Sunday, 17 September 2017

Sensible advice!

Photo 01 - to member David Shotton this will indeed be a memorable Pike, his first one from the loch, well done mate!

Sensible advice!

It happens every year without fail, a boat gets abandoned and left for one of us to retrieve! And true to form it happened last week. There was a decent breeze which as usual worsens as you near the regulator and as such the two anglers hiring a Lomond boat were told not to venture past the Megget burn outflow.

Instead of heading towards the Tibbie they headed downwards and were seen at the regulator. All appeared well then the wind began to strengthen and it was clear there was a problem with the pair making very slow progress  up the roadside. They abandoned the boat at the village hall and our lochkeeper had to run them back to the boathouse.

They were exhausted and shaken but at least had the sense to crawl up the margins rather than tackling open water. Now when our lochkeeper says do not go down to the bottom of the loch she says that with good reason. Unlike some of the small ponds in the area St Mary’s has the potential to be a very dangerous and life threatening loch in wild conditions! Please follow the advice given to you, the above anglers had their pride dented it could have been so much worse!

Thanks to Elliot Fraser who went down on Wednesday evening and collected the abandoned boat and still managed to tempt a couple of Brownies just under a pound each!

Cafe Green meeting!

I went up to the meeting about the Cafe Green on Tuesday evening. It was a well attended meeting that was to encompass a lot more than the problems of the Cafe Green. The main thrust of the meeting was to agree a strategy for going forward for the management of the whole area. 

Representatives of the police and council were present.
Various recollections of past incidents were presented to the meeting and it quickly became clear there was an underlying thrust towards appointing a “warden” for the area to police the area at busy weekends. It quickly became clear that other viewpoints would receive little attention.

Of course our CCTV camera is now in operation but the use of this it seems did not receive the backing of the police representatives present at the meeting. The problem was that our camera was on Tibbie land looking on to a public place and might contravene the data protection act. The following is an extract from the act that covers looking on to the land of others.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its judgment in the case of RyneŇ° on 11 December 2014. In this judgment, the CJEU concluded that where a fixed surveillance camera faces outwards from an individual’s private domestic property and it captures images of individuals beyond the boundaries of their property, particularly where it monitors a public space, the recording cannot be considered as being for a purely personal or household purpose. This means that cameras attached to a private individual’s home may, in certain circumstances, no longer be exempt from the requirements of the DPA under section 36. Those circumstances are likely to include where the camera monitors any area beyond the interior and exterior limits of that individual’s home. This would include any camera to the extent that it covered, even partially, a public space such as the pavement or street. It would also cover cameras which captured areas such as neighbours’ gardens. This decision does not mean that using such a camera is not possible but it does mean that individuals will have to ensure that its use is legitimate under the DPA. The CJEU made clear that use of cameras to protect a property in this way can meet the legitimate interest condition in the legislation. The ICO has produced a short complementary piece of guidance for the public on how to ensure the use of a surveillance camera on a private domestic property complies with the DPA

So if the end cause is a legitimate one there is no barrier to such usage! Of course the usage of the camera is to pick up any untoward behaviour and any other recording captured will be deleted on review.
The police in particular seem none too keen on our camera saying it only gives 2 dimensional evidence. Now there was a proposal for the new “warden” to be equipped with a body cam which would be more two dimensional evidence! The suspected bomber in the recent tube train bombing attempt was identified by a two dimensional camera!

Now if a serious assault occurred on the green I wonder if the police would want to see our two dimensional footage to establish the facts in the matter?  Our camera is rolling and will continue to do so!  When attempting to detect crime you can never have too much evidence! It is now commonplace for police to call for mobile phone footage when they are struggling to progress a case. Dash cams on cars are now everywhere as insurance companies can resolve a claim in one fell swoop! Yes two dimensional evidence is ubiquitous!

The outcome of the meeting was that a warden should be sought to work summer hours telling people how to dispose of litter and trying to instil in people a sense of responsibility towards the countryside. More litter bins should be sought and the 30p per visit toilets should revert to being free. New signage should be implemented to try and reinforce the message that all visitors should behave in a responsible manner.

The low point of the meeting was the attitude of the police in seeming to try and push responsibility on to others to camouflage the number of times they for whatever reason cannot attend to any incident at the loch. They said the area is low priority which most people appeared to accept but when a call was made that call was invariably about something rather more serious!

