Saturday, 31 December 2016

Runaway captured!

Photo 01 - our new pump getting a lot of work!

Runaway captured!

The title sounds like some sort of mystery novel requiring investigation and that is exactly the situation we found ourselves in following events midweek! A good friend of the club Karen from Riskinhope phoned to let me know that our boat on the wee loch had apparently come adrift and was languishing at the side of the loch half way down and was full of water. She went on to say that she had chained it up to stop it resuming its travels.

Jenny and me headed up on Thursday to rescue the beast and since the water was high we thought to try and get it to the boat house via the channel that joins the two lochs. We had brought with us our new water expulsion pump and 12 volt battery (Christ that was heavy) ready to put the bung in and pump her out. In a very short time she was empty and we thought we would lead her like a trusty mutt down into St Mary’s.

Of course none of these things ever go to plan and this day was no different. In the time it had taken to walk to the stranded boat the wind had got up and if you know the area you will know the far side of the Lowes has no shelter at all! So it was 10 metres movement the push her off the shoreline as the wind pushed her in all the way down. When we got to the bridge naturally she run aground and it was push pull and curse till the next obstacle and there were six in all!

We did however prevail and were at the top of St Mary’s where we decided we would just push her out into the loch and intercept her near the boathouse. For once things went our way when we got to Summerhope Davie and Stuart were bivvied up and when we explained our plan they intervened and saved the day by collecting our boat with their electric engine equipped Lomond. So once again we are indebted to the lads and of course in equal measure to Jenny and Karen!

Now we needed to find out how did this boat break free into the loch? The boat came away with the chain and the padlock locked so it wasn’t a case of carelessness in locking her up. Now steel corrosion was suggested but this chain is only a couple of years old and the links have only surface corrosion that can be rubbed off with fingers! So corrosion is not a valid reason for the escape. In fact the post the chain was connected to was rotten and fell over with the wind against the weight of the boat! Sometimes shit happens! The good thing however was that even with the drain bung out she did not sink to the depths of the loch. That’s because we built in 3 flotation chambers capable of keeping 2 anglers above the waterline safety must always be our priority!

NB The boat is now at the boathouse and will be refurbished before being returned to the Lowes hopefully around April. Once again thanks to Jenny, Karen, Stuart & Davie we appreciate your help!

Photo 02 - Just had to try out our new fire! Thanks Brian!

Club membership!

For those who are not members of the club but would like to join please send in your application form with the required fee which is £50.00 for eleven months. At the end of January when we have a membership total we will process applications received assuming we are below the 50 member mark. If we are unable to take your membership we will return your payment if you sent it in with your application. We apologise for this faffing around but it is entirely all down to Mr Xxxxx! Existing members should renew anytime through January.

A happy new year to all our readers!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all our readers!

Mission aborted!

Today a bunch of us were to be heading off around the loch for some shingle to renovate our path to the boats, but storm Barbara put paid to that! I nipped up today to have a look at the weights we cast last week using “blown” cement and lo and behold they have turned out beautifully! We now have enough weights to secure the pier when it is erected. The work Mike carried out on the woodwork around the boat house has now fully cured and it looks very good indeed! Once again thanks to all the lads who helped these actions really do help the club progress!

Membership renewal!

Already eleven applications have come in and been processed and should subject to the vagaries of the post be back with the club members! There is plenty time to renew so don’t get in a flap but applications must be with me by 31/01/2017.

Christmas Eve!

This is always a busy time for men, delivering presses, getting the last minute marriage saving gifts and passing messages of goodwill to relatives you didn’t know you had! So if you are not heading off to midnight mass click the link below and relax with a drop of brandy –

However if your party has just started click on this one –

Merry Christmas to all our readers!

next week's blog will appear at the usual time 31/12/2016

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Membership renewals!

Photo 01 - Gordon & Mike at full throttle!

Membership renewals!

We are now inviting existing members to renew their subscriptions for 2017. This will remain open until 31/01/2017 any member not having renewed by then will be deemed to be a lapsed member! We will maintain a tight schedule this time around so that we have a database by 31/01/2017 for the purposes of our AGM which (weather permitting) we would hold at the Tibbie Shiels Inn sometime early February.

Photo 02 - weights lined up and  ready for action!

We cannot take applications from non members wishing to join the club until we see how many members we have. This will become apparent at the end of January where we will offer membership to interested non members with a £5.00 discount (£50.00 instead of £55.00 due to January being lost) if we are below the 50 member mark. We apologise for this unusual measure but for conservation and insurance purposes we cannot have more than 50 members!

When our ex loch keeper Mr Xxxxx was sacked he decided to assume the role of a sulking schoolboy and held on to various pieces of club equipment including the club membership database and it is because of this that we are unsure of just how many members we have. So if these arrangements inconvenience you please get in touch directly with Mr Xxxxx, after all this situation has arisen entirely because of his childish actions!

Please send applications with an SAE to Richard Plisga 28 Meigle Street Galashiels TD1 1LL or hand them to me any Saturday on the loch. Renewal price of £35.00 may be paid by cheque/ postal order made payable to St Mary's Angling Club. You may also pay by cash in person.

Photo 03 - Concrete weight made with "blown" cement!

Please note – Existing membership cards will be valid until the end of January 2017.

Great work today!

