Urban Fly Fisher’s alternative Newsletter for the 2010 AGM

Seeing as how I do not get a spot to say my piece in the Newsletter before the AGM I thought I would post it here – also I get to say whatever the hell I want as I am no longer an office bearer – sweet!

Having a baby has really affected how much time I have to do pretty much anything. Last year I underestimated how much time I would have to dedicate to the office bearer post and I decided to resign – going to bed at 0800 tends to cut into fishing and club politcs time.

This season I will have more time (with a bit of luck) to fish and actually enjoy the river and its inhabitants.

I decided a couple of weeks ago to place a ban on discussing club politics on my River Kelvin Forum – the irony is that some people were asking extremely good questions which in the long term would have helped the club however due to a  serious trouble maker I called a halt to it – when club politics threads outnumbers fishing chat you have got to wonder – it is not as if the club help out with hosting fees (thae buggers are like folk that leave the meal early without paying their share of the bill)

In the past…

Last year at this time I thought the future of the River Kelvin was on a shaky hook – I felt the people that ran it did not have a vision and that nothing was really being done to help.

I complained regularly about the lack of progress – by progress I mean basic things like:

  • Assistance against widespread poaching.
  • No signs informing potential members of a club.
  • No habitat improvement.
  • Poor links with other organisations.
  • Poor contact with SEPA and potential developers on the banks of the Kelvin.
  • No bailiff force.
  • No coordinated effort to tackle pollution.

It was the night before the AGM that I telephoned Euan Greer the Chairman to complain that my name was still on as committee member for the association– I had quit a couple of years previous –or rather I had never been informed about any meetings after complaining about the lack of action about the above problems – I was disillusion as committee member because everything that I suggested was knocked back – they told me putting up a sign was pointless as they will just get ripped down. Anyway – he told me that he was trying to push some changes through and he wanted help with them from everyone that cared about the river.

I headed along – I had my own agenda wishlist for the river.

A year later I look back and wonder what the hell happened – the changes that are taking place are great. I mean people are actually sitting up and taking notice – a club that went from a few hundred members to one that numbers around a thousand means that we have a major playing card when it comes to getting things done for the river – I am pretty sure that other clubs notice this as well.

The problems that the club and river face are unique as it runs through an urban environment – a lot of anglers have access to it which means that protective measures must be higher than other rivers yet not spoiling the enjoyment that anglers want – it is a fine balance!

Returning Trout!

I strongly believe the balance can be met – sure it has been a rocky road over the last year however I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and look to the future – before you start to complain about the current guys doing the job ask yourself why you never complained in the past when all the good work was not being done.

Lines of communication are open to the club – we have a secretary who answers emails – we have a website that Kelvin fishers can contribute to if they wish and we have a group of enthusiastic guys that are actually willing to get things done.

Back in May 2009 I decided to work with the club to try and assist with the changes – if the truth be known I did not do much it was the secretary, chairman and volunteer bailiffs who did all the hard work – the club was ripe for change and for people to step in and get some serious work done.

So what am I happy with? – well here is a short summary:

  • Bloody signs up for a start – metal ones, with only one so far being vandalised – and even that was pretty humorous.
  • A volunteer bailiff force – they have all been police checked and for next season some of them will be crown bailiffs. They have removed nets from the river and stopped lots of people poaching. They are a bunch of enthusiastic guys who give up their own valuable fishing time for the sake of the river they love.
  • Willie Yeomans of the Clyde River Foundation is doing a River Habitat Survey  – this means that we will have a serious playing card when it comes to developers who want to mess up our banks and potentially destroy spawning redds for Salmon.
  • The secretary is in talks with Glasgow City Council regarding many new ideas for them to do their part in helping with the river.
  • Plans are afoot for some free fly casting lessons for junior members.
  • An update of the rules is in progress – no one understands a lot of the current ones.
  • An update of the constitution is in progress– the current one was made in 1992 – there are virtually no processes in it to actually get things done – the constitution has not been followed for years – what makes me smile now is so many people want to see it – the club had to get a grubby paper copy off an old committee member.
  • A Salmon tagging system (nowt to do with me)
Classic Slander - fantastic Glasgow humour though!
Slander = Great Glasgow Humour

To be honest there is a lot of stuff being talked about and things are looking pretty positive for the future if given half the chance.

