A Huge Vote of Confidence
Wednesday evening saw the 78th Annual General Meeting of St Mary's Angling Club being held at the Tibbie Shiels Inn on the banks of St Mary's Loch. Firstly I really must thank Alistair, Selina and staff for their hospitality, it was very well received and most kind of you.
A well attended meeting reviewed/discussed and dissected a number of topics that are crucial to push the club forward and optimise the fishing. The main points emanating from the meeting were as follows.
(1)With regard to the Selkirk Flood Prevention Scheme preferred option at St Mary's Loch. The meeting agreed to support the proposal to lower the level of the loch by 500mm during the months of October through till March with the option of letting further water out of the loch if heavy and prolonged rain is forecast. The summer levels would remain as they are now. It was also agreed to contact the River Tweed Commission and enquire of them what steps are to be taken to allow the entry and exit of fish from the loch via the fish pass/regulator when the level has been dropped.
Action – Richard Plisga /Dr Morgan
(2)Wild Trout Trust Report (currently in draft form).
The meeting were unanimous that the actions suggested by this organisation be acted upon and implemented in the coming season. In spite of the heavy workload involved with this project it was felt that since stocking with adult fish is not an option we should press forward with this work which will benefit all species. Initial Action Richard Plisga /John Wright/Alistair White/Dr Morgan thereafter all members
(3) Work Parties. A courageous/forward thinking and pragmatic decision taken by the membership bringing into force a committee recommendation that a requirement to participate in work parties to benefit the fishing in the lochs and the surrounding lochside be inherent in club membership. The ruling which comes into force immediately will also apply to season ticket holders. This selfless decision taken by the current membership will bring benefits to all of our members and will undoubtedly benefit those who come later. This landmark meeting will be looked upon by our posterity as a significant milestone in the history of St Mary's Angling Club and the lochs. We will now be able to meet the terms of our lease and safeguard the future of our fishing!
Action All Members/Season Ticket Holders
(4)Arran boats and engines. A short report was given on boat usage which demonstrated that our new Arran's were being hired more often than our smaller 14ft boats. The Electric Engine had been broken twice by users over twisting the gear selector; a modification has been carried out to mechanically restrict the amount of movement of this control mechanism. If this turns out to be unsuccessful then the engine will be disposed of! The 4Hp petrol four stroke Mariner has performed flawlessly in spite of many hires, arrangements will be made for the unit to be serviced over the winter period.
Action Richard Plisga/John Wright
(5)Arctic Charr Update. We await the results of our submissions to Scottish National Heritage and the River Tweed Commission with regard to our project to restock St Mary's Loch with Arctic Charr. Glasgow University will assist us in harvesting Charr fry probably from Talla Reservoir. Hopefully soon the St Mary's Loch bio community will be one step closer to complete restoration. If Arctic Charr are reintroduced back into St Mary's Loch then this will be a historic event righting a wrong that took place over 300 years ago. The reintroduction will reflect greatly on St Mary's Angling Club and the local community.
Action Richard Plisga
(6)Hatchery. Regrettably our proposals for the hatchery have been put on hold. There are two reasons for this (1) no feeder burn is in a good enough state to contain and nurture the reared fry, we could spend considerable time and monies and have the project fail days after stocking the fry into the unsuitable habitat. (2) It may be the case that our loch keeper will be leaving us in March 2011 moving to pastures new. If he does so we will miss him greatly for he is not only an asset to the club but a most likeable and gregarious fellow to boot! For a hatchery to operate properly the rearing tanks need to be tended on a daily basis, if Peter goes then we have no one that could carry this out. We will keep our eyes and ears open to source a suitable replacement if Peter does decide to move.
Action all members/season ticket holders
(7)Treasurers report. John Wright gave a comprehensive report on the state of our finances which again are most pleasing with revenue up yet again. Wonder where the scolding and chiding Muppets are now, the ones that said we were going down the tubes? We have spent a considerable sum of money so far this year but look tobe making up the deficit in short order. Our Treasurer John has advised that we should now seek a year of consolidation with the only expenditure being that for essential maintenance, outstanding items and recurring outlay. He will be keeping a close eye on expenditure, a sort of Con/Dem spending review but without Chancellor George Osborne at the helm who spends most of his time slurping Champagne on luxury yachts whilst we bear the brunt of their inept policies! Rather we will have John Wright who lives in the real world, far removed from the decadent millionaire's that purport to run our country!
Action John Wright
(8)Wild Trout Competition Following on from the success of the inaugural competition last year it has been decided to stage the competition again this year. Hopefully we can secure the same terrific prizes as last year. Much can be learned from last year and with some effort we can improve on our past performance. We will update you when we are able to confirm the prizes. If all members play a part in publicising the event then that should bode well for us! It is likely that the competition will take place in the time frame of mid April to early May. The winner of this year's competition Les Robson will soon be having his day on Tweed at a time when heavy fresh fish abound. A report will follow after he has his day.
