Two Urban Photo Projects – that’s right two!

So I have two projects for 2010 – it is a new decade after all.

The first project is a lone gunman affair however the second one will require your help.

Project One – 52 Tenuous Fishing Photos

I am going to produce a set of photos which remind me of fishing but which only have a tenuous link to the finer art. You see, the thing is, I often daydream meditate about fishing when doing something totally unrelated – for example being in a car wash might makes me think of a roaring river –you get the general idea. Why 52? Because there are 52 weeks in the year and  one tenuous photo per week with a short explanation should be enough or anyone. To be fair – a walk in the park where I may see a glimpse of the river may qualify.

Project Two –  Kelvinography

I want to compile a database come photo gallery of things that are named after The River Kelvin – Kelvinography if you will (many thanks to the person who came up with that wee gem).

Kelvinography - Even the Baron likes it!

There are quite literally hundreds (more probably dozens) of shops and services out there that have Kelvin in their name. Lord Kelvin was named after the river and he named his famous temperature scale after the river – I was watching the new Star Trek film the other day and what was the name of the first space ship? – that’s right “The Kelvin” – it just goes to show you just how widely travelled our wee urban river is – I bet a lot of people do not realise just how the name “Kelvin” came about – I mean in the USA when they are teaching about the Kelvin temperature scale in school do they say its named after a funky wee trout stream – I betcha they don’t!

I am going to create a special place for the gallery (probably a page on here somewhere) and I need your help – hey you guys in the places other than Glasgow don’t you be running away as I want you to be part of this as well.

Pretty much everyone carries a camera phone around with them these days so this should be pretty easy – if you see something with the name Kelvin take a picture of it and send me it. I don’t need the photo to be absolutely great quality – just make sure it is not blurry and maybe not too squint – if you cannot get the photo off your camera and you are willing to text me it contact me and I will give you my number.

Comedy pose and fishing gear is not obligatory.

I Know Some Stairs…

I know some stairs that lead to a path – you get to the stairs via a busy wee side street. When I was much younger I used to hang around that street corner getting up to mischief. Now pulling my waders on beside my car feels like a bit of mischief – especially if it is a stolen couple of hours.

The stairs lead down a path between bushes and trees – the stairs have been there for many years – as have the bushes and trees – the stairs lead to a wider path which ultimately leads to the destination.

Sometimes you pass dog walkers and joggers – sometimes young mums struggle up them with a pram – you do not meet hoards of people just the occasional other traveller.

I suppose the stairs have two destinations – out and in – out to the world above and in to the world below. You see these stairs take you from what is an urban environment and transport you to a green and blue strip that cuts through the city.

I know some stairs...

If you used these stairs you would look forward to them – as you use them you feel a change coming over you – a peace settling over you which only the destination can bring.

People will smile at you as you use the stairs – not because of your attire (and some people will smile at you because of that #grin#) but because you will have a smile on your face as you walk the stairs and it is nice to reciprocate.

The stairs are good and solid – long and not steep – I look forward to walking down them in the New Year and am glad you guys will be joining me once more.

Happy Christmas!

evil corporate santa

Equinox

Thanks goodness – December 21st is upon us – what does that mean? Well it means that finally we are on the up boys – that’s right the days will start getting longer as Spring is now approaching – you see 21st December is the Winter Solstice when we trout anglers can start looking forward again (unless you are a masochistic mad man who likes fishing for grayling) instead of moping around the house looking at all the undone DIY jobs that you are saving up for the end of time. Regular readers may have noticed a slight drop off in posts over the last month or so – there are several reasons for this:

1. I have not been fishing.

2. I have not been tying flies. (unlike some people)

3. I have been storing up fishing points with the old ball n chain

4. My computer has been buggered up (when you build your own the only person to call for support is yourself – this can prove problematic when you don’t have a bloody clue)

5. I am a father.

In the meantime I dream of days like this..

Casting a dry to rising trout

It now just feels that tint bit closer…

Nicolas Valentin – Shows us how to do it!

Nicolas Valentin has been getting up to no good with his kayak.

Nicolas - caught from the kayak!

