Sunday, 29 December 2013

Happy New Year and a review!


The year that was 2013!

I’m not sure how best to describe the year as it contained both high moments and towards the end of the year some very worrying developments. The year started with some very fine Pike being recorded and saw the creation of a new habitat area on the Kirkstead burn at the foot of the loch. When mature this will be a haven for wildlife and a producer of much food for our young fish. Many sheltered areas will also be created lessening the risk of attack on our young fish by ever increasing numbers of predatory birds!

Our sister project on the Riskinhope burn however has turned out to be much less successful with trees still to be planted. The number of trees able to be planted will be miniscule compared to what we expected and the project is without doubt a damp squib! Our expose on fishing guides brought about a much needed change in the scene and is currently with an MSP but progress is likely to be slow with all energies being directed to the independence referendum. Our new advisory site on selecting a guide or instructor will be published early in the New Year unfortunately being delayed by other more important problems on the lochs.

The Brown Trout season turned out to be a bit of a disappointment with low loch levels and high water temperatures dominating the summer months. The year also saw the appointment of a new loch keeper in Aaron and a new bailiff in Mr Xxxxx both giving great service on behalf of the club. Unfortunately their initial tenure of the posts saw them thrown in at the deep end when the illegal industrial taking of fish by Eastern Europeans was discovered.

 Numerous suspects were confronted with identifiable ones being exposed and banned from fishing. Some scary characters were confronted which led to us passing a ruling that single handed operation was not a good safe way of operating consequently all such patrols are comprised at the minimum of two people.

The year saw us confronted by some bizarre and horrific events such as gutting a Pike whilst still alive and wholesale harvesting of our precious fish stocks. We continued to be plagued by these people whilst noting two distinct groups of these people. Those who took the time to understand our culture and rules setting a fine standard of angling and are most welcome and those who came and did as they pleased and are most certainly not welcome! Obviously the second grouping is the one that is causing us great concern, their behaviour posing a threat to our future as a club like no other event before!

We have not yet found a way to completely combat these thieves and now it looks like we could be hampered further by racial equality regulations! Our future as a club is on the line if we are forced to stand by and watch our fishery being pillaged and being powerless to act!
Our policy on taking fish. If you have a valid permit you may take up to 4 Trout or 4 Perch. You may not under any circumstances remove any Pike or Eels from the lochs!

Also appended to this was the following (in red) translated into Polish by one of our Polish members translations into other languages are being carried out. No Pike or Eels to be taken! Unfortunately this is an ongoing matter as those who have no wish to fit in with our culture will continue to operate in this disgraceful manner! Our access to the eastern banks of the loch is now on the line following incidents involving errant anglers. Our riparian owners are at the end of their tethers as are we! These selfish individuals blunder on to land and cause us no end of problems by their unthinking behaviour and we will do all that we can to end this despicable behaviour! Restrictions imposed on decent law abiding anglers are unacceptable especially when the offending actions are carried out by others unrelated to the club!

This unfortunately is the position at the year end and I have no doubt this will continue to plague us in the coming year! On the financial front we have continued to keep our heads above the water in spite of the mismanagement of the economy by the Tories and the puppets! Visitor numbers are down and we had to consider if we could continue to provide the services of a loch keeper but with some juggling we have managed to do so.

We lost the services of our treasurer John Wright due to health issues which was a blow but then Elliot Fraser stood up and took on the position which is enabling us to carry on! We continue to move forward with managing the fishing in our lochs due in the most part to the hardworking members who go out of their way to help us out.
To those members we extend our sincere thanks!

The wider world in my view!

No longer “Great” Britain!

Everybody all over the world can see it; in fact the only people who cannot are the posh boys and the puppets! We are now just plain old Britain an insignificant little island according to the Chinese many others! I don’t mean it in a military sense although even in this respect we are nothing, having many weapons but not the personnel to use them effectively!

No in economic and social terms we are less than nothing! We are actively allowing the re establishing of the rich poor divide of Victorian times and creating jobs that pay so little that the recipients cannot flourish being forced to go cap in hand to food banks in order to eat! We actively allow the posh boys and puppets to target the very poorest in society the elderly, the weak and disabled! We avert our eyes on seeing the injustices meted out to these people. We are beleaguered by the incompetence of our government suffering taxes on pies, suffering on hearing of costs associated with projects such as universal credit treble and pushing back implementation dates by 3 years prolonging the public agony and emptying the public purse!

We see billions of pounds given away to the rich by means of incompetence such as the selloff of Royal Mail. Never in my living memory has the country been in such a poor state even in the 3 day week things were better! With these Con – Dem fools in government there is no forward planning merely reactionary incompetence, whilst ensuring the rich get richer and the working classes tramped further into the gutter!

