ANYONE who has been fishing for as long as I have will be completely underwhelmed to hear that eel DNA has been found in the water of Loch Ness ("Loch Ness Monster isn’t shy... she’s just slippery as a giant eel", The Herald, September 6).

When I was a youngster, eels were commonplace in lochs, rivers, burns and ponds. Young anglers considered eels nothing more than a nuisance, a by-catch as they took bait intended for trout. As young anglers progressed from bait to fly fishing they discovered that not only did fly fishing bring them more pleasure it meant that they no longer had to endure the tedious and unpleasant task of disentangling eels that had become wrapped around their line in a tight slimy ball. Eels didn't take the fly. In the village where I grew up boys hunted eels in the local burn with homemade spears that were made by lashing forks, that had been surreptitiously taken from their mothers' cutlery drawers, to a brush handle using garden twine. At least they weren't growing fat sitting staring at a computer screen. I remember seeing an eel slither out from the ring-pull aperture of a rusting beer can that must have been carelessly discarded years earlier.

I think it is very unlikely that Nessie is an eel. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, there is the question of scale: unless there is a yet-undiscovered species, freshwater eels simply do not grow big enough to be confused with Nessie. The Scottish rod-caught record, taken in 2007, was 6lb 2oz (source: Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling).

Secondly, eels live and feed on the bottom. In well over 50 years of angling I have never seen an eel on or near the surface. I have, however, been fortunate enough to witness the natural spectacle of many thousands of young elvers clinging to the vertical face of a weir as they make their way upstream.

I do have my own thoughts on the existence of Nessie, but for the sake of the tourist industry I will keep those thoughts to myself.

David Clark, Tarbolton.