So this is the last day?

So this is what the last day of the season looks like? I say “season” however on the Kelvin it was pretty much half a season.

Autumn in a photo!

The trees still have leaves and the invasives are still still kicking around. The river looks perfect to be honest, it looks that lovely full up way. It has a nice color to it and I could see some trout coming to the dry fly if I was so inclined. However, today was a family day and I was only out to take photos and wander. I did not see any anglers out for trout or salmon for that matter which I found kinda strange as it was such a nice day. When the sun was out it really warmed your face however you can tell that Summer is now properly in its very old age and the weak sun only gave hints at what it can really offer, and even then not for very long.

I suppose half a season that was great is better than a full season that was mediocre ?


So I visited the Glasgow Angling Centre on its Open Weekend.

And I enjoyed it.

Never let it be said that I am a moany bastard who never looks on the bright side of anything, today I spent a good couple of hours in the Glasgow Angling Centre and thoroughly enjoyed my time. Gary Wingate (Game fishing manager or something like that)  had asked me if I was coming down and I had told him the chances were against me unless he had a creche, however it turned out I had a spare couple of hours with only one of the boys so headed down I did. Gary also kindly a while ago turned a small amount of fishing vouchers into a rather large amount of fishing gear for some of my social work clients who have now formed a highly successful fishing group *

I think I hinted at it before however long time readers will know how I started out thinking the GAC (as it is lovingly known) lacked a bit of soul. However over the last few years it really has started to gain a bit of character and the staff have been there long enough to get to know the punters that come in. Nicolas Valentin the most famous Frenchman with a Kayak also works there, he is one of the first person I look for when entering the shop. He is probably the person that got me into pike fly fishing purely by being so passionate and  about it and telling me stories and most importantly places to try.

Dare I say I actually enjoy my browsing around the shop – yep!

They usually put on two open weekends a year, one in the Spring and one in September, they are big events lasting the whole weekend with lots of reps from tackle companies and fly tying demos. They also have some fishing “celebrities” stoating around the place like Matt Hayes and Paul Young. A few years ago I asked for a photo with John Wilson and after told me he was too busy he has not been back – I like to think it is because he totally blanked me and I moaned about it here however it is probably because showing his holiday slides cost a fortune.

What the hell, here is the official video and advert for the event.

I remember when John Norris of Penrith was the big boy of angling gear. I visited them on my way to the Lakes and was super disappointed by the amount of gear they sold compared to the GAC.

This was the smallest the queue was the whole time I was there..

It was nice stoating around with the boy in tow, first stop was the fly tying demo area and watched some Pike flies being tied up by Dougie Loughbridge. Dougie is the man I think of when I think of Pike fly tyers.

One question: where the crikey did you get that shirt?

One of the flies looked like a realistic wee fishy, I was kinda disappointed when he told me it was not a “fishing” fly it was really just as a  demo fly tied for fun. Bloody hell, I thought to myself, he obviously does not have any kids! I can barely find the time to tie flies to actually fish never mind some just for a bit of fun. Still, he was fair churning them out and was not slowing down when I left.

The Bug Bond guy was sitting next to Dougie and was hard at it..

Bloody Impressive flies!

What is this?, I asked, holding up a hook with a blob of something stuck to it, turns out it was an egg fly – I mumbled something about it being good for Grayling and he smiled and nodded. Obviously he thought I was a baboon and should be encouraged to complete complex things like tying my shoelaces so I moved on with a mental note to get myself some of this wonder bondy stuff. Hopefully I will not get high off it like the epoxy which took me yonks to get out my system. Noone ever tells you this when you start fly tying.

Anyway, if there was a fishing Royalty then Paul Young would be it (not just saying that as he reads this blog) and as usual it was nice catching up, we have been threatening to meet up for a pint for years and have just never got around to it.

The paparazzi have been trying to see him in a thong for years!

Alberto Laidlaw joined us and we had a chat about fishing programs, we mused that anglers were a funny bunch and that pretty much every presenter had folk that thought they were shite whereas nobody had a bad word to say about Paul. He simply turns up and goes fishing and enjoys himself no matter what. There is none of that extreme shite or falling in the river or any bloody nonsense.  Paul had gone by this point so was not witness to our praise, he was signing a wee laddies “Trout and Salmon”.