This unelected government could possibly tip us over the edge – our respected policies of looking after the poor and needy are now gone, our enviable NHS now fragmented and in disarray, our previous aims of fairness and equity now abandoned, our standing on the world stage now gone, our word once respected now not worth the paper it is written on, our great institutions once the bastion of proper honourable practice now corrupt and destitute, our manufacturing industries now gone being replaced by a nation of shopkeepers, our once burgeoning High streets now desolate I could go on and on but the picture should be clear!

The next two years will be crucial, certainly if the inept Con – Dems carry on as before then without a doubt we will be sunk good and proper! What we need is a thinking government who will re nationalise all essential public services and cap the excessive antics of fervent capitalists. A government who will implement fairness and equity if necessary by seizing the assets of the super rich, many of whom acquired that wealth by questionable means in the first place! A government that will dispense with squandering of public money by abolishing hangers on such as the royal family!

A government that will end obsolete cold war projects such as Trident whilst maintaining a strong offensive and defensive capability, a government that will reform the NHS back to the way it was envisaged free for all at delivery and minus the money grabbing private companies that seize on the profitable aspects and leave the non profitable activities to the NHS! Yes we desperately need radical change, the Con – Dems being comprised of jesters, fools and puppets cannot rise to this challenge!

There are some strong forces for change in the Labour party but they need to overthrow weak Milliband and come to the fore and offer the people of this country a real alternative to greed inspired rampant capitalism! I do not see this happening in my lifetime, there is a huge amount of wealth in this country, more than enough for everyone to live without the threat of poverty and deprivation, it just needs to be redistributed fairly! The reality however is that we will have to endure another couple of years of pathetic bungling under Lord Snooty and Puppet Clegg, plenty of time for them to take the great out of Great Britain, god help us!

Happy New Year to all our readers!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Merry Christmas!





Feedback received!

Over the last week I have received a lot of feedback on the article published last week. As I said the issue is often talked of in hushed undertones in fear of being branded racists! The majority, in fact all but one of the comments were in support for our stance of targeting wrongdoers irrespective of nationality! Further commenter’s stated that we could not adopt a fearful stance when our fishery is being plundered in a hitherto unseen fashion, such a stance would be completely irresponsible!

The single comment castigating us for being racist in respect of singling out anglers from other countries quite frankly is a joke! For the reasons mentioned last week we are anything but! We have no spotlight on race, we do however target wrongdoers with no reference to race whatsoever! We are custodians of the fishing and part of our remit is to ensure that stocks of fish are maintained and issues of theft on an industrial scale are dealt with swiftly and firmly!

The meeting asked for by the police has not taken place since we have not heard back from them as to a suitable date for the meeting. We look forward to such a meeting because it is important for us to be acting fully within the law. I have done a bit of research on racial equality law and can see no instance where we have broken the law! There are areas where individual interpretation may lead to us being pushed closer to the boundaries but this is personal interpretation!

The reason we chose a shop in Galashiels was that it is for all intents and purposes the hub where these "anglers" tend to meet in the Borders! This is after all where information regarding fish theft was first obtained and the owners were more than happy to display our flyer, in fact also deploring the actions of such “anglers”! Of course if we wanted to be 100% politically correct we should have issued such flyers to all angling clubs, libraries, and our recommended tackle dealers.

But the question begging an answer is why! Why on earth would we waste time, money and effort carrying out this work when we know with great certainty that these groups are not involved! We simply target corrective measures towards the people we know are carrying out these illegal activities! No one I have spoken with has an issue with this mode of action in all cases it is seen as the right thing to do! I have no doubt happenings on this front will remain subdued until the better weather comes then it will again be incumbent on us to pick up the cudgel and take the measures necessary to protect our fishery!

Help for those in panic!

If at this late stage you still do not have all your Christmas presents there is still hope for you! Our recommended dealers Turnbull’s in Bank Street Galashiels and Fishers in Penicuick have everything you need if you are looking for a pressie for an angler, shooter or countryman. Both have a huge selection of items sure to please and combine this with recession beating prices, you are sorted! Very few fishing items are left at ALDI Galashiels (noted last night) so you will need to be quick if you want to snap up a bargain!

Memberships

Applications are now being taken for renewals and new members. The rates are £35.00 for existing members and £55.00 for new members. Those desiring membership should send a cheque for the appropriate amount to our membership secretary Robert Simpson 105 Halliburton place Galashiels. Those wishing to join for the first time should be aware that places are limited, so early application is advised.

Honourable Hooded Crow?

Sitting quietly yesterday during one of the short respites from extensive downpours I heard the frantic clucking of a Blackbird in distress. Yes the terrified creature was being pursued by what I imagine is its number one predator, a Sparrow hawk! Had it been just the two, the Blackbird would probably have been caught, but just as the pair came into view with the Sparrow Hawk about to strike, a hooded crow crashed into the back of the Sparrow hawk pushing him off course, allowing the Blackbird to escape into the dense fir trees to sing another day! A hooded crow helping a fellow blackbird or just a hooded crow doing what it does, I’m not sure!

