Fisherman’s Stories (morphing misinformation into factoids)

This is a post about how stories can grow arm and legs and eventually morph out of all known facts into a completely different scenario. It is akin to someone telling another angler they caught a trout on a dry fly and then eventually the story ending up as being they were attacked by a herd of wild donkeys under the control of the evil committee.

The Kelvin has a great angling community, There are lots of very good dedicated anglers – lovely guys, salt of the earth n’ all that.

The river is made up of three types of anglers – dedicated Trout anglers (who occasionally have a bash at Salmon), dedicated Salmon anglers (who sometimes fish for trout until the runs of Salmon arrive) and the chuck it and chance it anglers who fish with no dedicated method and are happy to catch any fish at all. I have got to say the chuck it and chance it anglers are on the decline due to the clamp down on set lining. They either go elsewhere or slip into the other two camps and become better anglers for it.

What unites them all is their capacity to gossip like a group of women at the Bingo.

Stories about catches, rule breaking, and devious plots by the committee all get banded around by everyone – people add on other wee bits they heard until eventually usually story fades away into obscurity or becomes legend.

I wonder if all rivers have the same focus and attention as the Kelvin though – I mean I have ran this blog for ….good grief around 7 years now and it has grown from just a few visitors a day to several hundred. Plus the Kelvin forum is frequented by a nice bunch of guys – I set that up as I get quite a lot of emails from people asking for advice (as if I know what the hell I am talking about) so thought a dedicated place for a bit of peer support would be useful.

I have heard a few things about myself – a few years ago I was attacked and had all my gear stolen off me (not true – I have never even been threatened other than by email). I have had several huge trout from the Kelvin (not true sadly) and I only ever catch tiny trout (kinda true – I just love em’). I have also heard I am a sullen bastard who refuses to tell anyone spots that I fish – kinda true.

A new one reached my ears the other day – I take it you guys read my post about my stupendous blank salmon fishing on Saturday morning. Well, we never even see a fish and did not see anyone catch a fish – what we did see was a few anglers fishing for salmon and Atkins told someone they could not set line – I never said a word as I was on another planet mentally – shell shocked at carrying a spinning rod (the amount of stick I have been getting for that is unbelievable by the way).

Anyway – the story goes that not only did we witness three salmon being caught but we advised the angler who only had a single tag to take all three fish – breaking three of the association rules: one salmon per day and all killed salmon tagged (or was that 2 rules just 4 times)

Even Lord Kelvin hears gossip!

This story was recounted to the association secretary on one of his jaunts to the river – there is still some confusion about dates etc as he thought it was last week they were talking about and he knew for a fact I was not fishing as I blanked the clean up day due to a kids party and I thought he was talking about that Saturday just there. However the facts remain – seemingly this is what I did.

Additionally – someone telephoned the association this highly important piece of gossip even though they did not even meet us that day.

There are a few problems with this – most guys know who I am on the river even if I do not introduce myself (which I don’t do anyway as I am a shy bugger) and can you imagine the amount of stick I would take if I ever did condone someone breaking the rules – after all the preaching I do about trout conservation? – there would probably be ski masks, shovels and shallow graves behind the Art Galleries involved.

Wry smiles all round…

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-07-11

  • River has risen .. I might look out the metal work and have a cast for salmon! #
  • Planning a dawn raid on the kelvin for sea beasts! #
  • Up at half four – dawn raid for salmon! #

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Salmon trip – dawn raid (outcome blank)

It is Saturday evening at around 10pm – it is pouring with rain, like really teaming it down – cats and dog’s rain – if you are reading this in Glasgow and you have not looked out the window it is pissing it doon by the way.

I am talking about the rain for two reasons:

  1. It has not rained like this in around 4 months meaning the trout fishing will improve as the Kelvin has had a good flush (some people unkindly say like a toilet)
  2. I went Salmon fishing today and rain plays a big part in Salmon fishing – for a start it actually brings the fish into the river.

Before I am heckled by people telling me I know nothing about Salmon fishing (and the Salmon in the Kelvin) let me state the caveat that I know nothing about Salmon fishing on the Kelvin – the only info I have gleaned is through chats with people who do fish the Kelvin for Salmon and people that Catch lots of Salmon on other rivers.

Who Knows #shrug#

Ok – stuff I have gleaned about the Kelvin:

  1. A lot of people fish the worm on the Kelvin and consequently it is known as a worming river.
  2. Not many guys catch Salmon on the Kelvin with flies – pretty much nobody knows the holding pools in the middle of the river that they rest in – or whether they just bolt upstream missing out lots of water.

So this morning I decided to join Atkins in an early morning dawn raid for Salmon – my alarm was set for 0430 as I was being picked up at 0500. Atkins meanwhile decided not to set an alarm and instead use my phone call at 0515 to find out where the hell he was as a fishing prompt.

