No sneaking through undetected

JOGGING local memories regarding planning matters which are likely to impact upon any aspect of our local rivers and ponds and the interests of Stonehaven’s angling club, has been an integral part of this column ever since an avoidable spat raised its head back in 1989 and rumbled on for a decade before reaching an enlightened and legally correct resolution.

Indeed, the SDAA must be one of only a handful of local community clubs to actually appoint a Planning Convener (hard working Mike Fraser) to ensure that no such waterside proposals fall off the radar and sneak through undetected! An SDAA Planning Appendix maintained for this purpose, diligently lists such long-term gems as the Carronden “Eco-Village”, the infamous two-storey granite “Cattle Sheds” alongside Crossley Quarry, and various others.

Having spoken just last week about the potential impact on the existing woes of the Glaslaw Burn being offered by a new supermarket proposed for East Newtonleys, I now note that Ury FM Ltd has astutely re-advertised its rival intention to build a supermarket in Ury Estate near the dual carriageway and river and approximately opposite Redcloak House, as part of its various “enabling developments” to fund a championship golf course. Having liaised quite productively with the estate for the best part of a decade to ensure that the interests of wild fish and local anglers are kept in the mix here, the SDAA will once again keep a watching brief over this latest proposal.

LAST weekend saw the final outing of the SDAA’s competitive season, when a party of six

anglers travelled to wonderful Loch Leven, to occupy three of “The Loch’s” famous clinker-built boats in an attempt to emulate Stuart Smith’s fabulous troot of so many years ago. Duly fortified by delicious bacon butties at the Boathouse Bistro, they chugged off onto a flat calm with unrelenting sunshine all day. (Non-fishing readers should understand that just as salmon don’t like the rain because it tends to get them soaking wet, trout and salmon in general do not like overhead or downstream sunshine as they do not have eyelids to filter out the brightness, and so tend to seek out shade under trees, behind boulders or in the deepest depths).

Undeterred, the bold anglers switched to fast-sinking lines and weighted fly lures to get “down and dirty” with the sullen fish. Returning towards the pier empty-handed at the end of the day session, five of the six anglers were flabbergasted when their club president Martin Webster somehow (sorry skilfully) found an actual trout attached to the end of his line. In front of a spellbound audience, he duly played and netted a bonny 2.5 pounder which was admired without even a hint of green cheese before being released to fight another day. Although that was the sum total of sport that day, all agreed that a return visit in 2014 was a must.

BACK home, club juniors Willie Munro and Kieran Preston were non-paying guests for one day of my week-long tenancy on Middle Drum beat on the mighty Dee. The six days started off with the river still at its lowest level in the 25 years experience of ghillie Shane Christie, a scenario which had prevailed on Deeside since May!

Although a hugely welcome rise in level cam on the Friday and Saturday after hefty rainfall up country, just three salmon were caught all week between 24 rods (two of them to Martin Webster including his first-ever Dee fish in the shape of a cracking fourteen pounder, with the third falling to yours truly). The same six days saw the Cowie rise in spate and catches there effortlessly eclipsed Middle Drum with around nine club members out fishing. More on this next week.