The photos tell the story best, Gordon McClurg Mike Wood resident Les and I set about making the weights to be used for anchoring our pier. We had made two test weights the previous week and they turned out first class in spite of us using “blown” cement according to Mr Xxxxx! So we set to it and got cracking.

Photo 04 - Timbers protected for another few years!

First problem was the mixing tub springing a leak but this was quickly overcome by mixing by hand specifically by Gordon & Mikes hands! Soon a production line was established and in no time the job was done. Gordon and me set out to commission our new 12v high flow water pump which pushes out 40 litres/min. The pump is suitable for water and diesel and will be a great help to us.

A little bit of clamp tightening and hose adjustment was all that was required to have the machine gunning out water like one of those red lorries with blue flashing lights! In a short time we had emptied one Arran full of water and another with around a foot of water. Meantime Mike was not sitting idly he was recoating all our external woodwork with Cuprinol preservative (his own) which he had brought up. As if all the above was not enough Gordon had cleared out his shed and gifted us boxes of screws and nails and a new saw!
Photo 05 - Our new pump throwing it out!

Now if you are wondering how the club keeps going simply look above at these hardworking members and others like them! Were it not for them the club would have finished many years ago. Next week the muddy potholed path to our boats gets remedial treatment!

  The club is most grateful to Gordon, Mike and Les your hard work is very much appreciated!

An old friend!

Yes our old loch keeper and good friend Piotr phoned today to wish all the club members A very Merry Christmas! He is enjoying life along with Tasha and they now have their house as they want it to be and both are working very hard! The antics of Mr Xxxxx were a shock to him yet in a way he wishes he was back at the loch. He still thinks of us all and sends his very best wishes! An old friend and a true gent!
Our next blog will appear on Saturday 24th December.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

And so it begins!

Photo 01 Gordon & Brian hard at work while Les supervises!

And so it begins!

It’s been on the cards for a very long time in fact since the original wooden one crumbled away many years ago. We first thought to resurrect the pier around 5 years ago when we purchased three pieces of heavy duty metal flooring which we could bolt or weld together into a suitable layout. We now have a vision of the structure constructed to best meet the needs of our boaters.

The type of pier we will be constructing will be a floating structure held in place by weights and uprights which will allow it to rise and fall as the level fluctuates. Now that we have experienced the lower loch level we will have a baseline on which to base our construction.

Photo 02 - Brian & Les in discussion, Gordon as usual hard at work!

With the above in mind two of our heavyweights Brian Fairgrieve and Gordon McClurg came down to shift the ton of aggregate sitting at the car park and they had it done at an astonishing pace! These lads really do know how to work! They also brought with them 20 buckets that we will use as moulds for concrete weights which will stabilise the structure.

Gordon suggested we should carry out a trial mix so we did a pair of weights cast into greased buckets with half inch rebar for the anchoring hooks. I had with me a 5lbs mash hammer to form these hooks. I needn’t have bothered, Brian bent all twenty by hand and a cracking job he did and never even broke sweat!

So the moulds are all laid out ready for next Saturday when the lads will bring a cement mixer and we will do the lot!  Incidentally Gordon asked a builder about the cement we had stored and he said it will be perfectly fine as long as it has not gone hard in the bag! Always best to seek the views of a professional and not rely on a blowhard! Brian, Gordon and Les on behalf of the club thank you!

Photo 03 - Not really a welcome visitor!

Plenty of fish!

Since I wasn’t fishing yesterday and we finished the work session early I took the opportunity to nip round and see the anglers on the loch for a blether. It seems we have some very contented anglers in that they have been catching fish but keeping mum regarding this! Some anglers like to report their fish and some don’t. It’s good to hear of fish being caught but we will always respect the wishes of the angler! So if you want your fish in the gallery let us know but if you want to keep your catches to yourself then that just fine too! Tight lines!

Common sense at last!

I was interested to read in the Daily Record on Friday that at last the record authorities are clamping down on “plastic” fish being submitted for record status. Scale examination can reveal the past history of any fish submitted for record status and any that have clearly been stewpond reared. Yes fish reared to record or near record weights then released will no longer be accepted for record status!

Now I am not surprised that the awarding body has come to this conclusion, I am surprised it has taken so long to arrive here! Maybe now we can afford “plastic” fish the derision they deserve and value the captures of wild fish in their natural environments, the way it should be!

Fishers Direct at Christmas!

Mike at Fishers just keeps on dishing out the deals. There are some fantastic products at January sale prices giving you the opportunity to make the angler in your life very happy indeed! So go on and leaf through all that is on offer -

The wider world in my view!

This is our world!

We have as a species been through a lot in the years we have inhabited the earth. Many natural disasters, many more self made conflicts but after every event came the now too often heard mantra we will change and make things better! Our aim has always been to help the unfortunates in life and getting rid of those we perceive to be a threat to our way of living!

Worthy aims indeed, and to accomplish this would be a huge step forward. Every politician reels off these worthy statements and in every case things remain the same or deteriorate! It has been our way since the beginning of time and it will continue to be our way!
What causes us to fall at these hurdles is undeniably greed! No one really likes to talk about it but make no mistake it is the reason nothing will ever change! We want the newest car, the biggest house and the ability to dispense with the need to think before we buy! A much kinder way of looking at it is to say that we want nothing but the best for our families. Contentment appears to be a bridge too far!