We all know this inept Tory government has slashed police budgets and what has happened at the loch in the recent past can be attributed to that very action. I had a concern about the personal safety aspect of a “warden” confronting some of the crazed individuals who occasional populate the Cafe Green and the officer stated that appropriate training would be given to the individual appointed.

The meeting ended with a vote on the adoption of a “warden” resulted in my voting against the motion and the rest of the meeting voting for the said adoption. My opposition was quite clear, why waste thousands on paying an individual to try and achieve the desired outcome when our camera already paid for will survey the area day and night without placing anyone in a dangerous situation.

Irrespective of any training or personal skill that individual will be placed in a position of potential harm as has already happened with a local resident! That individual carries no additional authority over any member of the public! Now it’s all very well engaging in welcoming discussion with visitors impressing upon them the need to take their litter home, not to drink too much and keep music levels to a sensible level!

The problem is that the sensible type of visitor who populate the green already do behave responsibly and it is only the small percentage of Muppet types that cause the problems.  Speaking from personal experience these people do not listen to guiding words and have no qualms about resorting to violence and this is where a police intervention is required.

By all means employ a “warden” but believe me it will have no effect on the shenanigans of these hardened Muppet types! Violence in the past has occurred at night, in the early morning hours, where will this “warden” be then? Our camera will be there day and night! The break in at the Cafe a few years back would have been captured by our camera. The community council will do what it thinks is best and we will do what we think is best!

The wider world in my view!

Further into the mire if that's possible!

It is my desperate wish to say that at last things are getting better but the converse is true! At home Brexit is turning even more bizarre as our weak and incompetent government flounders failing to grasp the essentials of the negotiations! To complicate matters and further weaken our position prize buffoon Boris Johnston has revived the biggest political lie ever, that Brexit will gain us £350 million/week!

This absolute fool of a man is spreading lies and false hope enraging our brothers in Europe with whom we are trying to get an amicable deal!  Putting his own interest ahead of the country’s he is trying to gain the support of the many hard Brexiteers before he launches a bid to topple Theresa Mayhem! He has today been rebuked by the National Office of Statistics for the use of this false figure something Theresa Mayhem would like to do but is too weak to do so!

Theresa Mayhem will likely bang a few more nails in her own coffin when she heads off to Florence to address EU leaders!  Wishful thinking and pure fantasy will be the main thrusts of what will surely be a disastrous speech! On the political front the country is in complete chaos and believe me it will only get worse!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Cafe Green!

 Photo 01 - The Red Admirals.

The Cafe Green!

It’s now an annual event, the discussions over the cafe green and how to deal with the loutish behaviour which although decreased is still there. The area is owned by the estate but leased by the council who also provide toilet facilities. There have been many suggestions as to how best to manage this area but very little action implemented!

Photo 02 - This crevice seems to be the focus of their attention!

The only positive action was implemented by Alastair Moody of the Tibbie Shiels and supported by a £100.00 donation by our club in erecting a CCTV camera to record all that takes place. The camera is not officially live until we can sort out the legalities of CCTV recording such as warning signage.
Now I have witnessed over the years many instances of outrageous behaviour and believe me when things are kicking off this is no place for an ordinary member of the public!

I was astounded when I heard of a proposal for a country warden to be appointed to police such disturbances! I am none too sure as to who proposed this but to put a member of the public with no authority into such a position is the height of irresponsibility! What can a member of the public achieve – absolutely nothing!

Worse than that there is a great potential for personal injury and we don’t want to see anyone put into this position! We pay taxes for the police to deal with these situations and they must carry out this function! I am not without sympathy for the increasingly tight situation the police are being put in by our incompetent political masters in Westminster seeing the operating budgets slashed time after time by an administration that hasn't a clue!

Yes they are the real culprits as they systematically dismantle our state. The police themselves point the finger at the Westminster dimwits ruled by ideology and not a care for people! If there is a fracas on the green and an angler is involved we will call the police immediately and with the aid of CCTV footage we will press for charges to be made.

Under no circumstances will we allow our loch keeper to become involved in this farce, we have issued instructions that if a situation looks like becoming overheated then withdrawal is the only safe thing to do and then a decision will be taken as whether or not to involve the police!

Of course everything hinges on a prompt police response something that has been lacking on several occasions in the past but at least now there will be recorded evidence to view to aid tracking down the offenders! I will attend this meeting on Tuesday evening and report next week on any progress made or otherwise! Here’s hoping a line can be drawn under this subject!

