Sunday, 24 November 2013

An autumn days Salmon fishing 4!

Photo 01 - Competition winner Chris casting at Galafoot!
An autumn days Salmon fishing 4!

On Friday the winner of our club competition Chris, the member who unstintingly gave of his own time to help the club Stevie and the competition winners guest Rab all met up to fish the Upper Pavilion beat on Tweed courtesy of Major Sir Neil Westbrook the beat owner. We had a look at the Tweed catches for the week and noted the catches had fallen markedly but we did not allow that to diminish our enthusiasm. It was a typical autumn day, bitterly cold as dawn broke and we set off to the first pool at Galafoot to see what we could do!

Plenty of fish were jumping all over the pool but they were coloured fish having been in freshwater for some time and less inclined to take the fly as they reach sexual maturity. The presence of such fish however always charges the batteries spurring us on to fish with more vigour. There was some hairy initial casting as techniques were refined and soon all three were getting their flies into the areas that they wanted.

An indication of the degree of frost was that all three saw their rod rings freeze and in Stevie’s case who was fishing with my 1922 Alex Martin Greenheart  Salmon rod saw the line being completely frozen into the original small bore rings! As a result there was much dipping of rods into the water to unfreeze the locked up rods. A huge amount of effort was expended with Rab frequently casting the rod tip into the water so ferocious was his desire to reach his desired spot! Alas the effort expended did not result in any pulls and after a good while we packed up and moved to a different pool.

The Brig End which is probably the best pool on the beat looked enticing as yet again many fish were noted jumping none however were the porpoising silver fresh run fish that we sought. Again here there was vigorous activity with all the lads giving everything that they had to put the fly where it should be and now invariably presenting it in a more delicate fashion! A couple of hours of diligent fishing yet again returned nothing but blue fingers so we broke for lunch.

By now the sun had come out and was at its highest point giving some relief from the bitter cold allowing numb fingers to gradually thaw it was indeed a beautiful autumn day of the kind portrayed in storybooks! During lunch we were entertained by a Dipper who sang constantly as he fleeted about the river’s edge looking for much needed food and we conversed on a myriad of subjects dissecting topics of the day. Lunch however did not last long as the sustenance edged the anglers to renew their efforts! Chris and Rab elected to fish again the Brig End whilst Stevie moved down to Ellwyn foot to try his luck there. Soon there was an almighty roar from Stevie below and we assumed that he had a fish as the 1922 rod was bent in a most satisfying profile, it soon became apparent however that the fish had thrown the hook leaving Stevie utterly desolate! Yes it’s a numbing feeling that we all as anglers have experienced with the fish winning this particular battle!

Photo 02 - Iced up rings on Stevie's rod!
It turns out that the fight was lost as the fish suspected of being a 5lbs approx fresh run Sea Trout had thrown the hook during an episode of tail walking. His despair was clear to see but a few moments later he was back in hunting mode covering even more water in the fashion of a real angler. All too soon however the light began to fade and fingers freeze as the sun disappeared and reluctantly we had to call it a day.

So no fish landed, and I expected glum faces all round but not a bit of it! All three were fully satisfied with the day out each knowing that they had given all that they had in an effort to catch a fish. Rab had a sore shoulder at the end of the day and this came as no surprise as he must have put in the equivalent of a navvy doing a week’s work and three nights overtime! As true countrymen they were grateful for the opportunity to fish a prize beat on Tweed which ordinarily would be well beyond their budget! The lack of fish was of no consequence as like all real anglers being out in natures glory was adequate compensation!

All three asked that their thanks be passed on to the Major for a thoroughly enjoyable day which I will do this week! I will also ask if it would be possible for the lads to come and fish in the spring since no fish were landed! A day in the company of three real anglers with no hidden agenda, just magic! Stevie Rab and Chris many thanks for your company the joys of such days are only known to real anglers! And with the customary shaking of hands the day was done, the end of another angling adventure!

Photo 03 - Chris, Rab and Stevie in the distance!
When a  50lb salmon is a 50lb salmon by Archangel.