Gary Wingate dragged me down to look at the new Daiwa rods – I picked a few out and they were pretty nice, I mused that the next time I get to buy a fishing rod there will be laser guided sights on them or something or we will only catch fish in a virtual reality world due to the technical advancements while my kids grow up. Purely by accident I picked up a new Hardy 9 foot 5 weight and waggled it around.

Gary pointed out some of the features and I got embarrassed as I thought it was a Daiwa #grin#

This is what a £1000 rod looks like in my hands…

As I was waggling it around I considered just what would happen if I arrived home with it and showed it to the wife plus the price tag. Let us just say that my dinner would not be on the table for quite some time. Living in my shed would be pretty shit as well.

Speaking of Hardy I got chatting to Stevie Munn who is a Hardy/Greys fly fishing instructor and all round good guy..

Stevie Munn

At this point can I just point out how creepy it is asking someone for a photo of them “foor ma blog” 

Stevie looks a bit terrified as I had just moaned at him for a half hour about my GRX that was snapped a couple of months ago. ” Yes, I bought the rod over ten years ago and now insist on a new one due to my own incompetence” is probably what he heard instead of my well thought out reasoned argument about shady warranties. I was telling Paul Reid (RKAA Secretary)  later on about the conversation and said that Stevie Munn agreed with me that I should have got a new rod for a lot less than the fifty bucks, “Best course of action when you are dealing with bams is to agree with them” said Paul.

Sarcasm is not lost on me unlike this huge wall of Sea Fishing rods..

I actually felt a bit intimidated!

Anyway, Stevie Munn had to dash as I think someone stole a couple of lines from his desk. His pal, another Hardy rep, said not to worry as they were in security cases. Obviously a man who does not know Glasgow I thought, those lines were either now sold to someone or were actually being fished by this point.

Next on my wanderings around the shop I bumped into Alberto and Davie McPhail .

Davie McPhail & Alberto Laidlaw

Now, as fly fishers and fly tyers go Davie McPhail is proper famous in Europe, I suppose not just in Europe as his YouTube videos are world famous and meeting the man left me speechless. The man after all has over 10000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. I cannot remember if it was when I was talking to him or someone else that I suggested I tie some flies at the demo table at a future event – Gary Wingate quickly said a flat out big no. How rude, I can tie over three flies as long as they are biggies and I have had a bit of practice.

All in all a rather good affair. On my way out I met a couple of well known Kelvinators and we had a chat about some stuff to do with the Kelvin. If I did not have the bloody work party cutting down trees tomorrow I would be back as it is that will be my whack until the Spring.

Did any of you guys head along to the open day? What did you think? Is there anything they could add?

*and that my friends is one of the few times I will write about work.


Broken SLT – returns process started.

So I mailed Gary Wingate at the Glasgow Angling Centre about my broken Sage SLT and the answer was “bring it in and we will deal with it for you”

The Glasgow Angling Centre for folk not in the UK and the Americans is this islands biggest fishing shop, it is actually a nice place which over the years I have warmed to as it now has a bit of character about it. The guys are always polite and willing to give some advice.

I am kinda kicking myself now as I did not take any photos of the broken tip (for science) however have managed to create a fairly accurate representation of the process.

Sage, unlike Hardy/Greys will actually take your old rod section and either mend it or make a new one for you however I am not going to drag up that old chestnut again. I have 6-10 weeks to wait until the rod comes back however I do not think I would be using it much anyway unless I went Grayling fishing. I think I will be having a bash at the Pike over the next few weeks anyways.

It is the Glasgow Angling Centre open weekend on Saturday and Sunday (I actually thought Friday was part of it as well so looked like a bit of a chump however that must be the Spring one) and I am hoping to head down for some of the fun at some point – even if it is just to try and blank John Wilson if he is there.

Have a good weekend – hopefully I will either see you at the Glasgow Angling Centre or the Kelvin Work Party where we will be attacking stuff with chainsaws.


Like the boots I look back on all the tents I did not get to use this year either. I love camping and every year I usually get away for a week and the odd weekend with the family. I have all the gear and it feels like a home from home when my huge tent is set up – it has a couple of bedrooms and a sitting area and with some inflatable mattresses and duvets we never get cold.

I got to use my big tent when I went to Loch Lomond however I also had a couple of short overnight trips cancelled due to the weather. These were going to be overnights with a fishing buddy when I would not have needed a wad of camping equipment – just a sleeping bag, a beer and some zeds.  I have always wondered about those pop up tents for short overnight stays:

Peakland Sonic 200 Pop Up Tent


The blurb:

An amazing tent for 2 people – Just unzip the carry bag, take the tent out and allow it to pop itself up in an instant – a dream come true – camping without the tent pitching.

