Sunday, 28 June 2015

A pretty good day!


  • Photo 01- An aid to a pretty good day!
A pretty good day!

We all have our own ideas as to what constitutes a good days fishing and every now and then it all comes together and it was so for me yesterday. The weather for the first time in a long time was ver pleasant with no blue fingers apparent. The odd spells of intense sunshine warming and dazzling in equal measure brings back memories of halcyon days that went before.

Conversations with other anglers stimulate the mind and concentrate the effort into fooling the wily quarry resident in the loch. Conservations interrupted by the squawking of furious gulls as they try and shoo the Osprey on to pastures new away from what they claim as their territory. Pheasants who have evaded the gun, and reared their young potter around looking for food to see them through the day.

Boat anglers bob around on the surface of the loch as the helmsman searches out their quarry with lines landing on the surface like down floating to the ground. Sailors glide around with only the occasional clatter as the wind hits the sails and the accelerator is fully depressed and a destination is selected

Bumble bees buzz around slowly like a Lancaster bomber searching out its target then land on a selected flower to drink of the life giving nectar and unknowingly pollinate all that she touches and sustains our world. In the background mostly unseen a blackbird and a song thrush compete in making the most melodious sounds. The song thrush the loudest, the blackbird the sweetest!

The spool on the reel moves momentarily and then the line shoots forward at a screaming pace, engaging the stop the line goes tight and the surface boils a good bit away. Then its give and take line until the beast is subdued. Then its weigh, photograph and return immediately to the water supporting her until the power of her propulsion is sensed and she is released with a thank you for a splendid battle. The photo of her full splendour immediately replays the battle in my mind and the bold markings on her body will stay with me forever. Another memory committed to my long term bank to be replayed many times in the future!

Time to leave and the customary post mortem in the boat house is in full swing, stories exchanged, triumphs recalled and disasters revisited. The feeling of kinship undisturbed by silver falling into a palm, or uncontrolled aggression towards another because he disagreed with you. Yet another day following in the footsteps of old Izaak. ‘Twas indeed a pretty good day!

Photo 02- At last the landscape is colouring up!
On our Mariner engine!

The engine is still out of commission due to the heavy handling by some anglers but also in part for the poor design by Mariner! Mr Xxxxx had tried to effect an epoxy repair but the resin was not strong enough to withstand the heavy torque applied to this lever.

We had a look again today and we think we can envisage a weld repair to the chrome plated shaft which exudes the plastic shrouding. We think the plastic which was part of the original handle could easily be removed giving plenty of metal to allow a weld. We already have an engine with a bent screwdriver welded to the gear shaft and it can withstand the very heaviest of handling.

I will deliver the engine to a welder mate and hopefully have it back for next weekend fixed once and for all and able to withstand the very worst gorilla like handling our engines are subjected to! Watch this space!

Parking!

In spite of our pleas for anglers to heed the parking guidelines outlined last week this week saw yet more cars parked inappropriately on the grass verges. The offenders were moved on but what comes to mind and for me it is worrying is that some people just blunder on to the property of others with no thought or research!

Inherent in the process of planning a trip must be finding out the rules of the club and a strict adherence to the countryside code. If this does not take place then problems will occur! It’s not about being officious, its simply common sense and with the parking issue its about road safety and minimising risk! Itt never ceases to amaze me how blasé some people are, indeed completely oblivious to the customs and practices of the area they are visiting!

We will continue to crack down on this dangerous habit and any repeat offenders will be sent packing!

The wider world in my view!       

 Dear Oh dear! 

Of course I am referring to Lord Snooty’s quest to get a “better deal” for the UK in the EU. It doesn’t seem to be going very well in spite of Snooty giving a press statement proclaiming his first success! The reality is that it was not until 11.30pm that he was allowed to speak for five minutes and during those five minutes many delegates left to “stretch their legs”!

Only the Polish and Belgian delegates made a contribution and that was to inform Lord Snooty that the agreement of the 27 other countries would be required before any change could take place. Clearly Lord Snooty is trying to con the public yet again by magnifying the smallest crumb and making out it is a significant achievement!