Music for Christmas!

As is now traditional we offer links to a couple of pieces of music to lift the spirits or calm the nerves depending on your circumstances. The first is Schubert’s Ave Maria a much loved vocal piece that becalms a troubled spirit. Brandy in hand and feet up let the music ease you to a state of complete relaxation, absolutely peerless!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bosouX_d8Y&list=FLm00huTvJenRXM7ZMoAEVEQ
 

The next piece is by the Foo Fighters raging metal band that will coil you up into a tight spring bursting to explode and party all night!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBjQ9tuuTJQ
 


Merry Christmas to all our 912 readers who join us every month!

The wider world in my view!

Is this man fit to be Prime Minister!

Naturally I refer to that pompous fool Lord Snooty! I was temporarily struck dumb when he announced that the military campaign in Afghanistan had been a resounding success! The reality is that it has been unequivocally an unmitigated disaster! The objects of the campaign were to disrupt Al Qaeda, rout the Taliban and end the cultivation of raw Opium!

Al Qaeda is still there under the surface maybe dispersed but still there functioning ready to reform. The Taliban have joined with the current government and are busy reformulating policies whereby women once again will be relegated to the status of third class citizen’s, offences by them being dealt with by sanctions such as whipping and stoning! Opium production has doubled since intervention began sending out the drug of misery all over the world! No one in their right mind would call this a success with nearly 500 British soldiers lost and god knows how many innocent civilians! Millions if not billions pumped into this futile campaign, after all if the mighty Red Army could not sort them out what hope was there for a small provincial army that was the British!

Yes the soldiers did a good job and are worthy of our admiration carrying out the wishes of their political masters. The question that requires an answer however is when Snooty and his like will realise we cannot go barging into the affairs of others! We have never improved anything by past intervention simply made things worse coupled with squandering the public purse! Iraq Libya and Afghanistan each and everyone a disaster with increased terrorism being the norm!

I’ve said it repeatedly and will say it again Lord Snooty is like his subordinate Puppet Clegg a barefaced liar, a manipulator of truth! It therefore follows we have to ask is this man fit to be called our Prime Minister? The evidence would tend to suggest not!

An equation that does not compute!

Proudly proclaimed by Snooty et al that the economy is now in recovery but is it really! An emergency debate this week on food banks gave a revealing insight into the machinations of the Con – Dems. Ten years ago there were food banks that you could count on one hand  it is estimated there are now upwards of now 800 with the Trussel Trust alone opening a new one every week!

A rather troubling fact was that up to 40% of food bank users were in work and almost 20% asked for food that did not need to be cooked as they were in fuel poverty. The expected way that the economy should work is that increased growth leads to increased prosperity for all and the need for food banks declines, the actual outcome however is that the “recovery” is leading to increased poverty demonstrated by the shocking rise in the use of these charities!

Just another example of the deception constructed by the clueless posh boys aided and abetted by the backsliding puppets! You may like Dickens as an author but it’s just gone completely pear shaped, prepare to grub around like the peasants in those days, courtesy of the Con - Dems! Nothing short of a national disgrace brought about by Snooty and his puppet Clegg!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The meek shall inherit the earth!


Photo 01 - found a few weeks back on Megget burn.
 
The meek shall inherit the earth!

The year end is now in sight but the problems facing the club loom ever larger! The police were in touch this week after one of their race relations officers came upon our warning letter in a local shop, warning anglers to adhere to our club rules and refrain from stealing fish from our lochs. It seems our letter comes close to breaking racial equality legislation.

The content of the letter was a cut and paste from our news pages along with warnings in the various languages formulated by the Angling Trust. I don’t see anything in the letter that would be construed as being racially offensive and everything contained in the letter is true! It’s interesting that the letter did not stir any offended people to write and complain!

Of all the incidents over the last year around 80% involved people from other countries! It therefore follows that the direction of our remedial actions would be directed towards this group of “anglers”! Yes the taking of fish many times over the club imposed limits, the illegal fishing by not purchasing a permit, the illegal fishing by using fixed lines, the illegal fishing by using traps and the indiscriminate taking of industrial numbers of fish of any size under the cover of darkness. Is it any wonder we are paying special attention to this group of people!

I’ve said it often in the past we do not want to be seen as being racist because we are not, fairness and equity is and always has been our guiding principle! Make no mistake however if you are a marauding Ned we will weed you out whatever your nationality!

We have currently in membership two anglers from other countries and two more are joining in the next couple of weeks and we look forward to counting them amongst our number. The reason for that is simple they are good people with right thinking values that are prepared to fit in with our angling culture in this country! Our members from other countries are embarrassed by the actions of the offending anglers mentioned above as we are; even in other countries the actions above are largely illegal!

