Loch Ness Monster
I was asked to go to Scotland to sort out a rundown fishing hotel on the side of Loch Ness, some fifteen years ago.
Being an avid salmon fisherman, it seemed a great opportunity to chase some Loch Ness salmon and get paid for the enjoyment.
Nothing was further from the truth, I found to my horror, the hotel was a complete shambles, the woman that had obtained it, had absolutely no idea what to do and should never have been in the hospitality business, which is another story.
The bar in the hotel had a number of local fishermen frequenting it regularly. They were a trifle frosty when I first met them and after exchanging various fishing stories, they realized that I had caught a considerable amount of salmon and other fish and was not a Southerner telling them how to fish on their home territory, a mistake made by many visitors.
I sat in the bar and listened to their stories, which always have a similarity wherever you go, only the water changes. The conversation moved from fishing to the Loch Ness Monster, which made me smile very discreetly.
Having been a commercial diver and fished in some strange places for some equally curious fish, my skepticism of the Loch Ness Monster would have alienated me from some interesting characters, who were going to be my customers for the next two months.
The conversation moved from Nessie to eels and a big argument ensued, the serious fishermen were convinced that Nessie was a large eel. It is common knowledge that Nessie could not be herbivore, because there is insufficient plant growth in Loch Ness to sustain an animal of the alleged size of Nessie. Likewise, if Nessie was fish eater, the fish in Loch Ness are migratory salmon, passing through the loch, pike, slob trout and eels, none in sufficient quantities to sustain any large mammal.
The loch at the time when I was there, unbeknown to me at that time was way below it's normal level, due to a serious drought, and salmon were having trouble getting up the river to the loch and the feeder streams to spawn, making even less fish available for a possible Nessie.
My fishing locals, said that salmon fishing was out because of the low water, but I could fish for pile, slob trout (large cannibal trout normally at great depth) or eels.
Eels I have always avoided, having caught and shot, with a harpoon, a number of large congers, where the conger was more in control than I was, large ones are to, be avoided.
I duly arranged to go pike fishing late at night, the advice given to me was light a fire, wear tough boots, take a nail bar with me and keep away from the waters’ edge, I thought it was a wind up.
The advice was good, on a subsequent trip. Whatever I hooked smashed up a steel trace, frightened me stiff and gave me a healthy respect for Loch Ness, I also pulled up some animal bones, which may have been thrown in the loch by a local after butchering a deer, or the deer went to close to the loch and couldn't get out.
I also saw small eels working their way up a feeder strip, searching for any available food in late evening.
This caused me to write a book called the Loch Ness Eels, which is now, published on smashwords.com.
The story is fiction based on my research into eels after my frightening experience, using the crazy antics with the hotel as a background and fishing for eels.
The facts about eels that I discovered are as follows.
Firstly, eels have never been, seriously researched since they have no real food value.
They were believed to migrate to the Sargasso sea to spawn, an area that is almost impossible to research, it is now believed that they spawn at great depth, in the deep trenches of the oceans, Loch Ness is on a fault line and very deep.
Small silver eels are migratory and do not grow to much more than a meter.
Conger eels normally live in seawater but can live in freshwater.
Male congers, supposedly grow to about twenty pounds in weight.
Female congers grow to enormous size, rod caught ones at up to 12o lbs in weight, but the Dalkey eel was reputed to be around 300 lbs and put back in the sea, caught off the coast of Scotland.
There are stories of enormous eels being caught in fishing trawls and thrown back, also stories of lakes with enormous eels in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere, all third hand without confirmation, but sufficient to warrant a comment in various books or newspapers.
The following stories were related to me by a number of Loch Ness fishermen, in addition to further research, the perpetuating of Nessie is a major tourist attraction and now a major factor in the local economy, to have Nessie converted into a very large eel is a cause for local concern.
A lady was in a rowing boat with one son and the other son decided to swim to the boat and a large eel grabbed him in shallow water and the mother beat the eel off and rescued her son, all were in a state of shock, the only eel of that size would be a conger eel.
Supposedly, there are various stories of people vanishing in reasonably safe conditions never to be seen again.
A submersible went down to a considerable depth near Drumnadrochit, the pilot came up quickly and refused to go down again, he was terrified.
Another unconfirmed story was that a very large eel got caught in the sluice on the lock gate, leading to the sea from Loch Ness, they could see the outline but it was gone the next morning.
Eels thrive in detritus, live in holes, feed in the main at night are cannibals, and have a perpetual food source, in addition thrive on rotting meat.
There is a theory that there is an outlet to the sea from Loch Ness supposedly near Drumnadrochit, the sea is more than fifty miles, but Loch Ness is on a fault line, maybe there is an underground stream going to the sea, it is all speculation.
Large migrating eels moving up or down the river Ness would be seen, or the eels would avoid the river because of the street lights from the adjoining roads illuminating the river.
If there are very large eels living in the detritus which could be meters deep or holes in the loch sides, they would certainly not be visible to any scanning equipment during the day.
Eels do not have swim bladders, like fish, but their bodies will swell up if they have been at great depth. A bloated dead or sick conger will rise to the surface as the gases expand, where it barks exuding the gases until it is back to normal, but it's body shape could appear to be enormous, then reduces and sinks to the bottom again, if it is dead it provides a food source for the remainder.
I did not publish my book, until this year, following a newspaper article about a sonar image of a massive eel like creature below a boat on Loch Ness.
The eels, if the information is correct, answers a lot of questions, but if correct raise many more.
One thing is very certain, I will not fish at night from the banks or in a small boat when Loch Ness is very low during drought conditions.