An Introduction to the New Owners

Brick Farm Lakes is Under New Management and we thought it was a good time, now that we are beginning to find our feet a little, to let everyone know a little about us and our excitement now we are running this fantastic trout fishery. 

We are a family unit comprising husband and wife Phil and Danni (together with our children Samantha and Alfie, and Phil’s parents Graham and Linda.  We have a longstanding background of fishery management and fish keeping having run Horam Manor coarse fishery for over 20 years.  We are passionate about fishery management and love the lifestyle running a fishery gives us. 

Since taking over the business, we have focused our efforts on repairing the stands around Brick Lake and Stag Lake, general mowing and tidying and filing the potholes on the roadway down to the fishing lodge.  Danni has undertaken a food safety course and is planning some exciting home bakes as well as home cooked food which can be enjoyed alongside the roaring log burner in the lodge this Winter.  Food will be served all day and there is no need to pre-order unless you are part of a group booking or have specific dietary requirements.  Bacon sandwiches will always be available if she hasn’t quite stocked the kitchen fully.  She is also in the process of obtaining a Personal Licence so we can get back to stocking and selling alcohol which some of you enjoyed in the past. 

Fish stocking is going well and we have maintained Brick Farm Lakes’ relationship with the existing trout supplier.  We ran an exciting competition on our opening weekend where we stocked a couple of albino trout which fetched a £150 voucher prize for the anglers who landed them.  One was caught within 3 hours and the other was caught the following day!  We have since stocked 2 more albinos which can bag you a free 2 fish ticket if you catch one!  We will have some more albinos arriving over the coming months and these will again be prize winning catches so watch this space.  We also have a new membership and loyalty scheme on the horizon where anglers will benefit from return visits so keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for more information. 

Notable catches since we have taken over include several 4lb plus and a lovely 5 ½lb Rainbow was caught in our second week of opening!  There have been some lovely full bags caught including 3 fish weighing in at a total of 10lb 8oz and 4 fish at 12lb.  We are stocking a 2lb minimum weight and are quickly learning what we hope to be the right balance of stocking levels. 

We maintain the ability for people to learn the art of fly fishing with our fantastic coaches.

Vouchers and tackle hire available. 

We look forward to welcoming you soon! 

Tight Lines, The Axells

Caroline's Report for April 2019

April showers, cherry blossom, extra hour of daylight, hanging out the washing, walking in the Bluebell wood and fly fishing, spring has truly arrived! The winter months are now firmly to the rear and we can all enjoy our return to the great outdoor life we crave during the long, dark days of winter. Yes we may still have the odd late frost this time of year but nothing to spoil the pleasure of gardening, walking the dog or sitting outside with our lunch and a cuppa or, of course, fishing.

This is the most fantastic time of year to enjoy this wonderful sport and an excellent time in our angling calendar to introduce a new angler. Teaching them the skills of casting, explaining the art of watercraft and showing them the insect life starting to emerge with abundance before their very eyes is a hugely rewarding experience.

Here at Brick Farm Lakes, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty we are completely set up for the novice angler to start their adventure. The envied facilities here with our comfortable oak framed Lodge, three well stocked lakes (fourth to be opened soon) and quiet location provide the perfect venue to bring a partner or friend to get them started.

We have new rods and tackle bags to hire if you need to and we sell vouchers for fishing tickets and tuition if required as a gift. We have plenty of parking close to the lakes, CLEAN toilets, free tea and coffee and can even make you an egg and bacon roll for an early breakfast or lunch (up to 12am). We have a railed, wide, wheelchair safe platform in front of the Lodge which can be pre-booked for “Blue Badge” holders in need of a secure, safe spot to fish from – fly fishing is truly “open to all”! If you are thinking of bringing a youngster up to the age of sixteen, then please remember that they must be accompanied at all times and bare in mind that we sell a £40“guardian” fishing ticket to share four fish between you or if it is an adult with you, then we have the option of a “five fish shared” ticket at the cost of £48. They will need to wear a hat and glasses and don’t forget an Environment Agency rod licence is required. We do not permit, for safety reasons, total beginners to hire tackle and go out to fish for the first time on their own without an experienced “helper”.