Red Admirals!

For the last two weeks we have noted numbers of these butterflies congregating round our boathouse tree to the exclusion of all others in the near vicinity. Occasionally upwards of a dozen can be present but as usual when you want a photo they clear out. We think they might be getting some kind of sweet sap from the crevice shown in photo 02. If you know what they might be doing give us a shout!

The end is near!

With the year scurrying along we yet again near the end of another fishing season. The legal Brown Trout season will end on the 6th of October. Many Trout clubs wind up at the end of September but our anglers like the extra week before the tackle is put away. This year has seen some cracking Brown Trout with currently the heaviest being Stuart Sutherlands 6lbs Brownie .

If ever a stock photo of a Brown Trout was sought then his one is picture perfect! If it holds out until the 6th it will be a fitting winner! But there are still opportunities to try and beat Stuarts fish so get that line in the water. On the Pike front the timescale is a little longer with the season ending on the last day of October.

This end to the season is only for our competition for the heaviest Pike anglers can of course fish all year round for our Pike. Currently ace angler Davy Forsyth holds the heaviest of the season with a corker of 21lbs 9oz. A few anglers have come close to catching him but not quite managing to overtake him.

Of course now the heavies are patrolling and putting on weight by the day so there is a real chance of nipping in front of Davy. The big ones of course are females laden with ever increasing numbers of eggs so great care must be taken as they carry the seed of our future sport! The message is simple there is ample time to climb into our club records so get your lines in the water!

Great buy!

It is often said that nothing beats a personal recommendation and on a tip from Gordon McClurg I purchased a pair of fleece lined cargo trousers. They are very good warm, light and have loads of pockets with some zipped for security. Thanks to his tip 5 further pairs are being ordered by various members! Cheers Gordon top tip!  

The wider world in my view!

Succinctly, a disaster!

Its official but I am afraid I do not agree with it, Theresa May has nudged ahead of Lord Snooty as the worst British Prime Minister ever! Given the short time she has been Prime Minister and the short time she has left this is an astounding feat! Her concentrated bungling has led to the rest of the world viewing us as a nation of weak individuals unable to elect a competent government!
Now the backbone of the Tory party those who pump money in to keep the party from imploding have sent out warnings. Lord Kerr a blue nosed Tory if ever there was one has branded May as a hopeless leader leading a weak and fragmented party! Citing he many interventions and U turns as stupid he said a Tony Blair type Labour government would be much better!

Perhaps the best example of these absolute bunglers is the Brexit team who turn up for meetings unprepared and seem to have no understanding of how to conduct negotiations. They issue vague and woolly papers which when dissected contain nothing but flannel! They say negotiations are going well when they have achieved absolutely nothing other than embarrassing our nation!

With the recent calamitous weather experienced in the Virgin Islands the population could have expected prompt aid from the British government since it had been forecast many days earlier. But what happened is probably what you would predict from such lame duck administration! Yes in the aftermath of what was sheer devastation the leaders of the foreign office were decidedly silent! The two mouthpieces in charge Boris Johnston and Priti Patel were as usual caught napping taking 3 days to get help underway!Hell Venezuela evacuated half the population of one of the islands before Boris knew that he'd fluffed it again!Just tune into the national news to see how the clowns let these british citizens down!

Behind the scenes whilst the public's attention is focused on the many disasters created by this administration Jeremy Hunt the chump in charge of the NHS in England quietly backtracked on privatising the NHSP an agency that provides emergency cover to hospital and saves upwards of £75 million for the taxpayer. Yes when their dealings were rumbled they rapidly backtracked proving they are completely untrustworthy!

A terrifying situation in world affairs makes this the most serious situation since the Second World War! North Korea is on the brink of war with the US whilst Russia and China are moving strategic groups of troops and armaments to counter possible US aggression. The response from Michael Fallon that buffoon in charge of our defence is to beat his chest and flex the might of British military capability!

This fool full of nostalgia for the days when Britain subdued all before it thinks we are still a mighty military power is completely removed from reality! We urgently need to persuade agressors such as Trump that military conflict will have catastrophic consequences for all the countries of the world!
Brexit is what currently consumes us as a country and with good reason the latest forecast states that families could expect to be around £50.00/week worse off post negotiation is likely optimistic! The Brexit negotiations are a disaster, This government is a complete disaster and our future looks like being a disaster of unheard proportions!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

The clock is ticking!

Photo 01 - Meg keeps a lookout for trouble!

