Monday, 29 April 2013

Wild Trout Competition!


Photo 01 - The victor looking very happy as well he might!
Wild Trout Competition

No two days are ever the same, and it was thus with our competition!  A cold wind with occasional cast tangling heavy gusts led to blue fingers once the hands got wet only to be partially warmed up when bright sunlight broke through the dark clouds. The water has stubbornly remained cold at around eight degrees in the margins which is not conducive to good fly hatches demonstrated by no Trout being noted breaking the surface during the six hours fishing.

As always we started the day with piping hot tea/coffee and a bacon roll at the Glen cafe which at least gave us a great start. Cath had kindly opened the cafe 45mins earlier to accommodate us on our day. Around ten o clock we headed off to our preferred starting points where we each imagined Trout would come to the fly.  With the wind changing direction by the minute it quickly became clear that (as usual) this would be a hard days fishing!

Most elected for intermediate lines with a team of three flys two natural patterns and a bright attractor fly. Some chose to fish into the variable strength wind whilst others fished with the wind at their backs, I did both with no method coming over as superior. Yes according to all the entrants the going was hard with relentless casting, retrieving and moving to new areas in the hope that suicidal Trout were present in numbers.

One member our secretary Alasdair White found such a spot on the far banks of the loch down from the sculptures and enticed three Trout for the day which was really good going in anyone’s book! Unfortunately he had happened upon the juvenile department where none of the residents were above eight inches in length! Stevie Nimmo reported having turned a small Trout at the graveyard but nothing else and it looked like a day when no takeable Trout were to be caught.

Step in Chris Empson, yes our committee member and ultra fit champion power lifter. Chris appeared at the Tibbie with a carrier bag with a bulge at the bottom which clearly boasted there was something within! After some coaxing and gentle encouragement he modestly pulled a nice looking Trout from his bag in very good fettle and turned the scales to 14oz. Yes we had a winner in Chris! Like mild mannered Clark Kent of Superman fame he was delighted but made no bravado regarding his catch! He was in the right place at the right time and secured his win. He didn’t touch any other fish and when asked how his day went he simply said it was a hard day’s fishing as it usually is on the loch but the trick is to never give up and fish willingly until the bitter end!

Yet another of our members with the correct attitude following in the footsteps of old Izaak and revered senior members such as Pete Young and John Miller! We held the post mortem at the Tibbie and as usual there was much re-examination of tactics and swims fished but general agreement that once again there was much enjoyment, wind burns and untangling of casts which all add up to a great day out!

Indeed we would have preferred less rain less wind and more fly life to assist us in our quest but it was not to be! This is the lot of an angler where nothing is ever just quite right, but like Chris demonstrated persistence in spite of the conditions can bring great rewards! Chris now takes his place in the hall of fame as the holder of the Major Sir Neil Westbrook cup which he will keep for a year as testament to his resolve! He is also very excited at the prospect of his autumn day on Tweed having never before fished for Salmon. We will of course report on the trials and tribulations that face us on that day when it comes to pass.

The second and third prizes of a bottle of Old Grouse Whisky kindly donated by Alastair at the Tibbie and the third prize of a box of fly’s containing the essential St Mary’s loch favourites were decided by a draw kindly conducted by Sheila pillar of the Tibbie Shiels Inn. I won the whisky and Alasdair White won the flys and fly box which was particularly appropriate as he lost five on the day hooking trees and such like! Thanks to Alastair and Sheila for the great food and drink and super service as usual. Of course heartiest congratulations go to Chris a worthy champion! I think I have said this after every competition but it is what comes naturally. A great day out in the company of real anglers – it is the one thing that remains constant every year Peerless!

Photo 02 - Chris with the cup!
Other activities on the day!

You would not have thought other activities were taking place yesterday but they were. Yes treasurer John Wright and committee member Frank Gillespie opted to finish the tree planting at Kirkstead and continue our habitat work there. Frank proudly proclaimed that he had managed to plant 95 trees which was absolutely super. Glad you enjoyed your day Frank as we are expecting a delivery of three hundred on Thursday which will need planting! Thanks to John and Frank for their hard work on the day!

Upcoming works.

As mentioned above we have three hundred trees coming on Thursday and a large delivery of rebar steel which we require for our bank stabilisation work. Unfortunately it is arriving in eighteen metre lengths so we have 3 angle grinders and one of our Genny’s earmarked for duty first thing on Saturday morning. Also taking place on Saturday will be the initial work of concreting in the ten foot 4 x 4 posts which will form the anchor points for our safety rail. There is also some remedial work required on our bank works at the foot of Kirkstead which took a pounding in the recent huge waters experienced in the area. The dates of our work parties are below.

26thof May 2013

8thof June 2013

23rdof June 2013
rdof August 2013
thof August 2013

Fishing Guides

We will have our completed submission ready in the next week. This will be submitted to Visit Scotland and Marine Scotland in a formal format with a copy being given to the MSP who will pursue this on our behalf. Without exception all the anglers we have approached are one hundred percent behind our campaign. Member desirous of adding their tuppence worth should mail me with their comments this week.

Photo 03 - Frank on his 95th tree and still smiling!
At Last!