Given half the chance?

Do you know what I want to see at the AGM? I want to see people coming up with some good ideas for the future of the river – traditionally the Kelvin AGM’s have been an absolute ruckus with people shouting and lots and lots and LOTS of rambling happening. This year I think it would be nice if for once people actually turned around and said “actually – that is pretty nice work”

For once it would be good if people actually came up with suggestions for improvements instead of moaning about what has not been done or trying to examine the fine detail of how things are done – look, we are talking about fishing here – some of what we agree is based on trust – the very people that shout loudest about rules are the very people that break them regularly.

I mean sure a tagging system is being implemented – the club cannot hire someone to constantly stand over ever angler to make sure they use it – your conscience has got to come into play somewhere  - why do some anglers  look for scams and dodges to get round rules?

Dark Forces

There are people that just want to disrupt any good work for their own ends.

You guys witnessed what happened with the LLAIA – a group of disgruntled anglers gathered together in an organised way (they had an alternative committee with office bearers) and attempted to stage a coup.

A forum that was set up by a disgruntled member of the opposition was closed down by legal threats by the association.

Needless to say the attempted coup lost!

I am not saying that it will happen with the association that controls the Kelvin however shit like that puts ideas in people’s heads – the main difference between the Kelvin and the LLAIA (apart from thousands of pounds) is that absolutely no one in the Kelvin Association gets paid for what they do and the only cash that gets paid out is to benefit the club.

The LLAIA problem set a precedent for every angling club to have votes of no confidence. The other problem with this is that there are no processes set out in the current kelvin constitution to allow this to happen – obviously you cannot have a lone gunmen who suddenly announces they want a vote of no confidence without any good reason – if that was the case pretty much every meeting would have one as quite frankly there are quite a few characters who do not like change and progress. No – what you need is some kind of process – a written proposal signed by 15 members (off the top of my head) with the grievance that has not been resolved by discussion.

I can almost guarantee that some goon that does not understand the process will attempt to state a vote of no confidence in the office bearers.

“A vote of no confidence in the lot of ye” – one problem – this is not a fecking Government – I mean it looks good in films n’ all that however practically this just does not work.

So let’s say the office bearers bring in a rule whereby you are not allowed to fish for salmon with a certain bait – lets say “glow in the dark tampons”– after discussion it is clear that nobody is happy and everyone thinks that a bad decision has been made – this is a good cause for a vote of no confidence as the office bearers are unwilling to relent – they have actually got to be able to relent by the way – if it is something outside their control then it kind of makes the whole situation kinda pointless. A bit like the whole “rod rest” fiasco – the club is totally unable to relent on that one.

So saying “The secretary has got something against people that use rod rests” is kinda pointless as it is against the law –  Oh – for the life of me – I am almost convinced this one will rear its ugly head – look –ledgering is illegal – can you not just hide in the bushes or something? I mean the river is like 20 odd miles long with some big deep holes that nobody ever fishes – instead of driving to within 50 yards of the river and camping up in the middle of a park it may be better to be a bit more subtle about it…

Other shit that will get spoken about..

There are only a handful of volunteer bailiffs and they also want to fish (bless em’) they have removed people from the river and done some good work regarding nets – this adds up to one thousand times more work than the previous bailiffs and no one complained about them.

“We want to stock with more fish” – alternatively the club could take a few thousand pounds, stand up on a hill on a windy day and watch the cash blow away in the wind as that is a direct comparison to stocking a river with fish.

“It is free to fish for trout in the river” – actually this is a tricky one – put it this way – you must not be using any bait or fishing in a style that could be misconstrued as fishing for Salmon – and if you did actually catch a Salmon – oops. Anyone fishing for trout without a permit is kinda stealing from the guys that do pay for a permit to fish for salmon – they are sucking up your resources and are willing for you to pay to improve the river for their enjoyment – all so that they can save £20 a year.