Many of you locally will have seen the photo and story of the capture of the alleged 50lb Salmon. The question however is, was it really 50lbs? The fish had its length taken and by using a fish length to weight estimation chart the magic 50lbs figure was reached or was it? If the fish had been weighed in time honoured tradition the question posed would never have arisen.

On a general basis fish weight length charts are a guess at the weight of a fish and cannot compare to accurate weighing on digital scales. The charts are compiled over as many reported catches as possible to give an average figure for the length to weight conversion. Of course fish are individuals and variation does occur due to factors like available food, the presence or otherwise of predators and the genetic makeup of the fish to name but a few.

Whilst in no way am I suggesting improper behaviour in the case of the fish above, it is important to note that vested interests may distort the reality. The magic figure of 50lb attracts much media coverage giving positive publicity to the beat owners, the ghillie, the controlling district salmon fishery board and the angler. A 48lbs fish whilst still a great catch would attract much less admiration and publicity. Looking at various Atlantic salmon conversion charts it is clear that at the higher end of the scale as fish get heavier the estimated weights become much less accurate.

This then could lend itself to captor interpretation, for instance if you had caught what you suspected was a 50lbs salmon and on taking its length and looking at such a conversion chart saw the range was between 47 and 52lbs what figure would you choose? Would you choose a chart that suggested the maximum weight was likely to be 50lbs or one that suggested 54lbs as the higher limit as there are many charts out there from respectable sources? Looking through rose tinted glasses it’s easy to imagine increased girth, a bigger head, a bump here or there allowing one scope to increase the weight of the fish by selecting the higher figure. It is a subjective measurement at best allowing anglers a certain leeway to increase or decrease (unlikely) the recorded weight.

Competitions now often use length to assess fish and there can be no problem in using this method as all competitors’ fish on this basis with no conversion to weight taking place. However  if you are a seasoned angler landing a fish that could possibly beat you personal best from long ago would you seek to weigh that fish or use a weight estimation chart? Digital scales are very accurate and compact these days and will give an accurate weight, would you want to know that you have definitely beaten your PB or would you be happy to think you may have?

It’s a difficult question but it boils down to near certainty or a reasonably close guess. I wonder which one you would choose?

Archangel many thanks for this thought provoking article! I think many of our generation will continue to weigh fish with the knowledge that the weight recorded is a certain figure and not a random figure from a range of figures allowing individual interpretation! In future times it may be that length will become the norm but in these possibly transitional times I feel anglers will stick with relative certainty!

Photo 04 - Stevie and Frank behind our uprooted sign!
A noose that’s closing!

We have received some very pertinent information regarding the illegal activities that have recently taken place at the lochs. Yes the mutilators of our Pike that have so far evaded us are close to being reeled in! The information has come from members being vigilant and noting any suspicious activities and most importantly reporting them to us in order that we can take the necessary action! At last the noose is closing!

More tree planting and some vandalism!

Yes Frank Gillespie, Stevie Nimmo and I headed off yesterday down to the graveyard to plant some trees to increase food production for our fish, provide a habitat for terrestrial wildlife and enliven a barren area populated presently by dense bracken! It was an easy going day with no desperate rush and plodding away at a leisurely pace we planted 200 mixed variety trees. Loch keeper Aaron came along later and helped us finish off the project and surveying the area on completion it does look good. Designed by Stevie it’s not the usual linear planting and it will be satisfying to see the project develop over time.

Whist at the graveyard we noticed our concreted in iron sign had been removed again and faint tyre tracks showing a vehicle had entered on to this land. This land has been fenced off with the full permission of the landowner to forbid vehicles from entering! The sign will now have to be fixed in place with an industrial method and to this end Stevie will bring down his two stroke welder to enable us to employ a different method of fixing! Potential miscreants should note that it is an offence to enter upon land more than 15yards from the highway! Any vehicles noted in the area will be photographed and passed on to the police! I really would like to find out who these fools are that they think they can blunder on to the property of others in such a carefree fashion!

The wider world in my view!

Opinion on Scottish independence!

It never started out as a political discussion but somehow we worked round to addressing the subject which surely will be the most prominent subject for Scots this century! Yes loch keeper Aaron, Stevie, Frank and myself got going with this meaty subject whilst leaning on the fence at the graveyard. I am not going to say who said what but the result was as follows – in favour of independence one, leaning towards independence two and against independence one.

