a flight to Africa is on the cards! In the loch margins, minnows abound many of whom will be on the menu for the larger residents in the loch.

Photo 07 - Another Lowes Pike falls to a visiting angler!

Overhead the frantic calls of agitated Gulls have little effect on the Osprey who is searching for a meal but when the chance came he was unsuccessful. The little migrant birds (I can never differentiate them) flutter from branch to branch picking off unsuspecting insects whilst a Robin keeps me under surveillance hoping for a morsel and I obliged by tossing him a piece of boiled ham which he speedily removed. The boathouse Song Thrush recites his call almost incessantly it is however very pleasing. Meanwhile, the cock Blackbird sings in the most tuneful way bringing calm to all those privileged to hear.

 Photo 08 - Gordon, Mike, Les, Andy, and Meg ready to launch the big boat!

Even lying in the sun with eyes closed the queen Bumble Bees suck life-giving nectar from newly opened buds fuelling her efforts to raise a welcome colony! Mike Wood and Gordon McClurg stop by for a blether and the world was once again sorted out! Later Davy Wilson and Katerina land on their way to The Gordon Arms and I was delighted to hear of their recent holiday in Poland. A quick photo shoot with the loch as a background completed their visit. Yes, Mother Nature is waking up!

Absolute bliss!