Lord Snooty has not really endeared himself to the other delegates and his chances of real success are virtually nil! Lord Snooty is an incompetent not capable of convincing the other delegates and the only thing we can expect is more bungling and exaggeration of minor points dressed up as major success!

It looks likely that if Snooty fails as he most certainly will then England will vote to leave the EU giving us our chance to leave them to it and go our own way! England elected Lord Snooty and his posh boy pals it is therefore only right and fitting that they reap the fruits of the seeds he has sown even if they be poisonous weeds!

The lesson of misguided ambition!

Revealed in the Manchester Guardian this week Puppet Clegg knew of the likelihood of being wiped out at the general election and had offered to resign a year before he did! Yes although it was by this time too late to try and save the reputation of the Lib-Dems he at least acknowledged his grave error into getting into bed with the Tories!

In a crazed quest for power and glory he snubbed the electorate who had voted his party into power completely betraying their wishes! He is not a man who bypassed the education system he is apparently a well educated man yet he committed he cardinal sin of politicians in lying to the electorate.

I’m afraid there is no salvation for Puppet Clegg it would probavly have been better if he had lost his seat and was banished from politics altogether! The puppet was guilty of extremely poor judgement and his actions led to many good politicians losing their jobs as well as knocking back the Lib-Dem party to a point where it will take twenty years to recover from!

It really did not matter when the puppet resigned for from the moment he colluded with Lord Snooty his days were numbered. In a tragic turnaround instead of basking in glory at the achievements of the Con-Dems he grubbed around in the mire as the fury of the electorate reigned down upon him and his unfortunate party!

Of course there are always opportunities ahead for glory but the astute firstly weigh up up the situation then decide on an appropriate course of action. This strategy was obviously missing from Puppet Cleggs course of action. His time in office was an unmitigated disaster as his tory masters constantly used and abused the puppet to their own ends and did so particularly well. For the few things that did turn out to be acceptable the Tories took the credit and for the unending blunders the puppets were made the scapegoats!

There is a place in politics for compromise and cooperation but for it to work properly thought must be given to the potential consequences. Puppet Clegg barged in filled with the desire for power, to be the bigshot and spectacularly fell flat on his face! Puppet Clegg destroyed the Lib-Dem party as Milliband did for Labour, now like a recalcitrant schoolboy he must sit on the backbenches and ponder the many mistakes he and his puppets made! Sometimes a lesson needs to be learned the hard way, so it has been for Puppet Clegg!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Happy Birthday!


Photo 01 - Our longest serving member Pete Young 88yrs of age today!
 
Happy birthday!

We have been trying to find out for years by means of direct questioning, subterfuge and any method in the Dick Dastardly book of dirty tricks but we failed! Yes we were trying to find out just how many years our longest serving member Pete Young has been on the earth. He always kept mum leaving us to ponder and speculate.

Well yesterday Stevie and Pete came up to fish as they usually do and the news they brought with them was that today (Sunday) was Pete’s 88th birthday! From the age of nine he came up to the loch with his dad and learned the gentle art of fly fishing. Indeed in those early days catches of twenty Trout were nothing unusual with one memorable day seeing 45 Trout caught!

In those days eyed ova of the loch Leven variety were bought and reared in the club boathouse until they were a few inches long and then released into the feeder burns running into the loch. Pete was involved in this activity indeed as all members were and according to the club elders enjoyed sport much more than we do today!

All throughout his years with the club Pete was heavily involved in the running of the club always putting in more than the ordinary member and even in the last few years we have to hold him back as he strains at the leash to get stuck in!  A remarkable member for any club we are delighted he continues to fish putting up with conditions akin to the North Sea on occasion. A true angler cast from the mould of old Izaak, a perfect role model for those in the early part of their angling careers.

 Pete, from the club, we wish you a very happy birthday and look forward to seeing you up at the lochs for many years to come! Have a great day!

 

Photo 02-Found yesterday collapsible fish trap doubtless used to trap Eels!
 
Will it ever end?