We are keen to meet with the police to see where we are coming close to falling foul of equality laws. It would be a poor situation indeed if we could not voice our concerns about people flagrantly breaking our laws and the laws of the land! Race bashing is not in our vocabulary however exposing the Muppets and fools who see fit to do as they like and ignore our rules and laws of the land most definitely is in our vocabulary! Quite frankly race does not enter the equation wrongdoing is punishable irrespective of the race of the person carrying it out!

I have never thought much about racial issues in the past it was always something that took place in inner cities. If the miscreants had been Scots then we would target them, we do not see race when pursuing wrongdoers, we see people doing wrong and apprehend them!

Looking at the national press there is much talk of education rather than punitive action which we would agree is a sensible policy, this is always our first course of action. There are some miscreants however who are completely resistant to such a process! I could list many examples gathered over the years but here is one – a man from another country was noted fishing and as we do with all anglers we approach and make conversation.

Whilst we were talking we noticed a wriggling bag, on asking him to open it therein was an Eel! We asked him to explain this and he said it was for his tea that evening. At that time we had a Polish loch keeper Piotr who many of you will remember and as well as me explaining the error of his ways that under club rules and now the law of the land all Eels are strictly protected! He agreed to return the Eel to the loch.

Piotr explained the above to him in Polish so there was no doubt of comprehension! The next again week we noted his car at the Glen Cafe and sneaked up and watched him through binoculars, after around 20 minutes he struck into a fish which was an Eel. He unhooked it and proceeded to look all around him and thinking the coast was clear promptly pulled out a green bucket from under a bush and dropped the Eel inside. At this point Piotr and I moved in and confronted him. When we pulled out the bucket there were 7 Eels wriggling around in a few inches of water!

 We asked why these Eels were in a bucket and he said they were for an end of session photo! We gave him the opportunity to photograph the Eels before we released them back into the loch but it turns out he did not have a camera! He said a friend of his in Moffat was on standby to come and take a photo, now this scenario whilst possible is highly improbable! There was another incident involving this fellow a month later, following this he was barred from fishing at the lochs, but even after this he returned once again and was sent packing! No amount of education was going to rid this fellow of his ways sanction was the only option!

We will see how it goes this week and if we find that our hands are tied regarding policing our lochs we will have to cast our nets further to enlist the services of a politician who can see the unfairness of the situation we may find ourselves in! We will comply with any reasonable request because that is what we do; we do not operate out with the law! Much muttering takes place in tackle shops, in clubs and on the banks about the way some migrants fish, in fear of rocking the boat the majority remain silent, it is now time for the voices of these people to be heard! Unlike the title of this treatise the meek shall never inherit the earth! The bottom line is we welcome all migrant anglers but if you break our rules and you can expect to be penalised in the same fashion as indigenous anglers, race does not enter into it at all!

Photo 02 - the type of rubbish we have to pick up.
Decision reached!

The article mentioned a few weeks back whereby the owner of a black Audi was found to be fishing without a permit and was guilty of leaving rubbish behind was this week barred from fishing for a period of one calendar year. If I want to fish a new venue I make the appropriate enquiries and if granted permission follow exactly what has been relayed to me! The chap mentioned did not do this and was barred from fishing for his actions and has nothing to do with his ethnic origin!

The fellow quite rightly made enquiries prior to the date he wanted to fish and he was told to report to the boathouse and pick up his permits and copy of the club rules. For reasons unknown he proceeded directly to Bowerhope fished without the required permission and left rubbish behind! It’s quite simple you flout our rules you can expect to be penalised! We needed to show the tenants at Bowerhope that we mean business we as well as them deplore this desecration of our countryside and this was an important factor in reaching our decision!
Membership renewals
Existing members should send a cheque for £35.00 payable to St Mary's Angling Club to our membership secretary Robert Simpson 105 Halliburton Place Galashiels. New members should send a cheque for £55.00 to the above address.

The wider world in my view!

What kind of a society we are!

It’s a personal hobby horse of mine, a barometer of society, the usage of foodbanks! Yes harking back to the days of alms handouts we seem prepared to accept this Dickensian practice once again. The Trussel trust a foodbank charity has seen the biggest ever rise in usage a staggering 170% up on last year having seen over 350,000 individuals so far on the figures returned and thats only one charity there are loads more.

Yes as we prepare for the excesses of Christmas spare a thought for those less fortunate. Oh yes the stereotypical view is that the users are benefit seekers who have spent their allowances on fags and beer and no doubt there are some of that type there. However recent research has shown people like your neighbour are increasingly having to apply for these handouts!

