Sunday, 30 July 2017

Necessary work!

Photo 01 Beauty of a rainbow caught yesterday!

Necessary work!

Yesterday was a day working on the boats, dodging the tumultuous amounts of water that fell from the sky! Unfortunately work was required on the two Arran’s, the Lomond damaged by a Muppet a few weeks ago and the wee punt we have in the boathouse which will in time be a shallow water punt for deadbaiting and lure fishing.

Both the Arran’s require to have the oar anchoring structures remade to work on heavy duty pins as opposed to the soft metal structures currently in situ now so deformed making rowing impossible. As usual all the fixings were seized solid requiring persuasion by means of a heavy duty angle grinder and cutting disc.

If only that was the only problem! The new heavy duty steel anchor points will protrude 4 inches below the rim but as we found out today they can only go down 3 inches due to a beam of hardwood being fitted inside the rim. So we needed a 27mm drill to deepen the hole and you can guess, we didn’t have one! So that’s added to the shopping list for next week!

Photo 02 - Outer skin of the punt!

The Lomond whilst still functional requires the rim reconstructed and to that end the chopped strand inserted last week was shaped to give an approximate contour matching the other side. To make the repair less conspicuous we had intended to paint the repaired area today but the heavy rain put paid to that.

Mike Christie had some heavy duty water tubing for us and sent a message midweek to say that he had managed to deliver it early in the morning, so many thanks for that Mike much appreciated! We intend to fit some to the keel runners and some to the rim of the boat but looking at what is currently in front of us this may be a close season job.

Photo 03 - Inner skin of the punt!

The wee punt which we rescued from Bowerhope had gashes and scrapes all over and last year we spit the two halves and set about repairing the two pieces separately whilst they were apart. The main reason for doing this was to be able to employ a two sided “riveted” repair where holes are drilled and wet fibreglass pushed through the holes giving a much stronger repair.

So that’s what was going on today, oh but then the workbench collapsed but our resident boat house manager Les got stuck in and now we have a workbench at a better height. And that was after fighting and losing a decent Pike! Yes pretty unglamorous work but if we are to function, necessary work!

Photo 04 - Our heavy duty tubing courtesy of Mike Christie!

A bit of a mess!

Speaking with Jenny our loch keeper yesterday we were made aware of the large amount of litter she has been picking up on the banks of the loch. It was clear that the majority of this rubbish came from anglers with dead fish rotting and the ubiquitous “Bait Box” packets that once held Pike bait strewn over the banks!

Some anglers seem to go to great lengths to try and hide this rubbish with piles secreted under stones and some stuffed into holes in trees and banking. A couple of traces complete with hooks were also found which is absolutely disgraceful! These hooks can only serve as a danger to wildlife and humans alike!

Why these people do this is beyond me. Anglers need to present the best possible profile and these actions do the complete opposite! It is not possible to catch people in the act but believe me if you are spotted desecrating the shores in this manner you will not be coming back. This is a persistent problem and some “anglers” need to review their practices lest we all end up being tarred by the same brush! It’s time for some anglers to clean up their act!

From our recommended dealer!

There are lots of tackle dealers in our area and we have been asked often why we recommend Fishers. Well its quite simple, some dealers in the area deal mostly with Salmon and as such are infrequently visited by our anglers. Some dealers are below par and again are visited infrequently. A few dealers offer top notch service and members feed back to us their satisfaction after a visit. Fishers lead this category as reported by our members.

My picks this week are a medium/fast action  fly rod from Shakespeare at a great price reduced from £65.00 to £39.00
and a waterproof polypropylene seat box from top manufacturer Shakespeare for all your tackle and its only £49.00

Sunday, 23 July 2017

A brother of the angle!

Photo 01 - Mike's rib protector which we hope to employ!

A brother of the angle!

Unlike most other angling clubs in the Borders we have a sizable fleet of boats to aid our anglers as well as a (poorly) paid employee but we shall not concern ourselves with that for the moment. The boats are a real boon to our anglers allowing them to access areas which are unreachable from the bank.  They are also a means for groups of anglers to fish together and not get in the way of other boat occupants.