The bottom line is that we will never change! Our current society encourages greed, the concept having been revitalised by Butcher Thatcher and it continues without hindrance! We will never see a world free of conflict, a world free of social inequality, a world free of poverty! The future is just to continue as we are striving against our neighbour to feather our own nest!
It’s not pretty or correct but it is the situation we have brought about through our own choice!

In Brief!

Donald Trump being voted man of the year by Time magazine. Absolutely outrageous but perhaps it says more about the magazine than it does about Trump! So steer clear of Time magazine its obviously a work of fiction and well off the mark!

Theresa May her on the side of the JAMs in the country posing for a photo shoot in a pair of leather trousers costing £995.00. This would keep a family of four for a couple of weeks! It's still them and us the way it’s always been and the way it always will be!

The SNPs failure in education policy. The rhetoric of the policy sounded great, the implementation however must have been a shambles! This is policy implementation at its worst that left Nicola Sturgeon looking like a recalcitrant schoolgirl! Come on SNP pull yourselves together you're acting like Tories!

Prince Harry and his world wide jaunts at our expense. Nice work if you can get it, most of us however have to do a proper job for our money! Get a proper job mate!

Boris Johnson it seems was a buffoon as a kid and clearly as age progresses he is still a buffoon! There will be many adjectives used to describe him in the future but the word buffoon will be ever present! 

Borg Queen Ruth Davidson was adamant we should stay in the single market! It seems now she has done something the Tories are famous for a U turn! That's right now she says we should be out! The blind leading the blind methinks!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Erased from our history!

Photo 01 - unusually quiet waters for December!

Erased from our history!

We have just emerged from the most shameful event in the clubs history where a sacked employee of the club tried to bring down and belittle the work of many club stalwarts and the club as a whole. Ultimately he brought the good name of the club into question and alienated himself with his ridiculous actions!  We had not yet decided how long he would be barred from fishing on the lochs but in the event that task was taken out of our hands by two riparian owners who have effectively barred him from fishing on the lochs for a lifetime! This is a severe penalty but then again just consider what he has done to the club!

 This means that the future administrators of the fishing after we are gone will have no choice over his admission to the club! Any attempt to give him membership will lead to the lease of the fishing being withdrawn! Only when an administration puts forward a membership that excludes Mr Xxxxx will the rights be restored! This move has removed a huge weight from our shoulders!

We cannot erase the despicable actions of this fellow, but this blog which is the social history of the club can be cosmetically altered without disturbing the main thrust of the posts! We will leave the childish actions perpetrated by him in print, but as anyone reading back posts will by now have gathered his name will be obliterated as will any images of him! Never in the history of the club have such actions been required, perhaps a fitting testament to his abhorrent behaviour and the fact that he has embarrassed every member of the club! Not to mention the fact that he is now universally seen as a chump!

If we are unfortunate enough to have to mention him again in the future he will be referred to as Mr Xxxxx! He behaved in a shameful and embarrassing manner the like of which the club has never seen before! We will not tolerate such despicable behaviour! So the only thing the AGM will need to consider is whether or not to take legal action against Mr Xxxxx in pursuance of the club property he holds! So as far as the club is concerned Mr Xxxxx was never here!

Photo 02 - Rose hip brandy methinks!

Proper club members!

Looking at the shameful legacy of Mr Xxxxx you might think it’s all doom and gloom! Of course you would be wrong. The huge majority of club members are decent worthy individuals who not only practice their sport but in addition are always thinking of the club and how to help!

Members like Brian Fairgrieve who when inheriting a Calor gas heater with a gas cylinder, a working 12 volt battery and a battery charger thought of the club donated them to the club. Selfless actions in contrast to the actions of Mr Xxxxx that propel the club forward. Similarly member David Shotton donated to the club a new Hardy fly line and a super new waterproof fly box to be used as prizes in our wild Trout competition.

Now don’t get me wrong we are not here concentrating on material gains welcome as they are, we value just as much those who give of their time!  Members like Les Henderson who emptied a one ton bag of aggregate filling in the potholes in our parking area at the boathouse! Yes a 74 yr old man who thought he could help in spite of us telling him not to do such work!

Men like Stevie Nimmo who without being asked serviced our new Calor Gas heater to a point where it starts first time every time! Men like Elliot Fraser who thinks nothing of enduring a 140 mile round trip as he did last week to help us out of a tight spot!  Men like David Wilson and Stuart Grieve who regularly stay late to take in boats for us on a Sunday and safely lock them up for us! Men like Gordon McClurg and Mike Wood who when being asked if they could help us out are saying yes even before they know what that task may be!

Men like the dozens of new members too many to list who have offered to assist us in any way they can! In contrast to the actions of Mr Xxxxx above this is the real St Mary’s Angling Club and it is because of these people that the club will endure! To all of the members who make our club the best it can be, a huge thank you! Compare this with the hate fuelled idiot above and you will see the real angling club!

What now!

Well for all the game lads the season is over and it’s time to assess the hammering you have given your tackle. Flies with blunted points and hackles coming loose, my remedy – bin them!  The hassle of sharpening and stabilising hackles is more bother than it’s worth but if it’s your go to fly then get the carborundum and varnish out!

Rods just get a clean and check for cracked rings, if it’s ok then dry and store. Reels get a clean with Paraffin/alcohol and relubed ready for the 15th March. Lines cleaned and inspected for cracks but if you are like me and use low end lines they get junked and a new one bought! See Mike’s latest offers below for some great bargains!

