I started haaf netting in 1970. My father (Big Adam) fished and I followed in his footsteps.
I would see him return home with fish, sometimes with good catches. The summers seemed to be better then, and my brothers and I would go fishing with him during our school holidays.
Some of my earliest fishing experiences were shoaling in the early morning when the dawn was coming up and it was flat calm. Shoaling has always been one of my favourite forms of haaf netting. That and fishing a drop over. I have always had most success with these methods.
In my time I have caught just about everything in the Solway: Mullet, Cod, Sparling, Dover Sole, Plaice and Flounders and have seen seals, porpoises, otters, mink, foxes and deer. I even saw a hen house float by once!
The fishing has been full of characters past and present. Every one of us is a character in our own way! Although there is rivalry between the fishermen there is also respect and camaraderie as well.
The things I like most about haaf netting is the challenge, the tranquillity and at other times the banter.
There is nothing like the experience of getting a ‘good pull’ when a sizeable salmon hits your net, particularly when you are not expecting it! However, it is definitely not so enjoyable when you are out in heavy rain and soaked to the skin.
Plenty has changed since I started fishing. There has been too much bureaucracy, political involvement and outside pressures. People are making decisions on something they know nothing about. Fishing in the Solway has been going on since the 10th Century but is in danger of dying out. All we fishermen ask is to be able to continue and be allowed to catch a few salmon, grilse and trout for consumption. Annan haaf netting is a heritable right, it is historically and culturally important to our area. With all the restrictions imposed it would be easier for a new start to take up golf!
Are you interested in taking up a Haaf Net Licence? Find out more and APPLY HERE
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