Monday, 9 June 2014

Fishing off Donald Trumps new purchase.

English: Turnberry Golf Course, Lighthouse and...
English: Turnberry Golf Course, Lighthouse and Ailsa Craig. Facing South West (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Donald Trump has bought Turnberry Hotel and the golf courses that occupy the grounds. It is a world renown course, used for many open tournaments over the years and looks over the Firth of Clyde towards the Alisa Craig. Beautiful views over the sea from a beautiful countryside, what more could a rich man want.
Well I don't care what rich men desire, I have worked hard all my life and do not have a fortune to show for it but I do have a nice relaxed retirement with sea angling in the very sea that stretches out in front of Trumps new empire to keep me amused during the summer months.
I worked as a commercial fisherman simply because I was born and bred into the industry and proud of it, proud to follow the footsteps of my ancestors, going back generations.
 Life was hard and money scarce at times but the good times made up for the poor ones and all in all I made a reasonable living while learning to budget for the necessities of life.
As fishermen we toiled long hours through storms with icy cold seas crashing over our heads in open decked boats
Now I can go out to sea in my little boat whenever I feel like it and of course only when the weather is favourable and I am sure I am enjoying the pleasures surround Trump's new empire without all the stress and strain he has put on himself building the empire he has accumulated.
OK that was his goal and his choice and I chose mine too, so rather than complain or be jealous I am happily content.
I doubt though if Donald Trump will ever find the contentment I have even though he has all those riches, because whereas he will always be wanting more, I on the other hand having come through all the hardships can appreciate what I have now.
Since Trump purchased Turnberry, every time I am out on the sea looking back at his little corner of Scotland, it makes me appreciate all the more the person I am and what I have accomplished in my life without the need to strive for more.
I Donald Swarbrick will go to my grave a more contented man than Donald Trump, feeling I have played the part I was born for.
Whereas Donald Trump will die feeling he had more to achieve.
Who do you think had the best life, the man who thought money was the most important thing in life or the man who enjoyed and appreciated just living?

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Saturday, 9 March 2013

Spot the Porpoise.

If you look closely to the left of the video you will see a porpoise surfacing quickly before it dives again.
That day we had about twenty of them swimming and playing around us for hours and every time I got my camera phone ready to film them they would disappear.
Once I gave up and started fishing again they would surface and play around.
It was as if they were trying to evade the paparazzi. ha ha.
Robbie managed to get better film of them the previous day before I joined him but I don't have them on my computer or I would show you them, so you will have to be eagle eyed enough to catch them in this clip.

We did catch some cod that day even though we were concentrating more on the porpoises.
Well..... enough for a good feast when I got home at least.

As you can see some makerel and a whiting was also in the box and were eaten at a later date, but the cod went straight into the pan when I got home and were as delicious as you would expect from fish as fresh as that.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Winter hibernation.

It will soon be time for the new season to start and I have not added any more of the stories I promised you, but I have been very busy in other aspects of life so please accept my apologies.

Fast "n" Luce has been under wraps for the winter but with the sun showing its face in the last few days, it has given me the chance to clean her up and give her a paint.
As the outside has a gel coat, a good wash is all that is needed there except for the fresh coat of anti-fouling on her hull.
The inside is all white and clean and the wooden rails on her cuddy has been varnished.
The deck has still to be painted but I will leave that until all the other jobs are completed, not that there is much to do, just add some rod holders forward on each side and rig up the bilge pump to the electrics.
If I get the time I will write about her last trip when I caught some cod, and all in all had good catches of white fish every time I went out on her, but getting her so late in the season meant that I was only beginning to enjoy the pleasures of the more modern and able boat before it was time to tuck her down for the winter.
As it was late in the season though, I did find out how she faired on rough seas as I had to punch my way home a couple of times when I was fishing off Dunure with Robbie.
The wind and sea whipped up on two occasions just as we were about to call it a day, but it was fun heading home, punching into the waves and getting my face covered in spray again, just like old times when I was commercial fishing.
The new boat passed with flying colours, as did my stomach........... which after all the years that have passed since I did it for a living was quite reassuring.

Here's cheers til the next time.

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Sunday, 18 November 2012

A little care gets you there.

English: The Ayrshire coastline A telephoto sh...
English: The Ayrshire coastline A telephoto shot from the summit of Grey Hill showing the entrance to the harbour at Girvan on the right and Turnberry lighthouse on the far left, with Turnberry Village to the right of the lighthouse. Girvan is in NX while Turnberry is in NS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here is one of the stories I promised you.

One day when I went to the boat (still Chasca at the time) old George, an old guy with a small boat of his own asked me if I was going out.
The photo is of me and Robbie trying to sort out one of the many problems I had with Chasca's engine.

"Aye, once I get the fuel and other odds and ends on board I am heading down to the light, (Turnberry Lighthouse) to see if the mackerel are still about." I replied.

"Want a passenger" He asked.
"I don't see why not." I replied, not knowing what I had let myself in for.

I was ready to let the ropes go when old George hobbled down the marina walkway carrying his fishing rod and life jacket, threw them aboard then attempted to board himself.
Easier said than done.
As I stood forward to assist him he shakily placed his foot over the rail of the boat to step on the deck, and not realising how far down the deck was, promptly fell aboard knocking my sunglasses off and landing unceremoniously in a heap on top of the fuel tank at the stern of the boat.
"Well that's me aboard he grunted" laughing as he struggled to his feet.
Off we set, and 15 minutes later we were in 60 feet of water off Turnberry Lighthouse.
The mackerel started to bite as soon as our lines began to sink, and with one haul George's fish came up with a seal nibbling at the fish dangling at the end of his line. On seeing the large dark shape emerging he got such a fright, he thought he had caught a shark, and panicked until he realised what it was.
"That's never happened before." He said. "Well that's because you never venture far." I said having a good laugh.
 Before long we had a good feed each, so bored with fish that were easily caught I told old George that we would head north a bit to see if we could get some white fish like cod or lithe or pollock to give it an other name.
Old George, as you will have gathered by now was not the fittest of men, hence the fact that when he put to sea in his own boat he always had someone with him and only ventured yards from the harbour, catching enough mackerel to give him and his wife a feed now and then as they holidayed in their static caravan situated in the local caravan park.