What I found most interesting was that the two leaning towards independence were not fully for independence but were utterly desperate to distance themselves from Lord Snooty and his band of inept bunglers and the lying incompetent puppets that are the Lib-Dems! Breaking point is close to being reached as we see our money squandered, our jobs split into two to massage unemployment figures, the weak and disabled in our society persistently penalised and the working classes pummelled into the gutter whilst the rich in our society prosper at our expense!

Yes there’s to be an inquiry into the Royal mail sell off which saw the company undervalued by around two billion pounds allowing the pals of the Con-Dems to make huge monetary gain in a matter of hours! I won’t list all their blunders as it would take up multiple pages, suffice to say enough is enough! If these figures are representative of the referendum vote then if I were you I’d get a kilt and a saltire quick!

Reverend Flowers!

Who would have thought it, a Methodist minister and chairman of the up to now much lauded Cooperative movement would turn out to be a drug fuelled homosexual con man! Yes a man of dubious qualities who enjoyed getting tanked up on Charlie and Ket (horse tranquiliser) to relieve the stress of his high flying life! How was it possible for a charlatan to end up in such a responsible position? Oh yes the Reverend is as guilty as sin but he is not the real villain of the piece! The co-op board directors; members of their “risk committee” and regulatory bodies are all in the dock! The Reverend will go down in history simply as a court jester the others however will be rightly marked as incompetent fools!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

From the AGM!

Photo 01- We need to speak with the occupants. See below!
From the AGM!


A good turnout compared to last year with the dreadful weather made for a lively and enjoyable AGM during which many cloudy items were clarified. Stalwart member Stevie Nimmo was elected on to the committee and we look forward to his input as a dedicated, longstanding St Mary’s angler. Not for him the easy option of “plastic” fishing no, its man against wild and wary quarry! Always at the forefront when there is work to be carried out he sets an example for younger members in that unless maintenance takes place we will have nothing!

 John Wright after a difficult year on the health front tendered his resignation as treasurer of the club on grounds of ill health. We reluctantly accepted his resignation as there is no doubt he faces a difficult battle ahead. A pioneering member of the club John was involved with all our major projects and dealing with the many problems we have encountered. Bottom line is that we will miss his valued input but life must go on. All at the club send on their good wishes for a speedy and sustained recovery we expect to see you back on the loch soon John!

Our new treasurer is Elliot Fraser (Scottish Champion power lifter) who thinks nothing to travelling 140 miles in a round trip to help out the club. Like Stevie and John, Elliot is never far away when work is to be carried out, why only last week in addition to planting a barrow load of trees he calmly went on during a break to service his front brakes outside the Glen Cafe and on testing a jolly good job he made! Elliot has been keen to get involved with the club for a good while now only distance preventing full immersion into the turbulent loch that is St Mary’s Angling Club! Elliot and Stevie welcome aboard!

New club rule!

The meeting on hearing of the poaching and thieving taking place had no hesitation in adopting the proposed new rule that it be against club rules for anyone to arrive after 18.00hrs, commence fishing without the explicit permission of our loch keeper, bailiff or committee member! Therefore if you plan on arriving after 18.00hrs you must make contact with one of the officials above. The reason for this is simple, if a Tweed bailiff checks the loch (as they are now doing) after checking with our enforcement team and being told that they know of no one fishing on the loch the bailiff will know immediately the person he is about to apprehend is fishing without a permit! This will increase our effectiveness in detecting poachers and fish thieves! It was also agreed that all members should be vigilant and be on the lookout for suspicious behaviour and if there is any suspicion of illegality report the incident immediately!

Club memberships.

A proposal was received that the annual subscription of £30.00 be increased to £35.00 but that coupled with this, members would now be entitled to free rowing boats. This makes club membership very attractive indeed. Visiting angler’s tariffs will remain at £6.00/14ft boat and £12.00/16ft boat.  On the membership front it looks like with the people being taken off the waiting list our membership will be full in early January!

Work parties again!

