Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Our view on the current situation regarding fishing guides.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Our view on the current situation regarding fishing guides.

Photo 01 - Nearly complete safety rail & landing.
Our view on the current situation regarding fishing guides.

The following is an extract from our submission which is being submitted to Visit Scotland and Marine Scotland and the MSP who will be taking up the issue on our behalf, we will also send our submission to a number of other agencies. Although not our complete submission the salient points are contained within. Ghillies who are invariably employed by riparian owners are out with the remit of this investigation.


Our first experience with a fishing guide took place a couple of years ago when a fishing guide arrived at our loch with two clients and after giving them instructions as to where to fish left them to get on and fish unaided after taking a substantial fee from them. We were appalled at this situation and from that point on we begun to look further into the fishing guide set up in this country.

Current position.

The current situation in Scotland with regard to fishing guides is quite simply a free for all! Anyone irrespective of standing could and many do transform themselves into fishing guides overnight, they are however unknown quantities. Some of these people may be very good anglers and have creditable practical skill and demonstrable knowledge whist many may be mediocre and motivated solely by the pursuit of profit.

The personal character of some of these people is unknown as is their level of knowledge and practical skill. Some may generate professionally constructed websites and whilst stopping short of making untrue claims may allude to high status within the angling world. Websites are a particularly effective way of marketing such a business as customers invariably come from geographically distinct areas and have no or very limited and ineffective opportunity to share experiences and this being the case allowing sub standard fishing guides to operate long term in spite of their poor skills.

Interest groups such as Fish pal offer limited control over fishing guides working under their umbrella but of course there is no compulsion to join such an organisation as a certain amount of vetting takes place and a fee is payable to be listed on their site. Anglers dissatisfied with their experience with an independent fishing guide have no avenue for recourse. They may receive compensation in full or part or nothing at all! Fishing guides working under this unregulated system are largely left to their own devices, self policing to whatever extent they desire and are largely unaccountable for the standard of service they offer. The current situation does not lend itself to the implementation of defined standards with individual fishing guides implementing whatever they think fit or nothing at all! Prospective clients may end up booking with a completely unqualified guide or one that is absolutely top notch on a lottery basis.

Photo 02 - Stevie on the core drill before baggin the Troots!
The benefits of regulation.

As the world progresses and higher standards are demanded by the buying public, trades and professions are seeking higher standards of qualification, greater depths of knowledge and advanced standards of professionalization. The above situation does not meet any of aims here stated. With regulation comes a defined and certain standard of expertise, an avenue for complaint if the situation turns out to be unsatisfactory and gives to prospective clients a centralised directory of qualified and professionally competent fishing guides who would be held accountable for their actions. Regulation by a central body preferably in statute would lead to countrywide defined standards whereby a minimum standard of qualification could be set. Such an overseeing body should have revenue raising powers such as by taking a registration fee from all fishing guides who satisfy the entry requirement and wish to become bona fide qualified fishing guides.

The regulating body would be responsible for registering all fishing guides, creating a central register viewable by anyone and publishing reviews received by content or otherwise clients. The regulating body would be responsible for the application of sanction against a fishing guide who acts inappropriately and be responsible for the maintenance of professional development by use of refresher courses for all guides on the register on a basis to be determined. The type and categories of qualifications required could be standardised with for example a fishing and an emergency care qualification being set as the minimum.

Only completed qualifications should be able to be listed on the central register and on the websites of registered fishing guides. A guide to charges that may be applied should be issued by such a body which should be binding on all fishing guides to diminish the risk of overcharging. Fishing guides registering with the regulating body should be subject to full disclosure by Disclosure Scotland to reassure clients they are dealing with upstanding members of the community. Fishing guides should also be compelled to take out an appropriate level of indemnity insurance for personal protection and the protection of their clients. Visitors on hearing of the fishing guide scene are filled with incredulity on hearing of the lax situation in this country.


The current situation akin to activities in the Wild West has no place in modern society. All trades and professions are seeking further regulation in an effort to reassure the general public and outlaw unregulated operators. Currently a client of an unqualified fishing guide could suffer a medical emergency and emerge with significant health repercussions because the guide has no medical training to optimise the situation. Clients paying significant amounts of money deserve better and receive this higher level of service in other developed countries.