Yes it was only last week that I spotted the Lancaster bomber of the Bee world, the mighty Bumble Bee. The ones on the go just now are all queens looking for abandoned mouse holes in which to set up a home for the coming summer season if we get one that is! Already fertilised the queens will lay their eggs in a honeycomb similar to honey bees and a few weeks later her army of between thirty and two hundred will emerge. Charged with the function of pollinating if the weather is kind their loud drone will be all around very soon. Incidentally Bumblers do make a watery type honey not as nice as honey bee honey but eminently recognisable as honey! However the amount the small colonies produce coupled with the watery consistency and resultant poor preservation properties do not make it a commercial proposition. How did I get a taste? My dad had to move a buried colony to erect a shed and he punctured a honey cell and gave me a taste. The colony actually did survive the move which is unusual.

Don’t panic, if you find a nest of these guys near you, they are harmless. They live in harmony with us and you have to do something really stupid to egg a Bumbler on to sting you and even then it’s not near as bad as a honey bee or a wasp. Just modify your path so you don’t have to cross the flight path to the entrance of the nest. Other than that have a seat with a nice cool drink of whatever takes your fancy and just watch them at their unceasing work – an absolute treat!

Boat Damage!

 Our loch keeper Dave has informed us that one of our Arrans looks like it is taking on water following the storms of late. The water level was too high on Saturday to investigat this and we will have to get a looh as soon as the level permits. My thoughts are that the cental keel has taken a fair number of good sideways smacks and has fractured allowing small quantities to seep in. We should know by the end of the week!

The Frasers are back!

We thought they had gone and feared the worst, but the ald yin appeared on Saturday! I was under the floor but that growling voice was unmistakeable! Elliot & Lee welcome back! I’ve just cancelled our order for a new heavy duty electric puller with these two muscle bound guys who needs powered machinery! Good to see you again mate hurry back! Of course our stock of Trout will be worried by this development but what the hell!

The wider world in my view!

A bunch of clowns!

Yes old school posh boy Ken Clarke uttered the retort when being asked about the UKIP threat to the Tories in the local elections to be held on Thursday in England & Wales. No great dissection of policies just the nervous uttering of one who sees his party of duffers take a heavy beating at the elections! There is no doubt that UKIP has the posh boys rattled as dithering Lord Snooty tries to hold together the crumbling mess that is the Tories.

UKIP are a party of protest there is little doubt about it but with Snooty and Minister without a clue Gideon Osborn making a complete hash of everything they turn their hands to the outlook for the posh boys is not great! You generally find when constructive criticism has run out insults take over and so it was with has been Kenneth Clarke! Nothing constructive to say, no answer to the justified criticism of the posh boys by all factions in the political arena and by the public at large. If you are a supporter of the posh boys then prepare to take a sound beating on Thursday as all the shameful incompetence of the Con-Dems policies come back to haunt them!

Puppet Clegg no doubt will also be hammered for his persistent lies and prevarication that now characterise these buffoons! Tory handmaidens incapable of sticking to an election promise these fools have shamed the proud tradition of Steel & Co and are now completely unelectable. Look out for big Labour and Green party (respect!) gains and a significant percentage of UKIP councillors elected at the expense of the posh boys! Looks like the much used phrase of wanting to help “hardworking families who want to get on” is looking a little threadbare!

And then there were none!

Hehe in the Guardian last week a Tory political commentator cited Minister without a clue Gideon Osborn as being a liability to the prospect of a Tory Government being elected at the next general election! Further down the column he placed Lord Snooty in a similar category and that from one of their own! It’s looking pretty dire for the posh boys!

Nice words.

Don’t know who said it but it’s quite heavy!

Life isn’t about how many breaths you take but about the moments that take your breath away.....

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Welcome to our new blog!

Photo 01 - Mike returns a cracker!

Welcome to our new look blog where we will continue to post all that occurs within our sphere of operation in the Cappercleuch and wider areas. The header photo was taken by club treasurer John Wright a few years ago and is a chilly look across the loch towards Rodono House. For a trial period we are restricting comments the idea being that the blog will not tie me down as much as before as it can be very time consuming and in the case of some anonymous commenters writing in with their nonsense extremely trying! For those with an irrepressible urge to air their views you can e mail me and I will do my best to reply to your mails. You will also have noticed many of the archives are missing, these will all be added back in the course of time, adding them one at a time is most time consuming and laborious work! We hope you like the new look blog and hopefully stay with us on our journey as we make the social history of the club.

Annual wild Trout competition.

Just a reminder that our wild Trout competition takes place next Sunday the 28th on St Mary’s loch. Entrants should meet at the Glen Cafe at 09.30hrs where a bacon/sausage roll and coffee will get the day off to a great start. We are making powered boats available for any anglers wishing to fish the far bank, please let us know at the cafe gathering if you would like to avail yourself of this service. There is still time to enter so if you think you can get the better of our Trout come along and see if you can, it’s a great day out to boot! And don't forget the first prize is an autumn days Salmon fishing on Tweed. The second prize is a selection of loch Trout flys and the third prize is a bottle of your favourite spirits from the Tibbie Shiels Inn where our weigh in will take place.

A couple of our members pitted their skills against the wily inhabitants of the loch and came up trumps! Firstly Mike Wood braving high water fishing a garden fly managed to catch and release a splendid specimen of around a pound and a half which as you can see from photo 01 is in rude health and according to Mike fought like drug crazed Sea Trout. Club secretary Alasdair White ventured out on Sunday a day when torrential rain fell bringing the loch o the Lowes water level close to the railings which according to loch Keeper Dave was a rise of around a metre! Determined to have a go Alasdair persevered with the fly and was duly rewarded with a nice 10.5inch Brownie which again put up a splendid fight! Just goes to show that poor conditions should not dissuade you from having a bash!