Essentially – anyone that asks if they can fish for trout for free is a cheapskate leach who is akin to a shoplifter.

Gone are the days that the Chairman, Secretary etc can just pop along to the odd meeting and have a chat about the river – they are now actively involved in liaising with fishing clubs, councils and other agencies regarding future plans for the river. In the future we need to get some more good guys to assist with the running of the club – I remember at the AGM people being asked to join the committee and being told all they would have to do is pop along to a few meetings per year – now it is totally different – you must be willing to put in a bit of graft.

So there you have it – the Urban Fly Fisher alternative outlook on the AGM to come  – I look forward to seeing all you guys there !

Tenuous Fishing Photos 6/52

A pair of waders, a strong light and a tube of Aquasure:

I hate having a cold crotch!

I hate having a cold crotch!

My preparations for the new season has started – I went on the hunt for small leaks in my waders today – a short 10 minute job which identified some pin prick holes caused by diving through sharp bushes – and occasionally from sliding over metal fences.

You can see more tenuous fishing photos here

Does Hardy’s brand suck?

You know – a thought struck me the other day – I know absolutely nobody that owns a Hardy fishing rod.*

I am not talking about hand me down rods or older rods bought on eBay – I am talking about brand new rods (and reels for the matter) that people are in the market to buy.

I was actually browsing around  their site and came across a page for “reviews” – they then link to an article from Trout & Salmon magazine and state: Trout & Salmon magazine take a look at the famous Hardy brand.

There is only one problem – at the top of the page above all the glowing and usual gushing it states:

“Advertisement Feature”

The “advert” then goes on to state “History in the making – rigorous fishing-tackle design and development remain key to the famous Hardy Brand”

Um – yea – thanks for blowing your own trumpet Hardy Brand  – just what I needed to read – is that not like me doing this:

I mean – I know some tackle tarts that like to spend a lot of cash on rods and reels however Hardy is certainly not one of them. I wondered if it was a price thing – however most people I know who are willing to shell out a bit of cash would rather spend a few hundred pounds on a Sage or even a Scott

I mean – Hardy is a UK brand and no bugger seems to fish with them over here – in the UK people that want to own quality rods (by that I mean big bucks) seem to either go for a Sage or an Orvis – I would reckon that Orvis by far outsell Hardy in both rods and reels in the UK.

I reckon the only reason that Hardy as a brand is still on the go is because they are shored up by Greys which is a far more affordable solution to people owning a nice castable rod. My favourite fly rod is an old Greys GRX 2 piece 8 foot 6 4/5# which they decided to discontinue !

I predict that Hardy will eventually go down the tubes – especially as they seem unable to actually get anyone to say anything positive about them unless they actually write it themselves and then pay for it to go in a magazine.

“The Lost World of Mr. Hardy”

*Edit:I know one person out of lots!

Kelvinography – Bricks

A picture of a Kelvin Brick sent in my Alasdair P

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Anyone know the history of these bricks?

Harvesting The Bush!

It was after I had been away for a weekend some time ago with the boys for some intensive fishing (as opposed to catching) that the madness struck – I make no excuses for it – when you go away for a long weekend fishing all you do is think trout, talk about trout and talk about the best ways of catching the blighters.

Of course seeing as how over the weekend we had not actually caught loads of trout our madness was particularly keen to come up with something that would not fail to catch a big trout – or a small one – anything that might actually install some kind of confidence other than a stick of dynamite and a net.

One of the best ways of catching big trout allegedly is by using big flies – big flies being streamers – and one of the best streamers is a Wooly Bugger.

A Wooly Bugger

As you can see from the picture a Wooly Bugger is tied up using a long shank hook, a black “wooly” body and a palmered hackle with a tail often made out of marabou fibres.

A Wooly Bugger is a great river fly – you can tie them small enough so that you do not need to radically change your set up – you can get away with casting a small one on a 5 weight set up which is by far the most common river outfit.

Trout on an Olive Bugger

A Trout that fell to a wooly bugger!

In 2008 I caught my first trout of the year on an olive wooly bugger in the snow in a moment of desperation. I am not saying I am an expert in this or anything – I have tried em’ a few times and caught trout however I do know they have a big trout reputation.