Unfortunately the boats bring with them tasks requiring money and man hours to maintain them in safe working order. Apart from Muppet damage as reported last week the majority of maintenance required is with regard to the metal (steel or stainless steel) runners that protect the bottom of the boat from damage by underwater rocks.

These runners are secured to the bottom of the boats by screws usually stainless steel but due to the heavy impact trauma of a lateral nature these can be ripped out over time.  If one is ripped out and the runner comes away from the fibreglass bottom and not noticed then it is usually only a short time until the complete runner is ripped out.

When this occurs a laborious process of drying the now enlarged holes, drilling out loose fibreglass and forming a cavity in the shape of a pear with a mini grinder is required. This shape is then filled with chopped strand fibre glass which when set will provide a medium that can be drilled and screwed and because of the shape it cannot be pulled out.

All of our boats have many such repairs to the bottom and its a good repair but  very time consuming. So when good friend and club member Mike Christie wrote to us recently with a new idea for keel and rim protection we were all ears. The system he is employing on their boat on Talla consists of using heavy duty water pipe which is a thick and durable pipe as it has to be for transporting mains water.

Photo 02 - Both ribs protected!

A slot is cut along the length of the pipe slightly smaller than the rim of the boat and this is then force fitted on to the rim and the rigidity of the pipe means that no additional fixing is required. This protection would have prevented the damage to our Lomond last week!

Another great idea of Mikes is to slip a complete length over the keel runner dispensing with the need to apply metal runners. However due to the bashing this structure takes it is likely that we would have to use mechanical fixings at each end and the middle. We are currently swaying towards a stainless steel bolt through the pipe probably with moulded flats created by a heat gun bolting through the fibre glass keel.

Mike is getting us some pipe so we can experiment but like him I really think this could be the most durable method of affording protection to our Lomond boats! The brotherhood of angling in action, one angler helping another, Mike is just one of the many anglers we encounter fit to be called a brother of the angle! Thanks Mike!


We received reports yesterday of a mid sized double Pike having been washed up on the shingle bank at the sculptures on the far side of the loch. The Pike was reported as having two wire traces lodged in its gullet which is a bit of a disappointment. It is in our interests to covet any indigenous fish resident in the loch as they are quite simply our future sport!

The club has issued guidance on the minimum tackle specifications which should be employed and I will recap these for information.  Firstly use a rod with a suitable test curve so that you can direct the fish to the area you want we suggest a minimum of 3lbs test curve.

If using monofilament you should use a minimum of 20lbs breaking strain. Pound for pound monofilament line has much more abrasion resistance than equivalent braided line. I myself use Yo-zurri fluorocarbon co polymer line which is a mix of monofilament and fluorocarbon with a fluorocarbon sheath giving it exceptional abrasion resistance with the added bonus of extra strength. Twenty pounds line typically breaks at around 27lbs pressure.

Braided line is very popular due to its reluctance to stretch giving the angler feedback on all that the fish is doing on the end of the line. The ability of braid however to withstand abrasion is poor which has led to Pike advisory groups stating that to achieve similar resistance of abrasion to 20lb monofilament breaking strains of 50 – 60lbs should be used!

Twenty pounds BS braid is no use at all. I have not seen the braid attached to the two traces but I would suspect it is less than the figures given above. The bottom of St Mary’s is littered with ragged sharp slate like stoned which abrade line quickly. 

Always try and apply upwards pressure on your fish to lever it away from the bottom and please do not go lower than the breaking strains mentioned above. Pike fishing by its very nature will lead to the odd casualty, it is incumbent on us however to do all we can to minimise this! Our Pike are our future!

From our recommended dealer!

This week Mike has some great clearance offers and when they are gone they're gone! Greys rods and reels at huge discounts the kind you really do want in your tackle bag. There is also a large selection of reservoir and river flies to top up your box. Click the link to see the offers -

Sunday, 16 July 2017

These are not anglers!

Photo 01 - Damage carried out by Neds on our white Lomond!

These are not anglers!