There is no need to connect or insert any poles; the integral pole system is designed to allow the tent to erect itself. Pegs and guylines are supplied and are advised to increase the stability of the tent in adverse conditions.

The Peakland Sonic is ideal for any occasion where you desire a fast and easy tent to pitch, available in a range of colours to lift the gloomiest of camp sites.

  • Flysheet: 180T 100% polyester PU coated F/R
  • Hydrostatic head: 1500 mm
  • Taping: Flysheet fully taped
  • Pitching: Quick erect, single skin
  • Floor: 100% polyethylene
  • Poles: Fibreglass 6.0 mm
  • Pack size: Dia. 76 x 5 cm
  • Weight: App. 2.1 kg
  • Dimensions: 145 x 98 x 245cm (L x H x W)

This is a pretty good time to buy tents actually as it is the end of the “camping” season and I notice Yeomans Outdoor Leisure has the above tent at a rather reasonable twenty pounds as opposed to sixty. Actually, now that I come to think about it that could be a good Christmas present for someone. I suppose it may be a bit on the cosy side for two however for a short sharp stay somewhere I reckon it cannot be beat. I like the idea of guy ropes as it would make it a bit more robust in the wind and I suppose you would not camp and fish in pouring rain anyway.

Bring on next summer!


Another Kelvin Work Party – this Sunday!

From Fish Kelvin:

Thanks to all those that attended on Sunday the 16th. We managed to open up another pool above Balmore Bridge, I look forward to hearing about the first Salmon caught from it. The days have been really productive (we have opened up several pools in the City and Balmore), so we intend to continue this Sunday (30th) at Kirkinntilloch. Meeting at the bridge behind McNair’s, on Campsie Road. 10.30am start, soft drinks and equipment will be provided. The limiting factor so far has been the number of bodies. The more that show up to help, the more we can get done.
Kind regards

Random Photo 2008

Since no fishing exploits here is a random photo from a whopping 4 years ago (it feels like yesterday) of  Alex (pre beard) and Mike (Tamanawis) fishing down the Kelvin on a nice Spring morning. On either side of the river there are paths and this is in one of the major parks in Glasgow West End.

Alex and Mike (Tamanawis)

Tamanawis looks awfully hopeful with that net, he caught bugger all!

None of us did!

Walking Boots.

I have had the same pair of walking boots for over ten years. They have seen me through walking when I have been at work, walking to Uni, up and down countless hills and have been on many a fishing trip when waders have not been required. In my mind they still look prefect and they do not leak however when I put them on my wife rolls her eyes and says something about looking like an old tramp.

I think they look rather fetching in shorts.

Sadly this year I did not get a chance to get out camping and wear my boots, well there was one overnight on Loch Lomond however all it did was whet my appetite and then it rained for the rest of the summer.  Anyway, I have pretty much decided to get myself a new pair of boots for the winter and hopefully for the next ten years. My boots were a simple cheap pair of Berghaus, I did not pay over the odds for them and in fact the updated pair of Berghaus Explorer Trek look a reasonable  “just under a”   hundred bucks over at Springfield Camping.

New Boots – I want them!

If these bad boys last me ten years I will be happy – ten pounds a year for a pair of boots is my kind of bargain. Plus, I want to get my boys up the hills for some fresh air action so I suppose a new pair of boots would come in handy seeing as how no doubt I will be carrying them like a pack horse.

Oh the joys!



This is how a burn dies…

Aye, you know it is Autumn when you get to a burn and some shopping trolleys are emerging on the banks.

I arrived at the burn and quickly set up my wee Tenkara outfit. The burn was at a good height and I fished a few pools without any success. This was weird however I kinda thought it may have been because the trout were not happy  at the burn height being so changeable over the last few days, I was not overly concerned.

A common “Shopinuss Trolleyus”

I only became concerned when a young guy who works at the Golf Course wandered over and asked if I had caught any fish. I have spoken to this young guy a few times in the past, he is always interested and likes to have a chat while I fish. He knows I only have a short amount of time however on this day he had a “look” about him.  A kinda concerned look.

I told him that no, today I was not having much success and he shook his head and told me he thought he knew the reason why. He told me that in the last week a guy had been down fishing with a wee float and maggots and had killed well over a dozen trout. The young guy asked him why he had killed them all and the fisher told him they were for Pike bait. The young guy told me there were a good few big trout in his Asda shopping bag and he had told the guy he did not think the wee burn could sustain that amount of trout being killed, the “fisher” shrugged and said there were plenty more wee burns like this one for him to get bait.