Don’t forget fly fishing is an inexpensive, lightweight, no mess, simple form of angling that can be used and adapted to fish for many species including carp, bass, pike and many more! It is ideal for ladies, the elderly and disabled and is a sociable, friendly and tireless way to fish, where strength and height are not an issue and your angling neighbour will happily help you along the way, coming readily to your assistance when called upon and it can provide company or solitude in equal measures and a meal for the table. Marvellous!

If ever there was a time to treat yourself (or a friend/partner) to a six fish ticket for the day then it has to be right now! The lakes are full to the brim, the water still cold and Annie has had some excellent quality fish of various sizes stocked for your enjoyment. A little tip, if I may be so bold - give yourself a full day to enjoy your time here. Too many times of late anglers have had to sadly cut their day short, having to dash off for home/work/children/dogs/meetings/shopping etc. etc. etc. Don’t feel guilty having a bit of “ME TIME”. I am including myself in this piece of advice, of course!! Where’s my purse?!!! Don’t forget Father’s Day is coming up fast in June so vouchers are always welcome, just call the Lodge and we can post them to you; simples!

Over and out now, and have a lovely Easter holiday this year of fishing trips and family fun. Annie and Caroline.

Caroline's March 2019 report

Looking out at the lake from the Lodge today it is a bit depressing, if I am honest. It is grey, dark, drizzly and downright dreary to say the very least… at least, I suppose it is mild but that does not go far to lift my mood.

Because of the copy deadline I am writing this report on February 6th, for a issue nearly a month away, which is a tad tricky at times to say the very least, again! By the time you anglers are reading this it will be a good bit nearer to spring, at least! There are times when a crystal ball wouldn’t go amiss, as exactly what the weather has in store for us in a month’s time is all but impossible to say. We could be in the grip of another “Beast from the East” or sitting outside in a T shirt with our morning cuppa, who’s to say, again!

However, even if I am not feeling a spring in my step then the birds definitely are and that’s a fact. They have been singing their hearts out this morning and there is certain busyness to their behaviour now. The 14th of February is rapidly approaching, Valentines Day for us, (oh dear) but, this date is know in the countryside as the “birds wedding day” and they are, without doubt, on time with their countryside calendar. In another spring time turn of events, our “stray” cat who had installed himself firmly next to the log burner for the entire winter is now showing signs of intense activity, leaving the warmth of the house at 10pm sharp every night when he hears the news coming on, (he is as fed up with Brexit as the rest of us) to wonder the village in search of a “new friend” no doubt. The dog is still not convinced! Say no more!

 

The trout are another matter again. Just what will be around for them to consider eating in a months time is by no means a given. There should be frog spawn in the margins, there could be bloodworm on the move through the layers of water and there will almost definitely be buzzers hatching, I walked through a swarm in the garden just this week! Damsel nymphs and others will be crawling around any day now with the longer hours and warmer sunshine on the water and it is definitely time to dust off your emergers! The fish that have overwintered and been lying low in the lakes throughout the cold weather will begin to feel the changing of the season now. They will notice the changing light, the rise in temperatures, feel the pull of the full moon and spring equinox and sense and see the new life around them. The spring time is, with out doubt, the best season for fly fishing! There! I have well and truly cheered myself up! Just the thought of standing on the lake edge, rod at the ready, a box full of new flies, nicely cleaned line and bacon butty in my bag fills me with excitement and anticipation for a wonderful, best ever, PB smashing season.