I refer to last week when two Neds hired a boat and then abandoned it in the channel that joins the two lochs. You can plainly see from the photo above that the rim of the boat has suffered a massive blow! This must have been caused by a heavy blunt instrument using some considerable force! I had not realised the severity of the damage.

Photo 01A - another view of the damage!

I cannot for the life of me think of any normal circumstances in which this damage would occur! Why would anyone deal such a blow to the rim of our boat? Oh it’s repairable but it means a couple of our members being inconvenienced buying the consumables to effect the repair then time spent carrying out that repair when they should be fishing!

Speaking with some members today we are of the opinion this is an example of advanced Muppetry way beyond what you would expect from an average Muppet! Of course the miscreants are barred from ever returning to the loch! We always hope that as each new season starts it will be a good angling one (and it often is) and that we will be free of the types above, but it never happens!

Also this week our returns box has been ripped off the wall of the boathouse (photo 02) doubtless the Neds thought there might be some permit money inside but they got nothing! There are only catch returns in this box never any money!
Call them Muppets, assholes or vandals one thing they are not and will never be are decent human beings or anglers!

Its a pity our joint venture with the Tibbie regarding the video camera was not installed at the time or we would have had clear evidence of their actions! We contributed £100.00 to play our part in improving security and picking up wrongdoing on the Cafe Green. It is expected the camera will be installed this week.+

Photo 02 - Our returns box- Smashed!

A close shave!

I received a call midweek from Alastair at the Tibbie to say that he had noticed a AWD vehicle on the loch shore right sat the top of St Mary’s loch. He asked if the club was happy to have vehicles driving down to the loch shore and of course we said we were not happy with this behaviour. He kindly said that he would go and speak to the occupants and ask them to move.

He said that two nervous looking older men were sitting in the car when he came upon them and relayed a most bizarre event. The two men had come to fish and were looking for a suitable spot. They had parked on the grass verge but conscious of oncoming traffic had pulled over onto the grass to such an extent that the vehicle toppled over and tumbled down the banking turning four times and ending up wheels on the ground as if they had just driven in!

These lads were very lucky they were not seriously injured or killed. The verges are not wide and we would say to anglers if you must stop do so on the widest part of the verge only to allow unloading of your gear. Thereafter park your car in the various areas around the Hogg monument. This was a very close shave!

Photo 03 - Davie and Les completing the works!

Ach it’s just a wee job!

Aye it’s just a case of drilling new holes and screwing the new runners on, well at least that’s what the manual says. Four broken drill bits and 5 sheared off screw heads turned this twenty minute job into a two day nightmare! Four of us battled the beast and it was only yesterday that we reigned supreme with all the runners fitted and broken and loose screws replaced!  The new oar pin system is being made this week and hopefully fitted next week. Thanks to Stuart, Davie and Les for you help.

The wider world in my view!

This is our world!

If you look at the newspapers the TV or radio news all you will see or hear in the headline stories are Brexit, Lame duck governments and political infighting particularly relating to the Tory party! You wouldn’t think we were at a crucial point in our country's future direction yet this is arguably the most important time since we joined the Common Market back in the seventies!

We got to this point by scaremongering, mistruths and outright damned lies which is not a great basis on which to take life changing decisions! Lord Snooty now referred to as the worst Prime Minister of all time is 100% responsible for our current plight ably assisted by the second worst Prime Minister of all time Theresa Mayhem!

Our future is in the hands of master bunglers people who do not know how to react when faced by an emergency like Grenfell. People who in the interests of not passing debts on to our offspring again made the wrong decision and scrapped the warships that would have been used to protect the new aircraft carrier! The Navy now forced to rely on French warships to provide that protection! I could go on and on the list of blundering is just immense!

The point here is that the Dodo’s who are our government know nothing of foresight; they know nothing of planning they are simply propelled by right wing ideology. Yes dismantling all of our public services is their aim and a mighty fine job they are doing! The boot it up the park and see what happens tactic is not a firm basis to enter into negotiations with the skilled negotiators that comprise the EU! Before they even start we are on a hiding to nothing!

You should be worried as business after business comes out against Brexit full stop! Leading economists, Trades Unions in fact almost everyone excluding unthinking voters is coming out against Brexit!  It’s quite clear this government does not have a clue as to where we are going, we will just end up one day between a rock and a hard place!