Whilst we acknowledge that there are very many competent and educated fishing guides in operation, there are also those with opposing qualities who would bring discredit to the good name of angling. The situation at present does not reflect well on the activities of fishing guides qualified or not and even worse on the sport of angling. Selecting a properly qualified, subject to regulation and fully accountable fishing guide should not be left to chance or to a private company who by their very nature have profit as their ultimate goal. Prospective clients looking for a fishing guide should only be able to access the very best qualified guides giving a measurable and audited level of service as is the case in other developed countries. Only central regulation will meet this end. Those who advertise their business seeking monetary reward must be subject to regulation and held to account!

Gaining and maintaining a level of credibility is absolutely essential with regard to tourism in this country. Anglers are prepared to pay considerable sums of money in return for good professional fishing guidance; only by the implementation of a regulated framework can this be achieved. No longer can we tolerate self appointed fishing guides with unknown credentials. Angling must face up to the future and realise the need for professionalisation. Fishing guides themselves seem unable to embrace this aspect of their vocation it is therefore only right and proper that we as concerned anglers take the necessary action to move towards this end. With the current situation it is surely only a matter of time before a catastrophe ensues, how much better it would be if the situation were pre-empted+. We will be launching an advisory website for anglers seeking to highlight what we see as the problems with our system and the action to take to ensure that their day out with a fully qualified fishing guide be the very best experience that it can be!

St Mary’s Angling Club.

Photo 03 - Swallows on the outlet feeding, well it was meant to be!
Another hard day’s work!

Yes following on from last week we under Les’s direction again resumed the task of constructing the new safety rail and landing extension for our boathouse. You will see from the photo above it is nearing completion but the process was not without its problems, the chemical mortar we used to secure the structure to the walls of the steps did not set solid! This meant we had to change strategy with a process using heavy duty masonry drills and 2inch diameter core drills adding greatly to the time taken to complete the project using mechanical methods of securing the structure. In drilling into the concrete we encountered some rebar used to add strength to the original structure providing yet another delay in completion.

The construction however is structurally complete with just final finishing taking place next week, this would include planning the rails smooth, sanding and applying a wood preservative oh how I long for proper Creosote! Both Stevie and Les worked like Trojans yesterday and the club is indebted to them both! Thanks lads your hard work is very much appreciated!

Good solid anglers!

After putting in a good three hours helping with the above task Stevie Nimmo and Pete Young headed off across the far side to try and tempt the wily Trout that reside in our loch with some enticing flys. It wasn’t long before the phone rang with Stevie informing me in a gentlemanly fashion that Pete had caught a nice one at around three quarters of a pound! Nothing further was heard until they landed when it was revealed a further four Trout had been caught by Stevie between eight and ten inches and scales had been taken from all the fish! On the downside Pete’s engine was not running at all well and had been placed on Stevie’s list of things to be done which is getting bigger by the day! No loudmouth bragging here, just two good solid anglers, absolutely peerless!

Stevie and Pete will be fishing against Selkirk AA in the inter club competition on the 28th of this month, yesterdays catch will have given them much encouragement!

Photo 04 - Current state of the gear wheel with teeth flattened!
Discovering the sex of our Trout!

We would be grateful if any angler catching a Brown Trout of any size could take a few scales from the fish. All our outlets have protocols for the taking of scales which will be used to sex our Trout following the development of a new procedure by a researching university. The test costs around £3.00/fish and will give us invaluable information about the makeup of the lochs population. Scales should be sandwiched between two sheets of paper (they will rot in plastic) and given to our loch keeper or posted in our returns box at our boat house.

Mariner engine update.

On Monday Stevie and I met to reassemble the mariner’s lower gear assembly with the new welded gear wheel looking good, we clamped her onto the boat and attempted a test run. Of course in typical fashion she would not start despite ferocious pulling on the starter cord. So we adopted the usual two stroke routine of removing the spark plug heating it to cherry red with a blowlamp, wire brushing it clean and inserting it into the cylinder head after syringing in a few mls of petrol and lo and behold she started and proceeded to scream her head off!