This perennial topic was once again tabled as it seems in common with all clubs fishing or otherwise the same old people keep presenting for duties! There was much discussion with various points of view being aired in the end however the meeting came up with a gentle policy as follows – in the course of a year there will be 4 published workdays to be inserted here and on the club notice board. All members who attend will be entered into a draw at the end of the last work session and the name drawn out will be given free membership for the year and as a further incentive to the member most involved with participation in work parties we will offer this angler the opportunity to fish with our competition winner when he has his autumn days salmon fishing on the upper pavilion beat on Tweed courtesy of Major Sir Neil Westbrook. We hope that this will encourage some of the members we have not yet seen to date. In all another eight items were tabled for discussion it is however inappropriate to publish them here. As usual we are indebted to Alastair and Marie Therese for opening the Tibbie for us and the attentive and friendly service given, thanks folks!

Photo 01

With regard to the two people travelling in the black Audi photographed last Tuesday we really would like to speak with you! The Shepherdess working the area of Bowerhope tells us when you were asked you stated that you acquired the permission to fish from the internet! Now things go by us now and then but on speaking to my colleagues no one is aware of our permits being available on the net! You were noted to speak with a foreign accent which is a further concern for us!

We would also like to know why you think it is acceptable to leave your discarded bait fish lying on the banks of the loch. Is it through a sense of benevolence seeing to the dietary needs of the indigenous wildlife or was it just a sense of being bone idle acting like Prats and thinking you are above removing the rubbish that you bring? You have embarrassed the club and your fellow countrymen who do fish in a responsible manner! We would expect to hear from you within 14 days and if we have not heard from you in this period we will have no option but to bar you from fishing our lochs! Yes my friends you have some questions to answer, we are waiting! All cars in the Bowerhope area will be photographed with our blessing in case of actions such as described above!

Photo 02 - Some of what was left!
Our autumn days Salmon fishing!

We are a bit later this year but we are good for go on Friday. Yes competition winner Chris Empson and ace club worker are getting the tackle looked out and hoping for some sport. The last couple of months have been very good but there are no guarantees in fishing all we can do is give it our best shot and see what happens! Personally I can’t wait and I know the lads are on tenterhooks!

The wider world in my view!

Opposition! What opposition!

My jaw dropped on Tuesday when the time came for the hated bedroom tax to be voted on. Initial reports seemed to suggest the inept Con-Dems were about to be embarrassed yet again as a small victory for the anti’s was predicted.  When the result was announced my jaw did drop rapidly, the bedroom tax would continue! It turns out 46 labour MPs did not even bother to turn up and vote! If they had done so they would have carried the day and given the Con-Dems yet another bloody nose! I also noted a few prominent Lib-Dem puppets who have stated opposition to the bed tax also did not turn up to vote!

In the country where the new poll tax is decimating the living standards of those who have not, these lackadaisical fools content to draw large salaries and huge expenses did not even have the get up and go to put an X in a box! These people must now reflect on their inaction and how they have done a great disservice to their constituents and let right thinking voters down badly! When I looked at our local result I saw the Michael Moore MP had voted with his Tory pals and voted for a continuation of the bedroom tax, no surprise there then, a Tory in puppets clothing! Yes Mr Moore and the 46 diddys and a few puppets mentioned above should hang their heads in shame!

Desperate puppets!

It was to be expected in the run up to a general election the apparently beneficial giveaways and strong headlines proclaiming the good things to come! Yes puppet Clegg who has given those on incomes of less than £10.000 £1.70/ week which is instantly taken away by bungling on a massive scale now wants to give the low paid a further pile of pennies as a reward for putting up with gross incompetence! Conning the public into thinking he is on the side of “hardworking families” fighting the nasty Tories he is merely shuffling a few pence around having no effect on available government funds and more pertinently no effect on the standard of living of the working classes!

There are people out there who are naive enough to be taken in by this tat thankfully though they are few and far between! It is important to remember the puppet and his band of backsliders are heading for political oblivion post election for moving in with the Tories and breaking election promises, they will grab any opportunity to try and portray their old honourable but now discarded values! Empty pre election promises of no use to the oppressed working classes!