In the autumn parliament will vote on the repeal bill and already there is significant opposition to the bill as it currently stands. The biggest sticking point is the Henry V111 clause whereby the government can assume absolute authority excluding the wider parliament in sorting through laws to be transferred to UK law! Imagine this bunch of buffoons with a free hand to do as they like!

This administration has demonstrated a profound lack of judgement and a complete inability to foresee potential problems! We are on a runaway carriage on a downward spiral I really do fear for our future!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The spirit of cooperation!!

 Photo 01 - The dead Pike we confiscated (see banned No1 below)!

The spirit of cooperation!

On Tuesday evening I drove up to the loch to meet the Commodore of St Mary’s Sailing Club Mark Jones and Vice Commodore Gerry Goodfellow. The meeting was arranged to discuss the recent incident where numerous boats and one heavy engine craft crossed the area in which I was fishing. The was no aggressive intent or underlying reason for this meeting it was simply to discuss openly what took place, why it took place and the remedies needed to avoid such conflict in the future.

When I explained in detail what took place that day the two officials immediately offered an apology which I accepted. It became clear that the sailing club did not fully understand our activities and we did not understand theirs.  It was a breath of fresh air to meet the lads who from the outset were open, courteous and very keen to establish and maintain good relations.

What we have agreed is that sailors and anglers should report any perceived incidents immediately to their committees so they can be dealt with quickly and efficiently. The sailing club will email us indicating their big days on the loch such as regattas so we are aware of a heavy sailing presence, we of course will do likewise.

 They have said that they will modify their routes elongating them to take them away from the shore and will outline the new guidelines to their members by means of a newsletter. These pages which are our newsletter will likewise inform our members. For too long our clubs have been distant each operating in their own microsphere.

What the sailing club has done by extending the hand of cooperation and friendship is to allow our clubs to work closer and more efficiently thereby allowing problems if they develop to be dealt with quickly.  Both Gerry and Mark stated that if we find ourselves in difficulty such as we experienced in moving our boat onto the Lowes they would be more than happy to assist us in any way such as providing a trailer to move the boat.

I was greatly heartened by the positive response from the sailing club and both our clubs can look forward to a closer and more harmonious relationship in the coming years. The spirit of cooperation in action!

I would like to thank Gerry and Mark for the convivial, positive and pragmatic way in which they approached this meeting, thanks lads!

Photo 02 - Meg, who accompanied Gordon and me yesterday!
Banned No1!

On arriving yesterday we immediately noticed a car in Tommy Hepburn’s field on the banks of the Lowes. On investigation it turned out that the miscreant in a yellow fluorescent jacket was an angler previously barred by the club for illegal fishing a few years ago!

Speaking with the individual he said he thought he had served his ban and was quite prepared to purchase a day permit. However the fellow had been barred for fishing for Eels and attempting to remove a large number for whatever purpose! It is illegal to remove Eels from any water in the UK!

On walking up to meet him it became apparent that he was known to us as a gentleman of foreign origin with a long history of club violations.  He had also exceeded the maximum rod limit allowed as five rods were noted when only three are permitted! Disappointingly however on one of the rods lying on the bank was a struggling Pike of around three pounds which he had allowed to become deeply hooked!. We removed the hooks with relative ease but it was quickly apparent this Pike was not going to survive!

When returned to the water there was only the slightest movement and when left it immediately turned belly up! We nursed her against the flow for around five minutes but it made no difference! This Pike had suffered enough and was summarily dispatched to end this suffering! The dead Pike was removed and taken by our keeper for disposal!  He stated that he had intended to return the Pike but leaving it deeply hooked on the bank for god knows how long did not support that claim.

We asked him to immediately reel in and examined the surrounding area for evidence of any further fish theft but found nothing! We saw him off the lochs and in the simplest of terms informed him that he was not to return under any circumstances!  We cannot tolerate such cruel and reckless behaviour that puts at risk our future sport!

