Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Tweed beckons!


Photo 01 - Stevie Nimmo opens his back end account, well done mate!

The Tweed beckons!

It’s that time again when our Wild Trout competition winner and a group of members who have attended workdays head off to Major Westbrook’s beat on the River Tweed to have a bash at the Salmon.  Unfortunately this year’s winner Alan Ramsay is unable to attend due to being in Australia for a month’s holiday! Naturally we have arranged a day next year to make sure he does not lose out.

The Salmon fishing over the last 3 years has been poor no point in beating about the bush! Some proprietors have already closed their beats due to poor numbers of fish. The news from our beat is that this week 3 anglers landed 10 fish lost 3 and had one silver coloured fish the rest being of the tartan variety. So at least fish are being caught which is a distinct improvement on recent years!

We have no date as yet for our outing but we should hear very soon. Consequently no doubt to Mr Young’s annoyance I will be contacting those who carry out significant work for the club and inviting them to come along and enjoy what is always a great day out irrespective of fish caught or Mother Nature's wrath!

Photo 02 - The start of a good day yesterday!

It’s a WILD fishery!

There has been a long tradition of stocking the loch with Brown Trout going back at least 50 years. Initially eyed ova from were brought in Loch Leven and reared in our boathouse until they were 2 – 3 inches in length and then released into the feeder burns of the loch. This apparently led to reasonable stocks of adolescent Trout but there was a need for more as the trend for stocking adult fish caught on. Then adult fish of takeable size were stocked and catch figures significantly increased as to an extent the loch turned into a semi commercial fishery!

Of course due to the numbers of Trout stocked and the interval of a year between stockings in no way compared to the truly “plastic” types so prevalent today where fish are topped up on a daily basis to replace fish taken. When a decision taken by Scottish National Heritage effectively stopped the stocking of Trout into wild waters the rivers and lochs reverted once again to being self sustaining!

We are now over ten years down that line and doubtless most anglers could argue both for or against the current situation. However we are where we are and as such we have to live with the current situation! The other species in the loch are self regulating as our Brown Trout now are. With this being the case we have to tread carefully when it comes to the amount of angling pressure we allow on the lochs!

The ludicrous idea put forward by our ex loch keeper Mr Xxxxx would have seen motorised boats out every day of the week and day permits issued without any thought towards sustainability!  The above implemented in a wild fishery would have been a death sentence from which our fishery would take years to get over. Ham fisted policy such as proposed by Mr Xxxxx would effectively negate our fishing for years thereby plunging the very existence of the club in severe jeopardy!

Key in our management must be the fact that if overfishing is taking place we reserve the right to immediately revert the fishery to members only excluding visitors to ease the pressure on the lochs! We do not have the luxury of ordering a couple of thousand replacement fish. Heavy handedness such as suggested by Mr Xxxxx would have did for us good and proper! Having seen firsthand the effects of overfishing we are very reluctant to be in that place again.

Managing the numbers of anglers fishing is always uppermost in our minds whereas with Mr Xxxxx it was revenue to fill his back pocket. As the administrators of the loch those are the steps that we could take. It is up to anglers to make sure when fishing for Pike that a minimum of 15lbs mono or 40lbs braid is used, mechanical bite indication is essential with electronic beepers as back up if required and the fastest strike possible be implemented. Brown Trout/Perch anglers are moving towards catch and release by taking only occasional fish. If our anglers can achieve that and we monitor numbers then we are doing all we can to keep our fishery sustainable! Unlike Mr Xxxxx we see the loch as a long term resource rather than a source of free cash!

Engine thoughts!

We are currently mulling over alternatives with regard to our club engines and a few ideas have emerged. The most exciting in my view is that of making our engines (petrol & electric) available virtually free of charge to members who have attended a club workday. It could conceivably last for a calendar year and all members would be expected to cover would be bringing their own petrol or battery and pay a £5.00 charge which would go towards parts/consumables required for annual servicing.

Another idea circulating is that members should be able to hire these engines at a paltry fee of £10.00/24hrs. Again this fee would be put towards servicing of these engines. There are of course many other options such as continuing with hire on demand to all or scrapping engine hire altogether. The topic has been tabled for discussion at our AGM and it is likely we will come to a firm decision!

The wider world in my view!

No one at home!