Similarly Lord Snooty uttered a few headlines for “hardworking families” this week with regard to the health service, yet again with no substance whatsoever behind them! Warning of severe penalties for errant health professionals without firstly reviewing what leads to such problems that occurred with mid Staffs and of paramount importance putting in place measures to deal with the factors that lead to that catastrophe! The result will be a step back to the previous culture of silence with the unsavoury possibility of having a repeat occurrence!  Yet another ill thought out policy from the government that is only competent in the dubious art of bungling!


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Some really good blokes!

Photo 01 - Elliot, Frank & Stevie having a well deserved breather!
Some really good blokes!

Yes today was our designated tree planting day and as usual the turnout was limited to the usual suspects. It was however of no consequence as four people the ideal number for a production line planting session. It worked as follows one placing the stake, one making the opening to accommodate the tree, one planting and firming and one tubing and zip locking. Using this method we put in over two hundred trees in a day characterised by jovial banter and politicking that would shame Lord Snooty et al!

Unlike some who sneer and moan about difficult days these lads were up for the challenge. Optimisation of our fishery will take time; we cannot just order a bunch of fish and throw them in to produce immediate (although plastic) results! We have to create the conditions for optimisation of the lochs habitat to ensure maximum spawning and recruitment from the available fertilised eggs. It is unlikely that any of the four working today will themselves see any significant improvement in fishing fortunes but for those who come later improvement is much more likely!

Working hard for a benefit that will not benefit them! It’s a laudable position worthy of admiration, it says they are committed to the lochs as a wild fishery in the long term, it says that they do not mind carrying out work for the unknown members of the future, it says they are loyal club members cognisant of what it means to be a member of a club. Elliot Fraser, Frank Gillespie and Stevie Nimmo, all gave up their day off to assist the club and at significant personal cost!

Yes Elliot Fraser doing a 140 mile round trip with me having the shortest journey of 48 miles! It shows a terrific spirit when these lads give up their day off and then pay out significant money to do so and help the club out! It also turned out to be an education for in addition to trees and ecology all three of the lads are connoisseurs of whisky! Consensus however was but a distant concept as each fiercely defended their preferred brands, bandying words such as smoky flavours, peaty and rough as a badgers bum! Alas I ended up none the wiser as whisky is a far distant memory for me preferring dark rum or brandy!

Frank is actually a member of a whisky tasting group which meets regularly to savour and review the many brands on the market and they tend to be ruthless in their reviewing sessions! Frank went on to tell us of “the angels share” which is the evaporated spirit that is lost from the barrels during maturation up to 3% wt/vol! I could go on and on but suffice to say we all ended up a little wiser on the subject of whisky! I must ask Frank if he would write an article on whisky! As usual our friends at the Glen Cafe took care of our need for food at lunchtime supplying flat sausage rolls and cheeseburgers. Thanks Lisa et al!

There are no two ways about it, members like the lads above are what makes for a successful club, as Elliot said yesterday “I can’t understand why club members would not flock together to try and improve the fishery”! This was the opinion of all present. I keep an eye out on a few clubs and it is the same old story with each of them, some newly formed clubs initially attract good responses but then after a few years it descends into all too common apathy! Nevertheless this was a cracking day with much accomplished and it was a pleasure to be in the company of such real non “plastic” anglers, actually really good blokes, rather than some of the diddys and half wits we have and frequently  do encounter!  We covered subjects as diverse as whisky, politics, Neds, rural life, fishing (of course) and some other topics probably best not mentioned here! It was indeed a good day’s work! Elliot, Frank and Stevie many thanks for all you did today just three more lads we are proud to count among our number, I hope you would agree it was a most productive day in so many respects!

Photo 02 - St Mary's is down there somewhere!
Our AGM!

Taking place on Wednesday evening commencing at 7pm at the Tibbie Shiels on the banks of the loch we have some very serious matters to debate including the problem with foreign anglers and another similar event as yet undisclosed. There has also been received a motion that members season permits be increased by £5.00 and that boats could be given to members free of charge. The club will also again have to review our loch keeper mode of operation as changes have taken place. A system of ID card identification has also been proposed. New rules on night fishing and turning up unannounced and commencing to fish are proposed. There is a lot of meat on these subjects and we will need to progress quickly to give the items due consideration.