Action initially club committee thereafter all members
(9)Membership The meeting agreed to contain membership at our current level with new members being admitted only if a current member does not renew. Season ticket numbers will be held at ten for the coming season. Unfortunately this does nothing to help the anglers on the waiting list into club membership. We must however maintain an overview of the situation and not allow the scenes at some lochs to develop here with regard to overfishing.
Action Club Committee
(10)Tweed Trout and Grayling Initiative Membership Fee. It was agreed by the meeting that the random sum asked of us for admission to membership of £400.00 was unacceptable. The committee had dissected this topic and recommended to the meeting that the sum of £100.00 be approved. The meeting after some discussion accepted this and Alistair White is to make this known to the TTGI.
Action Alistair White
(11)AOCB Elliot Fraser asked if anything more could be done to eradicate the problem of Muppets and Neds. Much discussion ensued but the outcome was that there is really not much more that we could do to curtail these delinquent types. These morons ruin everyone's day and only by persistent challenging of these Noddys will we have any effect, eventually word will get around that it's better to go elsewhere rather than be harassed at St Mary's Loch! We will in conjunction with other local groups continue with this policy. He also stated that whilst we have a problem at the loch's, it was miniscule when compared to the likes of what goes on at Ken and Awe et al.
Brian Richardson asked if there was anything we could do to ensure Pike anglers were using appropriate tackle. The meeting felt that the introduction of more rules would be non productive. It was felt that a system whereby members themselves would engage with suspected wrongdoers and educate them towards better practice would be the best option. Blatant transgressors should of course be reported to our Loch keeper or a committee member whereupon they will be asked to leave the fishery.
John Wright asked for suggestions for dates after which a member who had not renewed would be considered to be a lapsed member. The meeting felt that since memberships may be renewed from the date of the AGM onwards the 31st of December 2010 would give all members ample time to renew. Naturally cases of illness etc would be considered as a special case.
Action all club members
(12)Work for the coming year. The work items to be tackled next season are as follows – Finish off moss removal on boathouse roof (completed 31/10/2011) and continue repairs to leaks, repaint boathouse, construct landing and safety rail at boathouse door, refurbish the two remaining "Blue" boats with a wet keel on one and flotation tanks and strengthening on both, refit and glaze refurbished cuddy on "Salmo Trutta". Tree planting and habitat fencing as required to our feeder burns.
Action all club members/season ticket holders
Yes it is indeed a heavy programme, but it's now one that is achievable, with full member participation we can move this club forward, and move forward we must.
I never thought I'd see the day when spontaneous applause erupted for the work done thus far by the committee. To the committee - you are all doing a splendid job on behalf of the club, to each and every one of you Thank you!
The club is safe in your hands! The committee would also wish to thank the membership for their vote of confidence in our policies! This is now a club in every conceivable meaning of the word! The "Black" days of old are now just a bad dream firmly consigned to history!
Photo= Cauliflower fungus Absolutely delicious!!
Special thanks to our champion power lifters Elliot Fraser and John Wright for their huge input with a multitude of tasks for the club(without you both we would need to acquire a fork lift truck!), to Stevie Nimmo and Les Henderson for prolonged and intense electrickery, mechanical wizardry and joinery and much much more, to new member Dick Patterson for repairs to and cleaning of the boathouse roof, to Dr Neville Morgan for his invaluable advice on biology, hydrology and habitat matters, to Ian & Barbara, Alistair and Selina, Jim Mitchell, Tommy Hepburn, James Burns, Derek @ Bowerhope, Richard & Ingrid and of course last but definitely not least Peter our Loch Keeper and girlfriend Tasha. And very special thanks to our longest serving club member "Santa" Pete Young who at every AGM has a present for me, last year 3 battery chargers, this year a bag of expanding bolts which we will put to good use constructing the landing and removable safety rail at the boathouse, thanks Pete, without the help/ support and encouragement from all of you we would not be where we are today. Thank you!
Membership/Season Ticket renewal.
Everyone should be aware that the cut off date for renewals is the 31st of December 2010. Please renew your membership before this date. You can do this by sending a cheque made payable to St Mary's Angling Club (£30.00 – members, £50.00 - Season Tickets) to the club treasurer - John Wright 8 Castle Place Dunbar EH42 1JD.
Moss removal boathouse
Dick Patterson phoned somewhat unexpectedly today saying that he was coming to finish off the moss removal on the roof. So with a little assistance from me he promptly set about removing the moss and also repairing a few more leaks. Still a couple to do but they are low level ones and can be tackled without the need of hanging ladders. Great work Dick we are indebted to you, many thanks from the club!
Next Week the angling report and the implications of the new work requirement.