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Springtime on “The Big Loch”

Saturday April 6th, 2019

It’s Saturday and I’m glad to leave all work related matters of the past week for the real business of angling amongst the stunning beauty of Loch Lomond. Technically it is Springtime but there was a real chill in the air and a misty overcast low cloud as I head out for the second trip of the season.

I opted to try trolling up the east shore past Boturich and onwards to Endrick Bank before heading towards Milarrochy Bay. Although crossing Endrick bank I did wonder if this was the smart decision given the water depth of less than 2 feet at some points and the lures ‘bouncing’ along the sandy bottom. From Milarrochy Bay I headed over towards Inchfad and then the down and along back of Inchmurrin before heading for Boturich and homewards.

Despite the low temperatures and the lack of fish, aside from a beautiful little sea trout of around 3/4lb which unnoticed appeared to have been catching a ride before I noticed, if I am being completely honest.

Whilst this will be only be my second and my first complete season angling on Lomond I never fail to be completely overawed by the magnificent beauty and scenes from my little craft, it sounds a bit weird but on each outing on The Loch it is almost as if the artist has been given a brand new palette of colours and materials with which to create.

First outing of the new season on Loch Lomond

23rd March 2019

Glad to be back on the water after a long Winter break that seemed never ending at times. A lovely bright bright day with a cold westerly wind saw me heading up the West shore for shelter from the wind. Reports from East shore were of a bit of a wave and difficult conditions. Whilst fish seemed to be absent it was a good day and great to be back out for the new season. Based upon later catch reports it turns out that all the fish were on the East shore with the wind it appears!


Finally ready for the Season

Finally after hours of scraping, sanding and applying treatments the final coat of varnish went on this week. I have a huge debt of gratitude for all of the advice, tips and help over the past months from so many fellow anglers and others.

In particular a very special thanks to Uncle Billy, Stuart McCall and Tam for so freely sharing their experience and for their patience in answering all of my numerous questions and concerns. A big thank you also to Tam and Stephen at the Vale of Leven Angling Club for stepping in to complete the painting and varnishing when I was at work.

Looking forward to getting her into the water on Sunday when hopefully the water will remain firmly on the outside!

On the home stretch

The end is in sight or the start of the new season not for me not long depending upon how you view it. First coat of varnish on and already boat is looking better as the mahogany  starts to looks its best.

I am  using “Tonkinois Marine No.1” varnish – a french marine varnish. Being a novice here and having sought advice which as always was freely given and much welcomed then opinions on varnish ranged from “don’t waste money spending a fortune on expensive varnish since it will only need to be scraped off in two years…” to “try to get the best varnish you can afford as it will last longer before needing replaced….”  Le Tonkinois was suggested and having checked it out then their claim that you could apply further coats directly after a few years appealed to me. Time will of course tell but if it buys one or two more years before needing scraped off then great!

Huge thanks to all the guys at the club for helping flip the boat over this morning albeit after a few hairy moments when we each realised a few more bodies would have been handy!


Learning new skills

Just discovered why fly tying requires lots of skill, knowledge and experience! My very first attempt at tying, in this case a “Mackenzie Cascade“, at least that’s what it should be. Thank you to Davie McPhail for his excellent helpful YouTube videos with step by step guidance and advice. The “whipping tool” still remains a complete mystery to me as to how to use this but I will get some much needed help on this.

IMG_0372Whilst admitting to being a little chuffed at finally having made a start it is clear that much more practice and hours on the vice are going to be needed in order to master the basics of this “art form”. It’s probably just as well I am not paid on a “piecework” basis as this first fly took several hours!

Black Magic

A move to the warmth of the painting shed and a good few more hours preparation masking and sealing seams below the waterline with Sikoflex flexible marine sealant.

Took much longer than expected to complete and my goodness this stuff is messy and can and did get everywhere! Good stuff this Sikaflex sealang and getting it off my hands – so far it has resisted white spirit, turpentine, soap, acetone, Cillit Bang. Hope it stays on the boat as strongly! A few days for sealant to cure then undercoat and paint lower hull section before varnishing can begin. Onwards and upward.

Finally the end is in sight!

After many cold hours scraping, sanding, filling I can start to think of the end being in sight. Tomorrow will hopefully see the boat moved and firstly the sealant applied then paint and 5-6 coats of varnish applied in the finishing shed during next couple of weeks. However it will definitely be a race to the line time wise to complete all coats of paint and 5-6 coats of varnish on the hull given allowable time in the workshop and work commitments.

Grateful to a fellow club member for fabricating a new ridge pole assembly for me which is great and is considerably lighter and easier to handle and stow than the previous version. Boat has also been measured and templated for the manufacture of a new boat cover which should be ready next week. So things beginning to come together and barring any problems should be completed within next two weeks. Wishing now that I had stripped down the seats but will have to wait until next season most likely due to time constraints.


Glasgow’s secret angling “paradise”


Ever since first fishing the River Kelvin I have been fascinated by the astonishing beauty, wildlife and the amazingly tranquil surroundings on this little river all despite it being bordered within the hustle and bustle of Glasgow.

After climbing down to the water’s edge one could be forgiven for thinking you were fishing some northern Scottish river rather than casting a line on the River Kelvin at Kelvingrove within Glasgow’s city centre. Even as a relatively new angler to The Kelvin I already have many memories of magic moments when a kingfisher or dipper enters your casting view, or a deer decides to join your coffee break.

The Kelvin at The Glasgow Vet School and at Balmore are probably my favoured stretches and each of these stretches yet again never fail to disappoint in terms of beautiful scenery, wildlife and of course the occasional fish.

Never one to choose the easier path my goal has been to land my first Kelvin salmon on the fly and despite the constant disparaging advice from fellow anglers that this is not the best method for salmon on the Kelvin I remain stubbornly resolute to continue the challenge this season.  The angling is managed by The River Kelvin Angling Association who offer several permit options at great value. For detail go to

An added bonus is just how easily and quickly accessible the river is for those times when you may only have a few hours of an evening or morning to fish. If you have not yet discovered this little piece of urban wilderness then I encourage you to do so.

5 Star Treatment

Sunday 27th January 2019

A few more hours to day cleaning hull down with tack cloths, hoovering out any debris from plank seams before applying  a generous coating of Cuprinol 5 Star Wood Preserver to entire hull. This treatment is a clear, low odour, water based, all purpose treatment to prevent insect attack, re-infestation and protect from fungal decay. Now I need to leave for a week now to soak in and dry out before deciding whether another application is needed prior to starting the next stages of performing some minor repairs with two part epoxy and filler and reapplying sealant to plank seams. Home straight in sight!