 Photo 02 - Stevie tackles the Mariner.

Some things are just not to be!

The plan was to have a look at our old Mariner engine which although running fine engine wise had no drive to the propeller then spend the afternoon stalking the wily population of tRout resident in our loch. The day didn’t start well as we soon discovered we had no water supply to the boathouse and we needed water as Les was continuing the pointing of the boathouse steps.

I knew even before I climbed the hill what the problem was likely to be! I suspected a large build up of silt in the two tanks on the hill and clambering up the steep slope I was met by water gushing down the hillside coming for the location of our tanks. Yes it was as I thought at least six inches of silt and debris in the tanks, a bit of a bore but easily rectified. Some shovelling after temporarily diverting the flow of water away from our tanks soon that the offending material removed. After refilling the system there was gushing from the taps water with a dark brown colouration which after a few minutes reverted to crystal clear water, job done!

Les was busy with pointing and marking out the position of hefty posts which will carry the safety rail on our boathouse steps. Some purchases this week will give us the materials required to carry out this work next week.

Stevie meantime was busy dismantling the bottom end of the engine having established that the fault was not at the upper gear shift mechanism. Pulling the cover off and shearing a bolt head in the process instead of being greeted by gushing oil we were covered in Iron Oxide powder yes rust! It quickly became apparent that for some time this mechanism had been running with no oil! After we each took a part and subjected it to some hammer work interspersed with much drenching in WD40 all the parts were eventually freed off and spinning merrily! The bolt with the sheared head locked in due to electrolytic welding (corrosion) between steel and alloy that will be familiar to all owners of Japanese motorcycles was freed with the aid of the smart mechanics tool the ever useful Mole grip!

We surmised the problem was with the lower gear shifting mechanism and duly adjusted this and after cleaning the chamber out refilled it with gear oil and all appeared to be well. The plan was for Stevie and I to motor across the loch and see if we could tempt a Trout with our flies! Whilst the engine had run successfully earlier in the day we could not get the damned thing to start! A series of quick investigations revealed the spark plug was shorting out, sparking from low down the internal insulator, so it was blowlamp and wire brush time! The plug cleaned she fired up no problem with a pleasing blue spark and we set off, well for around fifty yards at which point the boat slowed and the engine revs hit the roof the very symptom that heralded the demise of the engine over a year ago! Wearily I rowed the beast back to the boat house; once again we had no drive!

Time was getting on but we again proceeded to strip down and noted once again the lower linkage had slipped from the position in which it had been set. We again readjusted the mechanism and checked the linkage as before and all seemed well, and so it was off to the boat to try again! She started well and with a reassuring clunk was pushed into gear and she inched forward increasing the speed there was the ominous slowing of the boat coupled with a screaming engine as the revs hit maximum. And so it was that again I wearily rowed the accursed beast back to the boat house!

By this time fishing was off the menu and the rods were tackled down and packed away as a precursor to yet another strip down! This time everything came apart easily as you would expect given the thrashing she had been subjected to earlier! Close examination with the aid of a high powered LED lamp showed Stevie the primary problem we had not detected on earlier strip down. The spur gear at the bottom of the drive shaft had been stripped causing intermittent connection with the lower gear! Have a look at photo 03 and note the milling of the teeth that took place rendering the gear useless and sending shards of metal all over the shop! The likely cause of the initial seizure was debris due to lack of oil seizing the dog clutch mechanism and the engine at full power stripping the gear wheel!

Photo 03 - The severely "milled" gear wheel!
Well at least we now know what is required to fix what is basically a useful engine, so scouring of the marine spares suppliers for the required part is top of the agenda for this week! We are once again indebted to Stevie and Les for their unending hard work for the club, members like this are a real asset to us! Our much anticipated fishing session just never materialised, some things are just not to be!

Loch keeper’s news.

Speaking with Dave yesterday it became clear to us that whilst we had known of losses sustained by farmers and shepherds in the area we had not fully grasped the scale of the problem! Losses of up to fifty sheep (ewes) with probably two lambs in situ became victim to the desperate weather we have had to endure. Such losses have serious consequences for the owners and it is a great shame that some sort of compensation could not be made available for those affected. The shocking waste of £10,000,000 on Thatcher’s funeral could have been used for practical measures as mentioned above! By the way Dave the club members thank you for your hard work with the path to the boats, the muck and puddles have gone making for much easier walking. Thank you! Yet another who follows the tradition of past loch keepers just making things better!

It was good to see Dave’s parents Kath & Ian on the Border news respectively calling for a change in signage which did not state that facilities at the loch were open and citing previous warnings that the Selkirk to Moffat road would collapse near the Grey Mare’s Tail. Yes local knowledge is always best; men in grey suits and pc screens are not always the answer!

Photo 04 - Mike looking to the Megget.
The wider world in my view!

The electric cigarette!

You will probably have heard of them as they gradually build up a presence within the smoking community. What is undoubtedly a huge step forward in harm reduction when compared to conventional cigarettes is now undergoing microscopic dissection by governments pressed on by the tobacco industry who potentially see catastrophic losses in their vast profits! Governments of course also have a vested interest due to the huge amount of revenue generated by those who use tobacco products!

