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

Canoeists!


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

Canoeists!

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!