The practice of intentional deep hooking Pike is one used often by people seeking to take such fish home for the pot the rationale given is that it just swallowed the lot but if I take it home it will at least be given the respect of a useful end! Please note, no Pike or Eels are allowed to be retained dead or alive!

Banned No's 2 & 3!

Yesterday a chap phoned for a boat and said he would be arriving at 18.00 hrs to get his permits and take the boat and lifejackets, Jenny waited until 19.15 no one  arrived or phoned. I phoned him and after reading the riot act he pleaded to be allowed to come round at 09.00 so since Jenny was going to be there anyway I said ok. 09.30 no one appeared so I texted saying he was no longer welcome at the lochs.

Two chaps hired the above boat at 10.00 and seemed to be fishing away fine, however later in the day the boat was seen on the rocks in the wee channel that joins the two lochs. No sign of the anglers, lifejackets strewn across the boat floor, boat stuck solid on the rocks, tethering rope missing and damage to the rim of the boat! What the hell were they doing in the channel! Absolute time wasting Muppets the lot of them! Consequently the 4 individuals join Watt Mitty and the angling bully on our list of banned anglers!

Dumb animals!

It's a well used phrase, erroneously used in my opinion! Meg who accompanied us yesterday may not be aware of the impending catastrophe being brought on us by our inept government but unlike many of the Muppets we encounter she knows right from wrong! She can spot a rabbit in the grass a hundred metres away when some of the Muppets can't see a sign saying "no fishing without a permit" directly in front of them!

 She doesn't throw gas filled propane gas cylinders on to a roaring fire nor pull up farmers fence posts and burn them! If its a choice between being being in the company of a Muppet or a "Dumb animal" give me the latter every time!

The tally for the day was a Trout of around a pound for Gordon and nine buckets of gravel for dealing with the various muddy bits that are appearing around the boathouse!

The wider world in my view!

I was rather hoping for a quiet week on the bungling front as we are becoming tired of the blundering repeatedly foisted on us by the incompetent fools that comprise our government. Alas it was a forlorn hope as the blunders keep coming day by day! Theresa Mayhem thought she had secured a coup when  Donald Chump stated that the US would offer the UK “a quick and powerful deal”!

Donald Chump is the worst leader of a country ever! He is a bigoted clueless loudmouth reviled the world over as a blithering idiot! All the sensible leaders (which means everybody but Theresa Mayhem) give him a wide berth but not Theresa Mayhem she seems to enjoy cosying up to him always ready to be seen shaking his hand.  Now Mr Chump is loving this an outsider when it comes to friends on foreign shores he finds solace with our weak lame duck leader!

She has been promised a post Brexit deal but in reality Donald Chump if he has not been ousted by then will simply offer crumbs off the table! Mrs Mayhem has been warned by the EU that a trade deal whilst outside of the EU will take a very long time! German industry has warned her as have our own CBI and TUC and still she persists!

The smart money is on Theresa Mayhem being banged out at the end of the summer and for the good of the country this is a very good thing! Increasingly we are being seen as a political joke governed by a group of court jesters who seem to have 5 or 6 views on every single point!  Never in the history of our country have we been so close to a cliff edge, a possible future with falling standards of living, massively increased poverty and unemployment on a scale never before seen!

This is a hugely worrying time for the whole country we must do all we can to stop this madness!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

A braw Troot!

Photo 01 - What a beauty, Stuart and his 6lbs Brown Trout!

A braw Troot!

The photo above shows one of our members Stuart Sutherland with a smile a mile wide proudly displaying a stonker of a Brown Trout he caught yesterday! Stuart appeared with a couple of boxes of homemade Pike flies and believe you me they were masterpieces! Large, colourful with plenty of long flowing hair to impart the required lifelike wiggle, the ideal enticer to a voracious predator which is exactly what Stuarts fish was!

He set out with his two young lads and soon was casting like a good un in spite of the blustery conditions. Cognisant of the clubs mantra when hunting for Trout “The wilder the better” he fished on through the waves. Eventually the bite came and what followed was a spell of giving and taking line during what seemed like an eternity!
I can imagine the look on the faces of all three when it became clear just what was on the end of the line. 