We have recently had a few days of being forced to close early with the lakes frozen but hopefully that is behind us now and we can get back to normal… apologies if anyone was inconvenienced. Well done to all the anglers braving the cold and indeed, for those who did, the fishing was excellent, with the majority of anglers catching their full bag. At the moment we are still running the £12 extra fish upgrade, in other words if you catch your quota too soon and wish to carry on fishing for a while you do not have to purchase another full ticket, just come into the Lodge a fill in a slip for an extra one fish ticket. 

This year, at Brick Farm Lakes, at some point, when the water is up to its optimum level, we will see the opening of our eagerly awaited forth lake, will see us continue to stock regularly top quality trout and will see us maintain a first class venue for you all to enjoy this marvellous sport!

Tight lines now for a wonderful springtime of daffodils and damsels, tulips and tadpoles, Easter eggs and emergers!

Annie and yours truly, Caroline.

 

Caroline's February 2019 Report

Okay folks… Here we are, well and truly into the New Year now. I hear tell from the trusty weather girls that we have a spot of “interesting” weather coming our way. About time too is all I can say! I recently was caught up in the “interesting” weather in Austria, the heaviest snowfall some said in 100 years and although we took two days to reach our resort, having experienced aborted landings, diversions to Germany, emergency hotels and gridlocked roads that our coach driver by some kind of miracle got us safely through, it was just lovely to get away from the grey, muddy, germ ridden England for a while. There were more poor people ill this Christmas and New Year than I ever remember, including Hubby, and I feel very sorry for you all. We need a dose of minus temperatures to kill off all these nasty bugs and clear the air for a while.

 

As to the fishing, well the trout fight the hardest in the cold water and with the lack of natural foods (other than fry, orange is a must in your fly box) in the lakes they are hungry and looking to take the flies with gusto! They are hitting the flies hard and patrolling the water at all depths; sometimes just under the surface and sometimes down on the bottom. They have been shoaling up a bit lately, mainly in the deeper water, but not exclusively. We anglers need to move around, test the depths by starting at the surface and counting down before retrieving, and change our tactics as and when the need arises. It is very easy to get stuck in a rut with our habits (I’m of course including me in this case), when the winter months definitely effect the fish’s habits as well.

 

We do of course have quiet days here at Brick Farm Lakes at this time of year but this does at least give the trout and the water a bit of a break from heavy fishing. The trout, no doubt, gain a little confidence and move around their territories more readily when the activity of constant casting eases for a while. This may explain why the larger fish are more likely to be fooled onto a hook when there is a bit of ice around or a sprinkle of snow on the grass. We had a marvellous brown caught yesterday, see the photo! We will, of course continue to stock most weeks throughout the winter and have the welcoming Lodge for our anglers to warm up in for a while and enjoy a cuppa or an egg and bacon roll (up to 12pm).

 

If you are a group of angling buddies or fishing club then we can offer you a bespoke menu for a wonderful day out. Please call Annie at the Lodge for ideas and info.

 

Tight lines now for the month of February and at least it is a short month for all you looking forward to the spring. I saw some daffs in bud yesterday so not too long to wait now. Annie and Caroline.

 

Caroline's January Report

FIRSTLY… Happy New Year to all of you! Here at Brick Farm Lakes we hope you enjoyed a healthy and happy Christmas and now that things are returning to normal we can consider some serious winter fishing. Can’t we?