You can of course continue fishing for different species with Pike being the standout species there are others of course such as Perch and Grayling. I am getting out the wire traces looking for a croc!

Xmas presents at Fishers!

Have a look at some of the great offers from Mike at Fishers. There will be bargains without end right up to the New Year! Great deals such as the Greys GTS 700 for only £55.00 instead of £99.99 and there are many more click the link to see more great bargains

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Count us in!

Photo 01 - Flat as a mill pond on Saturday!

Count us in!

Yesterday Elliot Fraser and I met with some interested parties regarding the apparently increasing incidence of Muppet behaviour on the Cafe Green especially during the summer months. We have agreed to donate up to two hundred pounds towards the cost of a quality CCTV system to record all antisocial events that may take place. Our donation however is conditional on other stakeholders donating a similar amount!

This may seem to some members as acting outwith our sphere of operation! However we need to remember that when we took over the operation of the club many years ago visitor numbers were virtually non existent. We have turned that ailing club into one which is currently thriving with fantastic membership and good honest unadulterated fishing.  Along with increased visitor numbers however comes the incidence of increased anti social behaviour!

Those who have been around a while will be aware of a few incidents involving people masquerading under the banner of angling. It is because of this we feel we need to be involved and play our part in rectifying wrongdoing! Having brought about an increase in visitor numbers we have a moral responsibility to play our part in managing any future misbehaviour! The time has come to do something, we are doing it!

One other very good bit of news is that two riparian owners on the loch have stated that they will block any attempt to admit a recently disgraced individual dismissed from his position within the club back into club membership under any circumstances. This most welcome measure is more than we could have hoped for and will secure the future of St Mary's Angling Club for many years to come!

Ideas for improvement! 

Through sound financial management brought about latterly by club treasurer Elliot Fraser we now find ourselves commanding a very healthy bank balance. Now as everybody knows some cash in the bank for a rainy day is a pretty good idea yet at the same time we can spend some money whilst maintaining that cushion.

Now spending for the sake of spending is rarely a good idea and with this in mind we are asking the membership if they have any ideas as to how we may improve the fishing or facilities to let us know. We don’t want to hear about engines or any other ideas that would degrade our fishing for we must continue to manage the loch. By law we cannot introduce new stocks of fish with the exception of Arctic Char and this would be financially out of our reach so that option is not really on the table unless we could secure some significant financial assistance.

We can try and improve the habitat as we have done many times before with some success. We have heavy duty wire baskets which were to be used to provide havens for young fish when weighed down and placed in the loch. We could re establish the shoreline greenery which is now barren due to the lower level being established shown below. The loch will eventually re establish this flora, we could also do this informally by cutting  willow whips and just pushing them into the ground on an ad hoc basis they will root in a short time and become inhabited by insects which will become food for our fish stocks!

Photo 02 - The littoral zones we have lost!

We could improve the club facilities in and around the boathouse by means of heaters or cooking equipment. We could provide a base tackle store where members could borrow equipment that they may have forgotten to bring. These are just a small selection of ideas picked up over the years but if you have any ideas give us a shout!

Heavy Pike recorded!

 We have not even presented this year’s winner Scott Redpath with his prize and a corker specimen has just been recorded for next years cup. Ultra keen member David Forsyth managed to land a 21lbs 8oz fish. This verified fish fought like a Trojan but eventually came to the net. Well done that man! So that's the weight you need to beat if you want to get your hands on the cup!

Offers of assistance!

Over the last few months we have received numerous offers of assistance with projects we have planned for the coming year. Members who are cognisant of the fact that maintenance and improvement are required to keep the club running smoothly.  To the many who have offered us help thank you we will be in touch!

The wider world in my view!

Desperate times ahead!

Forecasts from agencies concerned with the increasing numbers of poor people in our country have predicted a sharp rise in the numbers of people struggling to survive! Most reasonable people will not be surprised by this as the Tories continue to look after their own whilst punishing the poor!
Corporation tax giveaways and the failure to stop benefit cuts Mean that many poor people will end up thousands of pounds poorer whilst the rich receive more! Predictions of job losses attributed to “Brexit” now top 200,000 and will certainly plunge our country into another major recession!

Health care social care are on the point of collapse and this dithering government concentrate on “Brexit” to the exclusion of all else! Over 100 billion has been borrowed by the so called party of fiscal competence I do wonder how such borrowing will benefit us? There will come a time in the next few years when the public voice will eclipse all else and that voice will call for an end to this “Brexit” nonsense, an end to spending on nuclear weapons and a focus on poor people with the aim of improving their standard of living. Roll on that day!

More strong opposition!

Yet again on first Ministers Questions Borg Queen Ruth Davidson made a complete pratt of herself! A week too late she posed a question about the 246 points of improvement that were asked of Scotrail. She asked if and when they were to be published! Sturgeon’s reply was that they were to be published and in fact had been available to the general public for 24hrs prior to Davidson’s question! Yet another example of the strong opposition promised by the Tories!

Similarly Murdo Fraser MSP asked the Scottish government to welcome the £900 million supposedly given by Philip Hammond to Scotland! In fact since the Tories came to power to 2020 £2.9 billion will have been cut from the Scottish settlement!  Are we to be happy about that!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Annual pilgrimage to the Tweed!

Photo 01 - Stevie about to cast!

