Sneaky Bastard!

To be fair the beast was only doing what the beasts do – looking at lunch!

I walked along the Forth n’ Clyde Canal today – my plan was to take some photos of the works that have been carried out on the banks of the Kelvin however I befriended a pensioner who had walked along the Kelvin Walkway and was now lost. Initially I was a bit peeved as I enjoy my wanders (with my number two son strapped to my chest) all on my lonesome however she was a bit of a lost soul stating that she would follow me back to civilization as she was feeling a bit scared. As it was I ended up taking a two hour walk with the women and pointed out just about every pool and enthralled her with many stories of trout being caught. As we parted I pointed her in the direction of Great Western Road instructing her what bus to get. Within 5 minutes  I was regretting leaving her as I suspected she was maybe a little bit wandered – however by this point she would have been down at the bus stop (hopefully) so there was not much else to do.

The sneaky bastard is in this picture..

Grey Heron

That is correct – kicking around in the bushes behind the Heron was a fox which was trying to work out how to get down for some tasty bird action.

Mrs Fox

I am pretty sure when I was growing up there was not this many foxes around – our neighbor has a pet fox that comes to his house every night for its dinner, in fact I reckon that it is not the same fox but a child of the original fox.

Some work was being carried out on the bridge down at Dawshome Park – “Whats up with it”? I asked . “Its falling down” I was told.

Here is hoping it gets fixed eh?

Anyway, this is also your weekly water photo:

Weekly Water Photo 47 of 52

 

So the future – what does it hold?

Tying, lots and lots of fly tying!

Between now and December I need to churn out a couple of dozen flies for a fly swap I foolishly committed myself to on the spur of the moment. It seemed like a good idea at the time however now that I have got to stay up past my bed time to tie the buggers I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, at least it means I will get some back that are actually half decent.

Now – what flies to actually tie up for it? I think my classic “Scruffy Kelvin Olive” will be a contender, I am not going to show you it just now I will wait until I have handed them in before I post pictures in case some other bugger nabs the idea.

Weekly Water Photo 46 of 52

Of course some of you will be laughing into your genetic capes at a couple of dozen flies to be produced in a leisurely month or so as you churn that many out in an hour however considering that I arise at a totally unholy hour in the morning (for the love of God the boys got me up so early the other morning the announcer said good night as he ended his shift) I need to get to my bed at a fairly half decent time.

However, I am committed as it may actually have a side benefit that will allow me to tie flies in relative peace. Anyone that has ever looked at my Amazon Wishlist knows that during the winter months my world gets a little bit on the gray side and I crave the light – well it just so happens my fly tying lamp is equipped with a sunshine light that should burn away all those winter cobwebs leaving me chirpy and smiling – or at least tying flies with a cold beer to accompany the hooks should keep me chirpy anyway.

Weekly Water Photo 45 of 52

It is about 123 days until the trout season opens again – that is potentially 123 days of freezing coldness that will eat at your soul. I have joined a fly swap in the meantime!

Weekly Water Photo 45

This weeks water photo is a lovely pool on the Kelvin – I have had nice trout out of it – they are all away having sex right now hopefully :-)

Bombardier – Bang On! Guide to Fishing

Two favorites – one old and young new.

Rik Mayall is one of the funniest men on earth and have liked him for years. Beer is a new thing for me – most people will be suprised to learn that I have managed to reach the grand old age of 30 something before I have fallen for the amber nectar.

Combine all three and what happens?

 

Celestron Skymaster 15×70 Binocular Review

If you go camping in the wilds for your fishing or if at the end of the day gaze up at the stars in wonder and want to feel a bit closer to them I have just the review for you – a pair of Celestron Skymaster 15 x 70 binoculars which are designed especially for astronomy although you can use them for other stuff too.

I have been wondering how to do a spot of astronomy for a while now, slightly more than a vague interest but less than wanting to get all crazy about it! I actually have been hankering for a telescope for years and decided to have a look around for one that would fit my “young family budget”  however once I started reading about astronomy what it turned out I needed was not a telescope but binoculars. They’re light, durable, easy to use, and seemingly allow you to see objects in the night sky that you just couldn’t see with your own eyes.