We got an indication this week of how our new Prime Minister would view the concerns of the devolved areas within the UK. It looks as though Mrs May will be trying to emulate her hero Butcher Thatcher! You would have thought with the UK about to leave the EU efforts would be made to strengthen the situation at home.

It appears Mrs May is intent on breaking up the UK continuing the deplorable work of Lord Snooty! She has passed over the responsibility for dealing with the devolved governments to the hugely inexperienced David Davies, he of hotline fame! The Tories have made a conscious decision to treat the devolved administration with complete and utter contempt!


The question posed by Scotland regarding staying in the single market has not been addressed at all. The mutterings of irrelevant puppet David Mundell carry no weight, the people of Scotland need to hear the answer of Theresa May supposedly the new (unelected) Prime Minister! She looks to be making a complete hash of the Brexit strategy in that she has no strategy at all!


Sunday, 23 October 2016

Rubbish!



Photo 01 - Kindly left for us to pick up!


Rubbish!

The majority of our visiting anglers are right thinking individuals out to enjoy a spot of fishing, the ambience of the lochs and leave the area as they found it! How depressing then to find the above photographed pile of rubbish clearly left by people masquerading under the banner of angling. The now usual find of pre packed bait was again evident.

Yes these are not real anglers for real anglers leave no footprint of their stay. This lot loosely gather up their rubbish and then leave it for someone else to pick up after invariably being scattered all over by the wind. You really do wonder about the understanding of these types, most anglers I know would be highly embarrassed to leave such a mess yet this type seem to have no qualms whatsoever about leaving a monumental mess! The amount of empty beer and wine bottles left was absolutely jaw dropping!

Unfortunately we cannot be 100% sure as to who left this rubbish but it looks like being down to a group from Hawick. Of course if this is the case then it is even worse as we like to think as Borderers we have more sense and respect for the countryside but maybe we are kidding ourselves! We will try and home in on the offenders and if we catch them we will hand our information to the police. It goes without saying that these people will be barred from fishing on the lochs!

On the subject of trash I have lost count of the number of enquirers phoning about the fishing who also felt compelled to comment on the ill thought out and embarrassing antics of our ex loch keeper Mr Xxxxx. Almost invariably they are condemning of his childish behaviour and make derogatory comments regarding his intellect! I don’t think it was his aim but he has now become the most reviled man in the history of St Mary’s Angling Club!

The theme of the comments seems to be how could a man who claims to be a rational human being behave in such a shameful and hateful manner! How an individual could be so bereft of knowledge issue a “letter” to members comprising purely of hate inspired lies and conjecture and hope to convince others! My answer is that I have no idea and since he seems to have disappeared we will probably never find out!

His aim which now is laughable following our expose was to unseat the committee and stage a takeover of the club which is a viable aim but his implementation of that plan was more what you would expect from an imbecile rather than from a rational being! Yes he took counsel from three people ousted by the club a long time ago namely the angling bully and the two moaning minnies of the village! They used him to their own ends and he fell for it like a lamb to the slaughter!

No facts, no experience, no truth, simply the ramblings of a deranged and beaten fool unable to think for himself spouting the venom of others who controlled him like a puppet on a string! I have no doubt he now looks back and baulks at his foolish and completely ridiculous actions, he has now exposed his true self to the world! I did allow myself a wee chuckle and thought Mr Xxxxx might do well to reflect on the famous words of Abraham Lincoln

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt!”

Photo 02 - The mist lifting yesterday!

The Heavy Pike cup!

The 19th of this month was the cut off date for entries and no one submitted a heavier Pike than Scott Redpaths 21lbs 9oz specimen. Therefore he is the winner of the heavy Pike cup and the £20.00 for the 2016 season so well done Scott we will be in contact soon to arrange your presentation.

The wider world in my view!

Brexit!

It just keeps getting worse Theresa May has completely lost control of her party with hardliners spouting forth at every opportunity. Prices are now shooting upwards with petrol climbing at a ferocious rate which will of course impact on everything! The possible figures for the unemployment that may ensue are truly terrifying and a recession looks to be very much on the cards! 