Annual pilgrimage to the Tweed!

On Monday our party consisting Gordon, Elliot, Mike and Stevie four of the membership who gave most of their time to propel the club forward set off to the Upper Pavilion on Tweed in search of the increasingly elusive Salmon. Unfortunately our competition winner Alan Ramsay could not make it due to holidaying in Australia!
Very few fish were showing and those that did show themselves were all the colours of the rainbow! It looked like spotting a fresh fish would be an event indeed!

 This pattern was to remain for the whole day. Now we had both banks of the whole beat so no shortage of areas to fish but alas as in recent years past nothing was hooked! The angler who came closest was Mike Wood who got a pull not once but three times with line being stripped on the third event click to see video . However at the end of that run the line went limp which was catastrophic for Mike, so near yet so far!

However putting our day in context the weather was super very mild for November, the water was up around a foot with that beery colour that all anglers like to see and fish were showing but therein lies the problem!  Compared to four or five years ago the amount of fish showing is much reduced. It seems as though the famous back end on the Tweed is at an end so much so that the Spey is now considered Scotland’s premier Salmon river.

Now the above is not by way of making excuses, the annual catches on the Tweed have plummeted in the recent past and no one seems to have a credible theory as to why this is the case.  Saturday of the preceding week saw no Salmon caught over the whole Tweed whilst on Monday (our day) three Salmon were caught on the lower stretches, Tweed Salmon fishing is at rock bottom! In all the years I have fished this beat I have never known it as bad!

Photo 02 - Mike bobbing on the water!

However as I have said many times angling is about more than catching fish it encompasses the colourful spectrum of nature the camaraderie of fellow anglers and the peace and contentment that comes from a day in the outdoors! A day free of bullies and feckless drifter’s, what more could you ask for! Aye it was a rare treat to be with a bunch of lads unceasing in their efforts to help the club and grateful for a different day under the piscatorial banner!

All the participants enjoyed their day and from a personal point of view it was a privilege to fish with such a group of honest and decent real anglers. I have sent a letter of thanks to the Westbrook family thanking them for their kindness in allowing us to fish on their private beat.

Photo 03 - Most welcome in a dry spell says Stuart!

Permits on the bank!

Over the last few weeks I have been asked why it is not possible to purchase permits on the bank like in other areas. Well here’s the news you can buy your permits on the bank you have always had the opportunity to do so! It is the preferred method of buying your permits as it gives our bailiffs some recompense for the work provided by them!

This means you arrive at the loch and you commence fishing and our bailiffs catch up with you later in the day. There is no waiting around for an outlet to open it’s simply arrive and fish. This was problematic in the recent past but the situation now is that our bailiffs will encounter you. Our lead bailiff is a woman so lets see some respect here and be on your best behaviour.
So just come and fish, one of our bailiffs will catch up with you! You get to fish as soon as you arrive and our bailiffs gets some recompense for their efforts!

Photo 04 - Stuart with a soon to be whopper!


Last weekend one of our members lost a fishing reel a Shimano baitrunner 6010. Now he thinks he may have left it in the Glen Cafe car park or the big stone swim on the loch o the Lowes. If you have found it and are wondering how to return it simply e mail us and we will arrange a suitable way for you to return the reel. We will also as a thank you give you a five day permit to be used in any combination of days over a year.

The wider world in my view!

Strong opposition!

If any of you were watching First Ministers Questions this week you could not avoid being left open mouthed at the ineptitude of Borg Queen Ruth Davidson! The woman who insisted she would provide strong opposition was systematically stopped in her tracks then dismembered by the much more astute Nicola Sturgeon!

Tories all over Scotland must have been left feeling humiliated as Sturgeon belittled and completely cancelled out her outlandish criticisms. It was clear that Davidson had done no research on the topics raised as she was summarily put down with facts after each point she raised.
A good opposition is vital in politics to challenge the government's stance and had it not been for the intelligent and robust questioning by Kezia Dugdale Sturgeon would have remained untroubled! Yes Ms Dugdale raised the only pertinent question in the whole session regarding Abellio’s utterly incompetent attempt to run Scotrail!

Sturgeon was put on the back foot stating that the contract could be removed from Abellio. I agree with Dugdale the contract should be terminated with immediate effect and that contract be given to a state run enterprise i.e. a nationalised industry! The most pressing problem for Scotland was not even mentioned by the Borg Queen! How those protest voters who switched to Tory must feel silly now with an overgrown schoolgirl providing the “strong opposition!” Davidson is no “strong opposition” simply a loudmouth who can gesticulate more, shout more and invariably make herself out to be a complete dick!

Buckingham Palace!

You will have noticed this week the call for Buckingham Palace to be refurbished at an approximate price of £370 million to the taxpayer! I am very uncomfortable about paying for renovations to the house of another especially when that family is steeped in wealth!

Make no mistake it is the taxpayer who will fund this even though the queen is paying. She has been given a 66% rise paid for by us to fund these works! Perhaps she should be subject to the “Bed tax” like ordinary people! It is just wrong to fund those with fantastic wealth when institutions such as the NHS are crying out for investment!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

How big is this Pike?

Photo 01 - David with a very fine fish!

How big is this Pike?

Yes it was caught last week by visiting angler David Rutherford on a two day session on the Lowes. Prior to catching this specimen he got a chance to hone his skill with a wee jack. Now David did not bring his scales but did bring a tape measure whilst not able to give an accurate weight would at least give an approximation.