His eyes lit up at the thought of venturing out to waters he had never fished but soon dimmed when the engine slowed down on its own, thirty seconds after I had set course and given her full throttle.
"Don't worry" I reassured him." It does that frequently but always picks up and then runs fine, its the carb. that's at fault, but the engine is too old to get parts. A bit like you." I added giving us both a laugh as the engine picked up, much to my relief.
George rolled a cigarette and enjoyed a smoke as I headed north to the top end of Culzean Bay where the water shallows on a small reef and lithe are known to gather there.
The water was nice and clear and the reef was visible under us which made George ask if it was safe enough.
"Get your line over and see, but don't let it touch the bottom or you might lose your hooks." I told him.
The boat was drifting into shallower water so, with George panicking and no fish to be had I moved off a bit to where the bottom disappeared from view and George's hand stopped shaking.
George was the first to get a bite not long after our lines were sunk and before he got his catch aboard I had one hooked to.
"We are in among them." Old George shouted as he excitedly hauled his line up as fast as he could.
Sure enough we both landed nice lithe onto the deck. threw them into our boxes and cast again, but I had forgot to let George know that we were still on the reef and to keep his line clear of the bottom.
No sooner was his line cast and he was shouting again. "Its a big one this time." He grunted as he struggled to wind in his line.
Old George's fish is in the basin, mine is in the bucket, and at the end of the day we were about even.

When I looked round I realised that his hooks were stuck on the bottom, and try as we might it would not shift so, nothing else for it I had to tie his line and break it away by moving the boat forward.
This freed it but his hooks were lost, and as he had not brought any more with him I decided to call it a day.
We had a good catch on board, and old George having had enough excitement for one day was only too happy to head back to the harbour.
George stood back out of harms way as I moored up at the berth in the marina, but he was so stiff in the legs that it took him an age to finally set foot on the pier. Fearing that he would fall back on me I kept well out of his way instead of helping him but he made it and walked back to his own boat to clean his fish.
NEVER AGAIN! I thought to myself, and only later found out that some others had be caught out as I was and they too had vowed not to take him out again.
He was fun to have as company but a danger to himself and all who sailed with him.
Pity because he loved going out, then again he always had his own boat to fall back on (Hope you don't mind the pun.) as long as someone was brave enough to go with him.
Some weeks later he was telling a group of fellow boat owners who had gathered to hear his always, exaggerated stories for our amusement about his day on Chasca.
He always managed to laugh at himself, and as he ended his tale, he added.
"I had never been as far north before, and it was when I spotted the icebergs that I started to worry, otherwise everything was fine."
We all had a good laugh listening to him describe how he thought he had caught a shark, and even though I was there I almost believed the added parts like the icebergs, such was the sincerity on his face as he spun his yarn.
Aye that's what you call an old sea dog I thought, even though he only fished yards from the shore, and I can only imagine the yarns he would have spun if he had actually been on old sea dog.

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Sunday, 23 September 2012

Fast "N" Luce on its second trip with Donald.

Here is some photos of Chasca's replacement during the second day out with me and during a successful days fishing.
This is just a taster of whats to come.

Good stories with photos to prove this old sea dog can still catch fish.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them.
Hope you are all impressed.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Chasca sent packing.

English: East Tarbet. This is the 'neck' of th...
English: East Tarbet. This is the 'neck' of the Mull of Galloway. A tarbet is a place where a boat could be dragged from one side of a headland or island to the other is probably not done much these days. This side is on Luce Bay, the point on the other side of the headland is on the Irish Sea and is called, somewhat predictably, West Tarbet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The stories are piling up to write when the season ends, but I will take this chance to let you know that Chasca has been replaced by a new boat.

She is a Sea Hunter 450, 15 feet long with a 30 horse powered main engine giving around 20 knots.
The boat and main engine is 8 years old, and the small engine, a 4hp is 10 years old, both are Tohatsu, very reliable engines.
Chasca was over forty years old, as was the main engine which I was having too much trouble with, hence the new boat named "FAST "N" LUCE" the Luce being after a bay, LUCE BAY in the south of Scotland from where I purchased the boat and exchanged Chasca.
I thought the name was quite relevant to me in my youth, and as it is bad luck to change the name of a boat, I am delighted to keep it and hope to have some good catches to report before the season ends.
Or rather catch them now and write about it after.
Hope you will be patient enough to wait, as the seasons end is fast approaching, and I will go into detail of my struggles with Chasca, good fishing and other adventures "with photos" since I last wrote.
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Friday, 17 August 2012

Busy times

English: Leaving Dunure Harbour A small in-sho...
English: Leaving Dunure Harbour A small in-shore fishing boat leaves the harbour on a breezy May morning. In the 18th & 19th centuries, Dunure harbour was used by smugglers, or "free traders". The harbour became a busy fishing base for over 100 years up to the 1950s. By then, fishing boats were becoming too big for this small harbour. (Source: "Ayrshire Coastal Path", by James A Begg) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is just a quick line to inform any interested readers that I am busy catching fish and gathering stories at the same time that I will write, with pictures to accompany them once things get quieter.
Hope you all have the patience to wait.
The photo is of The Wee Lad, my friend Robbie's boat taken from Chasca on calm waters just off Dunure.
Thank you all.
Cheers for now.
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