Several banks are on the verge of pulling out of the UK whilst some large companies are poised to jump if a hard Brexit becomes the outcome. It also looks likely that the end process for the United Kingdom has already begun!
Tomorrow then is a very important day as the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland meet with already beleaguered PM Theresa May to demand equality of views in the upcoming negotiations. Nicola Sturgeon will rightly demand that whatever the UK decides Scotland must remain in the single market! She must be resolute and stand her ground for if she fails we will suffer the same fate as England.

Lord Snooty who has now been voted as the second worst PM behind Butcher Thatcher started this crisis which is clearly unwelcome at this time when all our beloved institutions such as the NHS, public and social services and numerous others are on the point of collapse!

The Tories in government are near imploding point, Labour is fragmented and directionless and the Puppets wiped out. None of the above gives hope for the future and we as a Scottish nation must ditch them all and secure our own independent future! It is clear then that the way to secure the very best for the people of Scotland is to take independence!

The question now being asked is does the Scottish government have the required authority to hold a second referendum. Although Theresa May is correct in saying that they do not and the UK government solely holds the right to grant such power. The salient point of course is, if it is the will of the Scottish people such a request could not be denied! Expect much bluster but Sturgeon will prevail we can only hope it will be sooner rather than later!



Sunday, 16 October 2016

Spinning restrictions!



Spinning restrictions!

As is the case every year after the Brown Trout season ends our restrictions on spinning/lure fishing come into force. The measure is designed to prevent inadvertent hooking of game fish ie. Salmon/Sea Trout. The restrictions forbid spinning in the red areas which are the entry to the loch where Salmon will rest before moving onwards and a 100metre arc in front of every burn entering the loch. Naturally if a Salmon is hooked it should be returned to the loch quickly. These fish are currently in the loch being spotted by many anglers. These restrictions will be in force until 15th March 2017.

The heavy Pike cup!

Speaking with many of our anglers this week it is clear there is widespread approval of our measure to delay the holding of our AGM until we have full control over the membership database. Many of you thought the possibility of wrongdoing by Mr Young and his associates was too great and that if the club were to fall into their hands it would be an unmitigated disaster for our membership and our fish population.

Of course we could not let this happen, all of our membership love the fishing that is on offer and to let a fool such as Mr Xxxxx anywhere near the reins would be piscatorial suicide! Now tied in with our AGM is the clubs heavy Pike cup which ends on AGM day every year and this year is no different. The current leader Scott Redpath will be crowned Pike Champion of 2016 if no one betters his current fish of 21lbs 9oz by Wednesday the 19th of this month. There is not much time left if you are looking to have your name on our cup, we will accept entries up until midnight on Tuesday the 18th of this month!

Photo 01 - Hellish, the only word to describe yesterday!

Works ahead!

With the Trout anglers now packing away their equipment for another year it is time to set about some of the work needing to be carried out in preparation for the coming year. On top of that list is the renovation of our Lowes boat which was damaged by poor maintenance under the hapless Mr Xxxxx’s tenure. Now there is an access problem in that given the correct water conditions we can float the boat through the channel joining the two lochs we are left with the problem of getting the boat into the boat house.

Complete neglect of management has seen this boat full up with water breaking the joins to our enclosed flotation tanks and these joins need to be redone to maintain the rigidity of the boat. Normally pulling this boat into the boat house was a simple matter often managed by two members but due to the carnage brought about by Mr Xxxxx’s gross incompetence in cutting one of our landing beams in half this is no longer an option, and thanks to him a simple matter has now becomes a major operation!

Either the boat needs to be physically lifted by six to eight members or we need to seek out some other means of sliding the boat into the shed. Beams of aluminium have been suggested, the type found on ladders if they are of sufficient length. If anyone has any ideas how to meet this problem head on give us a shout, again even months after being sacked Mr Xxxxx continues to blight our progress!

From our recommended dealer!

If you have ever toyed with the thought of replacing one of your fixed spool reels with a multiplier then Fishers have a great deal for you. Mike is offering a Penn 525 MAG multiplier at a mind boggling £50.00 off the retail price. If you fancy a change be quick they wont last! Also on offer a great range of quality Salmon flies including the current favourite the “Red Francis” check them out below - http://www.fishersdirect.com/copper-tube---salmon-flies-196-c.asp

The wider world in my view!

Welcome news!