Our autumn day on Tweed!

It is approaching and Chris you need to get in touch to claim your prize! A few weeks back the beat experienced its best ever weekly catch with an astounding 112 fish caught. Numerous fish around the 20lbs mark have been landed and the back end compared to the early season has been very good indeed! So Chris give me a shout!

Twenty plus Pike!

Got a phone call yesterday from Drew one of our members telling me of a chap who had visited the loch and bagged a twenty plus Pike. It has been reported complete with photo in Pike & Predators magazine and John Simmonds is the captor. I haven’t seen the article but I would say to John very well done mate! It says much about you to come to a wild fishery the size of St Mary’s and persevere rather than capitulating and sinking to the depths of an engineered “plastic” Pike fishery! Yet another real angler, well done mate!

The ultimate sacrifice!

Today will see many services in which those who gave their lives are honoured by two minutes of silence! Tomorrow will see the actual anniversary of the day when at eleven o clock on the eleventh day of November the two minute silence will be called. Many will attend public services taking comfort in the presence of others and many more will sit by the radio or TV with their own thoughts of the ending of a hellish conflict! It matters not the way chosen to mark this event, but that the event is respected. Even if you are vehemently anti war you must realise that you are where you are today by the sacrifice of the millions who lost their lives!

Many of the people involved in the conflict have now passed away and memories will fade. It is however of vital importance that we do not forget! The two world wars and the atrocities within them and since show clearly the depths to which humanity is capable of sinking. Remembering these people and those who endured life changing physical and mental suffering with great fortitude serves as a guiding line lest we descend into the horrific depths then endured! So don’t look on tomorrow as a gimmick or an irrelevance it does concern everyone, we are remarkable in the animal kingdom in that we have the will to cause death and destruction on a massive scale! Will we ever learn?

To those who went before! RIP.

Image 01 - Wear it with pride!
The wider world in my view!

Unbelievably, more blundering!

I was hoping the Con-Dems would have a break from the persistent blundering they are known for worldwide! The Commons Public Accounts committee which is a cross party body along with the National Audit Office have condemned the introduction of the universal credit system as a public rip off and a shambles! Chairman of the party committee and highly respected MP Margaret Hodge speaking on behalf of that committee branded the exercise an “unmitigated disaster”!

The policy has not yet even been implemented and has seen £425 million of public money squandered to no effect! The date for full implementation has been scrapped as there is no hope whatsoever the target will be met! Describing the reform as having been launched without a plan should surprise no one it has been the way with all Con-Dem policy! So we are now at a point in time where the plans for their implementation have been described as amateurish and we are nearly £500 million pounds worse off and that’s only one policy! I won’t mention the scrapping of the independent living allowance which was thrown out by the courts this week. I wonder if Lord Snooty would class this fiasco as being on behalf of “hardworking families” and a huge benefit to “our country”!

Misguided people!

I was disappointed to read this week that a group of Scottish tattooists are intent on bringing back the swastika sign as an emblem of peace! Yes it is apparently a sign of peace and its use stems back thousands of years. That however may be, but for at least two current generations the swastika is a sign of oppressive terror! The sign plundered by the Bosch is anathema to most right thinking people and it might be that younger members of society wear the emblem as a sign of peace, it will not be seen as such by the majority of sensible people!

The notion apparently started by a now deceased Canadian artist called “Manwoman” with no doubt laudable intentions; such a move at this time is highly insensitive to say the least! A Dundee tattooist says swastikas may subject the recipient to adverse comments. I would postulate that a good deal more than adverse comments may be directed to anyone wearing such a symbol! For the foreseeable future this symbol will rightly be seen as a sign of extreme fascism attempting to turn it round at this time to be seen as a peace symbol is pure folly and ultimately disrespectful to all touched by the horror of the brutal Bosch! Some proper education needed here methinks!


