Sunday, 26 February 2017

New bathymetric map!

Photo 01 - Master carpenter Frank at work!

New Bathymetric map!

I have mentioned previously some exciting work being carried out by one of our members Dave McGarvie in carrying out an accurate bathymetric survey of our two lochs. Well the project is progressing and if you nip over to his website you will see already the substantial work that has been carried out. These are very detailed maps and Dave’s plan is to create an app for Android whereby an angler can determine the depth of his intended swim with a degree of precision which will be invaluable to Pike anglers. To see the work carried out on the Lowes and some great photos click the link -

A makeover!

This week it was back to the grindstone after our hugely successful AGM last week with a record attendance and more importantly members with a view! Our Lowes boat was kindly lifted into the boathouse last week by a group of members, and this week I started the preparation for the work to be done. Unexpectedly in came committee member Frank Gillespie and with two we could make much greater progress.

The plan was to rub down the wood and see the condition along its length. What we found was that the wood was solid all along its length with the exception that where the oar pins sat, the hardwood (Teak or Mahogany we think) had turned to mush with no strength whatsoever! The plan was to remove all the rotten wood back to solid timber and cut a check to allow for a 2mm steel band to be fitted either side of the fibreglass carcass bolted to sound wood.

Photo 02 - Rotten wood stripped ready for a new seat!

To increase rigidity the space between the steel bands would be filled with chopped strand fibre glass with the oar pin structure fitted before the chopped strand cures. Then it would be a case of bolting everything up tight and its job done. The rear seat requires attention in that the pressure from the boat being left full of water cracked the fibre glass joins allowed water ingress and a piece of the wooden seat has rotted. This will need replacing and the flotation chamber topped up then glass the whole structure.

The window boxes on the underside of  the seats require to be modified and the idea is to put a strip of hardboard across the bottom of the boat leaving the very bottom open for movement of water and a space for the anglers feet. Anglers have often said that they balance against the seats so this will allow them to get their feet underneath. Next hardboard which has been cut to size will be tacked around the window box foam and tacked to the seat underside. Then resin will be painted on the sheet to stiffen it and fibre glass matting will be layered on top giving a very strong structure. Two holes will be left and expanding foam will be injected to fill any airspaces. The holes will then be plugged giving a sealed chamber.

Finally the exterior will be sanded down with filler primer applied where required and when rubbed down a one stage activated two pack epoxy paint will be applied one or two coats as required. After curing the boat will be ready to return to the Lowes. Many thanks for your help Frank!

Underwater fish havens!

Speaking with fellow committee member Gordon McClurg he outlined a strategy for placing our wire boxes on the loch bed. Using an upmarket sonar system likely areas will be mapped in the 10-20ft depth range and these will be studied and sites selected. The idea is to drop these baskets with up to four heavy concrete weights to anchor them and let Mother Nature do the rest. In time the structures will be festooned with weed and the size of the netting will only allow entry to small fish. It is hoped to try this out once the weather settles.

Old membership cards!

It should be noted that all such cards are invalid; one member presented one last week because he had forgotten to bring his new one. Similarly all complimentary cards are also invalid and will not be accepted as permission to fish. Please make sure you are carrying this years card!

Photo 03 - Coloured water gushing into the Lowes as the heavens opened yesterday!

From our recommended dealer!

This week Mike has some further great offers including a great offer on studded Vass waders. Essential for safe wading these tungsten studded boots will allow you to be sure footed when the pulse rises in pursuit of the one that break your record -

A great new development is the price match guarantee offered by Fishers where they will match any price by other retailers so there is no reason to go elsewhere!

The wider world in my view!

Its getting worse!

With Brexit and Trump making the news every day you could be forgiven for reaching for the bottle of chemical cosh on the sideboard! Trump continues to make an ass of himself speaking like some demented fool which of course is exactly what he is! Here we have a man displaying qualities more usually found in a low rent used car salesman and not the president of the united States! Everything he announces seems to be hurriedly withdrawn and either seriously modified or silently scrapped. This has turned out to be a sick joke with the population of the world sniggering at the US. It surely cannot continue.