People like the young couple with a wee one down the road trying to buy their first house both employed in dead end part time jobs at the only large employer in town the local supermarket. Yes they do not earn enough to eke out a basic living! Or the old bloke down the road who has paid into the system all his life and in poor health in fuel poverty is forced to go cap in hand to stop the pain of an empty stomach!

It doesn’t really say a lot for the society we currently live in! The greed culture initiated by Butcher Thatcher has returned under the Con-Dems. The “ignore the plight of others” culture is back with a vengeance! How else could a bunch of pompous posh boys preside over mass poverty! They don’t care and are probably too far removed from working class problems to realise the defective society they are creating! Decent hardworking people plunged into poverty by the Con-Dems, it must surely make everyone of us think just what a poor society we have become!

More disasters!

Yes it’s been a week like every other one for the last 3 years characterised by bungling, wasting taxpayers’ money and claims that border on untruths! Ian Duncan Smith now elevated to the status of super bungler as the “universal credit” system now sees its completion date further deferred until 2020 a further 2 years beyond the last prediction and there have been many! A further 40 million pounds lost this week strangely not heralded on News at Ten but hushed up and filed in the huge Con – Dem out tray marked bungled projects!

Michal Gove’s pet project of free schools whereby parents may form a school out with the control of the local authority seems to be falling apart at the seams! Yet another school closed because the inspecting body Ofsted felt that children leaving this school after seven years would not be able to read or write to the expected standard! The latest Ofsted report stated that there was chaos in the school and that the training needs would be impossible to be attained with regards to teachers in the school. Of the whole free school programme Ofsted said the scheme was rolled out with speed as the main aim quality of teaching was further down the list!

These schools who are free to employ unqualified teachers which has got to be the most ridiculous idea ever! I said it in our series on fishing guides and it applies to all walks of life unregulated occupations lead only to chicanery and Wild West scenarios! When will these Con – Dems learn!

Well played Lord Snooty!

It’s a little disheartening to hear of increasing numbers of commentators now coming to the view that this perceived recovery is one that is as fragile as an ice sculpture! Yes they increasingly see that the recovery such as it is has been constructed on consumer spending and the housing market is one which will not last. There is no discernible growth in industry which is usually the basis for a sound recovery!

Snooty has played a masterstroke the current “recovery” has been predicted to last until mid 2015 whereupon it will likely collapse in a catastrophic fashion! His thinking is of course, minute growth up until then will say to the electorate that the Con – Dems have turned the country around for “hardworking families”! The reverse is true we the general public own nothing Snooty has privatised all that we did own and the economy is doing much worse than the Tory press would have us believe! More and more are pushed towards Wonga and other loan sharks, towards the humiliation of having to go cap in hand to the ever expanding number of food banks! We are here dealing with clueless out of touch hobby politicians with excellent spin doctors capable of twisting reality! So when the time comes to place your vote do a bit of research and don’t be fooled by the Con – Dem publicity machine!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

When a 5 pounder feels like a 30!


Photo 01 - Long and lean, a male 5 pounder!
 
When a 5 pounder feels like a 30!

It’s probably a difficult concept to grasp when the difference in weight is huge and it would not be likely the 5 pounder would give anything like the fight of a 30 pounder. With reference to “plastic” Pike fisheries where soft flabby 30s are common enough I make the comparison between a muscular wild 5 pounder and a “plastic” 30!

Yes yesterday I connected with a wild 5 pound Pike and indeed it gave a good account of itself pulling line and putting every ounce of energy into defeating the rod, reel and ultimately me. Of course catastrophic tackle failure aside there was only going to be one outcome and so it was! A lithe 5 pounds Pike probably a male as there was no abdominal distension whatsoever. I took a couple of scales and looking at them this morning I could see that this particular Pike was around eight years of age writing in a tablet of stone that it was indeed a male Pike!

I was delighted on his capture that my choice of swim was good and that the bait was good enough to tempt him into taking it! So is there a difference between the “plastic” variety and the wild one! Absolutely there is! “Plastic” Pike are stocked to such a density that it matters not where the bait is placed nor does it matter which bait is selected, these normally important considerations are nullified completely in the plastic setting!

And what of the ensuing fight? When you have bait fish stocked to the max the number of casualties is high allowing these engineered creatures to simply scoop up a high protein lunch whenever they want, therefore muscle density is not the equal of the wild variety who have to expend energy and stalk their intended prey! Similarly their ability to fight is compromised with initial vigour in trying to evade capture but then rapid capitulation as the low level of stamina is eroded and it comes to the net like a sandbag!