You would be forgiven if when watching the news between Trump and Clinton and Theresa May and Brexit you thought you had tuned in to a fantasy horror or zany comedic show by mistake! The former duo is a joke but not one that will deliver laughs rather a sinister feeling of complete foreboding! The choice for the most powerful person in the world is between a first class bigoted bampot and a sleazy and corrupt liar! We however can only stand by and wait to see what the people of America deliver!

The equivalent farce in this country is Theresa May and the upcoming hard Brexit over which she seems to have no influence or indeed the timetable or direction of that exit from the EU! Its a matter of great concern to anyone other than a hard right wing Tory! The pound is crashing and a recession looms on the horizon!

The smart money says that we need to be out of this circus and quick, Sturgeon has the right idea of keeping Scotland in the single market! So many jobs in Scotland depend on the EU to leave would be catastrophic for every one of us. It is clear Theresa May is but a puppet being worked by the hard right and her level of autonomy is nil!

I don’t know of too many Scots who would be comfortable with the rhetoric coming from the ultra right zealots who now seem to control the Tory party A second referendum is the news we have been waiting for even though it may take a couple of years to achieve. The pointers for success are there with more and more of the frightened elderly departing; the aspirational young are taking their place and opting for a new future as an independent nation fully committed to the EU!

Lord Snooty left the country in a mess and unbelievably it’s now a damn sight worse! There is no salvation staying in the UK, we would face one crisis after another as is currently the case.  Sturgeon should forget about trying to get a single market deal for the UK it won’t happen, and ultimately its time wasted! Only a quick second referendum will have the desired effect. Under Ms May the country is being plunged into chaos and no one knows exactly where we are headed, all we know is that all the pointers are facing downwards! Prepare yourself for tough times ahead!

Ultimately Lord Snooty is responsible for this calamity, rather fitting then he was judged as the second worst Prime Minister of all time with only Anthony Eden being worse!


Sunday, 9 October 2016

AGM delayed!

Photo 01 - Visiting angler with a fine 7lbs Pike!

AGM delayed!

Now delaying an AGM is not a usual procedure for a club to take but the executive committee met this week and felt there was no option but to postpone it until next year. Naturally only extraordinary circumstances would trigger such a move but those are exactly the circumstances we are currently experiencing!

As usual these days it is the pestilent Mr Xxxxx who plagues us, even in his absence he causes carnage. Not content with costing the club huge amounts of money during his tenure he now blights the progress of the club from the sidelines. The AGM is the forum for club members to express their opinions and direct the committee for the coming year.

The difficulty we have is that we do not know who the club members are as Mr Xxxxx still holds our database! Yes we have almost certainly got the details of all the new members but we do not know last year’s drop outs so are still significantly in the dark as regards who the members are.

This being the case anyone friendly with Mr Xxxxx could obtain a membership card and attend our AGM and we would be unable to verify their membership! Barring entry to any that we do not know would be inappropriate as we may prevent bona fide members who we have not yet met from attending their meeting!

The only proper course of action to be taken is to postpone the AGM until issuing of memberships for 2017 has been completed. By taking such a measure anyone who does not appear on our up to date database as a paid or approved honorary member will not be admitted to the AGM, with no exceptions! It will also give us an opportunity to review the membership to see if any or Mr Xxxxx’s admissions were inappropriate!

We can but apologise for this action but as we are sure you will see the action is appropriate and in keeping with the ethos of the club in acting with fairness and propriety! It is vital that members have their say, but we owe it to members to be certain that the members attending are in fact members! With the current situation we cannot guarantee this would be the case!

To facilitate a quick return to normality we would ask that all renewals take place in January so that by the end of that month with all the renewals in we can select a suitable day for the AGM. This is yet another result of Mr Xxxxx’s shameful legacy and as the weeks roll by even more anglers are keen to meet him! Although he remains in hiding if you do encounter him, please do ask him to explain his increasingly bizarre, childlike and spiteful behaviour!

Photo 02 - Yesterday, you would think it's midsummer!

The season ends!

Well that’s it for another year as our Brown Trout make the necessary moves to produce the next generation that will provide our sport in coming years. The season has been a decent one with a good number of heavier specimens being recorded. What is becoming increasingly clear is that anglers are now choosing to return any Trout caught. However any angler choosing to retain a Trout for the pot should do so in the confidence that the loch can cope with the loss of some Trout!