Over the last four or five years we have been finding evidence of illegal fishing activities having taken place, why only 6 weeks ago we found another non selective gill net tangled amongst some wire netting. The photo above shows the latest find found yesterday over at the bay of plenty.

It is clearly a fish trap which would be baited up by putting inside the guts of a rabbit or some other low cost offal. The fish are able to swim in from either end through the guide tunnel forcing the netting apart but will be unable to exit.  The fish thief then comes along 24hrs later and pulls in the trap to see what has been caught.

I have no doubt the trap would have been laid for the purpose of catching Eels which now command a premium price due to the Europe wide ban on catching them. The problem seems to have grown with the increase in immigrants to the area as previously indigenous Scots showed no interest in Eels whatsoever!

Is however very difficult however to detect the people setting these traps since they can be deployed and retrieved in a matter of minutes and be gone! There are no circumstances in which we can survey the whole loch 24/7. It therefore follows that such incidents will have a high chance of succeeding! As always it will be down to our enforcement team who can only do so much. Tweed bailiffs patrol the area but again they are here relatively infrequently.

Photo 03 - One of the two entrances to the trap!
 
I do wonder who these people are that they are content to wreck our sport and our future by pillaging the fish stocks in our lochs. They could not under any circumstances be described as anglers, for a real angler would not engage in such destructive activities! We can only hope that at some time in the future we catch one of these people red handed and have the authorities deal with them under the law of Scotland! I hope that day comes soon!

A wee star!
Heading back to the boathouse yesterday I ran into Malky, Alexa and family they like me did not catch but weren't overly despondent. Angling is about more than repeatedly catching fish, it is a way of life where to the astute wonders invisible to the must catch people and Muppets become apparent. I could not help but notice the beaming smile on Alexa's face and I thought I should ask her if she caught anything. She replied that she did catch and held out her hand and nestling in her palm were two stones. She was delighted to have caught these two stones and was taking them home to a place of safety! The unbridled optimism of youth - peerless!
Oh and many thanks for the equipment you left Malky it is very much appreciated!

The wider world in my view!

 My Respect!
I watched the news yesterday with much scrutiny in particular with regard to the anti austerity marches in Glasgow and London. In London alone it was estimated 250,000 people attended in protest against the huge and unnecessary cuts to public spending which will see our public services decimated and the many poor in our society brought to their knees! Oblivious to other tried and tested means of defecit reduction where the weak and poor are not subject to punishment they press on with their despicable dogma!

Of course its not all about reducing the defecit, minister without a clue Gideon Osborne is obsessed with paring back the state until nothing is left. He will succeed, because by the time the next election comes around there will be no credible opposition to the vile Tories! Instead of hammering the tax evaders and those in the 40 and 50%bracket they prefer to hobble the poor to maintain their voter base.

That England will go through this is without doubt, but for us here in Scotland we could be rid of these dummys much sooner! e must urge our elected government to move quickly towards complete independence so that we may leave behind the destitution and vindictiveness meted out by the vile Tories! In this scenario my heart would go out to the poor of England and Wales for whom there is no salvation!

The anti austerity marches will continue and doubtless break out into civil disobedience. The Tories however will not budge since thanks to Weak Ed Milliband and diddy Puppet Clegg they have a majority. For Scots the path is clear and we must move rapidly towards independence for the sake of the weak the poor and the disadvantaged in our society! Westminster holds nothing for equality seeking Scots who long for a society based on fairness and equity! To all the people who took part in the protest marches thinking not of themselves but of others who are struggling to survive - RESPECT!

UKIP implosion!

The recent carry on within UKIP makes the many and varied blunders made by Lord Snooty et al look like sound practice! The resignation and re instatement of several of the top brass makes them look like a bunch of duds which is basically what they are. The latest official to be severed and the dramatically reinstated is Suzanne Evans a former right wing Tory.

Infighting is to be expected, just watch out for similar implosions in Lord Snooty’s clan as they tear each other apart in the manner of John Majors failed administration. I don’t suppose anyone will be really concerned with the UKIP bickering as in everyday effects it is meaningless! There will be a few ideological voters who will now be in a quandary as to where to put their cross for at present only a fool would vote for UKIP!