Looking at the facts of the situation it is clear that there can be no doubt that the electric cigarettes offer huge health benefits to smokers converting to them. Tobacco burned and inhaled from a cigarette is estimated to contain more than four thousand chemicals including many known carcinogens. Electric cigarettes can contain as little as three comprising of vegetable glycerine, food flavouring and nicotine and for some users the flavouring is dispensed with leaving only nicotine which in itself is a fairly innocuous compound found in tomatoes and glycerine which is used in nebulised respiratory products delivered by nebulisers. The mechanism of operation of the electric cigarette is basically the liquid is vapourised over a heated coil and then sucked through an atomiser giving the impression of real smoke but in fact is purely vapour!

Photo 05 - Two types of electric cigarette.
One by one pressure groups such as Cancer UK are coming out with statements that support the view of the much lessened risks associated with the usage of these electric nicotine delivery devices. Granted there is little research carried out retrospectively on these products due to the short time they have been on the market but that which has been carried out is fully supportive of the use of these products. It has turned out that much is being done to discredit the health benefits derived from use of these products much of it sponsored by tobacco producers!

Yes the tobacco industries who plough on relentlessly in third world countries promoting their disease giving wares failing to highlight the health risks associated with their usage! Bereft of moral and social conscience they lure into addiction and huge health problems millions of unsuspecting people in the relentless pursuit of profit! Capitalism gone wrong on a massive scale where well being is seen as secondary to the pursuit of profit! Similarly governments losing huge amounts of revenue are looking at ways of taxing the new electric products to stave the shortfall! And as if that were not enough the pharmaceutical giants who market nicotine patches and inhalers are also muscling in also because of decreased revenue!

The electric cigarette will face a rough ride as the groups with vested interests place one obstacle after another in their path! On a personal level, having been an inveterate smoker for over 40 years and having tried all methods of cessation failed to kick the habit! Club treasurer John Wright introduced me to electric cigarettes around ten months ago and since that momentous day a cigarette has not touched my lips, nor have I had even the slightest desire to revert back to tobacco smoking. John also has not smoked for nigh on a year and he also has not succumbed to the lure of the weed. Two hardened smokers now free of the weed and yet the electric cigarette has been banned in some countries for fear it may normalise smoking! There needs to be some serious knocking of heads together as a risk analysis free of vested interest is carried out. In the case of John and me the facts speak for themselves!

Thatcher’s funeral!

As I have stated above this was a huge waste of taxpayer’s money and a tragic twisting of historical fact! This woman was responsible only for the introduction of outright greed into our society; a society she maintained did not exist! It was disappointing not to hear the words of the Wesleyites who preach love thy neighbour and other such proper virtues as Thatcher as one of their kind derided all that they believe in!

Yes on that day I initiated a media free day refusing to take part in the contrived media circus promoted by Lord Snooty and his ilk! It was only on the next day that I selectively tuned in to hear of the many communities destroyed by this woman and for the first time in this circus felt compassion for those trampled underfoot seeing their jobs and future destroyed. Yes this woman left a mark on this country but it is one I will happily forget!

Note – Next week’s post will probably not appear until Monday evening due to our competition being held on Sunday.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

unday, 11 April 2010

The pride of our fleet!

Photo - Peter poses with Saucy Sue!

The first of our two 16ft Arran's arrived on Thursday without event Peter our loch keeper taking the boat from Dave Naitby the proprietor of Arran boats and launching her at the Tibbie safely rowed her down to her new home at the boat house on St Mary's Loch. She will be joined by Saucy Sue on Sunday to complete our upgrade. Click the article title above to visit Dave's site and see for yourself the quality products on offer. The first Arran to arrive is in need of a new cuddy window which Dave has kindly supplied and we will sort this item shortly, however first on the agenda is to cosmetically enhance her and work to this end has already commenced. Saucy Sue (baulk) needs no work whatsoever and is ready for hire. Our new engine also arrived on today; it is a fuel efficient and powerful 4Hp Mariner 4 stroke long shaft engine which will also be for hire. See the photo below as peter the lochkeeper brings her in to the boathouse mooring area, he took girlfriend Natasha on a romantic cruise of the loch and when they reached the bottom promptly ran out of petrol, typical man I hear you say!

Next it was my turn and she really is a super craft mega steady,sturdy and the cuddy offering protection from the elements. Of more interest to me was the construction akin to that of a battleship and yet me and Peter easily turned the other one over to give some attention to the underside. My outing however only lasted about 30mins after which I was alerted by frantic waving from the boathouse area it was Davide C one of our members a restaurateur from Moffat desperately wanting to hire the new acquisition so to my dismay I had to come in. These new additions are sure to maximise an anglers outing allowing complete coverage of the loch is a very safe manner. We now have 7 boats in total with one being based on the Lowes. A programme of yearly maintenance is to be initiated to keep the boats in tip top condition and to this end we urge anglers who find anything untoward with regard to the boats to report the matter to Peter our loch keeper without delay.

Photo- view from Saucy Sue at speed.

Big Trout?

One of our members struck into a super Brown trout of 4lbs 2 oz whilst trolling the loch for Pike scales were taken and these will be given to the Tweed foundation for analysis, validation and life history.