The river was at a good height and was clearing very nicely – we started with fly rods and later moved onto metalwork – metal work meaning spinning rods and “Flying Condoms”

Any moment now.....

It was good – I enjoyed it – we were doing something a little different – we had identified a few pools that were lovely fly water and covered as much as we could – we had never seen anyone else use the fly on these pools – we knew that one person has caught a salmon on a worm from one of the pools so we just have to keep plugging away until finally we hit it right. It was obviously not today as we caught bugger all at those few pools – it could need more water it might have to be clearer – who knows!

They could be in any nook and cranny!

It could have been any country river – not a soul around and absolutely beautiful – only the smell of diesel from the petrol pool gave the game away.

This could be any country river!

After a while I got the thirst – I wanted to catch my first Salmon so we headed to where everyone heads to on the Kelvin when they want to catch a Salmon – we went to the Sea Pool – this is a pool just below the first proper weir on the river. Needles to say a lot of guys fish it.

They use this Alien Gear!!

When we got there two guys were fishing and another couple turned up. When we left another couple of guys were arriving  – it must get busy.

It was like fishing on another world – huge heavy stones littered the river bed – you had to traverse some pretty big slabs and the water was in chutes and then long deep channels. I had seen this part of the river when it has been in spate – huge amounts of water flood down here – I suppose that is why the stones are so big – all the wee ones have been swept away.

You might not see me in this picture - I have a new camo jacket on!

In the end we never touched a fish – or seen one for that matter – we have heard stories of lots of Salmon in the river from reliable sources however they were obviously somewhere else – or possibly right in front of us – I suppose that is the funny thing about Salmon fishing.

If I am going to make a prediction it might be that like a lot of people I might have my first Kelvin Salmon on a Flying C or even a Toby (I had better actually buy some extra terminal tackle as I reckon people are getting annoyed at me borrowing their non fly gear – and then promptly attaching it to the river bed)

Anyway – as I was writing this I suddenly realised that the burns I fish will now be full of water and fishing well – should I forget the Salmon next week and go after trout or actually just keep on at the Salmon.

Decisions, decisions!

We have changed conditions!

I have fished twice over the last week – one was on Saturday evening (before all the rain) and the other was on Tuesday evening just as the rain started.

Both sessions were what I can only describe as “pish” – I am glad that you guys do not just come here to read about huge trout being caught and fantastic flies being tied as if that was the case I would probably post around once a…..well not often anyway.

Saturday’s session was just before this turn in the weather – I arrived at the river and found it dead low with some flies on the water however no trout making any kind of show. This is my usual wee spot however I doubt I will be back as for some reason all the trout appear to have scampered off somewhere else. It is like that on the Kelvin – you will find a pool that will fish very well for a season or two and then suddenly you will never see another fish in it again for another few seasons – I have spoke to a few Kelvin fishers about this and we think it has something to do with the floods moving the river bed around. To get to this spot you have to manoeuvre yourself down an embankment made up of stones, earth and bricks – I was just thinking about local angler Derek and his rather tragic accident (he jumped over a wall resulting in a smashed heel, broken shin and a broken arm – then the wall fell on top of him) when the brick I was standing on gave way causing me to fall downwards about 3 feet on to my back – glad I had a lucky escape – even my waders were not damaged.

Anyway – the session was poor – caught a couple of micro broonies (you can tell brownies from parr as brownies have spots on their gills) and that was about it. And then the rains came on Sunday – the river rose well over a metre and then plummeted back down again. I went out after work on Tuesday with Atkins – it looked great conditions – overcast, a slight breeze, warm – once we started casting it started to pour down with rain – only a passing shower – said Atkins – yes – only problem was it was around 2 hours long.

A passing shower my arse!

I eventually caught another micro trout on a nymph.

While we were fishing we heard a chap from the forum had caught a Salmon up at the park closer to the city. Sadly we also heard that three Salmon had been caught on the Monday evening and left the river without being tagged. Damn shame that guys cannot abide to rules that they themselves voted in – the reason the rule with the tags came into force is to conserve stocks so that you can catch more salmon in the future – essentially if this is true what these guys have done is try and ruin the salmon fishing for every other angler on the river.

Looks like more rain over the next few days – looking forward to it!

Tenuous Fishing Photos 26/52

We are well past the half way point of my weekly tenuous fishing photos – this week we have a weather photo.

Lets go fly a kite....

It has been months now without rain –  the golfers are having a good summer although even they are saying the greens are starting to look a bit brown.

This hot dry weather is pretty bad for fishing – what the wind signified yesterday was that a change was in the air – the wind was blowing the rain towards us (I like to think f it as that however it is a lot more complicated)

So I woke up this morning and thought about what photo to post – the rain or the wind – the wind one obviously.