So I started hunting around for a pair and it turns out there are a bewildering amount of types and makes of binoculars (just like fishing rods).

Nearly all binoculars will have two numbers written on their casing, like this: ‘8 x 25’ or ‘10 x 42’. The first number is the binoculars’ magnification. This tells you how many times larger an image will appear compared to that seen by the naked eye. A magnification of ‘8 x’ means that the object you observe with binoculars will appear eight times closer than it does in the real world. The second number refers to the objective lens diameter. This is the lens through which light enters the binoculars. The larger this number, the brighter the image in the binoculars will appear. The larger the objective lens diameter, the larger and heavier the binoculars are likely to be.

So my reading took me to a land where I had to choose a pair of binoculars for gazing up at the stars – the advice that people give is to buy a pair of 10 x 50  binoculars as they are the heaviest that someone can get away with before having to buy a tripod – I bought a pair and I duly gazed up at a bright star in the sky and armed with my Android Google Sky Map . I discovered that this was actually not a bright star, it turned out that this was in fact Jupiter. Through my 10 x 50s I could clearly see the moons (4 of them) and this was in my living room gazing through my window.

The neighbors were not amused and there was much rustling of curtains –  however I duly gazed up for a few nights and looked forward to the clear nights of winter so I could go and check out other stuff, for example, Andromeda.

It was around this time that a very nice chap from a company called Idealo got in contact with me after reading about my wishlist a few weeks ago and offered to send me a pair of 15 x 70 Skymasters to review. I must point out that Idealo is not actually a shop but a price comparison website so essentially you type in what you want and then you see what the cheapest price is – they also have a fishing section on Idealo.

Anyway, never one to pass up on free shit a golden opportunity to pass on wisdom to my wonderful readers and as I am an opinionated person with a website I duly accepted.

They arrived in a huge big heavy box and they certainly were bigger than my 10 x 50s

Celestron-SkyMaster-15x70

It then proceeded to rain and be cloudy for a week when they arrived. In the meantime I bought myself a tripod to fit them to. Before I go any further I should tell you the specs:

Specifications:

  • 15x magnification porro prism binocular
  • Large 70 mm objective lens offers maximum image brightness in low-light and long-range conditions
  • Ultra sharp focus across the field of view
  • Multi-Coated optics for sharp, clear views
  • Suitable for terrestrial or astronomical viewing
  • Protective rubber covering for ultra-firm grip Large center focus knob for easy focusing
  • Tripod adapter included
  • Long eye relief ideal for eyeglass wearers
  • Carrying case included for travel and safe storage
Right, I should point out that I do not know a lot about binoculars, from my reading I found out that you have got to have a pair that are in collimation. For perfect viewing, both sides should be parallel so that one circle is seen when looking through them. A binocular that is out of collimation (or out of alignment), usually the result of a knock or poor factory standards, will have slightly different images in each side, and can cause considerable discomfort and eyestrain when used. The Skymasters are pretty cheap for 15 x 70 binoculars and I read a lot of people claiming a lot of them had collimation problems. From my reading I reckon these are like the Ron Thomson of binoculars – perfectly acceptable tools although there is always a danger of buying a duff one. However the pair I received appear not to have any problems, at least all the simple tests I did showed they were fine.
When gazing through them at local landmarks and my neighbors windows (only kidding neighbors) I was not that impressed and did not see what all the fuss was about, they were certainly a bit stronger however I could not immediately see the benefits over my 10 x 50s – I got another gander at Jupiter and its moons and it was pretty impressive however only slightly more so than my 10 x 50s.
Thankfully however the weather Gods smiled upon me and I then had a totally clear night (Guy Fawkes Night) and headed out to Mugdock Country park where it is a little bit darker (to see stars you need somewhere away from streetlights) and whereas serious astronomy type people would frown at the moon being in the sky blanking a lot of stars out I was happy to gaze at it through the 10 x 50s and then the 15 x 70s.
The difference between the 10 x 50 and the 15 x 70 was pretty substantial – you have got to remember that even in these slightly darker places for every one star you see with your naked eyes you see a dozen through binoculars. I pointed my 10 x 50s at a wee cluster of stars and was mighty impressed – I took my new 15 x 70s off the tripod (as the included tripod adapter makes the view shake worse than holding them) and pointed them at the cluster of stars.