Dead Sheep

Peter our loch keeper came across a dead sheep in the loch and after contacting several farmers could not locate its owner. Realising the consequences of allowing a rotting sheep to remain in the loch he contacted SEPA for their advice and they advised that he should contact Trading Standards! Seems an odd choice of agency to be dealing with such a matter, the saga continues tomorrow.

Loch Level Gauge

We are to install a loch level gauge for anglers to see if the is a correlation between fish captures and loch level. We are not sure yet where to site this but the area around the boat house has been mentioned as a possible spot. We will calibrate the scale from an existing water board one which should give a meaning to the various points on the scale.

Lowes boat

The boat is now complete and will be launched as soon as a few bodies can be gathered probably at the weekend .

Jolly decent blokes!

Met up with Rab and Davy from Edinburgh a couple of now becoming regular visitors to the loch today and yesterday down to fish for Pike and to have a go at the wily Trout in the loch. The Pike fishing is slow at this time and no runs were recorded. similarly the Trout proved elusive with Davy getting broken on his only offer he thinks due to a wind not! Bad luck or words to that effect but were they despondent? No, in the manner of true anglers they have vowed to come back with their impressive armoury and attempt to outwit this most cunning adversary! We look forward to your return lads, anglers in the true meaning of the word!

Another couple of lads from the Windermere area we were talking to on Saturday (Sorry lads I forgot your names) were kind enough to point out that the annual Pike spawning ritual looks like it has commenced. We watched whilst speaking to them as fish thrashed and darted about on the surface at the top of the Lowes, great to witness such action. The water temp yesterday had risen to eight degrees usually a sign of things to come! Frog activity was also furiously taking place so they wont be feeling the effects of the cold then!

These lads are typical of the anglers who now visit the lochs decent friendly and amiable chaps come back anytime you like, you are most welcome!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Angling Report March 2010

Photo - Les fitting the containing panels for the flotation foam.
Angling Report.
Finicky, difficult, desperate just some of the adjectives used this month as blank after blank visits anticipating anglers. No doubt the weather has compounded the lack of activity, but this month has always been a difficult one on the lochs. The water temperature is up to seven degrees so one of the triggers for the spawning ritual is not too far away.
Pike have been caught mostly on the baby loch (The Lowes) with a good number of jacks up to eight pounds caught. St Mary's has yielded only a few small fish in keeping with the figures for this time of year. However the "real" anglers we are now attracting have no complaints a sack full of "plastic" Pike is of no interest to them. Yes there is so much going on around the calm and reflective angler at this time of year it is an absolute joy to be out and at one with nature. This is the time when the flora and fauna reinvents itself and everywhere you look there are signs of new life, so in effect a blank is not a wasted day it is a day of wonder when the annual cycle of replenishment takes place. Irrespective of what is happening on the end of the line relax and enjoy the spectacle, three score and ten is not a long time as we will all find out!
No Perch or Eels were caught and only 3 Trout which were returned and all were around the 12oz mark. Interestingly the fish were said to be in average condition given the harsh winter which is still with us!
Arctic Charr
Professor Colin Adams of Glasgow University was in touch this week with the good news that the project is now fully funded, planned and ready to proceed subject to the legalities such as permission from the Crown Estates for the setting of gill nets in salmon holding waters. He however assures me that these are formalities and the investigations are planned for the 3rd week in May or the 3rd week in June. The Megget will initially be scanned and gill netted to ascertain if the introduction of Charr fry in 1986 has been successful. Then St Mary's will then be scanned and gill netted to see what lurks in the two deep basins of the loch.
Any member who would like to assist in the process should get in touch. We have extended our offer of assistance to Professor Adams and his team on the Megget project as well as our own. The actual dates will be made known as soon as I am made aware of them.
Lowes boat
Photo - Two layers of 900gm fibreglass seals the chambers.
Work is progressing to schedule with the boat with our resident joiner Les H giving up a day of his free time to make the containing structures to hold the flotation foam front rear and centre. I will carry out the Glass fibre work later in the week, which then leaves the cosmetics on the new structures. Hopefully she will be in her new home on the Lowes in the next two weeks.
Arran Boats
Much has been going on this week re the above and we can now announce that we are the proud owners of two Arran 16ft boats widely regarded as one of the most stable craft on the market today by independent review. They are of very robust construction and are rated as sea boats such is their stability. With client safety paramount in our aims they are a most worthy craft! The cuddy is removable by the use of 5 quick release clips and they are equipped with built in flotation chambers and bilge pump. One is currently named Saucy Sue (photo below) but we may have to ponder on that one! Thanks to John W and Les H for their hard work on this project as they say we would never have made it without you!
Photo - Saucy Sue one of the two Arrans we have accquired.

Gala Angling Association Reciprocal Arrangement.
We are indebted to Les H who has pioneered this agreement which allows any member of St Marys angling club to fish the Gala Association waters on obtaining the reciprocal permits (We have two). The permits can be obtained by contacting Les direct on 01896 757847 or by applying online to . Similarly any member of the Gala AA can obtain our permits from J&A Turnbull Bank Street Galashiels.
Good solid blokes!
Often as a club we find ourselves looking for a particular tradesman not represented in our membership. So it was with the essential plumbing required for our hatchery. Plumbers require monopoly amounts of money just to view a job!
Enter Jimbo and Dougie two of our regular visitors from Carluke, they viewed the job and the next week carried it out to a very high standard, job done! Payment, they wouldn't hear of it. We however insisted and we reached a mutually agreeable point. We are delighted, they are also very happy and along with Ian another of the crew they have agreed to further improve our amenities. Lads we are in your debt anglers such as you are always welcome here.
Swan Saga
The Swan mentioned a couple of weeks ago was again noticed in a state of distress by two of the locals. So concerned were they that they took it to a nearby vet. The word is that the outlook is not good but I will keep you informed.
Happy Easter to all and tight lines!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Season Tickets, Memberships & Snippets.