 As time marches on without so much as a backward glance we need to carefully think about the coming year and, in particular, the winter season ahead. January, February and March can be cruel, dark and depressing months for many of us and it takes a good dose of enthusiasm to venture out at times. Of course, we need to consider our health and safety. There are days when the roads are challenging, the weather dreadful and snow and ice cover the ground. These are undoubtedly the times to tuck up indoors with a tasty casserole and a bottle of port. No one wants a bout of the flu or a nasty accident after all! However, in between the bad days we do have some respite with sunny, crisp mornings and still, peaceful winter days and these are the times to relish and embrace with open arms. I recall having the roof off my old car on a day like this in February, yes I had a hat and coat on but to feel the winter air was wonderful and did me a power of good and gave me a much needed physical and mental boost. So, with a warm hat and coat we do not need to hibernate until the spring. Fishing is a marvellous way to quietly enjoy the winter wildlife during this unique season in our yearly calendar. Personally, give me an icy puddle and a sprinkle of snow anytime and I’m a “happy bunny” as they say. This may sound weird to many of you sun-lovers out there, a bit odd, but it takes all sorts after all! At Brick Farm Lakes a day’s fishing can reveal some wonderful moments… the Kingfisher patrolling the bank in front of the Lodge… the Heron standing, sentinel, in his favourite spot beneath the oak tree… the Grey Wagtails lined up along the roof… a flock of geese flying noisily overhead… a heard of deer galloping into the cover of the wood… pheasants, squirrels, moorhens and foxes going about their daily routines. If you take the time to take a stroll through the little wood, you will see the thick holly and Spindle berries and along the banks of the little stream the Wrens and Goldcrests flitting and darting around. In the sheltered spots you can glimpse the first of the snowdrops poking through and I even once witnessed the rare sight of my own shadow, magnified against the foggy hillside beneath a beautiful rainbow… a “Brocken Spectre” it is called apparently, or a “Brocken Bow” or “Mountain Spectre”. WOW!!!! So, let us grab our rods and go out and experience the winter countryside in all its glory. They say that the BIG fish come out to play in the colder months and who knows what we will see along the way.

At Brick Farm Lakes we will continue to stock through the winter months with top quality fish and will look forward to seeing you in this New Year of 2019 for some marvellous fishing. Our new “SPRING LAKE” is filling fast and, all being well, we hope to introduce a few trout in the early part of spring, so watch this space!

Flies at the moment are a bit of a mixed bag as they say but black is STILL the most popular choice of colour in the trout’s eyes, as indeed it has been for a long time.  As I write buzzers are still catching and some truly lovely fish have been landed by some lucky/skilled anglers.

Tight lines from Caroline and Annie for January.

 

Caroline at Christmas - her December report

Here at Brick Farm Lakes I had a wonderful fishing outing the other day. I decided to debut a new fly I had discovered which was a black and white cat’s whisker. I know that fish see the colour white best over a long distance in the water and I also know that a trout’s eyes see black as a very clear silhouette in dark light and murky water so, I figured that putting the two together like this would be a good bet; sure to succeed.  I was tempted into buying a dozen but, when they arrived, they were like no other cat’s whisker I had ever seen before.  The bodies were either black, dark green or white and they were tied with an interesting arrangement of a soft, wing shaped feather on the top and vice versa on the bottom. They were quite fetching to look at and when, that morning, I twiddled one in the water in front of my swim, they moved in a strange, gliding, ethereal type of way. I could see at once that any trout worth its salt could potentially become fascinated and entranced with this thing wafting ghost-like in front their curious noses.  Almost certainly they would be tempted to take a closer look! I once knew someone who swore that if he ever saw a ghost he would quickly be able to recover from any initial shock and take to interviewing it about its past life, times gone by, cause of death etc.  When, however, this opportunity did actually present itself to him, he did what we all would have done in his shoes… he froze on the spot in speechless terror and mutely watched with his wife as it glided across the floor, disappearing through the bedroom wall. His opportunity to make a name for himself was lost forever! What would the trout do? Would they turn, fin and tail and flee in abject fear or would they be brave and foolish and investigate further? I was about to find out.