I had to laugh on reading BBC news anchor Jeremy Paxman’s comments on Lord Snooty and other political leaders this week. He said of Lord Snooty who spoke of the questionable (seems odd to commemorate the start of a war!) upcoming “celebrations “for a first world war centenary that he was a “complete idiot”! Paxman comes and fishes our salmon beat yearly and he is undoubtedly a shrewd judge of character. Snooty’s office is demanding an apology which will not be forthcoming. Paxman also slammed all the leaders of the political parties as green and inept (spot on mate!) subjecting the people to chuck it and see what happens type policies. Yes Mr Paxman can be abrasive and bullish but after interviewing countless bewildered Con-Dem politicians I can see where he is coming from, no apology required! More power to your elbow mate, free speech is a cornerstone of democracy!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Some items for discussion!

Photo 01 - Haws, a Blackbirds favourite!
Some items for discussion!

We have tabled for discussion at our AGM the act of night fishing in view of the recent and probably ongoing problems we are currently enduring. We will propose that anyone arriving after 18.00hrs who without the express permission of our loch keeper or bailiff will be deemed to be fishing illegally and removed from the lochs. If an angler wishes to fish overnight our enforcement team must be aware of his intention and grant the necessary permission for such fishing to take place!

The reasons for this have been outlined previously but put simply it means our enforcement team will know prior to checking out who is fishing, who has the required permission to fish enabling them to detect earlier those who are acting out with our rules. This does not mean that night fishing is to be outlawed it is simply a measure towards apprehending those whose intent is to plunder our fishery

In the same vein we will propose that on receipt of a permit to fish the angler purchasing the permit agrees to at the discretion of the loch keeper or bailiff allow his bag and vehicle to be searched. This could be viewed by some as a draconian measure and most likely it probably is best described by that adjective! However honest right thinking anglers who comprise the majority of our visiting anglers have nothing to fear, only those with sinister intent should beware! When an angler takes possession of a permit to fish he is agreeing to this edict and if they do not agree they must fish elsewhere! There have been further assaults on our stocks of fish which make adoption of the proposed rules above imperative. We cannot at this time reveal the wrongdoings but they will be made public when the time is right!

Another proposal received is that members of the club may hire boats free of charge. With this proposal comes a proviso that annual membership subscriptions be raised from the current sum of thirty pounds to thirty five pounds. The idea being that the extra five pounds would cover the loss of income from our boat hire. Hire of engines would remain at the same price. If you would like to submit an item for discussion please let me have it before the 9th of this month. The meeting will take place on the 13th of November at the Tibbie Shiels Inn commencing at 19.00hrs. We are indebted to Alastair and Marie Therese for opening the bar for us.

Runaway boats!

A call from Ian midweek informed me that a couple of our boats were on the far side of the loch with no one apparently attending to them. Ian said that he would get them back whilst I drove up to see if I could help. By the time I got there Ian had retrieved both boats which on inspection looked none the worse for their ordeal. How these boats came to be loose still evades us but these boats are the clubs greatest assets and as such we must redouble our efforts to see it does not happen again!

Photo 02 - Rosehip liqueur just begging to be made!
Of things to come!

Like many of our anglers with an interest in country matters I enjoy a limited harvest of the fruits that nature has to offer. It has been customary in the past to seek a few kilos of Damsons or Sloes to make the winter tipple Sloe/Damson Gin. Unfortunately our Damson crop failed and I did not come across any sloe bushes leaving me with no rejuvenating liquor to moderate the cold nights ahead. Whilst doing a bit of research on the internet I came across a much lauded recipe for Rosehip Gin or Brandy.

On looking locally I was disappointed to note that all the rosehips in the area were soft and mushy making their use borderline. However on checking the situation on the banks of the loch it quickly became apparent that the Rosehips here were still firm and ideal for picking. So without ado I picked two kilograms of the hips from several different bushes to get a good cross section for the initial batch. I was also able at this time to assume the mantle of a glutton and gorge myself with plump sweet brambles which was a real treat! All the recipes seem to be a variation of the one I used below.