Point those bad boys at the stars...

The view was incredibly impressive – I lent my arms on the car to keep them steady and wondered just what the hell I was looking at – it turns out I was looking at the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters as it is otherwise known. I gazed at that sight on and off all night. The moon looked great showing lots of detail (you can see craters) and of course mighty Jupiter looked even more impressive – you cannot see any detail however it looks like a bright disk and you can quite clearly see dots of light which are the moons.

Other stuff I noticed about the binoculars:

  • I liked the rubber feel to them (and not just because I wear rubber pants before any of you wags get in there first) as it made them comfy to hold.
  • They were heavy however not too heavy to hold for short times.
  • Light was let in at the sides of the rubber eye pieces – this would not be problem in a totally dark place.
  • They were well packed meaning any bumps would be absorbed.
  • There was some distortion around the edges – I have read this is normal on cheaper binoculars.
  • As stated the included tripod mount is rubbish, it causes the binoculars to wobble like a jelly fish so you will need to buy a metal one or find a way to strengthen the included one.
  • Unlike my 10 x 50s these cannot be carried around and used casually – people would think you had someone under surveillance with these bad boys.
Conclusion
I thoroughly recommend these binoculars as a reasonably budget friendly way to start star gazing through the winter months or during the summer when at the end of the fishing day you want to gaze up at the universe around you. To check out the best prices I would not be chivalrous if I did not point you towards the Idealo site who sent me these binoculars. Next on my hit list of astronomy gear will hopefully be the mighty Celestron Astromaster 114EQ so that I can start seeing some detail.
I have a horrible feeling that like fly fishing astronomy is going to be a never ending process of wanting new gear.

Like a walk in two parks..

Well, not really like a walk in the park – more actually like a totally real walk in the parks. And by parks I mean Kelvingrove Park and Glasgow Green.

The Summer has no well and truly left us and Autumn is spiraling out of control heading towards true winter – we are now on the long haul to Christmas and then an uphill struggle towards Spring.

Yikes!

This is you weekly water photo. 44 0f 52

Thankfully there was nobody fishing as I walked down the river in Kelvingrove Park – sometimes you find the odd chancer who thinks the close season is a good time to get away from the crowds and have a fish in peace, they do not realize the law is there for a reason. The park was lovely although very cold – first day I have had my winter jumper on.

The water looks cold as well…

Kelvin - Upstream of Bandstand Pool

As we walked through one of the loveliest parks in Glasgow I noticed some tents and stuff set up – I walked over to investigate. It turns out that the fight against Bankers which started on Wall Street has hit Glasgow in true weegie style - instead of hitting the bankers where they might continue to see it like in the middle of the city they have decided to move the occupy to a rather pleasant park next to the museum.

"sticking it to the man?"

 Anyway, my second walk in the park was in the evening – seeing as how it was Guy Fawkes Night we went to Glasgow Green – for those not in the UK every year we celebrate someone who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament by lighting fireworks and watching explosions in the sky – we also wonder what life would have been like if he he had successful instead of caught, hung and then cut up into wee pieces.

I took a photo however the most interesting thing is not the fireworks – can you see that wee dot to the left of the fireworks in the sky?

Explosions in the Sky

Prepare to be geeked! That dot is not in fact a star – it is Jupiter and has been gracing out skies for a few weeks now as the brightest “star” in the sky. After the firework festivities I headed out to Mugdock to use my new 15×70  Celestron Skymaster binoculars (prepare yourself for a review) – seemingly the neighbors are freaked out out by someone who has a tripod with giant binoculars set up in their living room.

If you have nothing to hide I say…

Weekly Water Photo 43 of 52

A day out with the wife and kids on this fine Autumn day.