By the way – I went out for a trout session last night and it was terrible – all I caught were micro trout.

You can see more tenuous fishing photos here

Saturday Sea Fishing – Man Shit!

A family barbeque was scheduled however I had other plans arranged – awesome man shit was required. And why the man shit? – because fishing in the Sea is all about big rods and smelly bait (and also checking your nuts for ticks but that comes later).

Block was applied - of the sun variety.

Also I have never been sea fishing before which usually brings people out in incredulous wonder how I have managed to get this far into my life without casting with anger into the salty stuff – sure I have fished the estuary for Sea Trout and caught Mackerel too but not the chuck it and chance it affair that is proper sea fishing – you know casting out with baits and drinking beer, not knowing what strange beast may take hold of your smelly worm – probably what 80% of the anglers do on the Kelvin actually – being beside a river that is a few meters wide does not stop people using beachcasters on the Kelvin.

Alex with "Big Bertha"

Anyway – it was a 0700 start so of course Alex and I stopped in to pick up Allan last (he had slept in) – we were then off to the Mull of Galloway. It was a baking hot day although there was a fresh wind at the first mark with a very short smattering of rain.

We stopped off to buy bait – good grief – £6 for a bunch of worms – plus they caught us bugger all which was annoying – in the end it was the sand eels that done the job bait wise – yes, sand eels with their guts hanging out – yummy!

We fished at two “marks” (that is what Sea Anglers call fishing spots – what we might call beats) the first was merely treacherous to try and get to with sheer drops into the water below and the 2nd involved a walk along what I can only describe as a mountain goats path with a sheer drop on one side and tick infested plants on the other – in one hand I carried my rod and in my other a cool bag with some sausages and some smelly bait – I pretended not to be terrified and did not look down.

Certain Death - half a foot left!

Certain Death - half a foot left!

Alex and Allan both and two spinning rods and I had one with my fly rod. I cast out my spinning rod with a ledgered  sand eel and watched Alex cast “Big Bertha”  – his huge beachcaster.

Big Bertha in Action...

It was Alex that caught the first fish – a Pollack while spinning – by this point I had my BROMANoDELL’s Esox Lucius 9ft #9/10 Fly Rod – a Pike fly rod that I cunningly modified for the sea by giving it a wash afterwards – casting was a piece of pee – the wind helped  a fair bit and I was damn near putting out the full fly line (I was using a sinker) and out of the blue caught a wee Pollack – listen – it was small right but the significance was pretty big – my first proper sea fishy (other than mackerel) caught on the fly – a quick photo and then the beast was sent back to the depths.

May be small however it was an honest to goodness sea beast caught on the fly!

Of course Alex and Allan then caught two beasts on their spinners…

Bloody Show Off!

….and of course Allan…

Not caught on powerbait!

– at that point I should have changed to the spinner however I just persevered with the fly until eventually the action stopped – we wandered off our rock and drove to our second mark – the one at the bottom of a sheer cliff – lovely – however by mimicking a mountain goat I got there.

Plenty of action!

2nd mark was all about doggy style – after all we were having a day of Man Shit so doggy style was inevitable – at this mark all we caught was dog fish – Allan appeared to be attracting the hounds with their funny blinking eyes and weird noises – when I finally caught one I felt an appropriate ridiculous photo was called for – so I stuck out my tongue – I regret it now as it does not show the gravitas of the moment.

Serious Stuff!

I am also sporting some rather nifty polaroids from….well – Polaroid which I have been told make me look like a gimp – however they were very comfy and the lenses I was using got a very firm thumbs up.

Constant doggy action...

We had a very manly barbeque involving burnt sausages and wanted to stick a mackerel on it however none showed up – we also drank beer – all was right with life.

Rod Bending Things!

Would I do it again?

Damn right I would actually  – it was great fun – even though the dog fish were a bit pesky it was still something totally different – I have still to catch a bigger pollock an also a multitude of other strange beasts – I mean when you cast at a rising fish you know it either going to be a trout or a grayling – when sea fishing it could be any number of strange creatures.

Casting into the abyss!

Looking forward to next time already.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-06-27

  • never too young to hold a rod .. #
  • First day back at work after a fortnight break ! #
  • On my way home from a sea fishing trip … lots of doggy action ! We all love a bit of doggy! #

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Tenuous Fishing Photos 25/52

Continuing with my weekly tenuous fishing photos we have an actual picture of the holy grail of Urban Anglers.

Yes – it is the mighty  Glasgow Parks Code – a code, nay a set of laws handed down to users of the parks in this dear green place.

This picture was snapped after I watched what I can only describe as a fucking idiot  break every one of the rules apart from the speed limit.

The Code!