I fished on for a half hour and caught a few wee ones – none of the big ones came out to play. Of course they did not come out to play as the majority of them were in some guys freezer to be used as bait for Pike. He descended on that wee bit of burn like a plague of locusts killing everything in his path. He was at best a pollution incident and at worse an irresponsible asshole who quite frankly should not be allowed to fish for any species. I like to think that gone are the days that Pike get chapped on traditionally “trout waters”  in fact now they really promote the sporting qualities of Pike.

I suppose like litter, urban pollution incidents like the inconsiderate fisher without any real sense of  conservation is just another reason why we cannot have nice things in the city.



Peeing in waders?

Jeffrey Priest over at Taunted by Waters was talking about how once an angler gets to a certain age having good access (like a zip) in the front of waders can be handy as you need to go for a pee quickly. Getting to the riverbank, taking off your vest, taking down your waders, opening your fly and releasing the beast may take a tad longer than what you may like for the “older” gent. Not just the older gent actually as my bladder is not known to hold out long after a few cups of coffee. The other day in the boat I was thankfull when Alex took a piss in the bailing bucket as I was thinking I may have to try and pee over the side of the boat – I had totally forgotton the bailing bucket tip.

Well, fear no more Jeffrey and others who may be caught short I have just the thing:

Could this be the next “big thing” ?

Never let it be said I was not a visionary who was willing to think a bit outside the box. With this device you need not even need to get out the river to pee never mind think about waders that have a zip. Bang a Hardy or Fishtec logo on the side of the member and you are talking fifty bucks right there.

Remember, you seen it here first.

6 fish in 26 hours fishing…

The Time – Friday and Saturday

The Venues – A river on the Friday chosen as someone else writes about it on their blog and I mailed them first for a name and then for where to park the bloody car, they must have thought I was a right chancer. On the Saturday we were going to fish Venachar for Pike and trout however the wind was so strong we had to drive to a more sheltered loch. You know it is bad when a guy drives up and says “I used to own this boat house and no way I would let anyone out there” . We were only being allowed the boat because Alex has a beard.

The Action – Aye, 6 fish in a solid 26 hours of fishing hours (split between two guys is pretty shit by any standards),still we had a good time with plenty of chat and banter. So what the heck went wrong?

Well, we fished.

We fished hard.

Two places, one river one Loch.

When we fished the river the wind was blowing unbelievably hard. The river was crystal clear and we just could not figure it out.

Our first loch destination the next day had to be changed due to huge waves.

On the loch we ended up on we bobbed around throwing streamers at Pike (we think).

We eventually fished for trout and caught a few.

Oh, I snapped the tip of my Sage SLT the day we fished on the river, weirdly I took this well possibly because I had been awake since 2am with the kids so was suffering severe sleep deprivation.

The Photos – You can click on the photos to make em’ full size..

The Analysis – It took a couple of days to sink in what happened to my Sage, thankfully on the day I had stuck my 4 weight Superfine in the bag as well so I got to use that with my 5 weight line (it cast great by the way).

This two day madness was in place of travelling down South to meet up with Matt from North Country Angler – a couple of nights were planned and then abandoned because of a mixture of shitty weather and family stuff. When I spoke to Matt it turns out he has been having a shit a season as I have, turning up at rivers to find them too big and brown.

F*ck knows where the trout were on the river, probably flying kites in that wind. I did actually have a kite in the back of my car and if Alex had said yes I would have had that bad boy out doing stunts. As it was we rolled cast to possibly the spookiest trout known to man. Every now and then I would think I had spotted a rise, turned out it was twigs falling off the trees.

The loch was great fun, the electric motor was grand and the chat was great. No Pike however even the hardened Pike heads who were also out struggled in the conditions and shared their knowledge with us.  For some reason I always find Pike guys a lot more forthcoming with info than game anglers, friendly guys, you know?  Maybe it is the madness of catching something so big and with such big teeth that is pleasing in some way to share eh?

We have a few weeks left until the end of the season, I am kinda hoping to have another bash at the trout before it all goes pear shaped. We have already planned another Pike trip.

Still, on the way driving to pick up Alex on Friday morning I noticed the stars were pretty incredible – at least the close season is good for a bit of astronomy.