The clock is ticking!

Yesterday Gordon, me and his ever faithful companion Meg set off around the loch to have a bash at trolling. It was a super bright day which ensured that if nothing was doing at least we would increase our vitamin D levels which I am sure will be low due to absence of sunlight during what we called a summer!

Flies were aplenty but rising Trout were scarce with only a couple spotted over the day. Undeterred we set off trying to trigger the aggressive response by means of a small Toby Gordon on copper and me on silver. The fireweed has just reached its peak with the gentle breeze raising clouds of seedlings close to the bank.

A mother Mallard duck was shepherding her clutch of five away from our boat just reiterating the glory of Mother Nature. These mother ducks are actresses of the highest order. A few weeks earlier whilst on the troll with Elliot he headed towards the ducks at speed but before we got close to them the mother veered away from her brood slapping the water with her wing feigning a broken wing to entice us away from her young, a mother in any species will vigorously defend her young!

A couple of hours later we had not a bite but there were no long faces here! We passed many members all of who were enjoying themselves fish or no fish, anglers in the true sense of the word capable indeed intent on enjoying the beauty without desecrating the countryside as seems the way with the Muppets that visit!

The weed beds below have now reached their height poking through the surface film before the die back begins, the first yellow leaves float gently on the wave heralding the next batch of nutrients destined to decompose on the loch bed. Soon all species will gorge themselves and secure reserves for the barren season that awaits and the loch will enter a new phase.

The summer such as it was is now recorded history as the natural world prepares for harsher conditions. Brown Trout hunters realise that their time is coming to an end, whilst those seeking Pike know the heavy girls are on the horizon!  Its a case of once more as another season passes and unfortunately once less as another year is deducted from our allotted time!

Time moves on without impediment for all of us, the clock is ticking! It is vital therefore that we squeeze the positives out of every day! Gordon had a knock on the copper Toby whilst my silver one remained unmolested! A day wasted? Not on your life, with Mother Nature all around us and great company what more could you ask for!

Photo 02 - A good day yesterday!

The end of an era!

Now Hawick angling club has always been one of the largest in the area and the only one as far as  I am aware to have a licensed social club. I have only ever been in the premises three times but you could always be sure you would encounter another angler and have a good blether.

Well one of my colleagues told me recently the club serves alcohol for the last time tonight. They needed to find volunteers to man the bar to keep costs down and only one person came forward! So the High Street presence ends and we are all poorer! As a final flourish the members only club are selling pints to members tonight for two pence per pint. A great gesture marking the end of an era!

Correction- Allan Walker one of our members mailed me to say that we did not get the above item right. It seems there were a few volunteers but not enough to run the facility properly, and the beer on sale on Sunday evening was sold for £2.00/pint not 2 pence as we reported. Thanks Allan.

The wider world in my view!

An absolute farce!

Whenever there is a report on the Brexit negotiations you think it couldn’t possibly get any worse and yet in every case it does! Surely David Davies is not the best negotiator we have got, a table banger who seems unprepared for every session. Yes if we as a country had a reputation that was on the positive side of average then that is now gone!
What our lame duck Prime Minister and the rest of the pro Brexit clowns do not seem to appreciate is that when we leave (God forbid) the EU there will be many very negative consequences and the benefits of EU membership will no longer be available! When you leave a club the benefits of that club membership are no longer open to you!

They are claiming they are being blackmailed by the EU which is utter poppycock! These fools signed up and agreed to the order of business and now they do not seem to like what is taking place as the consequences become clear! I can’t remember a time when my faith in British politicians was this low! The incompetence of the British negotiating team is quite simply staggering!
As Barnier put it they are not only cherry picking they want all the cherry pie as well! Their performance is excruciatingly embarrassing and that chump Davies is proclaiming in the US that after Brexit Britain will once again lead the world! This whole Brexit fiasco started badly and everyone thought things could only get better!

It has descended to a new low depth previously unimaginable we are the laughing stock of the world and to think we are paying two billion pounds to watch this B rated pantomime! Believe me this will get much worse as the general public see the consequences of the erroneous decision to go for Brexit!

My generation will endure the catastrophic drop in living standards that beckons but for those who come later the outlook is dire! I cannot recall an instance of greater self harm in the past, we are being led by directionless fools dizzy with the masses of U turns they have carried out intent on reliving the days of empire! The reality is however we are a small increasingly insignificant nation of shopkeepers only able to curry favour with bampots like Trump! A small band of Scots elected these diddy’s, how they now must rue that fateful day!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

A job well done!