Obama was not without his faults but at least he had a coherent line of thought and policies that were targeted to help poor people specifically in the provision of health care! If anyone disagrees with Trump he condemns it as "fake news" and no further discussion is allowed.He has singled out all the news agencies that have published things he does not agree with creating a situation more reminiscent of Nazi Germany prior to World War 2.

Many countries used to look to the United States for guidance but no more! This pantomime played out on the world stage is an embarrassment to humanity! The extremist views of Trump have no place in our modern world, the people of America need to wake up and without delay get rid of this fool before he causes irreparable damage!

Similarly with Brexit this country seems to be unravelling with many businesses preparing to pull out and head to pastures new! The falling value of the pound has given many businesses the excuse they needed to increase prices often by scandalous amounts sending our weekly bills through the roof! Granted the population voted for it as they did for Trump but no one could have envisaged the now increasingly visible potholes appearing on the horizon. It looks likely the House of Lords will amend the Brexit bill to include a vote on the end deal and we should applaud this, It may be the thing that saves us from disaster!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Back on track!


Photo 01 The tackle kindly donated by Les Robson. See below

Back on track!

Our AGM was held yesterday and saw the biggest turnout of members I had ever witnessed! Yes sticking two fingers up to the spiteful wretch that is Mr Xxxxx the meeting approved his sacking and heartily bummed him into the weeds! A man who when his fiendish plan to make a living from the club at the expense of our continued sport was exposed turned nasty and tried to destabilise the club! All he actually managed to do however was to make a fool of himself, place himself under house arrest, unable to traverse the lochside like every other resident of the village and get himself barred from entering the land of the Tibbie Shiels Inn.

I had once thought there might be some who would fall on his side but our comprehensive expose of his ridiculous actions and his absolute lack of knowledge meant that not one vote did he secure, not one person spoke in his defence! His absurd actions made 2016 the worst ever year in the clubs history showing himself to be a Walter Mitty and worse a proven liar! There was uproarious joy as he was pronounced not only down but out for a lifetime!

The meeting felt that taking legal action against him would be futile as he has no assets and any award due to us would remain unpaid! We are happy to let him keep our radios, lights etc and allow him to play sodjers up on the hill to fill up his empty days when the rest of us are working! He stated in his valedictory speech that he “would not walk away from a club in which he had invested so much” (lol) as he will be finding out now, humble pie can be a bugger to digest! Never again will this vagabond darken the steps of the club boathouse, an embarrassment to the club and to the village! To Mr Xxxxx the meeting said with one voice and without reservation - Good riddance and let us get on with running the club!

With the wee man barred for a lifetime the meeting went on to consider the other items on the agenda. With regard to the proposed pier Gordon McClurg proposed that we dispense with this project as once we have the bottom dredged there will be no need for a pier. With our metal framework we will construct a walkway into the water supported by heavy duty fence posts which will give us ample access into the loch. This is a simple measure that will achieve all the pros of a pier without the many disadvantages! The meeting unanimously approved this motion.

Elliot Fraser gave us a comprehensive rundown of our financial position with members being made aware of the true position of the club. Instead of financial irregularity there was seen to be a high degree of fiscal competence that has given us the highest financial total ever accrued by the club! Yet again the little man with his wild accusations is left with egg on his chin as his ridiculous allegations were swept aside! The meeting thanked Elliot for his excellent work!

We decided to amend the prize for our heavy Pike competition with the £20.00 prize being replaced by free membership of the club for a year which was proposed by Davy Forsyth and approved by the meeting. Our annual wild Trout competition will go ahead in early April with the exact date to be decided soon.

Photo 02 - Conditions one year ago yesterday!

With regard to steps we can take to improve the fishing our hands are tied by not being allowed to stock fish. We thought we would check with Scottish Water and the other regulatory bodies (there are loads) if we could anchor some wire baskets on the loch bed in the hope of providing safe havens for some small fish. We thought three baskets would suffice as an initial experiment. The weights we made for the intended pier will be ideal for anchoring the cages.