Naturally the lady was a trifle aggrieved at having a hook lodged in her mouth and put up a splendid struggle. However succumb she did as David piled on the pressure with the aim of not exhausting the fish. Uppermost in his mind was a quick photo and speedy return and this he did forgetting to take some measurements to estimate the weight. We must commend David for putting the welfare of the fish above all else seeking a speedy return to the loch.

Quick initial thoughts were around sixteen pounds but she was very thick set and on showing the fish to other anglers saw the range expand and move upwards with figures coming in from nineteen to twenty three pounds! What do you think? One thing is for sure it was a cracking fish from the much underrated loch o the Lowes!

Tweed bound in pursuit of Salmon!

Tomorrow our party heads off to the Upper Pavilion on the Tweed to see if we can tempt a Salmon of any colour! The last outing was fish free in spite of a couple of tugs so this year it would be nice to actually land one. Last week on the beat a few friends of the family landed four fish none of which were fresh. However rod bending certainly took place and that’s all we are seeking.

Gordon, Mike, Elliot and Stevie will all wet a line to see what they can do and they have the whole beat on both sides so will not be restricted in that matter. I know new flies have been purchased so there hopefully will be fireworks! Irrespective it's a day out in the company of real anglers not a bully in sight! A true vision of piscatorial heaven!

Potential spoiler!
The river is up today, beery coloured but it's drizzled all day. However as the darkening came in this evening it was quite fishable. Hopefully the rain will stop soon and we should be ok, I will be down the Tweed at dawn just in case it's become unfishable so I can let the lads know.

 Photo 02 - Wednesday on the loch!

Hidden benefits!

So you’re now a member of the club, and you now have unlimited access to the fishing for any species on both the lochs. Yes you can fish every day of the year for the measly sum of thirty five pounds per year! But did you know there are other hidden benefits of being a member.

If you have a job at your remote lock up that really needs electricity to do the job properly but there’s no mains supply. As a member of the club you can borrow one of our portable generators 3.5 or 4.0Kw to enable you to get the job done all you need do is fill up the tank on returning the genny.

We also offer this service to local residents in the area if you need power where you have none give us a shout and we will arrange for one of the generators to be made available as we have done in the past. Maybe you and the wife fancy a day out pleasure boating; well you can use one of the club boats free of charge to enjoy your day this applies to members and locals. All you need do is get in touch!

Photo 03 - 0 degrees all day!


Following last week’s leader photo which clearly was not a 14lbs Pike as the caption proclaimed I have to hold my hands up, plead guilty and say I cocked up! Yes Davy sent on two photos of his session last week, one of a wee jack (the one in the photo) and the other the 14lbs Pike. I uploaded the wrong one and didn’t even notice when I reviewed it before publishing.

So I have replaced last week’s photo on the blog and in the gallery with the actual 14lbs fish and send my apologies to Davy! Incidentally Stuart ended up with 1604 photos on his phone which he could only remove with the aid of one of those electric tin openers! So once you have scoured this week’s blog continue scrolling until you get to last week’s header or go to the gallery in the main site to see Davy’s 14lbs fish!

“Plastic Pike!”

I heard today that featured in Fridays Daily Record “Fish of the week” was a 44lbs Pike from a Borders loch. Now the name of the loch was withheld for obvious reasons but the author went on to say that the captor had only been a member of the Pike syndicate for two months! Only two pounds short of the British record this will have big fish hunters drooling and in a frenzy to locate and catch the now marked poor creature!

The fact that the fish came from a syndicate water immediately rings alarm bells! Now if this fish had come from a wild water then that would indeed have been a feat! A fish who had to battle, deploy all its cunning in order to secure its prey is indeed a worthy fish! However we have been aware of several engineering projects where heavy Pike from other waters are transferred to ponds which have been massively overstocked with prey fish!

This gives rise to a totally synthetic environment where the hunting Pike is confronted with a potential meal at every turn which is not the case in the wild! Similarly often the prey fish chosen is stunted high energy Rainbow Trout causing the hunting Pike to put on massive amounts of weight. Our Pike which we consider well fed put on between 3-4lbs per year and at that rate the heavy weights above would be unattainable!
These fish have been artificially bulked up simply to make the capture of a possible record fish easier. For me a twenty caught from our untampered with lochs is worth much more than one of these gullible and flabby creatures engineered for record status! Can there be any worth in catching such a “Frankenstein” creature where human intervention is the cause of its high weight.

The joy of searching out a loch for a possible holding area is negated as over fed Pike come along frequently and pick up any meal they desire with only minimal foreplay! Such a fish may register 44lbs on the scales but is it a real 44lbs Pike that is the question!

The wider world in my view!

A tale of two duds!

Well like Brexit the result of the American election result left us all reeling! Who would have thought a dick like Donald Trump would be elected the most powerful man in the world! Of course it was down to bungling by the democrats in selecting the hated Hilary Clinton as their candidate, marked down as a crook her goose was cooked a long time ago! Both the candidates were the bottom of the barrel so the end result is a bottom of the barrel president!
Already trump is backtracking on much of the hot air he spouted during the campaign. This has got to be a good thing because much of his campaign rhetoric was absolute rubbish! There won’t be much good come of this election, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Poppy day!