Photo The Lowes boat keyed ready for epoxy.

Memberships/season tickets.

The current situation is that memberships are full up and no more members will be taken on this year. Unfortunately this also applies to the issue of season tickets; these are now closed for the year. It may be that season tickets will be issued in limited numbers next year however there is also the possibility that none will be issued. We will keep you posted. Prospective season ticket holders should lodge their names with the club and if spaces become available then you will be considered for any vacant places.

Entries are now coming in for our Wild Trout Competition with many more pledged. It would be very helpful if potential entrants could apply at their earliest convenience to allow us to engage in forward planning. Entrants who have already applied will be notified soon of their competitor numbers.

Lowes Boat.

John Wright our treasurer and I spent the day on Sunday rubbing down the old paint on the boat to be berthed on the Lowes. We also managed to get a couple of coats of epoxy on her (See photos). The structural work to incorporate flotation chambers and strategic reinforcement will commence this week and she should be ready in a couple of weeks. Our trip to Arran boats in St Fillians was a fruitful one and we will be in a position to make an announcement soon. Thanks to Les and John (he moves boats around like they were toys!) for the unending support and unceasing work done on behalf of the club!

Hard Surface for boathouse parking.

Our inability to make any progress with the regional council is becoming a real pain in the neck. They cannot accommodate us in our request to make a parking area next to our boathouse.
We wanted to make an aggregate (Type 3 I'm told) surface which they told us was unacceptable due to the possibility of loose stones being washed on to the road! I assume they mean in the fashion of many other drives and farm tracks in the area which regularly deposit loose rocks on the road. This even though our plan was to sink the parking area below the road surface, incorporate a grass verge between the road and the area and make a slight incline away from the road! It seems the council can make aggregate drains all the way up on the verge of the loch o the Lowes yet we cannot even use this method to improve the drainage at the boathouse!

The next step following some research done by John is to suggest a product called "Turf Protecta" this lattice is pegged into the soil and allows grass to grow through it making a practical and aesthetic solution to our problem! We will let you know the outcome, but I have a decidedly negative feeling about it all! If any readers have any suggestions please do get in touch we would be eternally grateful! At this rate we will be able to construct a surface out of red tape; we are currently awash with the stuff!

Osprey and other welcome visitors.

We are expecting our club champions the Ospreys back soon, their skill in the art of fishing is unrivalled on the lochs and it is a pleasure to see them in action. The first queen Bumblebee (Bombus bombus) was noted last week checking out mouse holes on the grassy banks in an effort to find a suitable one in which to set up a nest. Pied Wagtails were also noted today in good numbers. John had the little fellow in the picture (below) come and bask in the morning sun on his mat, its around the size of his thumb. Scott T our resident reptile expert tells us that it's a Common Lizard that has appeared early given the poor weather.Just as well they don't come in large and extra large! The first frog spawn of the season was pointed out to me yesterday so they have obviously been keeping busy!

We will be moving some Italian bees into the area shortly. Peter our loch keeper is keen on trying his hand at keeping them, so I'm giving him a hive to play with. Interestingly the only bees that can sting you are female and these Italian ones can be extremely aggressive, similarity with female humans there then! Hell hath no fury........!

Peter tells us that the sickly swan reported on last week was kept under observation by the RSPB for a few days last week and seemed to make a spontaneous recovery without the need for intervention so all is well there.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

An Arctic Charr called Morph!

Photo a view down the loch by JW

These fish are now in serious decline due to eutrophication/pollution and hydro schemes. What is particularly interesting about the fish is their ability to adapt to the particular environment they dwell in. It has been found that in a loch containing these fish, four different types of Charr may be found with respect to colour, head size and body shape depending on the part of the loch they live in and the type of food that they consume. This has led to the fish being known as the Darwin fish as they represent the process of natural selection in action.
Fifteen different species were thought to have existed in the early 20th century but it is now known that they are all "Morphotypes" of a single species. This adaptability is unique in the marine environment. You can probably see why we are somewhat excited by the prospect of the search and reintroduction of this species. We would hope that further introductions are allowed into waters in the UK where they have become extinct, assuming of course that the habitat is deemed suitable. The restoration of the lochs bio community is fast approaching, watch this space!
Muppets and Superneds!
You really do get lulled into a false sense of security; things had been going really well, no trouble, responsible anglers and everyone behaving in an adult fashion. Until Saturday that is when a group of Muppets and Superneds decided to come down from the city set up camp and two of the group fished in the loose sense of the word. I arrived on Saturday to be told that these Muppets had left a trail of broken glass in a field with sheep and very recently born lambs. Our loch keeper had engaged them and on challenging them was met by a tirade of abuse. They however capitulated and expressed regret at their earlier behaviour. They hired a boat and after 30 mins were seen returning in a circular fashion to the boathouse. On investigating this it appears they managed to "lose" a rowlock and tear one of our life jackets. To compound the situation when I went to clarify the situation they asked for a refund! Common courtesy prevents me from printing my response!
All went quiet till the early Sunday morning when mayhem broke out with fighting property destruction (their own thank god) and eventually some decent individual called out the Police and an ambulance for one of the group who was doing an impression of a minion in the Texas Chain Saw Massacre!
Fuelled with an excess of alcohol, illegal substances they proceeded to make life hell for all around them until corralled by the Police. At this time I have no knowledge if charges were made but decent individuals everywhere I am sure would agree these Superneds are the most worthless cretins in an ordered society and deserving only of the harshest of punishment. In the "good old days" such neds would have been corrected by judicious use of a truncheon! Brutal no doubt but effective, politicians take note, they don't need Sky TV or outward bound courses, what they really need is a bloody good hiding!
The residents in the area now are left with the aftermath of the melee, it really won't do!
New Boat