The heavy Trout cup this year is again being taken to Motherwell in the safe custody of our treasurer Elliot Fraser who recorded a three and a half pound stonker! I think we could now strike a deal with our engravers for a discount as we have the cup engraved with his name in advance for the next ten years! Well done Elliot!

A councillor calls!

I received a call from local councillor Vicky Davidson to ask if we had made any decision regarding appointing a new lochkeeper who they would like to help them out with managing the Cafe Green! Of course we had not yet arrived at a decision and I told her that we had yet to make a decision.  The view of the membership was that in light of Mr Xxxxx’s catastrophic, shambolic and vitriolic tenure it would be unlikely that we would seek to appoint another lochkeeper!

As I said last week the problem has arisen due to brutal cutbacks in public spending made by the Tories. If this funding is not restored and it is highly unlikely, the situation will remain for the most part unaddressed. Any “solution “proposed that does not encompass the restoration of funding will be a piecemeal solution which for one of many reasons will fail!

The only way progress towards a solution could be attained is to move to 24 hour CCTV surveillance which whilst not moving to immediate rectification of any developing problems will at least facilitate tracking down and dealing with those responsible. If this is coupled with obvious signage stating that recording is taking place perhaps those prone to developing Muppet like behaviour with the aid of Buckfast and some white powders will think twice about embarking on a destructive path knowing that they are being filmed and will be tracked down to face the music! 

This issue has been on the table for many years with no solution apparent, maybe it's now time to actually do something!
The above would not cost a fortune and it might just work, I cannot for the life of me think why it has not been tried!

The wider world in my view!

For Tory read UKIP extreme!

Who would have thought mild mannered Theresa May whose bungling regarding immigration figures sees her catapulted into the Tory hall of shame would have come out with the hateful rhetoric churned out at the Tory conference! This party seems only content when demonifying one group or other.

Yes the hateful tripe first uttered by new home secretary Amber Dudd asks employers to name all foreign workers in their employ and a name and shame culture initiated! Listening to the former “remain” campaigner you might have thought you were listening to a translation of Hitler’s Mein Kampf!  Oh they may bang on about the government that works for everyone but they have given the game away with their xenophobic hate speeches revealing their true nature and ambitions!

Right wing Ukippers have been lining up to praise the Tories, Dudd’s speech in particular coming across in a fashion right up their street! It will become a shameful point in the country’s history! Every hardworking immigrant must be quaking in their shoes wondering just how far these zealots will go! People who work hard and benefit the country greatly face being devalued and singled out as hate figures as the hateful rhetoric spreads!

I think now there is no prospect of re entering the EU for how many of our allies would want to be associated with their hateful ideas! A shocked Amber Dudd was forced into a series of interviews once a surprised press got hold of the story. Her protestations that the policy might not be adopted as policy proved to be ineffective.
It seems with Tories you have either extreme right wing fanatics (the current lot) or clueless, directionless fools (the last lot). The unfortunate outcome however in each case is that the ordinary working class person is hamstrung in every case. The future does not look at all rosy!


Sunday, 2 October 2016

The club Annual General Meeting!


Photo 01 - Nice October day yesterday!

The Club Annual General Meeting!

We have scheduled our AGM for 2016 to be held on Wednesday the 19th of October starting at 19.00.hrs at the Tibbie Shiels Inn. Now this will probably be a landmark meeting in that a couple of topics will have never before graced a club agenda.  The items already tabled for the meeting are-

(1) The further action to be taken to secure our property being held by our ex loch keeper.
(2) Whether to try and retain a loch keeper or move forward with the lochs being entirely policed by members and/or local agents as is currently the case.
(3) The future use of our outboard engines.

There are of course the usual standing orders but if any member would like any item added to the agenda please write in at least seven days before the actual meeting on the 19th October.

Filling out the above three topics the discussion around item one will be whether we should take legal action against Mr Xxxxx regarding the non return of club property despite us creating opportunities for him to do so! It is possible that we are due Mr Xxxxx monies it is however unlikely that Mr Xxxxx is due the club money due to his no show in the six months prior to his sacking.

The decision for members is to weigh up whether we leave the matter where it currently stands or seek the full return of our property by legal means. It is thought that he currently holds the club high power spotlight, four two way radio’s kindly donated by a club member, my Samsung Galaxy ace phone, the clubs pay in book and a book of club permits the serial numbers of which we hold so we will be able to identify any unauthorised use.