As we mill around going through our usual routines we often don’t think of how we came to be where we are today! Yes if the Bosch had triumphed in either war we would be living in a very different world indeed! It is only due to the millions who lost their lives in the two world wars fighting the cruel Bosch that we enjoy our freedom today!

People nowadays take for granted the sacrifice made by so many. We must ensure that the sacrifices made and the brave actions of men and women from so many nations are never forgotten! R.I.P

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Up & running!

Photo 01 -  Davy with a fine 14lbs Pike!

Up and running!

At last we find ourselves back up and running in a fashion that we are content with. Leaving behind what was probably the most shameful episode in the clubs history we can now progress. I think we should now erase all memory of the fellow and carry on enjoying the fishing!

Our new watcher/bailiff Jenny who farms at Bowerhope has now settled into the job and on hearing from visiting anglers they are impressed with the courteous and efficient service given by her. It is important to keep in mind that Jenny is not an angler so if you have any queries specifically about angling please direct them to me and I will assist as I can.

So it is again possible for anglers to purchase their permits on the banks if they wish and we still have three other bailiffs who check and sell permits. Of course we still sell permits at the Glen Cafe, The Tibbie Shiels Inn, The Gordon Arms Hotel and Fishers in Penicuik. However your first choice should be our bailiff as it gives her some reward for the work she carries out! Boat hire is again possible for visiting anglers with a simple DIY system that provides all the essentials to get and keep you afloat for your days sport.

Regular readers will know that the subject of engine hire has been added to the agenda for our AGM and following this we will formulate a policy regarding their use. It is important not to assume a Walter Mitty type of outlook when reviewing engine usage rather a cold hard look at the pros and cons!

New members having just joined the club have no membership cards since Mr Young has kept hold of them but we will be ordering replacements for the 2017 season and you will not be required to submit a photo. Other items such as supplying a date of birth will be dispensed with! A new application form will be uploaded in the next few weeks.

One of Mr Xxxxx’s last legacies was to leave us with 10 bags of rubbish to get rid of which with a bit of application we soon did. Again however bags were building up at the boathouse and the disposal problem reappeared. How heartening to hear that big Davy has managed to come to an arrangement with the proprietors of the Gordon Arms Hotel for us to dispose of our accumulated waste! A member helping the club, the way it should be! Thanks Davy!  

That was certainly a fine Pike Davy (pictured above), I can't get in touch with him at present as he is sending the photo to mate Stuart every 3 minutes. Stuart tells me he currently has 1,378 copies of the Pike and his phone is about to burst. Well nothing like making sure yer mate gets to see yer prize!
A fishing mate of Davy and Stuart caught and returned the cock Salmon below on a Spratt so much for not feeding in freshwater! Also caught yesterday was a fine 16lbs Pike from the loch o the Lowes photo next week.

Photo 02 - Small cock Salmon(with suspected Cormorant damage) caught and returned yesterday.

Salmon Fishing on the Upper Pavillion!

Well we now have confirmation of our day and it's Monday the thirteenth of this month next week in fact. I hope the date is not a bad omen but the lads coming are not put off by trivia such as that. Again fish are being caught but all were coloured last week. Something has changed with regard to the Tweed's autumn run and no one seems to know what is the root cause of this anomaly! However our lads Stevie, Elliot, Gordon and Mike are indomitable when it comes to fishing, irrespective of what happens I am sure a great day will be had by one and all!

Moving on!

It finally happened last weekend after a few false alarms good friends of the club Ian & Barbara left the area seeking pastures new. Yes the occupants of the old converted church at the hall have moved into Edinburgh for a taste of high culture and busy city life. Of course Ian & Barbara were the incumbents at the Glen Cafe a few years ago and built up a reputation for good food at sensible prices just like the current tenants.

Ian was also our loch keeper for a good while and brought credit to the club with his honest no nonsense pragmatic manner! Latterly Ian assisted us with the checking and selling of our permits as time allowed and we are most grateful to him for that. Ian & Barbara set up the visit St Mary’s Loch website which I am sure brought many visitors to the area and in all aspects of village life brought verve and enthusiasm.

We will miss Barbara and the Dulux dog on their morning strolls and all three on their winter hikes in biting cold weather. Nothing however stays the same life evolves all around us and we must adapt and move forward! All the best in your new home from all at the fishing club, Ian & Barbara good friends indeed!

Club AGM

To facilitate the smooth order of business at the AGM we are again asking that members with what could be considered substantive topics submit these to us no later than 7 days before the AGM. This allows better time management during the meeting and allows time for research into that topic if required.  The agenda is being compiled and we will publish it nearer the time as before.

The wider world in my view!


I had a good blether with Elliot this week and he was quick to point out how he felt let down by the SNP government after they had raised the council tax for the upper bands to raise £100 million to inject into the education budget. I can empathise with him as this is not targeted towards those who earn bumper salaries rather those who have striven to better themselves and their families.

The SNP were always of the stance of targeting those who earn huge amounts of money which is a proper stand to take. They have said that the raising of the council tax is a transient measure because they did not have a mandate to implement root and branch change. That is maybe so but when ordinary working families are hit by unneeded cuts (up to £500 annually) in their income then the distribution of votes cast will change!