The use of the club engines was discussed at length and the first thing decided was that we will not hire out our engines to visiting anglers, they will however be permitted to bring their own (max 4HP) if they wish. Once our engines have been serviced they will be available for use by members and for general club use as in towing and ferrying people as required. Our fallback position will be the purchase of up to two second hand engines as required. We will under no circumstances implement the preposterous fishery ruining views of Mr Xxxxx!

On the subject of the date for membership renewals there was complete agreement that the January renewal date is not very helpful at a time when there is much expenditure on the festivities. Consequently all of the 2017 memberships will run past the January deadline until the end of February 2018. New memberships will start from 01/03/2018 and a weeks grace will be allowed. 

We then went on to appoint the club committee and it was made clear that now we had ejected Mr Xxxxx all the then current committee were more than happy to step down and allow other interested members to take the reins! Naturally there was much discussion but the unanimous view of the membership was that the current administration should be re elected!

Now this left us with a small but constitutionally viable committee of four but to get a better spread of views we would have liked six members. Gordon McClurg was proposed by Mike Wood and seconded by the whole meeting, whilst Davie Forsyth was proposed by me and again seconded by the whole meeting! We now have a strong and broad based committee and we the existing members Frank, Stevie Elliot and me look forward to working with Gordon and Davie to secure the best for the club in the future!

On behalf of the club I would like to thank all who were present for playing such an active role in the meeting and for setting out the path that will guide the club from a position of strength to an even stronger one. To the many who contributed thanks, especially if you have not been mentioned. Special thanks are due to Elliot Fraser who despite a busy life at home manages to do such a sterling job in keeping the club on an even keel in spite of living a great distance away. We would also like to extend our thanks to Alastair at the Tibbie for allowing us the use of the big room for our meeting.

Finally on a personal basis I would like to thank the meeting for bestowing on me the honour of becoming a life member of the club at the behest of Elliot Fraser. It was an unexpected and humbling experience, but even though I feel undeserving of it I must (as everyone must) accept the will of the meeting! Instead of paying the current membership fee at the appropriate time I will make an equivalent donation to the club on a yearly basis. The club has always been one of my hobbies and it will continue to be so until I am called! Thank you one and all, St Mary's Angling Club is back on track!

More thanks!

I was too late in getting along to help with lifting the boat into the boathouse yesterday due to handing over membership receipts to Elliot. Whoever carried out the task thank you, this will allow us to push on with the refurbishment. Thanks are also due to life member Les Robson who donated to the club a Shakespeare #7graphite fly rod, a 13ft match rod in graphite that looks new and a vintage ledger rod that would do as a light Pike rod. He also threw in a serviceable landing net once the old knotted net has been replaced and a folding chair. So all these items will be available to members if needed - thanks Les and great speaking with you on Wednesday! 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Dissecting the agenda!

Photo 01 - Cold grey and wild yesterday!

Dissecting the agenda!

With our AGM fast approaching (Saturday coming) we have taken this opportunity to expand on the topics for discussion so that the meeting may progress at a suitable pace. Do not feel you need to follow previous views coming from the club, make your own mind up!Our AGM is on Saturday the 18th of February 2017 to be held at the Tibbie Shiels Inn commencing 13.00hrs refreshments will be available. Weather forecast for the weekend looks ok with no weather warnings.

(1) The action to be taken against Mr Xxxxx regarding the theft of club property. What we know he holds are 4 two way radios kindly donated to the club by a club member. One club permit book, one club pay in book and my Galaxy Ace phone. We should also take note that never again will he be able to fish our waters following the lifetime ban imposed on him by two riparian owners! 

The meeting will need to decide if there is any gain in dragging him through the courts. It is unlikely he has any assets at all in spite of claiming to have an accountant and a lawyer!  Taking legal action will be costly and the meeting will have to weigh up the benefits if there are any in so doing. It may be there is ample satisfaction in knowing he is out on his ear with no hope of return!

(2) Our financial position following the scurrilous allegations of massive fraud made by Mr Xxxxx. Our treasurer will lay bare our accounts and leave no doubt this was just another lie from a proven fantasist and liar!

     Quite simply we will show just how ridiculous this Walter Mitty’s claims are!

(3) Ideas for improvement of the fishing and/or the club facilities.