There is one sweet rule to spring on dog walkers when they try and force them into the water when you are fishing – or when you are surrounded by a pack of growling snarling rottweilers – oh yes I would have given them hell if I had seen this sign on that fateful night.

Albeit in a kinda high shaky voice – between the man tears.

You can see more tenuous fishing photos here

River Kelvin – Teenager drowns trying to save friend

I suppose I should comment on this – for those that do not know a thirteen year old boy drowned on Saturday evening while playing with friends.

ITN News

BBC News

STV News

Declan Shanley, from Summerston in Glasgow, was swept away by a strong current in the River Kelvin, near the West of Scotland Science Park – this is one of the busiest sections of the river with anglers as it has mown lawns and few trees – it is very pretty looking and is also packed full of dog walkers.

For those that fish the “Vet School” he was playing in the deep pool with the sandy “beach” – it is also the pool an angler drowned in several years ago causing the Vet School security to insist anglers sign in and out at the security gate. New members of the association always question this rule – essentially if you do not sign out the security are supposed to look for you – if they do not find you fishing then you could have fallen in and drowned – as you have signed in they can then contact the association secretary to find out your address to give to the police. To be honest this never happens – the association did not insist on the rule it is the vet school. However it is better to be safe that sorry….

During the Summer the whole of the Vet School is busy with young folk having a laugh and a carry on – I see young people swimming in that pool regularly and for the life of me I cannot figure out how this tragedy  occurred – the reports mentions the boy being swept away by the current however there is very little flow in the river just now and just below that pool there is some very shallow water.

I only wish one of you guys had been around on Saturday evening and seen this happening – there is usually a couple of anglers at the Vet School and am pretty sure if one of you witnessed this the boy would still be alive – if not by getting him out the water then by warning them of the dangers of messing around in the river.

Every year The Kelvin takes a couple of lives – this latest tragedy makes two – the last one was around a few weeks ago when a young chap managed to fall down an embankment into the river – he had been on a night out – suicide was ruled out and I do not think they ever found out how it happened.

Anyway – what do you do if you see some young kids playing by water – I remember during the cold winter when the canal had totally frozen over watching some young kids standing on it and throwing bricks at their feet trying to smash the ice – when I pointed out to them what could happen (in a nice way) they told me to “fuck off” and mind my own business – however if the ice was to break and I was there it would be my business as it would be my ass trying to haul them out.

Risks, risks, risks – life is full of them – the difference between an adult taking a stupid risk and getting away with it and a kid taking a risk  is the adult should at least have some knowledge to draw upon – the kid however is still learning and requires guidance from adults around them.

Last year someone contacted the association because an angler fell in the river and was swept along by  a strong current – the river was high and dirty – the person wanted to know what the association was going to do about it – well – when it comes to adults fishing the river the association can do absolutely nothing about it – aside from a lifelong ban if you nearly get yourself killed just in case you do something stupid again – however accidents happen and that is why as an adult you are able to way up the pros and cons of  your actions such as maybe I should not lean out so far, maybe that mud looks a bit like deep, maybe the tide is coming in a bit fast….

Kids do not have that kind of sense built in yet – they have got to learn it from us!

So what do you do?

As an angler in this urban environment we keep out ears and eyes open – especially in times when others are using the river – weekends and hot days draws people to the Kelvin – some sensible but others are just learning to use water safely. If you see a kid carrying on beside the river you say something to them – who cares if they tell you to fuck off at least some part of what you have said will have reached them – what you do not do is ignore them – if they are obviously doing something dangerous and will not stop you give the police a buzz – they are happy to pop by if it means installing some sense into someone.

I am reminded of watching two boys from my office window who were trying to drag an old boat into the River Leven – the river is big and if they had managed to get it into the water they would have probably been swept into the Clyde – nobody was challenging them – so it was up to me to say something – they did not see where I was coming from – all they wanted to do was get that boat in the water and “have a laff”

River Leven

In the end the police turned up and made them try and haul the boat back up the jetty – they could not do it – eventually the council were called – my estimation – a few grands worth of time and effort just because a couple of guys wanted to have a laugh – it could quite easily have turned into  tragedy as well – like I say – the police are only to happy to stop something happening as opposed to dealing with the aftermath.

I was thinking of heading to the river tonight however after reading all the reports my heart was just not in it – my thoughts are with young Declan’s family on a day that is supposed to be spent celebrating family life.


Tenuous Fishing Photos 24/52

Back from my camping trip – very little fishing actually done however it was great being away and discovering new ways of enjoying water – who would have thought making stones go sploosh would have been so much fun.


Speaking of father/son bonding sessions I see that today is in fact Fathers Day – usually I loathe all holidays that encourage the buying of mass produced cards without any thought behind them however I cannot help be moved a bit by the significance of actually being a Dad.

You can see more tenuous fishing photos here

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