This fly I decided could be fished in two ways: left to drift slowly through the depths, fluttering softly in the water current and maybe hook up a curious trout on the drop, (boring!)  or cast the thing out as far as I could manage and  then rip it back as fast as I could like some sort of “electric hare” on a dog track. Hopefully I would catch any trout in the immediate vicinity by surprise and trigger a brave, aggressive, predatory strike. This was the option I chose. First cast: The effect was so instantaneous that I was caught napping as they say. A massive bow wave tore after my fly and I could not react fast enough. With a huge splash the fish veered to the side and was gone. “What the deuce was that?” I could almost hear it cry and if a fish could swear then I’m sure it would have said far worse, like me! My fellow anglers gave me the thumbs up and muttered “hard luck” with wry smiles. Aiming at a fresh strip of water, I readied myself for another go. Was the first cast just blind luck? A random moment; it surely happens. Second cast: a repeat of the first. This time I managed, by raising my arm high in the air and with (if I say it myself) some nifty retrieving, to hook my fish. It was an explosive take and seeing that bow wave chasing down my fly was a sight to behold.  If a trout could learn to surf then this one had a good stab at it! Water flew everywhere as it leapt, and belly flopped across the surface. The shattering of the peace and quiet did not go unnoticed. I was, apparently, the first to catch that morning and a few curious heads began to turn with shouts of “that was lucky”. Was it? Having dispatched a beautiful rainbow, I cast again… and repeat!! Well, as you can imagine my dozen flies did not last long as I happily handed them out with the wonderful spirit of camaraderie so unique to fly fishermen/women. I had a wonderful morning, in the end catching four hard fighting rainbows and was thrilled to bits with my fly’s performance. I must remember to order some more and next time try the drifting-softly-and-silently-to-the-bottom approach to see if this works as well!

At Brick Farm Lakes we are now throwing ourselves into the Christmas fun. The Lodge is looking all lovely and twinkly and we have been stocking the three lakes regularly with top quality fish and will continue to do so throughout the winter months. We have vouchers as presents to purchase for your loved ones; for fishing tickets, coaching sessions and rod hire. Please call the Lodge from the comfort of your armchair and we can post them to your front door! Simples!

We are happy to announce the Christmas Competition will be held on Sunday, 30th December. Open to all ages and abilities and at a cost of £40 for a three-fish ticket, Domino pizza lunch, tea and coffee with the classic mince pie and a huge charity raffle, what better way could there be to top up the ration of fresh air and convivial company whilst enjoying this wonderful sport? Again, please call the Lodge to book a space or just pop in.   

Tight lines now for December, a time for friends, family, fun and fishing. Annie and Caroline.

Caroline's latest missive .... well worth a read. Tight lines everyone

 

I had a dream last night; well it was more of a nightmare actually! I was alone at Brick Farm Lakes with dozens of children! They started arriving in large groups, with adults but none of them having fly fished before, all trying to hire rods, ask questions (without stopping to listen to the answer), eat picnics, play with kittens… as I say it was a nightmare! I was trying desperately to remain professional, keep calm and sort them out but it wasn’t working. All my training at Plumpton could not have prepared me for the circumstances I found myself in. No one wanted to pay any money for anything, no one had any glasses or hats and all the kids were dressed in flip-flops, shorts and short sleeved tops. I tried in vain to gather them together and sit them down quietly but they were screaming and running around! I was trying to talk Health and Safety to the adults and issue life vests but realizing we were woefully under equipped and when a large troupe of boy scouts arrived that was the final straw I’m afraid to say I flipped. I have to keep reminding myself it was JUST A DREAM. I went through every emotion you could think of and awoke utterly exhausted but at least I knew at once what to write about today!

