Nicolas Valentin – the Glasgow Angling Centre Dude!

Nicolas Valentin is an employee of the Glasgow Angling Centre – I have got to admit he is one of the guys that actually changed my mind about the place – I used to stare at the rows of rods through surly eyes and complain at the lack of soul the whole store had!

For those that do not know the GAC is the largest fishing store in Scotland – they started out innocently enough as a wee stall in the infamous Glasgow Barras (a market where you could have your mobile phone stolen off you in around 5 minutes and then have it offered back to you for sale in 10) and then moved into a bigger shop and then into an even bigger store in a retail park. The store is huge with all kinds of tackle for sale with a wide assortment of fly tying materials for just about any crazy concoction you can come up with. I used to complain that the place had no character however over the last few years I have really started to warm to the shed store. Their open days are legendary – fishing celebrity  John Wilson blanked yours truly and my wife insists that I only take cash and no cards.

I always get embarrassed when anyone recognises me and says they like the blog – makes me feel a bit….well stalked if the truth be known – it was not like that in the old days when I failed to put any picture of me on here – now my fishing buddies have cameras which is a good thing really as it drags up the quality of pictures – Nicolas said to me the first time we chatted that my photos were a bit….well….shit.. and I should get a better camera – which I did – my photos remain shit only now I have a more expensive camera – what I really should get is a non water proof camera.

Anyway, Nicolas then told me some cracking spots for Pike so that more than made up for any wounded pride.

I visited the GAC on Wednesday when I was off with the boy – not only did I meet one of my readers Jason I also had a rather interesting chat with Nicolas – he has not only gone and bought himself a kayak but has been cruising up and down the Forth n’ Clyde canal.

Nicolas on his kayak
Nicolas on his kayak

He let me use the above  picture from his Flickr page for the blog – I have a sneaking suspicion he felt sorry for me!

It makes me want to get some kind of boat again – in February of this year I was obsessed with the thought of getting myself some kind of float tube or looking at some of the stuff I had that could be used as one. It turned out that I did not have the time to devote myself to a full on campaign of trying to get a tube – maybe if I had fished more however I just never got around to more than a few hours here and there.

However, Nicolas with his talk of using his kayak on Loch Lomond and on the canal has brought all this back – the thought of bobbing around on the canal searching for toothy beasts (and possibly attacking shoals of roach on the dry fly) fills me with a fair bit of excitement – I mean, who the hell has ever tubed on the canal? I could be a trail blazer – I keep on thinking of the stretches a fair bit outside the city near where the Kelvin starts seeping out its bog – the canal is pretty wide up there and obviously stuffed full of absolutely enormous Pike – I suppose access may be a problem however as long as you found somewhere you could get in and out between the reeds it should not be a problem. I know there is some pretty thick weeds – I do not fancy those horrors  getting tangled up in my legs too much though – Nicolas pointed out it can be quite cold in a float tube – So I suppose I would  be looking for one of those pontoon types to make me glide with just my calf’s and feet in the water.

For me at the moment I reckon a Kayak is out of the question due to there being far too much of the folding stuff involved – so I reckon it will be a pontoon/float tube which works out at around half the cost may be on the cards.

Any of you guys know anyone that tubes in the canal or bizarre places?


  1. SimonGraham · November 8, 2009

    Yeh have know Nic for some time now maybe 2 years.Has been one of my contacts on flickr….small world!

  2. darthwader · November 8, 2009

    Been chucked off the canal for tubing before, just don’t get caught kids!

  3. Alistair · November 8, 2009

    Would be interested to hear who chucked you off? Do they have any legal basis for not letting someone tube the canal?

  4. fishing in scottish waters · November 8, 2009

    as far as i’m aware,you have to ask permission from british waterways to sail any craft on the canal.this probably includes rafts,canoes,float tubes etc etc.
    the canal is classed as private land owned by british waterways.this also includes the towpath i.e you are suppose to even ask for permission to use a bike on the path which you get a permit for lol

  5. mike · November 8, 2009

    I’ve spoken to Nicolas on a few occasions, without knowing his name. You’re right, he’s a very decent chap. Good photographer too, by the looks of it.

  6. darthwader · November 8, 2009

    Hands up everybody who has a permit to fish the canal!!

    Have been ejected from a marina before, apparently because of the proximity of the boats.

  7. Alistair · November 8, 2009

    I always carry a few pounds due to the fact it says “day permits can be bought on the bank” never seen anyone though 🙁

    There must be other places that can be tubed – there are some lovely looking spots between the marina and twechar – how would you get in though?

  8. nicolas valentin · November 8, 2009

    I would never have thought you would have done this to me Alister ,It is all good mate .The stories about kayaking are (watch you might drown )or don’t do it on the canal,you might get a fine ..and so on !kayaking is great ,you can get really close to nature ,very good for your breathing .very exciting too ,loch Lomond never looked so good !Will fish from it very soon and will let you know about the catches if any .Be the best ,Get yourself a float tube (easy to store )and see you again ..

  9. scott · November 8, 2009

    There are plenty of points to get in the water around twechar alistair, we should get a day organised there at some point, could also show you some secret places nearby with toothy beasts.


  10. Sorcerer · November 8, 2009

    fishing..!! awesome fun..
    loved it..

  11. Alistair · November 8, 2009

    Nicolas – 🙂

    Scott – do you still tempt the Pike at this time of year?

  12. dave lindsay · November 8, 2009

    bloody float tubes dont get me started , ive sank a pontton as well , might as well get a kayak just to break that as well LOL

  13. scott · November 8, 2009

    I still get the occasional fish though nowhere near as often as in the warmer months. Im gonna experiment more with sunk lines and really drag the depths this winter though, hopefully it will pay off.

  14. nicolas valentin · November 8, 2009

    Took the kayak further afield to loch long near Arrochar for sea fishing experience .. Got dwarfed by a cargo ship 240 meter long .unbelievable fish yet but learning the new challenge …LOOKING GOOD THOUGH ..

  15. Alistair · November 8, 2009

    Sounds great fun Nicolas – hey – you got a float tube as well?

  16. nicolas valentin · November 8, 2009

    nope !I don’t have one ..the kayak just great..

  17. nicolas valentin · November 8, 2009
    Had a great day fishing on the kayak ,2 really good pike ,both personal best …

  18. nicolas valentin · November 8, 2009
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  20. Ferg · November 8, 2009

    I recently built a folding boat, works a treat and folds flat like a surf board when not in use, can even be stored behind the sofa! Great fun to get out on the water and access those previously inaccessable places. Have also started design/construction of a single-man rowing tube based on a swimming pool rubber ring with a conduit frame on top, think a pike would tow me all over the place though! Definately recommend building your own though, can get the all important tackle storage and beer holders in just the right place 😀

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