Yes our band of wild fish hunters understand this only too well and recent conversations reinforce the fact that wild is best! I could think of nothing more mind numbing than landing one “plastic” Pike after another without respite! It would be a joyless venture and one I would most definitely refrain from mentioning in the public arena! It boils down to two types of angler the first the wild Pike hunter who is content to take what comes including blanks but at the same time planning his next move, trying to think ahead and outwit his formidable adversary in terms of swim selected, bait chosen and presentation of that bait! The alternative “plastic” version is arrive at any swim you like, throw out any bait you like presented in the manner of a sack of potatoes and simply reel them in one after another with photos galore to plaster on your wall! I wonder if you can really call “plastic” catching fishing, seems to me to be very much like pheasant shooting where the birds connect humans with food and run towards the guns! Surely these anglers know they are angling in the second division, seeking the easy option by crossing the palm of the fishery owner many times over with the aim of acquiring the false, worthless kudos that catching a “plastic” Pike brings!

No for me, this is not fishing, it is simply an aberration beneath real anglers suitable only for dissenters, the inept or desperate must catch a 30 brigade, and in my book a wild 5 pounder beats a sandbag “plastic” 30 any day! Which group do you fall into?

 
Photo 02 - A trusty tool the Fladen Warbird!
 
Long term test, Fladen Warbird fixed spool reel!

I bought two of these 70 size reels around two years ago and am pleased to report that under a variety of conditions they have performed admirably. Yes there was an initial setback when the free spool mechanism gave up the ghost only days after I had purchased them. The reel however was replaced without question one of the benefits of buying from a bona fide tackle dealer!

Being a 70 sized reel the spool capacity is copious giving loads of line nicely laid down line avoiding annoying tangles. They are extremely robust which is great for me as I give my tackle a really hard time suffering all manner of maladies! Even the finish has largely remained intact which these days is amazing! I do however grease or oil moving parts once a year just before back end Piking begins in earnest.

Performance wise I cannot fault them being smooth in action and the big side handle asking for heavy cranking. The clutch is smooth and progressive from almost free spool to total lock! The bait runner system allows complete free spooling to heavy drag depending on what you are fishing for.

The model shown has probably now been superseded by a new model but I hope they have kept the fundamentals the same! It is a lump but it is after all a 70 sized reel giving a nice feeling of a solid well built product! I used to use nothing but Shimano but their quality of late has been suspect whilst still demanding a hefty price! Supposed high end products like the Fox reels I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, just read some of the reviews online. If you really want high end go for Daiwa but be prepared for shelling out large sums of money, high class precision engineering does not come cheap!

For me these have been excellent reels coping with everything I could throw at them, no fancy high end price or claims to be the best, simply a reel that does what it says on the tin!

Membership renewals!

Members are invited to apply for renewal by sending a cheque payable to St Marys Angling Club to our membership secretary Robert Simpson 105 Halliburton Place Galashiels. Non members who have been accepted for membership should send a cheque for £55.00 to the above address. Please remember that Robert is away for another week and allow a reasonable length of time before contacting us about non receipt of ticket!

Fishing Thursday at ALDI!

I won’t list all the items but click the link below to see their fishing offers. There looks to be some really decent stuff on offer especially the clothing so nip down and see what takes your fancy! Within the offers is bound to be a super Christmas pressie for an angler! Mark my words this is a store that’s going places!
https://www.aldi.co.uk/en/specialbuys/thursday-12th-december/

Photo 03 - The remnants of a mouse's meal wonder why they don't eat the fruit?
 
The wider world in my view!

Where we really are!

Yes minister without a clue posh boy Gideon Osborne let rip this week of how well he has done in reducing the defecit and preparing the ground for recovery! With further austerity planned the future for the working classes look grim indeed! I listened to a programme on the BBC World Service recently which was very revealing indeed, the public debt to gross domestic product ratio was 50% following the rescue of the banks up by around 10% on the previous ten years. All the figures mentioned are historically and internationally low and not seen as a problem by financial analysts.

The Con – Dems set out to cut this debt even after being told the situation at that time was not problematic and guess what, they have failed miserably! Yes their own creation the Office of Budget Responsibility is currently predicting that in 2015 the debt ratio will be 85% of GDP! Borrowing under the incompetent Con – Dems is now predicted to rise in 2015 to 539 billion pounds up two hundred and seventeen billion pounds from the current figure! Yes its clear they have no idea of what they are doing, its fumbling in the dark, its gross incompetence and downright ineptitude, one thing it’s not is good responsible government!

Setting new standards!

It’s not often I am able to write something positive about the bums that call themselves our government! This article is no different! Unbelievably we in this country now have for the first time ever more people who are classified as working poor as opposed to the workless poor! The astute will immediately link this to the million new jobs created in the private sector much heralded by Lord Snooty et al!

Yes Snooty’s pals have halved jobs created low paying, part time dead end jobs to allow the Con – Dems to spout their claim of getting people back to work by bumping up those in employment even though the majority are worthless jobs! People earning wages insufficient to allow them to live above the poverty line, if ever there was a damning indictment on our society then this is it! People turfed out of decent jobs brought about by the Con – Dem cuts invoked by these fools!