The club has significant funds therefore we are in a position to undertake new projects. Get your thinking hats on and let us know your views! Ideas could be improving boathouse security, dropping a few wire basket havens for young fish but I am sure there are many other things we could be doing. Your views are sought.

(4) The date for membership renewals, does it need to be changed so that payment due does not clash with the festive period.
Simply put the 1st of January does not seem like a good date for membership renewals. The first of March has been mentioned as an alternative and all we need do is extend the current season by two months so members this year will get fourteen months membership instead of twelve! Our accounting dates would change accordingly.

(5) The use of the club engines, the way forward not Mr Xxxxxs philosophy. We need a frank discussion regarding servicing/repair and how we would manage them.

Quite frankly our experiment with engine hire has not been a positive experience, our engines have been subjected to all sorts of expensive damage which ties a few individuals into repairing this damage when they should be fishing not to mention the expense we incur in replacing broken parts! Up to this point the engines have not made us a penny, they have cost us money! Our options are

We could sell the engines and recoup what we can!
We could keep them and make them available to club members for a nominal fee. Engines however would only be available by booking and only if considered fit for usage! If this option was considered suitable we would have to work out a suitable system of usage.

(6) The heavy Pike competition prizes currently the trophy for one year plus £20.00, do we need to increase this.

Our prize has remained the same for a number of years and some members are asking if the prize is relevant today. Do we need to make our prizes more relevant?

(7) The election of the club committee.

It would be great if some new faces were on board to help guide the club in future years. Having gotten rid of Mr Xxxxx we are a club again and need have no fears about someone creaming a living off the club.

(8) A.O.C.B

Only small points will be considered here since  no substantive issues have been tabled.
One other topic will be on the agenda not for public viewing.

Photo 02 - The lure from

Turning the corner!

It is not glaringly obvious  but the days are getting longer, if you note the light on a good day you will see that soon once again you will be able to do something outside of a night! The song thrush has returned and can be heard during the day marking out its territory. Blackbirds will soon follow but are busy knocking ten bells out of each other as they select suitable partners for the breeding season. The bird kingdom becomes preoccupied on the coming breeding season.

Back at the loch the hooligans have returned and can be seen on the loch shore or more often overhead grabbing your attention with their unmistakable call. Flocks of long tailed tits forage on the trees looking for morsels of food and quite often you will see blue tits and great tits with them. Rooks can be seen overhead carrying the twigs that will be their nests. Sheep furtively graze knowing that soon they will be mothers of young lambs.

On the bank dazzling ultra white snowdrop heads are beginning to appear and the green shoots of daffodils sprout skywards. Tiny buds are beginning to form on early willow trees getting the attention of various insects and birds. Wild bluebells push through the earth soon to turn the landscape into a sea of blue.

Soon we will cast off the shackles of winter but it won’t be plain sailing as usual there will be hiccups and we will falter! But as sure as night turns into day winter will give way to spring and then we will have turned the corner!

Cheap Lure!

Photo 02 above shows the lure I ordered from an online selling site which seems to sell just about everything. It looks very well made with all the joints having free movement and the hooks are ultra sharp. The detailing on the wee Pike is very good with no smudges and the lacquer protecting this is ultra clear tough and is a genuine epoxy finish as opposed to a cheaper less durable acrylic one. It's cost all in £4.00 which is ridiculously cheap, I have yet to fish it but hope to do so soon.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Boat usage by members!

Photo 01 - Very unsettled yesterday!

Boat  usage by members!

We have had a system for many years whereby if you require a boat you contact the nominated person (currently me) by phone text or e mail to place your booking and have it confirmed if boats are available and unusually rejected if they have all been booked! Admittedly in the months just before Mr Xxxxx was sacked the system was in tatters due to his refusal to answer phone calls texts or e mails but from the midpoint of last year the system was back in operation and working well.

Now the system is not in place to boost my ego, rather it is there to ensure that members who have booked boats can be certain in the fact that if they have had a booking accepted and confirmed then a boat will be there for them when they arrive! Sadly today (Saturday) a white Lomond which had not been booked was over on the far side of the loch.