Photo 01 - Halfway done!

A job well done!

As we mentioned last week Davy and Rab had elected to take on the tedious but necessary task of removing the thick carpet of moss that accumulates on the roof of our boathouse particularly on the west side. When we arrived they had the ladders out and were gathering the necessary tools required to carry out the work.

After a blether mostly focused on what Davy had caught during the week which incidentally included an eighteen pounder and a fifteen pounder using a couple of new lures, no secret, just time put in and diligence in his endeavours! After looking at the photos we decided there was nothing for it but to set about the task in hand.

Now we have a couple of handmade bespoke tools with the teeth cut out to match the ridges and furrows of the asbestos sheeting  with one on a pole and the other much shorter hand held. Unfortunately whilst the tools had the correct contours on some parts of the rood on others they just slid along the top of the heavy carpet of moss.

So it was do what we can with the tools and augment this with the most tiresome procedure of removing the moss with paint scrapers. Luckily at this point Davie and Stuart appeared and helped ease the workload. With all of us on the roof another problem reared its head and that was once the damp moss was removed the roof was transformed into an ice rink!

Yes we were sliding all over the place and safety became a major concern however with no readily to hand solution we proceeded gingerly! These little scrapers took a toll on our hands with cuts and bruises everywhere, but after 4 hours the job was done and although it was tough going the end result was well worth it!

We were battle weary, soaked through and absolutely black and we took a decision to postpone the spraying until the roof was completely dry. Thanks to Davie and Stuart for their timely intervention which prevented thanatoid thoughts and extra special thanks to Davy and Rab for seeing the task through from planning to completion, all valued members of the club!
Photo 02 - The job done!

Good communication!

This weekend of course sees the sailing club holding their annual Regatta and they were kind enough to inform us that the event would be taking place and that sensitivity would be employed in course planning. Well today I received a call from their commodore Gerry Ailsa saying that due to a change in wind direction they would again be operating in the vicinity of our boathouse.
He stressed however that they would have the marker as far out as possible but thought it best to inform us of the new situation. As of next season we will receive a timetable card highlighting the various events so all our anglers can see what is taking place, this will appear in the boathouse and on the web so anglers can better plan their days. Now that’s what I call good communication!

Interestingly during a conversation with Gerry he said that the sailing club have also had troubles with canoeists!

More Gear!

Every now and then we encounter an angler who has come away without his gear and of course that’s a problem as most visitors even members live a good way from the loch. Over the years we have built up a collection of tackle items kindly donated by our members. We have various rods and reels, wire traces, flies and the latest additions kindly donated by Gordon McClurg are a brand new landing net and a very sturdy professionally made wading stick!

Now our stock has increased all members should be aware of this last chance safety net just see Jenny oh and Thanks Gordon!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Late news!

The sailing club have informed us of their annual regatta to be held on St Mary's loch on the 26th and 27th of August that's the weekend coming. Now this should not give us any problems but if you see large yellow buoys be advised that sailing craft will be whizzing round these. They will mostly be on the bottom part of the loch so you may want to fish the top half of the loch or why not try the wee loch!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Of Brown Trout and curios!

Photo 01 - A swell day looking towards Rodono!

Of Trout and curios!

Anyone looking over St Mary’s loch in contemplative mood must surely wonder what lurks below the surface! Over the years we have slowly uncovered just what the loch holds for us anglers and the many curious onlookers. Look at the clubs gallery over on the main site and you will see a feast of heavy fish from over the years!

The recent run of heavy Trout is nothing new heavy, specimens have appeared over the years culminating in the famous Trout called Matilda which was first caught by Les Henderson at 6lbs 10oz and appeared in all the papers and Border TV. What was special about her was her ability to pack on weight at a great rate!

She was first caught in October 2008 by Les and numerous captures over the following year saw her weight rocket up to 8lbs 4oz at her last recorded capture. In between she had been caught three times by me a further time by Les and two captures by other anglers. The last recorded weight of 8lbs 4oz fell to Ian Lambert from Ayrshire (he beat me by 2oz!) and after this only vague reports of her capture were heard until she disappeared.

Her disappearance was probably down to someone killing her for the pot which was a crying shame as she was the second heaviest Brown Trout caught on St Mary's loch according to reliable records but that's how it goes, the good news is that the recent ones were all returned! Heavy Trout are ever present in the lochs and if one is not caught in a season it is simply because anglers had been unable to tempt one.