Other countries can see what a lame duck this country has become, even the Chinese stating that this country is insignificant, suitable only for tourism and students! We manufacture nothing Butcher Thatcher saw to that, as I’ve said before many times a nation of shopkeepers selling foreign goods! To see ourselves as others see us would be a virtue indeed (middle England take note!). Of course this government was not elected but concocted by a Tory windbag and a power hungry puppet and boy are we now reaping the rewards of this set up!

A group of clueless people, filling up their days living off their inheritances, with no idea of the hardships being faced by working people. Out of touch fools running on instinct making the rich richer and pounding us into the ground! I have seen a few governments in my time but this one is the most naive, inept and pompous group of fools I have ever had the misfortune to endure! However all is not lost for soon we will become the country with the biggest rich/poor divide in the world! Yes the green eyed monster spreading rampant greed is indeed a busy being! Shame on those Con – Dem noddys!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The second Pike 0f 2013!


Photo 01 - Its been a long time coming but she's coming in!

The second Pike 0f 2013!

Yes its true yesterday saw the landing of only my second Pike of 2013 my first Pike of the year being caught at 14.14hrs on New Year’s day! A pretty poor, nay diabolical catch record! All however is not what it seems as my actual instances of Pike fishing number eight in total for the year to date. During the Brown Trout season I spent a little time fishing for them note I do not say catching them! The rest of the year was taken up by abandoning fishing sessions to have to deal with the large numbers of fools, charlatans, fish thieves and Muppets we had the misfortune to encounter!

If my time wasn’t taken up by the above it was carrying out work with the usual bunch of workers motivated to move the club onwards. Our long spell without a loch keeper meant this duty also fell into my lap. I must admit however some of these tasks were not onerous and in fact turned out to be the most amicable of duties. It has been one of the worst years I can remember with interrupted fishing sessions becoming the norm. Now however that we have an incumbent loch keeper and bailiff I am looking forward to getting in a good spell of fishing, specifically hunting the wild Pike that reside in our lochs.

I don’t expect it will be Pike after Pike as the loch is not a “plastic” Pike fishery where the terminally challenged lob a bait anywhere into the water and voilla before you know it you’ve hooked a flabby thirty pounder that comes to the net like a wet blanket! Minimal satisfaction and not really something real anglers would care to mention in public, in fact it’s rather embarrassing!

Yes the going will be tough with many outings simply being put down to experience! Sometimes a break makes the yearning stronger, the mind sharper and the fettle brighter, it was a great feeling yesterday to be reacquainted with an old adversary that was undoubtedly up for the fight! They are fighting hard due to the excellent condition they are in with Mother Nature in charge it can be no other way and if you are fortunate enough to catch one be prepared for a mighty scrap! I wonder if I will have to wait until New Years day for my next encounter!

Thanks for your company yesterday Stevie, a most enjoyable day!

photo 02 - My personal drought ended!
The Bowerhope saga!

We have received a response from the owner of the black Audi highlighted a few weeks back suspected of fishing without a permit and leaving rubbish behind. The chap who we will not name admits to fishing without a permit and leaving rubbish lying instead of taking it away. These are very serious matters and yesterday we spoke with the tenants on the Bowerhope estate and they are keen to see this problem ended.

There is no failure on our part in policing the lochs, we cannot survey the loch 24/7! People will always slip through the net and it has just been unfortunate that the last two incidents have taken place on the Bowerhope estate. We must stamp this problem out and it is likely that we will deal with these instances in a fair but severe manner! The chap mentioned has apologised profusely for his misdeed which is good but this however does not change the fact that the offences were committed! Had it not been for the right thinking actions of the shepherdess at Bowerhope he may have gotten away with his actions unchallenged! The club committee are currently considering the above issue and will reach a decision soon.

The chap mentioned above is Polish and the only reason for my mentioning this was that in his e mail to us he states at the end “if we want to ban foreigners we should make this clear on our main website”! Just to make the situation crystal clear we have no issue whatsoever with foreigners coming to fish our lochs and to suggest we do is completely wrong! We currently have two Polish members and they are model members in every respect!

We have a further two right thinking respectful Polish anglers on our waiting list to join the club next month! We have no issue at all with the nationality of our anglers; it however remains a fact that approximately 80% of all wrongdoings carried out on the lochs are perpetrated by anglers from other countries! This may give a small hint as to why anglers with this heritage are more rigorously surveyed! This situation is not of our making rather the deviant anglers themselves. It will now fall on anglers from those other countries to be seen to be squeaky clean as much remedial work needs to be implemented by this group of anglers to put their house in order! We will be in touch with the fellow once a decision has been reached.

Club membership!