What is annoying not only for me but for the angler who booked the boat midweek was that when he arrived today no boat was available! Davie Wilson was kind enough to give up his Lomond boat for the day but this should not be necessary!The bottom line is that members are welcome to use the club boats but only if they are booked through the proper channels as stated above! If you are unsure as to the procedure text me or just ask some of the long term members and they will tell you. If boat usage is to run smoothly we cannot have members just commandeering a boat simply because it is moored in the bay! If you want a boat you must book it using the proper channel!

Membership update!

Membership renewal has now closed for the current year and substantial receipts have been received, much more than last year.Unfortunately we cannot look into last year's receipts as we do not have access to last years membership! Anyone who would like to join the club please get in touch and we will store your details!

Photo 02 - ready to be cleaned prior to repair!

Club AGM!

The deadline for submitting topics to the AGM has now passed and we can confirm no other topics have been added to the agenda. There is one subject not mentioned which is not for public viewing but this will be discussed at the meeting. Our AGM is being held at the Tibbie Shiels Inn on the 18th of February 2017 commencing at 13.00hrs.

Wild fisheries reform update!

Received this week from the Scottish Government have a read and see where we are -

03/02/17 12:19

Wild fisheries

Protecting the rights of anglers.

Anglers in Scotland will be shielded from increased costs. Proposals to introduce rod licences and a new wild fisheries levy will not be taken forward, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced.
The Scottish Government has ruled out these measures as well as the criminalisation of freshwater fishing without written permission and proposals to overhaul the structure and remit of District Salmon Fishery Boards, following a consultation on draft provisions for a Wild Fisheries (Scotland) Bill and draft Wild Fisheries Strategy.
The Scottish Government will facilitate‎ work streams which encourage, empower and support the modernisation of fishery management, including the piloting of voluntary board mergers to identify any existing legislative issues. It will also develop a fishery management plan to trial any changes with boards and will also explore potential freshwater conservation provisions ahead of the introduction of a Bill to Parliament.
Ms Cunningham said:
“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting our famous and valuable wild fisheries, to modernise our fishery management structures and to establish a more secure and sustainable future for this vital sector.
“Our Wild Fisheries Bill will build on our significant conservation achievements to date, including the annual salmon conservation measures, Spring Conservation Orders, and the moratorium on coastal mixed stock fishery netting for three years.
“However it’s important that we represent the interests of our anglers, that’s why we have listened to the sector’s concerns around increasing costs and restricting access to fisheries and are ruling out the introduction of rod licences and a freshwater levy.
“We’ve heard through the consultation that these steps would limit the opportunities for our anglers and potentially discourage young people from taking part. Over and above this we will work with the angling community to identify ways to increase participation and to improve engagement across the sector.  
“I am grateful for the considerable time and energy that the wild fisheries sector has given to date to help inform the programme of reform. We will continue to work closely with our stakeholders to make sure the legislation that is ultimately brought forward is robust and fit for purpose, so that anglers have confidence in the management and development of the fisheries that they depend on.”
The analysis of the consultation is available to view at

Stolen keys!

I recently sent out a boathouse key to a member and thought I should fold in an A3 envelope and put it in another one for safety. I was disappointed when the intended recipient phoned to say he had received two empty envelopes with holes in them but no key. Now there was no communication in the envelope to suggest what the key was for so we have no worries on that score.

The Royal Mail has received a letter of complaint to which I have had no reply to date. What is completely bizarre is that the intended recipient of the key that did not arrive is the same chap that missed out on his boat hire today please accept our apologies Stuart. Some folk have no luck! Consequently no further keys will be sent out by post, keys must be picked up in person!

His legacy continues!

Of course its Mr Xxxxx and the Lowes boat. He allowed it to become fractured by leaving it full to the brim with water over the winter and now when we want to repair it he still blights us! Because he sawed our boat slipway beam in half, remember the 30ft long one, we are toiling to get it into the boathouse. Now I won’t ask 3 or 4 people to subject themselves to possible injury by trying to lift it in. So we will have to wait until there are half a dozen of us to get the thing inside. I thought the day of our AGM when many bodies will be around we could lift it in! This man cost us a fortune before he was dismissed and even in his absence by his legacy he continues to do so!