Over the last six months the club has moved forward very nicely, indeed beyond our expectations taking excellent revenue and securing a degree of permit compliance never before attained! Through our five agents (yet another was added yesterday) we are securing compliance with the protection order and building up once again a reputation for a tightly run ship!

So all this without a loch keeper, it certainly opens up the prospect of operating without one! Some fine tuning will be required to smooth the workings which at times have been a bit wobbly, but my own view is that this system has many advantages and once optimised will have great benefits for the club!  We would need to widen the remit of our current agents and with a little reorganisation and tweaking the hiring of boats by members and visitors would become a straightforward matter!

There possibly would be a very small degree of member participation in overseeing the system but input will be minimal and possibly not even required! We believe we now have a system of operation that would allow members to come and fish without taking on any extra responsibilities! Our stationary outlets for permit sales will continue to be The Glen Cafe, The Tibbie Shiels Inn, The Gordon Arms hotel and Fishers in Penicuik.

We have already touched on the subject of our engines in previous articles and whether or not it is pertinent to seek to continue to hire them out. Clearly without a lochkeeper this would cause inconvenience to some members or our agents in committing to carry this out! The first thing to note is that hiring out these engines does not secure great amounts of money for the club in fact factoring in reoairs they probably cost us money. Our sole intention when we commissioned these engines was to offer them as a service to members and visitors!

I feel the situation is that if we retain the services of a lochkeeper it would be feasible to continue to offer them as a service to members and visitors whereas if we dispense with the services of a lochkeeper hiring them out would become problematic. With the latter scenario there is a possibility that we could make the engines (electric & petrol) available to members free of charge if they bring their own petrol or batteries.

Therefore at the meeting we would like to seek views and direction from the membership as to which route we should take. The above gives some idea of the debate to be considered, but under no circumstances should we embark on the route proffered by Mr Xxxxx that of maximising revenue gathering at all costs. Uppermost in our minds must be the fact that we are dealing here with a wild fishery and conservation of our stocks must be our guiding principle! We have shown how we can increase revenue without endangering our fish stocks. Please come along on the 19th and have your say you will be most welcome whatever your view!

Lochkeeper!

Yesterday Elliot Fraser and me went on a tour of the loch's and met up with the chap who expressed interest in our vacancy,  that of lochkeeper on the lochs.  He is still interested in the position but cannot at this time commit to us fully only being able to work odd weeks as he has much work to deal with in Yorkshire! Of course this situation is not one that would benefit us and we have rejected this scenario. He hopes to be fully committed to the area around April 2017 which is a long way off for us! Hopefully after our AGM we will have the direction to take from our membership and then it will be clear whether or not we require a loch keeper!

Incidentally we also broached the subject of the Cafe Green Warden proposed by the action group who were formed to tackle the subject of maintaining order on the green. Unsurprisingly he has concerns around dealing with rowdy groups fuelled by drugs or alcohol. He has concerns around the level of payment, the apparent lack of training and the lack of authority he would have. This of course is out with our sphere and we have asked that he speak directly to the group regarding his concerns.

The wider world in my view!

Remain calm!

Many in the country might have been geed up by the announcement by Theresa May that those on long term disability payments will no longer have to undergo the demeaning assessments currently required as frequently as every three months! This measure implemented by ace bunglers Lord Snooty and cocaine snorting Gideon Osborne was a completely ridiculous measure brought about by the hooray Henry’s who wanted to punish those who through no fault of their own were unable to work!

Now Ms May wants her new government to be seen as the government that benefits all rather than one which seeks to reward the privileged few! It’s a great sound byte but we need to be clear here that this has come from a Tory government! The move is indeed a laudable one but the assessments for these people whose health is bound to deteriorate as time goes on! Only a hard hearted government (the definition of a Tory government) could even have considered such draconian measures!

It will be interesting to see the detail behind the grand statement as with most Tory statements the devil is in the detail! Remember that the benefits system has been twisted and corrupted to an extent that makes millions of poor people worse off and this one move will do little to rectify that! A holistic view of the benefits system is what is called for where claimants are treated as people not as leeches on society! I doubt very much that there will be significant change these are blue nosed Tories and the saying with an old dog and new tricks apply!