The kids do not understand the concept of “getting an extra hour in bed”

weekly water picture - 43 of 52

 

You gain some cred if you can tell me what river this is!

Vice Chairman Perks!

I was thinking the other day about all the perks of being the Vice Chair of the River Kelvin Angling Association – I mean it is a big club with nearly 1000 members, we have a healthy bank balance, we have good trout fishing and great runs of Salmon. You would think there would be some perks to that little number eh? Anyway the more I thought about it I came to the conclusion there are none. Well, I suppose the only perk is that I can get away with doing next to bugger all – I am a back up guy to both the secretary and chairman (some people say I am a shady bastard who refuses to take responsibility for any decisions that are made however I just blank that stuff out)

The reason all this came to my mind is because I got a chance to watch Paul and Alan fish for the Salmon in the last week of the season – they were also fishing the new area that has been opened up for the Kelvin anglers – we promised we would do it and over the last couple of weeks there has been some serious chainsaw action taking place on various parts of the river – I was not fishing as I had a baby strapped to my chest..

Baby strapped to chest prohibits urban fishing...

For those that do not fish the Kelvin that still enjoy this blog, a lot of the river is unfishable due to access problems as well as trees that criss cross the river making casting impossible. We promised to open up more fishing – we had to wait until now because of nesting birds – the areas will really come into their own next season (hopefully the bushes will not grow back by then although we have a plan to combat those buggers as well)

Anyway, the access is still a nightmare …

Looking hopeful!

And you have got to traverse brick cliffs that are like cliffs – fall off that bad boy and you are dead!

Just a wee step to the left.....aaaaaaaaAAAAAGRH SPLASH!

Anyway – to cut a long story short they caught bugger all and it looks like only real men can actually fish the area..

Only real men fish in among the rubble...

On my walk along the river I also came across other areas that look as if they should fish well for trout..

Good Area?

Anyway, it is proper Autumn now (as you can tell from the pictures) and already I am thinking I should have done a lot more trout fishing than I actually did. At some point over the coming weeks I will provide an overview/summary of the season however at the moment I just cannot be assessed #smile#

Over the winter I intend to get out and about and do a spot of Stargazing if anyone is up for it – I am using a pair of 10×50 binoculars and may well be receiving a pair of 15×70 stargazing binos over the next few days. Over the last few days I have been gazing at Jupiter and its moons from my living room window – if that is what I can see with a street lamp outside my window what do you think we would see out Mugdock way – if anyone fancies joining me for a couple of hours to try and spot Andromeda give me a shout via email or in the comments.

Weekly water photo 42 of 52

image

Is it 42? 

I have no idea!

Anyway, I was down at Kelvingrove park and was struck by a couple of things one of which was my boys foot in my face and the other was how Autumn everything was looking including the river – it was big by the way!

It has that weird winter look about it that just makes it non inviting instead of fishy..

Bags of Shite!

Can I just point out that I do not mind dogs that much – I mean over the years I have been attacked by Rottweilers and have had to put up with my fair share of splashing dogs in my time however I do not hold anything against them (especially my crotch and on one memorable occasion my sons face).

Where were all the fishers?

However I was out for a walk along the Kelvin the other day and could not believe the amount of plastic bags full of shite that were discarded in the bushes next to the river.Dog owners picking up dog poo is a good thing – I cannot count the amount of times I have had to scrape the stuff off my shoe or even when climbing down the banks the stuff has got on my hands or something so when the new legislation came into force fining folk for not bagging and binning the stuff I was pretty happy. Problem is bagging the stuff does not seem to be a problem with some folk, taking it home and binning it is.

Bag o' shite

It appears what folk have now got into the habit of doing is taking there wee bag of shite and hanging it places out of reach of kids eyes (it makes them blind) – how thoughtful. It is obviously not just the odd person doing this as at one point on my wander I came across a mega shite bag..

Now that is what I call a bag of shite!

This was a bag which was filled with wee bags of shite – obviously this bag looks official enough that folk decided that it would be picked up by someone official – sadly I do not think Glasgow City Council employs an official shite bag picker upper.

Or do they?

I can feel a freedom of information request coming on!

 

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