As anglers we are always on the lookout for the next great fly tying material and often things said in jest stay with you for a while and then grow arms and legs (metaphorically).

Anyway, on the way home from the trip someone pointed out that his father had hinted that a fly tied from the hair of a black women’s nether regions would have amazing fish attracting properties – it had to be a black women seemingly due to it being easier to dub. It is all to do with the obsession that chaps have with gals catching more and bigger fish – we like to think there is something magical like pheromones being at work as opposed to them maybe taking a bit more time with presentations or being better casters – however I do not want to be a heretic so I shall move on with this sorry tale.

But where to get this magical fur?

Now that we knew we wanted some of this legendary material I pondered on it for a while – months to be exact and eventually came up with a solution.

I telephoned one of my pals – let’s call her Louise as – well that is her name for a start – however the interesting thing about her is that she has a pal who is used to Louise being a bit – well – forward is the word to use. She is one of those women who would do anything for a friend no matter what the problem – a great friend to have!

Her pal just happens to be the only person I know who would have a crop of the black stuff. Louise meanwhile is the only person I know who would be willing to approach someone and ask for a cutting.

I explained the need to Louise – she stated her pal might not give in willingly however her own husband (who also has an afro) has an ample amount she was willing to shave – she could give me a “bucket load of the stuff” – it has got to be a women’s – I explained– it is all to do with the scent and the pheromones you women give off – it drives us men and fish crazy with hunger and then desire – I pondered when the last time Louise had ever been out for a date that involved a meal – I went into some details about how women’s pheromones have always been a proven fish catcher. I recounted the story of Miss Ballantine landing her big Salmon, said to be 54in long, which was caught on the Glendelvine beat of the River Tay and still stands as a record breaker.

It was then that my pal gave me some fantastic news – “she is a bit moody just now – she is almost ready to pop” It took a moment for this news to sink in – and then it struck me what she was talking about – she was about to have a baby – this is fantastic I thought – she will have all those hormones pumping around her body all ending up in one fantastic bushy enormous trout attracting vagina.

“She can hardly wash – she is about a week overdue” my pal said!

Get your ass on that phone now – I said – before she has a bath at the hospital – I thought.

Of course – it took a bit of explaining – I mean she thought I was a pervert at first – well, for a few days anyway – so while Louise was trying to persuade her that this was a legitimate transaction I took the time to contact the only angler I thought would appreciate the efforts I was making – also my Wooly Buggers are pretty poor and I knew he had been tying a few up – I really should not tell you who it was however what the hell – it was Mike over at Tamanawis – he was willing to handle the booty bounty and tie up what I can only think of now as nuclear powered trout attracting buggers.

Mike - willing to handle the bush!

Oh – the day dreams I had – I could just see myself hauling them in and people asking me what I was catching the beasts on – I could see a great business opportunity – I mean how much could I sell these buggers for – how often could I harvest the crop? How soon could I get this magical fluff in my hands – I really should have given Louise a bag to put the contraband in however she is a resourceful girl – probably end up using one of those wee containers women have around the kitchen.

Obviously after the pregnancy the initial potency would be reduced (and those beauties I would be keeping close to me) however they would be a bonus – like the cream of the crop. I would probably use them in those areas that other people had seen monster trout – one cast in front of them and one whiff of the bushy bugger and that trout would be in the net having its picture taken in no time. Additionally she is a young girl – no doubt this would be the first of a few kids – I would have a plentiful supply and the old paypal account would be healthy after selling a batch on Ebay.

(I tried to find a photo to post here however thought it might be a bit offensive)

Other thoughts went through my head – how would the fish react in the famous “Sanitary Towel” pool on the Kelvin – the trout thrive in that pool – would the trout love the “Bushy Bugger”?

All these questions shall remain unanswered my friends – I got the phone call a few days later  – “She told you to bugger off”

Does anyone see the irony in that?

Tenuous Fishing Photos 5/52

Seemingly there are 5 weeks in January.

For Christmas a netbook arrived  in the house:

Netbook

Netbook

This fantastic wee mini laptop keeps me posting on this blog and writing in the forum – I look at writing on here as an extension of my fishing – I also get to look back in my diary at warmer times.