Gingerly engaging gear she nudged the boat forward and kept the momentum going until full revs were reached. Forward working, reverse working all looked well! After a pie and a bap we thought we would fly fish the far side and duly set off on a windy and cold loch. Three quarters of the way over the loch and it was for me déjà vu! Yes the boat slowed the revs hit the roof and it immediately became apparent drive had been compromised! Rowing to the shore we managed ten minutes of fishing before we had to return to take in an engine which had been on hire to a young couple from Edinburgh who were absolutely frozen. With the engine at full tilt moving the boat albeit slowly, Stevie took to the oars and gave us respectable speed and we soon encountered land!

So for the umpteenth time it was strip down time yet again and as you can see from the photo the welded gear wheel took a real pummelling, not a single weld had given way, the teeth of the wheel simply being hammered flat! Something was amiss here that we had not detected and on examining the brass bushing that centres the driveshaft it was noted to be oval and much larger than the shaft diameter. This had been the primary problem allowing the gear wheel to engage and disengage at will! Operating eccentrically in an elliptical pattern has widened the original bushing. Giving the matter some thought we decided the oval bushing should be centre drilled out to accommodate a new oil impregnated phosphor bronze bushing inserted with a tight push fit which would stabilise the shaft. There is plenty of meat to allow this procedure to be carried out. We will bring this to the attention of our precision engineer Elliot Fraser on his next visit to the loch for his opinion. We thought further to use a thrust washer (£4.25 for a washer!) to keep the gear wheel pressed hard down on the opposing gear. Of course we have also ordered the mandatory two stroke spark plug switching from NGK B8HS to Champion L78 which in my long affinity with two strokes have found to be an altogether superior plug!

So the bits are on order and the accursed wheel is again with me for firstly grinding then re welding which I will do once the bits required to fix my welder have arrived. It’s just never ending but hey, we are now wiser!!

The wider world in my view!

Another thorn in the side of Lord Snooty!

First it was maverick MP Nadine Dorries branding Lord Snooty and Minister without a clue Gideon Osborn as a pair of out of touch arrogant posh boys which lets face is the view of the majority of the working classes! Now Dr Sarah Wollaston the driving force behind the proposal for the minimum price for alcohol sale is up in arms that the proposal did not even get into the queens speech! Dr Wollaston who has firsthand experience of the carnage caused by alcohol is rightly upset by the move to omit her baby from the next session and has spoken out on “Twitter” against Lord Snooty et al regarding their spineless actions.

Naturally Lord Snooty is none too pleased that yet again he is being exposed as the spineless fool he is! He is not a leader, a politician who through logical thought can develop policy he simply reacts to developments to stave off the certainty of his demise as leader of the Tory party. Just look at their reactionary response to the drubbing dished out by UKIP. Dr Wollaston has stated that she will not be bridled as she vehemently believes that a minimum price for alcohol will cut down the mayhem currently experienced in A&E units all over the country. Respect to the good doctor for having the balls to stand up and be counted! Methinks yet another thorn in the side of Lord Snooty!

Call 111 for chaos!

You really couldn’t make it up, the ongoing saga of woe related to the 111 helpline for NHS services in England. On the ITV Border news a woman phoned this “helpline” because her husband had run out of antibiotics seeking an emergency prescription. She was asked during a call lasting nearly three hours if her husband was unconscious! It makes you wonder who these dimwits on the phones are! They cannot be qualified in any way and are completely devoid of knowledge and logic! No educated professional would come out with such questions in the middle of a three hour “consultation”! If the man was unconscious surely this would be the first utterance of the woman and the first question of the health professional! The lady making the call ended up completely frustrated and hung up and headed to an A&E where her problem was dealt with promptly!

The Con-Dems were warned about this by the BMA government opposition and others but as usual took no notice. More and more people in England are bypassing the system and heading to A&E! The new system was supposed to lighten the load of these overstretched departments instead it has significantly increased it! That however is the mantra of the Con-Dems, promise one thing then deliver the opposite! The bungling continues unabated! Quite simply the most inept government in the history of the country!

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