The SNP are not the perfect government far from it in fact, they are however the best of a bad lot!  They should however be aware that unpopular moves such as this risks sending voters towards a more unpalatable form of government such as the Tories! In Scotland no one in their right mind votes Tory they are the destroyers of industry and past masters of peerless bungling. However a heat of the moment protest vote could see them put into a position of power which would be the worst thing possible for the people of Scotland! So to Nicola Sturgeon and co please think very carefully before implementing any further such moves for it may end up costing you and the country 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Tweed beckons!

Photo 01 - Stevie Nimmo opens his back end account, well done mate!

The Tweed beckons!

It’s that time again when our Wild Trout competition winner and a group of members who have attended workdays head off to Major Westbrook’s beat on the River Tweed to have a bash at the Salmon.  Unfortunately this year’s winner Alan Ramsay is unable to attend due to being in Australia for a month’s holiday! Naturally we have arranged a day next year to make sure he does not lose out.

The Salmon fishing over the last 3 years has been poor no point in beating about the bush! Some proprietors have already closed their beats due to poor numbers of fish. The news from our beat is that this week 3 anglers landed 10 fish lost 3 and had one silver coloured fish the rest being of the tartan variety. So at least fish are being caught which is a distinct improvement on recent years!

We have no date as yet for our outing but we should hear very soon. Consequently no doubt to Mr Young’s annoyance I will be contacting those who carry out significant work for the club and inviting them to come along and enjoy what is always a great day out irrespective of fish caught or Mother Nature's wrath!

Photo 02 - The start of a good day yesterday!

It’s a WILD fishery!

There has been a long tradition of stocking the loch with Brown Trout going back at least 50 years. Initially eyed ova from were brought in Loch Leven and reared in our boathouse until they were 2 – 3 inches in length and then released into the feeder burns of the loch. This apparently led to reasonable stocks of adolescent Trout but there was a need for more as the trend for stocking adult fish caught on. Then adult fish of takeable size were stocked and catch figures significantly increased as to an extent the loch turned into a semi commercial fishery!

Of course due to the numbers of Trout stocked and the interval of a year between stockings in no way compared to the truly “plastic” types so prevalent today where fish are topped up on a daily basis to replace fish taken. When a decision taken by Scottish National Heritage effectively stopped the stocking of Trout into wild waters the rivers and lochs reverted once again to being self sustaining!

We are now over ten years down that line and doubtless most anglers could argue both for or against the current situation. However we are where we are and as such we have to live with the current situation! The other species in the loch are self regulating as our Brown Trout now are. With this being the case we have to tread carefully when it comes to the amount of angling pressure we allow on the lochs!

The ludicrous idea put forward by our ex loch keeper Mr Xxxxx would have seen motorised boats out every day of the week and day permits issued without any thought towards sustainability!  The above implemented in a wild fishery would have been a death sentence from which our fishery would take years to get over. Ham fisted policy such as proposed by Mr Xxxxx would effectively negate our fishing for years thereby plunging the very existence of the club in severe jeopardy!

Key in our management must be the fact that if overfishing is taking place we reserve the right to immediately revert the fishery to members only excluding visitors to ease the pressure on the lochs! We do not have the luxury of ordering a couple of thousand replacement fish. Heavy handedness such as suggested by Mr Xxxxx would have did for us good and proper! Having seen firsthand the effects of overfishing we are very reluctant to be in that place again.

Managing the numbers of anglers fishing is always uppermost in our minds whereas with Mr Xxxxx it was revenue to fill his back pocket. As the administrators of the loch those are the steps that we could take. It is up to anglers to make sure when fishing for Pike that a minimum of 15lbs mono or 40lbs braid is used, mechanical bite indication is essential with electronic beepers as back up if required and the fastest strike possible be implemented. Brown Trout/Perch anglers are moving towards catch and release by taking only occasional fish. If our anglers can achieve that and we monitor numbers then we are doing all we can to keep our fishery sustainable! Unlike Mr Xxxxx we see the loch as a long term resource rather than a source of free cash!

Engine thoughts!

We are currently mulling over alternatives with regard to our club engines and a few ideas have emerged. The most exciting in my view is that of making our engines (petrol & electric) available virtually free of charge to members who have attended a club workday. It could conceivably last for a calendar year and all members would be expected to cover would be bringing their own petrol or battery and pay a £5.00 charge which would go towards parts/consumables required for annual servicing.

Another idea circulating is that members should be able to hire these engines at a paltry fee of £10.00/24hrs. Again this fee would be put towards servicing of these engines. There are of course many other options such as continuing with hire on demand to all or scrapping engine hire altogether. The topic has been tabled for discussion at our AGM and it is likely we will come to a firm decision!

The wider world in my view!

No one at home!

We got an indication this week of how our new Prime Minister would view the concerns of the devolved areas within the UK. It looks as though Mrs May will be trying to emulate her hero Butcher Thatcher! You would have thought with the UK about to leave the EU efforts would be made to strengthen the situation at home.

It appears Mrs May is intent on breaking up the UK continuing the deplorable work of Lord Snooty! She has passed over the responsibility for dealing with the devolved governments to the hugely inexperienced David Davies, he of hotline fame! The Tories have made a conscious decision to treat the devolved administration with complete and utter contempt!

The question posed by Scotland regarding staying in the single market has not been addressed at all. The mutterings of irrelevant puppet David Mundell carry no weight, the people of Scotland need to hear the answer of Theresa May supposedly the new (unelected) Prime Minister! She looks to be making a complete hash of the Brexit strategy in that she has no strategy at all!