More general items found have been numerous artillery shell cases often around the Bowerhope area which was apparently used as a firing range around WW2. The story goes that unwanted armaments were rowed out to the middle of the loch opposite Bowerhope and the cache tipped into the deeper part of the loch. So if you see a huge water spout when fishing your anchor has probably pulled the pin out of a discarded grenade!

The old Model T Ford which sunk on the ice in front of Rodono brings divers every year to try and find a memento but as far as I am aware nothing has been found! Bottles have obviously been thrown into the loch for hundreds of years as people enjoyed the tranquility of the placeand we have a nice collection in the boathouse dating back to the 1880s. Bottle divers have taken many examples over the years.
An old tractor was apparently driven/pushed on to the frozen loch in the 1930s which sunk without trace never having been seen since. We have retrieved ladders probably from sailing boats, fishing brollies chairs rods complete with terminal tackle, old cast iron mill wheels and general rubbish. 

The lochs undoubtedly hold many curiosities many of which are as yet unknown and maybe some that are best left unknown!

Photo 02 - just before the downpour!

Moss removal!

I mentioned last week that Davy Forsyth and mate Rab were going to start removing the moss from the boathouse roof which has really become thick over the last few years. Acting like a sponge it puts an unwanted weight on the roof of the boathouse. They are coming at 08.30 on Saturday and anyone free to lend a hand will be more than welcome.

Bloody awful!

The so called summer season is coming to an end looking back it's not been a great one by any means. I was out with Elliot Fraser trolling on the boat yesterday and it was only by the occasional glance at my phone that I was reminded it was August and not November!  With near gale force winds, huge swell, white horses, torrential showers and dropping temperatures when the sun disappeared I was convinced it was winter! In their eternal optimism many are saying an Indian summer is coming, pray to your god that they are correct!

Sunday, 13 August 2017


Photo 01 - Member Barry Leslie with a corker caught yesterday!


We recently met the sailing club over an incident involving a high powered craft and then numerous small boats crossing my baits effectively ending my days fishing somewhat prematurely. The salient point however was that we were able to move forward with both sides content after an adult discussion between our two clubs.

This is not possible with canoeists however, they appear randomly anywhere on the loch and do not pay for the privilege, something both the sailors and anglers do! Now I have said this often but the loch is big enough to accommodate all users its just a question of where do the respective groups carry out their activities.

As anglers the loch margins are obviously the most important to us, the very deep water in the middle holds little for us. Therein lies the problem because canoeists now seem to want to claim this space! I've lost count of the number of times a canoeist has crossed my lines (and many other anglers) on two occasions pulling the line from my reels rendering it useless and costing me tens of pounds and lots of time to replace the damaged line!

Anglers cannot move from the loch margins if we are to have any chance of sport and since we pay for this privilege I don’t see why we should!  Should it not be incumbent on all who wish to canoe on the loch to get in touch with us to find out the best way to practice their sport without ruining the sport of others!

The problem here is that there is no focal contact point, local club or association where we can direct our concerns, they all appear to be individuals. People who stop randomly unload the canoe and start paddling! We do not have any kind of problem with canoeists when they practice their hobby in an adult and responsible fashion! Today Les had his fishing ruined by a polite but unaware family of three!

What we would suggest to canoeists is to keep a minimum of 100 metres out from the shore and by doing that it would be unlikely to incur the wrath of the angler who has had his sport ruined! If canoeists were to do this there would once again be harmony on the loch which is the way it should be! With free access to the loch comes responsibility and in that responsibility to other loch users must be the priority that whilst practising their sport they do not impinge on the sport of others!

Boat house roof!

Speaking with Davy Forsyth yesterday I was none too surprised when he showed me a photo of a fifteen pound Pike he caught last week after speaking with me. Well along with mate Rab they said that they were going to remove the moss from the roof without anyone having asked them to do so.

Now that should have surprised me, but it did not! Both the lads are aware that we have certain obligations as part of our lease. The largest part of that obligation is that we must maintain the property in good order! Now most people know that the moss is capable of adsorbing large amounts of water placing an unacceptable amount of weight on the asbestos sheeting!

Of course the asbestos (white) means that extra precautions have to be employed in that our actions must not raise dust so the surface should be damp. It is also easier to remove when damp and we have a custom rake that clears 5 ridges and troughs in one pull.