But then again there are many fools in the UK for example the 37% (mainly English) that voted favouring Lord Snooty. At a time just prior to Snooty’s referendum on EU membership when many English voters would seek to punish Snooty by voting to exit the EU they find instead of an aspiring political party all that exists in UKIPs corner is a loose collection of fools, duds and extremists with no cohesive fabric whatsoever!

The bottom line is that this is the end for the restyled BNP for that is what UKIP is! Farage and company are destined for the same place as Milliband and Clegg and that is only right and fitting. Another flash in the pan dies off, good riddance!

 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Where not to park!

Photo 01 - Not very well visited these days, top of the Lowes!

Where not to park!

We shouldn’t have to broadcast this but following a couple of incidents this weekend we have been left with no option! I have in the past assumed all anglers were countrymen but as I have found out, that was a wrong assumption! To set out our table all anglers should be aware of the following – On no account may you take a vehicle into a field!

Now that means that under no circumstances barring life threatening emergencies can you take a vehicle into a field. This includes carrying your gear in a vehicle so you don’t have to carry it.

You must not park on the thin grass verges from Summerhope to the top of the loch of the Lowes!

The exceptions to this are where the verge is wide enough to take your vehicle two to three feet of the edge of the road! There have been accidents involving vehicles situated on the very edge of the road and the police have advised us that this type of parking is unacceptable!

You must not take any vehicle down the tarred road at the graveyard!

Because of past irresponsible actions this road was closed off with the consent of the landowner to try and limit the amount of garbage and human waste scattered all over the place. Now there are three obvious clues here pointing to the fact that vehicles are not permitted! There are four posts across the start of the tarred road, there were four cross members until a group of Muppets broke them off to have a bonfire!

There is an orange locked post set into concrete to allow our loch keeper access in case a boat needs to be recovered by road. There is a steel sign which was concreted into the ground but was pulled out with the aid of a rope and a vehicle! All of these things should state that vehicles are not welcome! How difficult is it to phone our loch keeper Mr Xxxxx and ask his advice to avoid making mistakes!

A vehicle in Tommy Hepburn’s field and two vehicles down the tarred road at the graveyard caused us a deal of grief this weekend. It not only inconveniences us it allows our relations with the relevant riparian owners to be strained which is exactly what we do not want! Anglers should familiarise themselves with the countryside code which states any vehicle more than 15 metres off a classified road onto private property is committing an offence and is liable to prosecution! Most people I know will research an unfamiliar area for rules and regulations before they carry out any of the above acts. If you are unsure just ask! We are asking all anglers to adhere to the above rules any angler not so doing will be asked to leave immediately!

Not again!

A phone call from Mr Xxxxx this morning passed on some depressing news in that the gear shifter lever on our Mariner engine has yet again been broken. This plastic lever is moulded on to a knurled shaft meaning that there is no easy way to just replacing the handle.

Last time we ordered a new handle moulded to a shaft and it took our engineer Elliot Fraser most of the day to replace it as it involved dismantling the whole engine! At this point I’m not sure if inappropriate force was used to shift the gears but what I do know is that the lever and the effort required to replace it is nothing short of outrageous!

Car manufacturers have done it for years. They complicate the replacement of failed components giving their service agents ongoing increased revenue when a simpler design would drastically reduce this cost! There is no way we will allow any of our mechanically orientated members to give up as day to go through the tortuous process Elliot Fraser went through a couple of years ago.

We must find a way to replace the lever once and for all with a solid metal design which should withstand heavy hands! Whether this is by welding or mechanical fixing it must be done! Quite frankly the alternative is we sell our engines and be rid of the incessant repair work than put people through the above torment and drain club funds. Thumbs down to Mariner on a thoroughly crap component on a pretty decent engine!


The wider world in my view!

Further decline in the High Street!

