Local View of
Boating on the Loch: The Fishermen
Few know the loch better than those who travel all its waters, its shallowest bays, neogitiate its rocks and perils in tiny boats - and who do so more often than anyone else: in short, the loch's band of keen fishermen.
From the freezing month of February to the closing of the fishing season in October, you will see the hardiest of the the loch's breed strike out in traditional (or traditionally shaped!) little boats, some completely exposed, others with just a tiny deck shelter (or cuddy). Even those with the cuddy are exposed as they sit at the stern working the tiller.
All in search of that increasingly elusive prize - the biggest salmon of the year. Yes they are delighted to catch sea trout, or maybe even a perch for novelty (most curse the pike) - it is the King of Fish they are after. Some get lucky, others not so for years sometimes, but still the draw of the loch takes them, often in weather conditions not for the faint-hearted.
These men (it is indeed almost exclusively a male pursuit) know the loch intimately and they respect her utterly. It is the fishermen who clean up campsites that other users of the loch despoil, it is the fishermen who sense changes in the mood of the loch or climate, it is the fishermen you should speak to if you want to know almost anything about the loch itself.
This is in no way to denigrate the many others who actually earn a living from the loch, such as the park rangers, the pleasure boat operators,, the loch postmen, but they can never match the unique knowledge and shared heritage amongst the fishing fraternity, whose fathers and grandfathers passed on their knowledge and experience and who similarly pass it on between themselves.
A day spent on a fishing boat will teach you more about the loch than a hundred websites, I assure you!
(to be continued as a series of 'fishermen's tales')
A typical wooden 'Orkney' fishing boat on Loch Lomond
The Vale of Leven & District Angling Club in Balloch
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|Text and Photos Copyright: B.Biddulph 2010 - Reproduction forbidden without permission from copyright owner|