Applications would normally be accepted at this time however our membership secretary Lawson Simpson will be unavailable for the next two weeks. By all means send your application in but remember due to the above there will be a commensurate delay. The new subscriptions are -  first time member £55.00 per yearly season and renewing members £35.00 per yearly season of course in both cases members are now allowed free boats but engines will be charged. To avoid confusion all intended usage of boats must be done via our loch keeper.

Full blown migration!

Speaking with one of the locals yesterday whom I run into quite frequently traversing the Bowerhope road I was told of the large number of Salmon moving through the regulator midweek. Yes we have seen many over the last few weeks leaping as they head through the lochs seeking the place of their birth to lay the seeds for a new generation. It’s a thrilling sight to see these creatures near the end of their mammoth migration. Just another of the delights to be seen by real anglers! Anglers are reminded that no lure fishing is permitted beyond the white posts at Kirkstead and directly opposite, it is vital that these creatures are not interfered with! Anyone found fishing in such a manner will be instantly banned and reported to the relevant authorities!

The Wider World in my view!

The end of my tether!

Yes midweek was the point that I thought to myself how much more of this Con-Dem bungling can I put up with! It’s the same every week, more U turns, more reactionary politics and evermore bungling! The posh boys that think they run the country seem completely oblivious to their persistent bungles, yes they soldier on plunging us into the ever deepening mire interspersed with retorts that they are helping “hardworking families” when in reality the only people they are helping are their posh boy pals!

Cigarette advertising = U turn, fuel bills = U turn Universal credit = bungle already costing us 500million, bedroom tax = Bungle bringing in only 20% of what it was supposed to and punishing those who can’t fight back! Royal Mail sell off 2 billion pounds lost to the taxpayers is another spectacular bungle; there is now massive pressure on Puppet Cable to hold an inquiry into what went wrong! Sending “illegal immigrants” back home via private jet without having firstly cleared the issue with the receiving country a prize bungle indeed!

The upcoming fiasco on Europe will see Lord Snooty trying to appease the right wing of his party of ninnies and at the same time pay heed to common sense, it is however not possible it’s one way or the other! Puppet Clegg desperate to show his band of puppets are moderating extreme Tory policy when in fact they are supporting them! Each week brings another U turn or spectacular bungle session; it appears there is no respite from their machinations! Simply a bunch of clueless posh boys with no idea of what the term work means no understanding of what it means to have to look after the pennies but why would they! Every damn one of them has money coming out of their ears, running the country? No, just arrogant posh boys at play, simply an extension of their Bullingdon Club days!

I sincerely hope to be out of it next year, to be far from the madding crowd in an independent Scotland! It won’t be easy and there is a huge amount of work to be done before it happens if indeed it does. However looking at the current Westminster set up I am 100% certain in my own mind that in no way could the bungling that costs us billions be replicated in an independent Scotland not even if they tried!

A rather sinister court jester!

Of course I am referring to bumbling buffoon Boris Johnston the joker in the Tory pack. The seemingly harmless diddy much lauded by the party faithful and the affluent of London town! Yes the mask slipped this week when his true colours came to the fore exposing him as an ardent follower of Butcher Thatcher that most hated of politicians! “Greed is good” he proudly proclaimed giving kudos to the posh boys all over the country and pouring scorn on the oppressed working classes! These clowns have nothing in common with right thinking people who look for a fairer society rather than the Dickensian one we currently endure; no he seeks to widen the divide to make the rich richer and the poor poorer! This silver spooned snob simply seeks to perpetrate the status quo.  Zealots like this fool must be ousted and it is up to the people of London to do the right thing! A fool exposed as just another poor punishing utterly repugnant Tory windbag!

Are you sure it’s a recovery?

Coming home from work one day this week I noticed two shopkeepers slinking home in the shadows before the allotted time of five o clock, no doubt fed up of waiting on the entry bell on the door that signals a potential customer but one that was never coming. Times are hard there can be no doubt about that, yet at the supermarket end of the town the dim glow of the main street is overpowered by a shower of bright light and hordes of furtive people rushing around everywhere stretching their credit cards to bursting point.

Yes shopping habits have changed and they will further change with people ordering goods off the internet on their smart phones and seeing the goods arrive the next morning! Things will never revert to what is often seen as the good old days. Times will get harder for wee independent shops possibly with the exception of good tackle dealers where advice on a product is more valuable than the product itself. Yes minister without a clue Gideon Osborne talks of a recovery and some signs are there but it is a recovery based on consumer debt and as fragile as pyramid of cards! WHAT RECOVERY?

The Glasgow incident!

An absolute tragedy, the people affected will remain in our thoughts R.I.P

Sunday, 24 November 2013

An autumn days Salmon fishing 4!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More tree planting and some vandalism!

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

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

The wider world in my view!

Opinion on Scottish independence!

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

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

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

Reverend Flowers!

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