It was reported this week in the local rag the Border Telegraph that footfall in the town is continuing to fall! This of course is not really news. Our way of living has changed dramatically with the surge in out of town supermarket buying and a huge increase in internet buying! Supermarkets now offer a huge selection of goods making one stop shopping a feasible option. The internet offers a massive range of goods the like of which you would not find in any High Street!

The internet continues to grow at a very fast pace and next day delivery is now commonplace! Returns if required can be completed in a few days with pre paid labels and minimum hassle. So what is the solution to the rapid decline in the High Street? The simple answer is that there is no solution to the decline!

The High street will continue to decline at a rapid pace particularly in smaller towns where the range of goods is minimal. This is the situation in Galashiels where the High Street is on its knees with only the Polish shop showing vibrancy! Even this shop is under threat as the supermarkets increasingly offer the products they sell at significantly cheaper prices!

Many mourn the decline but it must be remembered that it was us the general public that chose the path of decline by moving our custom to the supermarkets and the internet! Eventually most of the shops will close and be boarded up! Already Galashiels looks like a ghost town it will only get worse! The change in our shopping habits has done for the local shops but the shift to our new way of shopping was of our own making. It’s a little hypocritical to now bleat about the change it is irreversible and we did it!

On the smith commission!

As expected the proposals put forward by David Mundell (who?) has fallen far short of what was expected. Independence looms ever closer!

On the next Labour leader!

The competition is between 4 duds following in the footsteps of Tony Blair and Jeremy Corbyn one of the few Labour MPs who still holds traditional socialist values! If Corbyn is not selected then Labour faces oblivion and England is destined for a  Tory government in perpetuity!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Progressing work!


Photo 01 - Alexa with dad Malky and her first ever Pike weighing in at a hefty 7lbs 11oz! see below
 
Progressing work!

The work on the fish ladder which it appears only worked in higher water levels is now fully underway. Large rectangles have been cut out of each step to allow fish passage in lower loch levels. We don’t know for certain if this was a problem, the Tweed Foundation suspects it may have been. Yay or nay it’s a good move as if it was a problem the work should alleviate it and if it was not then passage for fish becomes easier!

The loch level now looks stable allowing the cut outs to be made and will probably remain at this level until late summer to allow the work to be completed. Work is also progressing with the dam wall which will prevent free flow of water in flood conditions instead channelling it through the constructed outflow.

 
Photo 02 - Showing one of the cut outs to ease fish passage.

Our type of angler!

Three of our new members came up to the loch yesterday to fish using a boat and engine and were greeted with near gale force winds, persistent heavy rain and temperatures more akin to a poor October day. Undeterred they set off and commenced fishing but alas the weather really worsened and even in our Arran the journey was rocky and they headed in.

Thoroughly soaked and the wee lass cold and wet they revived themselves with hot bacon rolls and pot noodles cooked in the boat house. It was clear there would be no more fishing this day. Malky noticed our two cuddy’s on the floor and asked if we would like him to put the windows in. Of course there was a resounding yes please! These accursed windows have broken many men including myself, they are an absolute nightmare to fit!

With the aid of brother Sam and daughter Alexa they had the first one fitted in minutes. The second proved more troublesome even with 3 pairs of hands, however they were triumphant and the window was solid in its aperture! You have no idea how much your good work has helped us folks. Malky also kindly donated a load of hardware to the club which will be of great benefit to us we are very grateful indeed!

While they were fitting the windows wee Alexa challenged me to a game of Piano Keys a type of game on phones that tests your coordination and reflexes. Now I thought I was ok at this but she beat me 4 times in a row being twice as quick as me and with each attempt she increased the time margin. I called a halt before things got really embarrassing!

Three members of the club who were only too keen to help, they could have went home and left us to it but thought it would be a good idea to chip in. These are exactly the kind of members we enjoy having and it goes without saying they will have another two days on the boat with our engine free of charge as our guests. Malky, Sam and Alexa thank you very much for your help!

Oh and the trio found a rod lost by one of our members two weeks ago and will be delivering it to the owner or into the custody of the club on their next visit. How refreshing to see such diligence and honesty! A bag of sweets is on its way to Alexa by way of thanks!