We are off to St Fillians this week to view the boats up at Arran Boats and it is hoped that we may find a suitable craft there. They offer a nice 14ft heavy duty model and a swell conquering 16ft behemoth. We will report back next week on our findings.
Blast from the past!
Got a mail from the Driver's who used to own the Rodono Hotel between 1964 -1969 they keep up to date with our news pages. Tim writes that the bays on the lochs were netted for pike and the caught Pike were taken to the hotel and made into fish cakes! Different days indeed! He also mentioned that he caught an 8 lbs 8oz Brown Trout from the Lowes and has a photo I've asked him to send a copy if possible because it will be the heaviest ever caught from the "wee" loch!
Decent visitors
Mentioning anglers of this ilk is now commonplace as they become the norm and it is always a great pleasure meeting and passing pleasantries with them. This week Jimbo and Dougie the ones who will never ascend the ranks of pyromaniacs due to an inability to emulate those who have a tendency to arson actually got a fire going on the shingle today! Well done lads just goes to show we humans do have the capability of learning! Oh and the Mazda looks ace, and it's for sale, so if you are passing the lochs and spot a gleaming white motor stop and make him an offer! Include some firelighters in your offer and you're halfway there!
Cheers lads!

Swansong for a Swan.
Well here's hoping it's not! See the photo above this cygnet has languished all day on the verges of the secret swim, even when joined by his/her peers was unable to take off with them. Peter the loch keeper phoned the RSPB and although they could not visit today are coming tomorrow to assess and capture the creature. It looks as though both wings are broken but we are told this is unlikely and that it may have developed a condition known as "Angel wings" a developmental condition that occasionally rears its head among Swan populations rendering them unable to fly although remaining healthy in every other respect. This Swan however does not look like the majestic creature that is the archetypal bird we all think of, it remains to be seen what the verdict is! Here's hoping it's good news!

An interesting engraving I came across on my web travels is the plate above drawn in the early 16th century. It was thought that swans could not sing like other birds but that they saved the rendition of their one heavenly song to be sung minutes before they died. The plate depicts the swan giving its swansong just prior to death. This is how the term swansong came about.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

More tips on fishing the lochs for Brown Trout and news snippets.

photo - JW Looking to the Tibbie

Brown Trout in Summer!

By summer (that's assuming we have one!) the Trout have moved out of the shallow littoral areas into the deeper areas and the angler will often encounter smaller Trout throughout the day with the larger specimens being encountered as dusk approaches intent on feeding on these small Trout and Sticklebacks along with Perch. At this time Perch may also be attracted to your flies.
It's best to fish mid water or deep at this time of the year and to reserve the dry fly for evening. As with Pike fishing the drop off points on the loch are fruitful areas for Trout and a small Mepps, Toby or Repala trolled along these areas can lead to a good bag of fish. This method can often lead to larger more voracious specimens being caught.
St Mary's has a wide variety of Trichopteran species with hatches of Silverhorn (Grouse and Green) being the most abundant. By high summer the lochs can be a very dour place to fish and it is during this month that the angler's armoury will be put to the test; however perseverance will often lead to a catch.
As August approaches the fishing improves with the dry fly fisher coming into his own. Although little may be showing on the surface surprising results can be obtained, a deadly fly at this time is the Heather fly and multiple Trout can fall to the angler who is on the water with a replica when these flies appear. Whether by boat or on the bank Trout are there to be caught.
So there you have it a concise but accurate picture of how to catch Trout on our most scenic lochs. The fishing is not easy but the rewards when pitting your wits against this most wily adversary can be great!
Many thanks to Alistair White our secretary and long time successful angler on the lochs for this most useful treatise!
Both lochs are now completely free of ice and all areas of the lochs are accessible even though many of the minor fishing ponds in the area remain closed due to the extreme thickness of the ice.
Brown Trout Season!
The 2010 season for Brown Trout commences tomorrow (Monday 15/03) and will undoubtedly see a few keen anglers dusting off their rods in preparation for the event. The start of the season is a bountiful time and if the sport proves half as good as the two previous years it will be a good one! The majority of our anglers return early season Trout and it will be interesting to note the condition they are in after such a severe winter. Trout anglers should be aware that returns for all fish caught whether kept or not must be submitted for our annual submission of catches to the Tweed Commission! The returns box is situated on the notice board at the boat house. Tight lines to all out on opening day and here's to a great season ahead!