CHILDREN… the little darlings! I know all about them, I am a Mum and have helped out at school with dinner lady, book reading and Christmas Grotto duties in my time… (I’m so sorry to mention the “C” word!) How to get them fly fishing is another matter altogether. Officially we are supposed to keep them SAFE, make it FUN and, if possible, just on a one-to-one basis with the adult present at all times. Without a doubt, the key thing is their age. I have found from years of experience that kids under the age of sixteen struggle with learning to cast. I have tried roll cast, overhead cast and the “tick-tock” methods and have found good and bad issues with each.  Kids tend to expect it to be an instant skill that they can master, losing focus, attention and interest very quickly when they realize what is involved. Going back to age, children under sixteen lack the coordination necessary.  We all know that fly fishing is not about being tall and strong. The little ones of say eight or nine struggle to even hold a rod (weighing a few ounces) for any length of time and toddlers anywhere around the lakes is a definite no-no! Having lived through another school holiday season I have now have set myself a new set of rules to which I MUST adhere. Children MUST be taught on a one -to-one basis.  When you have even two, as nice, polite and lovely as they are, they do not do what you are telling them! Just as I leave one to retrieve, “slowly with rod tip pointed to the water”, I go to spend time with the next child and within seconds the first has lifted the rod and is swinging it wildly around their head in an effort to cast, always resulting in hooking up in a tree or bush to be untangled! Then there is the problem of them constantly removing their eye protection. You start off with them equipped as they should be but within a matter of a few minutes you look up to see their glasses perched on top of their head to look cool with a glib response of “I can’t see with them on”. My next rule is that I will cast for them. I have realized that kids can learn more from watching someone than trying to cast for themselves and failing (as indeed is the case with some adults)! The FUN part is hooking a fish and this is the part the kids have come for after all. They expect results, (as indeed do some adults) so, to encourage them to stick with it into their old age, I MUST try my hardest to get them a fish and not concentrate too much on desperately teaching them to cast the line. They need to feel the weight of the line with a fish on it and I need to show them the dispatching… children need to realize this is a blood sport and where their food comes from.

There! My dream has re-focused my coaching of children rules. I have been very tempted at times this year to say “That’s it! No more kids”! I have sought the advice of other coaches only to be met with responses I cannot let go to print. So I know it is not “just me”. You do occasionally and very rarely, (it has happened only once for me), have a young one who has the knack and just simply get “IT”. They picked up the rod and right before my amazed eyes were quickly double hauling! You could have knocked me down with a wet copy of the informer!  I could have had a lesson from them! So, never assume anything! Young David Carden of the Eastbourne and District Fly Fishers Club learnt from a tireless and wonderful Grandma, Mary, from a very early age who had David at the water’s edge weekend after weekend, spending so much time encouraging him. He has recently won: the Casting trophy for time-limited casting into hoops, scoring five as to everyone else’s one or two… accuracy casting to a log with five casts beating  everyone by hundreds of centimeters… and … distance casting to his dad’s wallet, casting so far he was down to the backing and nearly in the oak tree! So, lesson… be patient… don’t ever give up on them! They are all worth it!

Ahh yes, I nearly forgot… Fishing at the Lakes here has taken off again with gusto! We are well into the wonderful autumn period when the nights are cool, the lakes are cold and fully stocked, the water levels are returning to normal, and the fish are hungry and hard fighting. The majority of anglers are catching a full bag and returning for a second ticket. Amazing arrays of flies have been fooling the trout so maybe it’s a good time to treat yourself to a six fish ticket!? Finishing work is continuing on the new lake and progress is good! We are back on schedule now to hopefully put the first fish in the first half of 2019 – water levels permitting.  We can’t wait!

Tight lines Annie and yours truly.

Apologies for absence of reports !!!!

Hi everyone

Annie here again! Most of you will probably have seen me and know that I broke my right arm (snapped my humerus) on 1 February and then very carelessly broke it again on 23 April !!! So I have been out of touch with you all due a complete aversion of typing with only one hand! I’m rubbish at it. But, although the arm is not completely healed (more news after 11 December) I can at least type with both hands - yipppppeeeeeee! Sanity returned. I will try to be a good girl from now on and post Caroline’s monthly news every month. At least the lakes are back to normal and fishing really well in the colder conditions. Aren’t the mornings fantastic at the moment?

The ‘boys’ are back to lay the topsoil around the fourth lake, ‘Spring Lake’, grass seed will go down and over the winter months we will be constructing all the swims. If nature gives us plenty of lovely rain this winter we hope to have a full lake and, if conditions allow, start to stock trout for you to fish for in late spring/early summer 2019. Like you I just can’t wait!!

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