1kg Rosehips, 300gms soft brown sugar, 2 cloves, one cinnamon stick, half a lemon rind shredded and 1.5litres of budget gin/vodka or brandy. Wash the rosehips and either use whole or crush. Cover the washed Rosehips with the brown sugar and leave overnight. Add the rest of the ingredients and place covered bowl in a cool place. Stir daily for a period of two weeks then sieve the mixture into bottles. The hairs in Rosehips are an irritant as you may remember from your schooldays when some Rosehips down your back would lead to an itchy back for a good few hours, so it is best to sieve a couple times more. The mixture should then be left for a couple of weeks before treating yourself to a wee nip. Warming alcohol, copious amounts of vitamin c and a pleasant and unique taste make for a truly heart-warming package! Early indications from initial tasting are that my batch will turn out to be truly delicious. Thank you Mother Nature, get your feet up and enjoy!  
Tree planting!
Just a reminder that we will be having a tree planting session on Saturday coming . Give me a shout if you can attend.

Photo 03 - Delicious Brambles still harvestable at the loch.
From our recommended dealers!

Have a look at some of the bargains available from our recommended dealers this week. All our recommended dealers know the ins and outs of the tackle trade and you can be sure of getting a great deal whichever one you visit.

And remember you can order online so no need to get out of bed!


The wider world in my view!

Private healthcare

I find it quite unsettling to see the frequency with which advertisements for private health care are appearing on the television! It is quite clear that under the incompetent Con-Dems the health service is nothing short of a shambles! Yes reform after reform with private practice barging in means that the days of a two tier healthcare system are now with us like it or not! The agenda of Lord Snooty is clear, it is to privatise the health service by stealth by running it down and promoting private health care!

More and more of the affluent middle classes are opting for private medicine to bypass the delays encountered by an underfunded NHS, not for them the goal of a universal first class health service its simply me, me, me! They have the ability to pay to jump the queue, to pay for unnecessary services and investigations to swell the profits of the private provider. Clearly it’s morally repugnant to have health care reduced to the level of treatment according to your bank balance, that however is the goal of Snooty and his band of cynical bunglers!

However what the private health care providers will not tell you is that they cannot provide a service equal to that of the NHS because the expertise and facilities do not exist in the private sector. Oh yes they will repair your hernia for five or six grand but if you develop severe peritonitis you will find yourself back in the NHS for the treatment required! Yes these sharks are very selective in what they will provide, straightforward conditions no problem, just open your chequebook!  Chronic severe conditions, I’m sorry sir we don’t do that, try the hospital for the poor round the corner!

They wear it like a badge of honour, their membership of such schemes and fair play it does say something about them! It says they have no affinity with those who have less in monetary terms; it says they think they are better than the working classes, it says they are content to live in a society where the size of your bank balance determines how quickly you will obtain treatment, it says they proudly adopt the banner of I’m all right stuff you!

Embracing the concept of private medicine is nothing short of a catastrophe for a civilised society! Universal equitable healthcare is a basic tenet of society, it is a leveller of society. Healthcare should have nothing to do with monetary assets it should be free at the point of delivery the way Aneurin Bevan engineered it!

No need to be surprised!

The trademark bungling continues unabated as this week Butcher Thatcher would be Theresa May was forced into a humiliating u turn regarding the proposed bond to be applied to immigrants from high risk countries such as India and Pakistan. Yes the £3,000 that was to be taken as security in these cases of immigration has now been scrapped as being unworkable! Looking at it in the cold light of day it was never going to work, like all Con-Dem policy it starts with a heralded fanfare then ends ignominiously a few months later with much covering up and utterances of being a listening government.

Similarly the well regarded McMillan Cancer Support has lambasted diddy work and pensions secretary Ian Duncan-Smith over the shambles of delayed benefit payments caused by the introduction of the lame duck policy of universal credit. Citing hundreds of terminally ill patients who are being left without cash support they are calling for a radical rethink of the ill fated policy. Yet again Lord Snooty presides over persistent punishing of the poor and needy without a hint of embarrassment! These wretched fools are completely devoid of compassion and know nothing of empathy or they would resign on the grounds of incompetence and let people with the above qualities put right the many wrongs wrought on us by these inept fools! I suppose you could expect nothing less from posh boys with bank balances the like of which most of us will never see in a lifetime!

Am I surprised – no, it’s the way the Con-Dems started and the way they will finish, bungling from start to finish!