We have in the past hung copper wire at the top of the roof whereby copper sulphate is formed and washed on to the roof and is supposed to kill and inhibit moss growth. For whatever reason this method did not work so this time we will spray the roof once it has been cleared with peroxide bleach to kill and inhibit future growth. This chemical breaks down on contact with organic matter into harmless compounds.
Yes,  just another two members who are aware of the clubs responsibilities and most importantly are willing to step in and take a proactive stance! Thanks lads!

The date of the moss removal project will be published next week and any member wishing to help out will be more than welcome!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Not always according to plan!

Photo 01 - Davy filling the punt with foam!

Not always according to plan!

I could simply republish last weeks post and it would be a true reflection of yesterday's work. Indeed there has been some progress but its a case of one step forward and two steps back!  All that need to be done was to undo the old oar mounts and replace them with new heavy duty ones necessitating a few holes to be drilled and doing up the fixing bolts!
Firstly all the old bolts with slotted screw heads were seized solid their removal requiring much cursing, blood, sweat and nearly tears! Some bright spark had fitted wooden supports under the rims of one boat (it was me actually eight years ago!!) making one set of new bolts redundant! Boring the new holes proved a most tiresome business with the drill working loose the minute pressure was applieds breaking the record for the time to drill one hole!

However all the new oar mounts are now fitted(loosely) as no one has hands petite enough to get in with a spanner or mole grips. So I will bring a socket set up next week and that will be that! Work on the punt nears completion with both the refurbished parts now bolted together and the air spaces now partially filled with buoyant expanding foam. Using foam instead of air maximises the safety of the crew being virtually unsinkable. We estimate another 8 tins of foam to fully fill all the voids! Aye sometimes things don’t go according to plan.

Thanks to Les Henderson and Davy Forsyth for their help in this work!

Photo 02 - the punt almost done!

Big brother watching!

Working with Davy Forsyth yesterday I tentatively enquired as he had not been seen for a few weeks and he told us that he had been in for an elective operation from which he is recovering well. Naturally we got talking fish and lo and behold the phone came out and a plethora of fish unfolded! He’s been recovering by catching Sea Trout on the Tyne and Pike on the loch!

Lots of jacks on the Lowes have graced his rod, on the big loch he has been getting stuck into some cracking fish! A good number of jacks including Quasimodo (the wee hump backed Pike) which I caught a few months ago and a good few doubles including one scraper twenty and one just short of twenty! His secret, well he puts the time in and is a versatile and competent angler always willing to try something new but that’s all he is saying! One angler said today that we should erect surveillance cameras on the loch but only for security reasons – aye right!

Emulate the lure king!

After trying various combinations Davy Forsyth has finally settled on a combination that covers most situations. For a dependable smooth action reel Davy has gone for a budget Shimano Hyperloop reel which ranges from £12.00 to £22.00 depending on the size you opt for. Sporting features such a vari speed line lay and power roller it is very suitable for lure fishing.

For a rod Davy has opted for the time proven Shakespeare Ugly Stik which uses a mix of graphite and fibre glass giving a small profile blank which is light but powerful. These can be had in various specifications around the £30.00 mark. At the business end Davy uses Shimano power pro braid in 50lbs BS which can be had for around £20.00 for 275 yards. He is currently experimenting with 100lbs fluorocarbon leader for lure fishing. So there you have it direct from the horse's mouth!

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Necessary work!

Photo 01 Beauty of a rainbow caught yesterday!

Necessary work!

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

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

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

Photo 02 - Outer skin of the punt!

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

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

Photo 03 - Inner skin of the punt!

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

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

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

A bit of a mess!

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

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

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

From our recommended dealer!

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

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

Sunday, 23 July 2017

A brother of the angle!

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

A brother of the angle!

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

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

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

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

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

Photo 02 - Both ribs protected!

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

From our recommended dealer!

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

Sunday, 16 July 2017

These are not anglers!

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

These are not anglers!

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

Photo 01A - another view of the damage!

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

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

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

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

Photo 02 - Our returns box- Smashed!

A close shave!

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

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

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

Photo 03 - Davie and Les completing the works!

Ach it’s just a wee job!

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

The wider world in my view!

This is our world!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The spirit of cooperation!!

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

The spirit of cooperation!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Banned No's 2 & 3!

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

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

Dumb animals!

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

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

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

The wider world in my view!

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

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

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

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

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