Nicolas - caught from the kayak!

Kelvin.23

OMG – I so want one:

It is like a hungry need!

It is like a hungry need!

Features:

  • Cast aluminium body
  • 16 Essential CRV screw driver bits
  • Convenient 6ft/2m tape measure
  • Steel hammer surface
  • Screw driver locks at 90 degree angle for extra torque
  • Powerful alloy magnets to hold loose screws
  • Snap action screw driver folds away when not in use
  • LED shines light where you work
  • Liquid level

    I would be able to build a boat out of trees from Kelvingrove Park, fight neds off in the Botanic Gardens – It is what every angler on the Kelvin should have.

    Christmas Books

    I thought I would make a few posts about Christmas books – in these deep dark winter (and lets not talk about the rain) nights thoughts turn from fishing (unless you are a bit crazy) to a spot of fly tying or even thoughts on tactics for the next season.

    So here are three quality books that no fly fisher/tyer should be without – you can of course click through the book pictures to but straight from Amazon.

    As fly tying books go “Production Fly Tying” is had to beat – it shows all the techniques you would need with easy to follow photos. This is not a step by step fly pattern book – this is a step by step technique book.

    Got to admit – this is a classic sitting on the toilet book – you can dip in on any page and you will learn something – I like the fact that it is an easy book to recommend to anyone just taking up or is new to fly fishing.

    Trout Hunting was written by a guy who lived a stones throw from the River Kelvin yet never actually fished it – in fact he wrote an article for a magazine about it and still never fished it – he then appeared in a television programme where they discussed the Kelvin – it was the first time he fished it. Do we hold that against the man with the biggest moustache in the fly fishing world? Well, no – not really – however he then buggered off to New Zealand to fish for monster trout and left us all behind with back issues of Fly Fishing and Fly Tying to read – luckily for us he left Trout Hunting which is a philosphical look at catching trout.

    Anyway, that is three for you to be adding to your Christmas wish lists – by the way – an easy way to save books and to point your loved ones towards them is to create a wish list at Amazon – here is mine – they can then buy the books and opt to have them sent straight to your house – of course some people might say this is just a huge hint to get Christmas presents off you guys – however I just have your best interests at hearts – honest guvnor!

    Glasgow Casting Club

    Last Sunday morning my wife decided she just had to go to local huge shopping centre to pick up a frock or something for a christening in the afternoon – I decided to take the boy for a walk and then had a moment of pure genius – we can go and feed the swans down at the park – it just so happens the North Glasgow Casting Club meets up on Sunday mornings for a bit of rod waving shenanigans.

    Just what do you call a group of chaps  practising fly casting anyway?

    An Abomination of casters?

    An Abomination of casters?

    The casting club is a cracking idea –  to learn to cast you have really got to see someone cast very well – you can then copy them and ask questions galore. There is also the opportunity to try everyone’s rods (ooer) before you go out and splash out cash on a new one – very worthwhile actually – I am reminded of when someone told me Fulling Mill rods were good – I got one without casting it and hated it – in fact every one of my pals who tried it did not like it either – I eventually sold it to someone from a forum – I heard later it snapped while being cast!

    There are also qualified casting instructors on hand however they will not give you full one on one lessons – they will give you pointers – invaluable pointers even and that is pretty neat. If you do then decide to take a couple of hours casting lessons you will know the guy giving it and he will have a feel for what you need to concentrate on.

    The casting club is pretty unique as anyone can turn up and is very informal – I have been only the once however constantly hear about its progress on all the various forums and from pals. On nice calm days it is busier however you might find that if you attend on a windy day it will be less busy and you will get more out of it – generally peoples casting goes to pot with a bit of wind.

    A bit of wind changes everything!

    A bit of wind changes everything!

    Anyway, so there I was watching Alberto and another guy casting away with a new Orvis Helios rod – “Have a bash at that” was the offer – I cast – what followed was a disection of my cast, where I had went wrong and what I could do to rectify it – I have heard these guys are very patient – turns out if you are pals wth them they are ruthlessly honest and blunt. “Less Power, less power – put your hand in your pocket” and “Look at that tailing loop – you wanna know what caused that?”