Photo 03 -A section of the water retaining wall!
The anglers bible!

Our site advising on fishing guides continues to reign supreme as the angler’s bible when searching for a fishing guide! A few changes are now going to have to be made following a tip off that Fish pal are now allowing unqualified “guides” to be listed on their site!

For the uninitiated we see the minimum qualifications as being APGAI or GAIC registered or equivalent, full disclosure by Disclosure Scotland and an emergency first aid qualification. It’s not a lot to ask of people who charge serious money to “guide” you to better fishing! It’s very disappointing as when I phoned Fish Pal I was told that all fishing guides listed on their site were fully qualified and were required to undergo assessment on a yearly basis!

It is clear to see that this is not taking place and the only option open to us is to remove all reference to Fish Pal as being our preferred body for providing a database for these people! I will get around to rejigging the site as soon as possible!

 
 


Our site in No1 spot!
The wider world in my view!

Why the SNP vanquished all!

As time goes on the answer to the question becomes clearer. Clearly Scotland and to a certain extent Wales and Northern Ireland are different from the English! How so you may ask, well its clear we Scots care more about the underprivileged in our society thats maybe because we have more poor people as a percentage!

We care passionately about our public services and deplore the way they are being destroyed by the Tories in Westminster! We see these Tories stealthily privatising the NHS in England and we want none of it! We see the weak, the disabled and poor relentlessly punished when they need help clearly as Scots we have no time for this.

We see minister without a clue cocaine snorting Gideon Osborn obsessed with austerity when another more palatable solution is staring him in the face – investment for growth! Other countries have done it but the posh boys seem unable to comprehend the concept! We see jobs appearing everywhere the problem being they are part time or zero hours and pay peanuts!

We don’t agree with spending billions of pounds on a useless Trident nuclear arms system, a weapon we could not use and as the much spouted deterrent- do you really think the Russians would bother about 4 nuclear submarines when they have over 9,000 top notch warheads ready to deploy? Of course all having the deterrent would mean is that we would be near the top marked for destruction!

We are fed up of the inequality in our politically constructed society, we despair of seeing so called sportsmen, bankers reeling in money on a yearly basis that we on the bottom rung could not even imagine! The country is overflowing with money but the majority of people cannot get a share!

We see a bunch of posh boys with no real life experience forming our futures when we did not vote for them! We see our valuable public assets being sold off to well heeled investors at a knock down price diddling the public of our assets! We have to cower in embarrassment as they persistently show us up by means of their incessant bungling! We have to endure promise after promise only to see them fail in spectacular fashion one after another! I could go on for hours and the solution – we have to break away from Westminster at the earliest possible opportunity no ifs no buts! In a nutshell, that is why the SNP is such an attractive option! The SNP were and are the only sensible option!

A great loss!

The death this week of Charles Kennedy at 55 years of age was a tragic loss to the world of politics! A liberal MP who brought the party up to its highest tide mark in its proud history with 67 MPs! Later in his political career he succumbed to the horrific affliction of alcoholism which was to be his executioner!

A year after his noteworthy achievement of gaining 67 MPs he was unseated by a group of right wing puppets led by Puppet Clegg. Unfortunately Puppet Clegg was not at fault as alcoholism was taking over Kennedys life and public gaffes were now commonplace. From then on Charles Kennedy battled this terrible addiction in public and appeared to be gaining the upper hand.

However personal tragedy with his marriage break up, the death of his father and losing his seat in the 2015 election obviously took their toll. He died alone as as a result of a secondary condition relating to alcoholism probably oesophageal varices which causes almost instant death on rupture!

He was a true Liberal, there are none after him! The formation of the Con-Dem coalition was anathema to him he vehemently opposed it but Puppet Clegg and his cronies won the day and as was seen in the election paid a massive price for their collaboration with the vile Tories! We will never see his like again, a man of principle with fairness and equity as his guiding star!

Charles Kennedy brought the Liberals to their highest point from a correct left wing stance; the puppets that came later moved to the right destroyed the Liberal party. Politics and the world in general are the poorer for his passing! R.I.P Charlie!