Shooting and fishing: The Scottish Government will have you publicly thrashed with your own rod
WE had been discussing our friend Alf’s new bit of fishing and his new hut and came back to the question of why the average catch on the beat has been so low and why, with a bit of luck, he may be onto a bargain.
I say a bargain because once he got down to some serious fishing very late in the season – in fact it wasn’t even that serious – he had six fish in a week out of the two lower pools just from nipping down to the river for the odd half hour.
Admittedly three fish were on a spinner because the water was well up and coloured and he was using a lurid treble hook Rapala lure. The other three were on big Cascades.
So there are fish there alright, if only at the lower end where there is a long ripply bit that swings round a corner into narrows under a high bank and debouches into two short pools.
That looks like it’s the spot. The top end of the beat has an island which increases the chances of fish by creating a bit of extra stream. The middle section, running down one side of a field – destined to be sown with wild flowers – is flat and shallow, but nothing a JCB digger wouldn’t sort out.
Unfortunately no one save the Almighty and the forces of nature is these days allowed to interfere with rocks in rivers to improve the fishing. The Scottish Government will have you publicly thrashed with your own rod and then shove a 30-grand fine in your face for even thinking about it.
Anyway, we came back to the business of why the catches have been so low in the past. Was it that there were no fish? Or had no one bothered to fish it?
It turns out the only person who had fished the beat was the previous owner’s nephew. The previous owner was a farmer with no interest in fishing. The river just happened to be part of the farm and a handy place to water his cattle.
So it wasn’t really considered an asset and any catches went largely unrecorded. Thus the five and ten year averages on which the value of fishing is based were/are laughable.
Very sensibly, when it came to selling the whole farm the fishing was lumped into a single lot along with a serviceable cottage, the eight- acre field and a few acres of mixed deciduous trees on a precipitous bank.
It is now, therefore, our bounden duty to help Alf justify his family’s investment by getting the catches up.
If a fish is worth £5,000 for valuation purposes can we catch 20 a year over five years and establish a nominal value of £100,000? It might be fun to try.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West