(Preamble – The River Kelvin Angling Association Secretary (Paul Reid) has resigned – this started with Paul wanting anglers to cease set lining and using rod rests on the river. This was seen (I think) as a fly versus other methods vendetta (even though Paul is a metal flinging barbarian) and caused a great deal of bad feeling amongst the club members – pretty much all the ones that were busy set lining and using rod rests. Paul then got on with the job of being a fantastic secretary – attending meetings and dealing with the voluntary job in a very professional manner – he lined up many opportunities and everyone agreed that in a few years the club and river would be in a much better condition than it is now – he then walked the river with the police – something that has been done on many other rivers- it then gets all a bit complicated – this caused problems as they actually met very few anglers, only guys out drinking with outstanding warrants. Paul was then hunted like a fox by groups of guys out with dogs was then told not to go near the river as some chaps wanted to have a chat about their grievances – he then went back out with the police. To cut a long story short he resigned as he had no other option – when a bailiff says “are you going to feed my kids if I get killed?” it makes you question your position somewhat – for some more sordid details and info please go to the thread on the forum. I suppose it is only fair to tell you at this point I too have resigned my position as an office bearer thus ensuring the conjecture about my on again/off again relationship with the association )
It is not about the fecking rod rests!
A young boy – maybe 14 – goes to the river during his summer holidays with a fishing rod and a can of worms – sticks worm on hook and then lobs it into the Kelvin – he catches a small trout and maybe a parr – he is so exited that the parr dies and he kills the trout to show it off (it was deeply hooked as he was not holding his rod). A passion is then born whereby the boy grows up still loving the excitement of catching fish however decides that he only wants to actually kill selected fish – he understands that he wants to get better at catching fish and learn a bit more about how to go about it – he then goes one of three ways:
1. He takes up fly fishing and enjoys catching trout of any size (possibly salmon too if his wallet is big enough) – kills some, returns some. There is a learning curve which ensures his accidental kill rate goes dramatically down and his productivity goes up.
2. He goes to the dark side and starts to fish for salmon with spinners (occasionally the fly) – he may also fish the worm – he will find he will catch a lot more salmon with a moving bait and will probably find he catches the odd trout as well – due to the bait being moving and the fact he strikes when he feels the take the trout more often than not will be hooked in the mouth – if it is a good trout he will return it or possibly kill it. Like learning to fly fish there is a learning curve involved – productivity goes up – accidentally killed fish goes down.
3. He may not learn anything new – he may continue to fish the way he has always done – tossing out a worm (or a maggot) and prop his rod on a rod rest or stick (or quite often a bush). As the years go by the area that he fishes becomes bare of grass and litter starts to build as others see it as a “good spot”. In truth he has caught some good fish from the pool – trout like worms – and lives in hope of another one coming along – he watches his rod tip for takes – unfortunately by the time you see the rod tip moving the trout, salmon, parr, eel (as to be honest you cannot target fish with this method) will probably have taken the bait so far down the throat that actually removing it will be impossible without killing the fish – maybe not today however sometime soon. Productivity does not change – accidentally killed fish stays the same.
So the main problem is:
It kills em'
I do not want to start an argument about who is a better fisher – however with all this talk about “The War Against Rod Rests” I thought it might be important to point out why the majority of anglers find it distasteful when they see guys sitting with a few rods pointing at the river – it is not because they do not want the guys to enjoy fishing – it is because they know that accidentally killed fish will be the result. There are times that some fish need to be returned – undersized fish (dare I say beautiful fish) and illegal fish – because yes catching a Salmon when it is in spawning colours or when it is a kelt is illegal – they taste like shit as well. Using the option 3 way of fishing does not allow these fish to be returned.
When I meet some young guys who are just out for a fish and a laugh, maybe even the odd bottle of buckie – and to be honest I count anyone under the age of forty – I smile as maybe, just maybe a spark might be ignited that will lead them on to a path whereby they want to learn more about how to fish and maybe they do not want to kill as many of the returnable fish that are the future of our river systems.
What I do not understand are guys that continually fish this way for years and years – and continually defend a way of fishing that others look on as being bad for the fish. Sure these guys are in the minority however they are also the guys that shout the loudest when there are changes that have to be made – they also try and justify their actions by saying they can fish this way as it is not a rule on a permit. A law does not have to be written on the permit – it is written on a legal paper and these pants:
It is Illegal
Just in case noone believes the pants – over on the Scottish Parliament web site they are pretty explicit about it:
The definition of rod and line as given in the 1951 Act is “single rod and line with such bait or lure as is lawful at the passing of this Act and, in the case of fishing for salmon in an area to which and at a time during which regulations made under section 8 of the Salmon Act 1986 apply, is not specified in such regulations in respect of that area and time.” This causes practical difficulties for coarse anglers. The prohibition of the use of set lines, which was first enacted in the Fisheries (Scotland) Act 1860, was retained by the 1951 Act. Common practices in angling for coarse fish include ‘ledgering’, where a bait or baits are fished using a weighted line, the rod being set on a rod rest. It can be usual for coarse anglers to set several lines when fishing for coarse fish. The courts have determined that laying down a rod and leaving it supported on a rock or stone constitutes fishing with a set line. This would apply equally to the use of a rod rest. Thus, anyone who fishes for coarse fish in Scotland using accepted methods for that branch of the sport runs the risk of being charged with fishing illegally.
So basically – it is not about the rod rest as such – the law came into being as it kills bloody fish – the fish that we want to catch next year and the year after that.
Anyway, I have no idea what happens next – I just want to go fishing!