    My pal Campbell then turned up with his son and I took great delight in ripping his casting to shreds as well ” Oh my GOD – he has the creep”

    Creeping Campbell out!

    Creeping Campbell out!

    So what did I learn? Well for a start I need to correct my own creep that is causing my tailing loops - the way to correct that is to use “The Drift” – this is when on the back cast instead of creeping forward (which is bad) you let the rod drift back ever so slightly.  Obviously I need to practice this a bit!

    After a while my wife turned up and caused much hilarity by getting a wee bit of fur caught up in the boys buggy and then walking over to the car – just so happened the wee bit of fur was attached to a line, rod and reel.

    I think this is a great way for someone to learn how to cast a fly – sure there are some great books and DVDs such as…

    However after you have read the books and DVDs heading off to see guys in action where you can ask questions is invaluable.

    What can I say – learning to fly fish has never been so accessible to so many – the group meets on Sunday mornings between 1000 and 1200 at Knightswood pond – after 1200 the local model boat group have the pond booked – Seemingly they are a bit unsporting and do not like people casting towards the boats!

    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?

    End of Season Musings…

    What a strange season all round – I am not saying it was a bad season – just a very strange one. Dave from Cork  noted in the comments  that having a child (or several) definitely  cut down his fishing time however it made the times he went fishing a heck of a lot more special – I wholeheartedly agree with that!. Usually, I am targeting trout at least a few times per week on the Kelvin and then hitting the Clyde at the weekends for a day session. All you have to do is compare my post count over the last few years in June and July in my archives to see the difference in session amounts.

    However, this year I seemed to just catch a few hours on the Kelvin whenever I could and hit just one spot on the Clyde when times allowed. My catch rate is definitely down probably due to the fact that when you have one poor session with less than favourable conditions the next one a day later usually makes up for it. If memory serves me right I seemed to manage a lot of early season trips when the conditions were poor and then this tapered off as the conditions got better – due to increased baby duties.

    So what have I learned for next year? How to be a good father and yet still get some quality fishing time in – I think the key might be to target small streams – the trout are lot more obliging for a start and “usually” the action starts on day one rather than after a couple of months of the water heating up. I know one guy (no names) who fishes a small stream (no names) who always catches trout on dries on the first day of the season. A few hours scrabbling around on rocks with tricky casting is just what the doctor ordered.

    Steep Cliffs

    Steep Cliffs

    Of course – that is for day time shenanigans – evenings can be spent on the Kelvin or one of the tributaries – not that I had a great year on the Kelvin, sure I caught a few trout however certainly none that particularly stood out in my mind.

    Trout that did stand out? There was my first trout of the year that I caught on the dry fly – in fact it was caught on my second cast of the season (or was it my third?) I was on my lunch break in the middle of nowhere after attending a meeting – I was standing on a bridge watching wee trout rising consistently – “why not” I said to myself – pulled my waders on, strung up my Orvis Superfine – had a cast – fly missed the trout – recast and the trout took my fly – trout then leaped all over the pool – it was sweet.

    First Trout of 2009

    First Trout of 2009

    Another memorable trout was from the same river – fishing buddy assisted with hero shot with that one. In fact – the guy I have been fishing with most (who also has a baby of the same age – we are kindred spirits) actually carries a camera for a change – so even if the writing is pish at least you get to look at nice photos.

    Hero Shot - you guys never told me how sexy my ass looks in waders!

    Hero Shot - you guys never told me how sexy my ass looks in waders!

    Pike trips have been few – I had a couple of trips over the Summer – one of the days I caught a couple which was great fun.

    Green Submarine

    Green Submarine

    My last trout trip of the year was very similar to last years – it was great! It felt close enough to the end of the season that I decided to end the year on a high as opposed to a blank.

    Over the coming months I am going to get my shit together and start tying flies – I am now armed and dangerous with Singlebarbed’s fancy new sixth finger.

    And from the word go (ie the start of the tying season) I have my J Vice to start on the troops for the new season. All in all a lot to look forward to.

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