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Tough Bobby


One day I was fishing in Kinneuchar Loch alongside of the Kinneuchar Kirk. On calm days with puffy white clouds floating overhead in a bright blue sky it's as peaceful and serene a place as you can find. 


 My quarry, as usual, was the big pike.  I had graduated from a throw-out hand line that I baited with small perch to my very first fishing rod that I made.  My dad, being a golf club maker, always had lots of long hickory and steel golf shafts.  I saw that if I just filed the end of a wooden shaft to mate up with the end of a steel shaft I could make a fair fishing pole.  For line guides I used cut-off safety pins.  I thickened up the wooden handle and by the time I got my creation finished it was a pretty respectable rod. The next rod I made was from a whip antenna that came off an army Sherman tank. I recently had traded a boy friend, Alastair Duncan, who lived at Roseberry in Earlsferry, a model railway engine for an old spinning reel. By commercial fishing rod standards my rods had the flexibility of barge poles but they did enable me to get my lures out to waters that I couldn't reach with my old hand line.


As I fished, who shows up with all his fishing gear but Wilson the Bobby.  With a smile he explained that he hadn't come to arrest me but this was his day off from his beat.  In no time he was casting out about twice as far as I could heft my lure with my stiff pole.  It wasn't long before he landed several pike to my one. After awhile, when he'd done his thing, he packed up and left.


A week later I was fishing at the same spot and Wilson showed up again on his day off.  I noticed that he had more fishing gear with him than he had the previous week but I didn't think much about it.  Like the previous week, he completely out-fished me.


When he finished fishing he unpacked the extra stuff that he'd brought along.  With a twinkle in his eye he went on to explain, "The other day I went with my wife for a day's outing and ended up at Peter Malloch's gun and fishing tackle shop in Scott Street at Perth.  I saw this fishing rod in their window and thought you'd like it."  With that he handed me a brand new beautiful Malloch fishing rod complete with a Mitchell reel and line.  He also handed me some of his sure-fire pike catching lures that he made himself from old teaspoons.  His eyes were visibly misting over. I thanked him profusely which caused him to make a hurried departure.


So much for our stern, tough guy, village cop!


Yes, Wilson was a very special person.   He was one of the very best.


To this day I still make Wilson's teaspoon lures.  They catch most anything that swims.


I ultimately retired Wilson's gift.  As I type this I'm looking at his gift fishing rod hanging on the wall, a fond memory of one man that seventy/eighty years ago I was fortunate to know and have as a guardian and a friend, Police Constable James Wilson.   


He did have my best interests at heart.