I should add that this little gadget is essential as I now cannot spend any time in my study due to my wee boy running around the place!

You can see more tenuous fishing photos here

Tenuous Fishing Photos 4/52

It is me – walking past some tree stumps:

Ok – obviously this is an old photo right – however I can remember that walk (I almost fell down a cliff) and can remember what I was thinking as I walked past those tree stumps – can you guess?

You can see more tenuous fishing photos here

So you want to blog about fly fishing?

Blogging about fly fishing is great fun – it is a way to meet new friends, expand your knowledge about your sport and also keep track of your fishing exploits in a diary – also if you are a self publicising ego maniac it can give you an outlet to spew your views and cause arguments.

When I started this diary way back in 2003 there was no other truly dedicated blogs dedicated to fly fishing – I started it as an add on to my static River Kelvin site – if I remember correctly the river was a wash out for a couple of weeks and I was bored.  I read everything I could about blogs and then went looking to try and connect with other fly fishing bloggers – there were none – well in fact there was two sites that I liked – Ahoyhoy (an outdoor blog which has now sadly disappeared) and Midcurrent (a news site) and I read them both avidly.

So I  started this blog as “Urban Fly Fishing on the Kelvin” which then changed to “Urban Fly Fisher” – there are still people that call this site Urban Fly Fishing on the Kelvin which is kinda funky. In the years that followed  I made lots of new friends and was also contacted by many other fly fishing bloggers to say I was their inspiration – which is kinda nice as I look now at their far superior blogs in awe.

I am pleased to say that Urban Fly Fisher is not only number one for guys that fish the Kelvin but also a lot of fun for others to read as well.

Starting a blog is easy – it is keeping it going and actually attracting readers that is the hard bit – seeing as how I am a computer geek/have not been fishing I want you to share my enjoyment of blogging so I thought I would give you some hints on how to get started:

The Plan

1. Starting a blog need not cost you money – you can sign up with WordPress or Blogger for free. Eventually you may want to move into buying your own domain name and buying dedicated hosting however you can give it a try out first to see if you enjoy it – the web is littered with blogs that people have abandoned.

2. Do some research– try not to align yourself closely to someone else’s brand or niche – not only is this a bit cheeky and a major faux pas in the world of blogging it also shows a lack of imagination. Likewise try and develop your own style of writing – do not try and copy someone else’s that you like, the chances are you will not be able to sustain it for long anyway.

3. Try and write quality content as often as possible – firstly write for yourself and do not be despondent that no one seems to be reading your content – readers come with time – a lot of time – I started off with a few dozen readers a day and the numbers steadily grew.

4. Comment and network with other fishing blogs – try not to email people asking them to link to you – instead write a post about their site or simply link to them – all blogging software is able to pick up incoming links – if they do not link to you then make sure you leave quality comments on their site – start a conversation and they will come to respect you and link back to you.

So there you have it – a few hints on starting a blog dedicated to fishing – I have enjoyed immensely my time blogging about fishing and fully intend to carry on until you are thoroughly sick of me. I have met some great people and made some good friends – also writing this blog has improved my own fishing no end – the fear of blanking and telling you guys hones the technique somewhat.

If you do start a blog feel free to fire me an email with the URL – looking forward to reading about your exploits.

In the meantime – check out these great blogs for a bit of inspiration.

Tenuous Fishing Photos 3/52

I have absolutely no idea where this photo was taken:

No Idea

I mean – I am sure that there is water near where I took this photo – I think I might have been taking photos of pipes coming out that wall however for the life of me I cannot remember.

You can see how much litter and rubbish that has accumulated over the years – I think this photo was taken early season – probably around April by the looks of the foliage.

You can see more tenuous fishing photos here

Kelvinography on the Moon

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Kelvin is the island in the upper left. Rupes Kelvin is the diagonal scarp below it, and (parallel to that) the rille in the lower right is part of Rimae Hippalus.

Link

This post is part of a series about “things” that are named after the Kelvin

Check out the Kelvinography Page

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