All boats will be equipped with a drain plug in the next few weeks; all anglers using the boats should check that the drain stopper is secure before embarking on to the loch. Signs will be erected to remind anglers of this important precaution.
We have purchased a 6000lbs effort electric winch to aid in the movement of the boats. This will make the movement of the boats very much easier and lessen the risk of personal injury.
Photo a rod waits in anticipation! JW

Club Membership!
Any member who has not renewed their subscription to the club should do so immediately you have just days before your membership is terminated. The period of grace allowed this year will not occur next year. Members not having renewed by the due date will cease to be a member of the club unless there are significant extenuating circumstances!
Lambing season!
The lambing season is now upon us with a number of the white balls of wool seen gambolling whilst travelling on the road to the lochs; anglers are reminded that dogs are forbidden anywhere near lambing stock. Breaking this rule will result in your membership being terminated with immediate effect! Anyone observing an unleashed dog in a field with lambing stock should immediately engage the offending person or if distance prevents this phone our loch keeper immediately. Avoidance of areas containing such stock is good practice!
Rodono House!
This is a reminder to all anglers following an incident last week. The grassy verge area opposite Rodono House is private! No cars should be parked on this grass verge; it is the property of the owner of Rodono House, please respect their privacy and property! There are ample parking areas either side of this area!
Leviathan Pike!
The 26lbs Pike reported a few weeks back has not been verified. Even more jaw dropping is the 38lbs one reported this week, this also turns out to be unverifiable! It's entirely possible but in the absence of corroborating evidence perhaps just wishful thinking methinks!
Cementing relations!
We are indebted to Alistair and Selina at the Tibbie Shiels who are advertising our impending competition and who on completing their new website for the inn have kindly linked to ours. Thank you Alistair & Selina!
Kind words!
I was made aware this week of some comments relating to the club on the Glen Cafe Blog made by our good friends Ian and Barbara at the cafe. Ian and Barbara your words are most kind and encouraging! Thank you!
Sorry we didn't notice sooner but we have a lot on our plate at the moment.
Isn't it so much better when the bickering and confrontation of old is replaced by goodwill and friendly gesture! We certainly think so!
Yer Mum!
Just in case you've forgotten its Mother's day today, there's still time to nip out and grab something to say thank you!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Arctic Charr and competition rules and tips!

Arctic Charr
I spoke to representatives of Scottish National Heritage this week on the subject of Arctic Charr in St Mary's loch. We had not heard from them for a while and doubts were creeping in that all might not be well with our project. Thankfully they dispelled any doubts we may have had. The project is geared up and waiting on better weather, the funding is in place only the dates require to be finalised. Interestingly the project leaders are to take this opportunity to include the scanning of Megget and Talla Reservoirs to quantify the success or otherwise of the introductions carried out there in 1986.This will be most interesting.
The word informally is that the Talla introduction was successful but the Megget one is unknown part of the reason why the Megget one may have been unsuccessful was that only fry were introduced here whilst adult fish and fry were introduced into Talla.
This is a very exciting time for us as a club, indeed for the community, our riparian owners, and the Borders area in general. It restores a part of the areas bio community that has been absent for over 300 years! We eagerly await the phone call from Dr Colin Bean from SNH with the eagerly awaited schedule. Members who would like to assist in the scanning should get in touch.
Competition Rules
(1) Fishing is to be from bank only.

(2) There is to be a bag limit of 4 Trout the catch and release.

(3) No Trout under 10 inches may be taken.

(4) Fishing shall be fly only with fly reel and line with the maximum hook size being size12 longshank.

(5) No Trout shal be passed to another angler (Bag sharing).

(6) Pike and Perch to be returned to the loch.

(7) The organisers may inspect all tackle and fish caught.

(8) Parking in designated areas only, avoid blocking farm gates and entrances, no vehicular access on the estate road at the North East end of the Loch

(9) Any angler found to be in breach of competition rules shall be disqualified.

(10) Fishing shall commence at 10.00am and finish at 16.00hrs with all catches to be weighed in by 16.45hrs at the Tibbie Shiels Inn.
(11) Fishing to be confined to St Mary's Loch only.
Photo Rather large dont you think!

Tips on fishing the lochs
Flyfishing on the lochs can be productive with generally the margins being the areas to target. The spring of the year is the time the lochs fish well April, May and the first part of June.

Tips for fishing the lochs in the Spring.
Since the competition falls within the Spring the tips are confined to this time of year. More tips on the main website as soon as time allows.
Trout can be found very close in to the bank in the early part of the season with autopsies showing a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial organisms being taken. The most abundant being small claret and olive nymphs which may hatch in sheltered areas of the loch and caddis larvae. Often tiny black beetles are blown on to the water and these may bring large Trout swirling to the surface.
Mid water Daphnia is often found in feeding Trout on the milder days. Best flies are traditional often general representations for example a Zulu, Bibio, Greenwells, Mallard & Claret and Silver Butcher with Dunkeld. Success can also be found with variants on a Teal and silver such as a Teal Blue and Silver, or Teal Black and Silver. Goldhead Nymphs have found favour popularity in recent years with Claret and Orange being particularly favoured. Flies are best kept on the small side as the Trout in the lochs can be fussy at times.
They arrived around 3 weeks ago and are now here in numbers. The one in the photo succumbed yesterday to some malady. A great shame but thats how life operates! A dead cygnet was also found and buried on Friday!