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!
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!