A pristine fin perfect wild Brown Trout weighing 6lbs it’s a fish of a lifetime. Stuart was quite happy to keep his capture close to his chest within his close family and friends but we were able to persuade him that such a significant fish should be recorded in the annals of the club history. I should of course mention that after a quick photo the fish was safely returned to the loch. The fish of course puts Stuart into the lead for the heaviest fish of the 2017 season and whilst not unassailable my money would be on Stuart’s fish!

An absolutely splendid fish caught by an unassuming club member, like all our members they are judged fit to stand under old Izaaks banner! I am also certain that his two young lads are now confirmed young anglers and will be eager to emulate their dad’s efforts! Very well done Stuart, a braw Troot indeed!

If you are seeking a monster fish get out, cover the water and with time you will meet with success!

Photo 02 - Such a delicate flower and the petals are good to eat!

The boathouse flycatchers!

In what was probably a very poor week for young birds fledging our nest of Spotted Flycatchers is now empty. There was unfortunately one casualty who remained lifeless in the nest. It seems Wednesday saw the first moves to fledging as a young bird was seen on the wooden rails being fed by one of the parents. Jenny counted four chicks on Monday so hopefully three will have successfully fledged!

Following the vacation of the nest box it has been taken down, been painted and had covered areas installed to give a degree of protection in poor weather. The box will also be re fixed to the tree but a few feet higher up. How fortunate we are to see nature in action right on our doorstep!

 Photo 03 - Still a Dog Rose but White!

The wider world in my view!

Why the people will oust Theresa Mayhem!

We are stumbling along being made out as fools as the world looks on in astonishment that to keep their tenuous hold on power they have to offer bribes to a backward political party more suited to life in the 17th century! Policies abandoned, U turns on a massive scale and political gaffes every time she enters the political arena!
It is clear that these fools are intent on holding on to power at any cost and will stop at nothing to achieve this aim! 

What will stop them dead in their tracks however is the anti capitalist fever that is now sweeping not only this country but all over the globe where capitalist oppression keeps the poor ever needy and lines the pockets of the rich!
Evidence of this movement can be seen in recent events where in Scotland the SNP membership rose through the roof in 2014. Again about this time the Green party saw and sustained a huge rise in membership. The people of Britain are tearing up their Daily Mail’s and realising that another fairer way of running the country is possible! 

We have had enough of the cry “there is no magical money tree” when one magically appeared to bribe the DUP to prop up this lame duck administration!
Embracing openness and cultural tolerance people are now waking up to the fact that there is no need for the super rich class and those who have been punished by recent successive governments. There is another way! Jeremy Corbyn whatever you think of him has tapped into this deep feeling among the population and it is this movement that will do for the Tories good and proper!

Teachers are up in arms over the never ending cuts as are NHS staff, Civil servants, Emergency services and best of all the general public! Yes we are all sick to the back teeth or the persistent run down of our public services! There will be many strikes in the near future as workers revolt and say enough is enough! Public protests against this dismal administration are already taking place but soon will become the norm yesterday’s demonstration saw at least 10,000 turn out to decry the so called government! Labour is a 6 points ahead in the latest polls Theresa Mayhem has dropped 5 points behind Jeremy Corbyn and a clear majority now exists to abandon the catastrophic Brexit referendum result!

The situation is becoming more serious by the day, this incompetent government seems only capable of bumbling from one crisis to the next completely devoid of coherent strategy! They are driven not by what is best for ordinary people but by outdated Victorian political ideology! Every single blunder they make impacts on the lives of every one of us the Tory party is and always has been the nasty party!

Each parliamentary constituency must take it upon themselves to rid our country of these incompetent devils! Take part in strikes, public protests, do whatever you need to do to get them out! With only a few exceptions  Tory MP is but a neoplasm on a decent society, for the sake of those who come later we must rid ourselves of them!

Strangely missing!

Of course its that dud we have as a Scottish Secretary David Mundell! He stated he would block any extra cash given to northern Ireland and not replicated for Scotland! Well as we all know Scotland lost out again, and our Scottish secretary has disappeared and has nothing to say! Just like his colleague Cruella Davidson he's all mouth and no action, in other words a typical Tory!