Caroline's Report for May

We did have a laugh the other day! One of our wonderful regulars, Mr. Peter Clare arrived to fish. I should make clear at this point that we do not make a habit of laughing at our customers, with them all the time yes, but not laughing at them! This particular day however was an exception! He arrived in the middle of the April “heatwave” in thick mustard coloured corduroy trousers, a heavy and apparently ancient Irish fishing/sailing jumper and deerstalker. We did not dwell at the time on the age or suitability of his underwear but suffice to say he looked a tad warm and if he had been unfortunate enough to fall in he would never have surfaced again! He declared to all the amused spectators that he was going to have a “retro day” and proceeded to set up his seventy year old, split-cane, Hardy rod. He was using a forty year old reel (the oldest he possessed) complete with its original line and used nylon leader. His only nod to the new century was a tippet of fluorocarbon which the gathered crowd could see he was feeling sorry and even guilty about, but, in his defence there was no trace of a polystyrene indicator or any carbon fibre anywhere. He was going to use traditional flies, no blobs or boobies for him, no holographic tinsel or coloured firefly hothead beads, no synthetic cock, (jungle I mean)! There was to be no sign of any uni-French tinsel or anti-tarnish bead chain, no micro flash ice straggle cactus chenille or suspender balls! Epoxy and silly legs were out for the day! (I hope you can see and are suitably impressed that I have done my research!) When he was ready he strolled up the hill to Well Lake to, as he put it “have a bit of a play” and we wished him well. A little while later he returned to the Lodge for a quick coffee having had a “lot of fun” using his old rod, which took some getting used to by all accounts. He handed it to yours truly to feel the weight and I must say I very nearly dropped it! It weighed a ton in comparison to the modern, light-weight carbon fibre ones and I was shocked. I would not have been able to cast for more than ten minutes or more, if at all! No wonder he needed a cuppa and a break and I congratulated him for sticking with it. I was beginning to see that this “retro day” was more serious than I imagined first off. Now, a funny turn of events was just beginning to emerge. Just before he joined me for his drink a large fish had launched itself from the water in Brick Lake, next to the disabled platform in front of the Lodge, where the aerator was bubbling away. Although I didn’t actually see it with my own eyes it had landed with such a smack and a belly flop that the ripples and bow waves spread out across the whole of the bottom half of the Lake. Peter had, coincidently decided to change Lakes and have a go at Brick Lake and I told him “A whopper has just jumped out right there” and I pointed him in the rough direction of whence it had flown. “Ok” he pronounced, “I’ll try there for a wee while” and off he trotted, heaving his rod onto his shoulder. He wandered round to the far side on the Rive-gauche and began to cast, I watched with interest and admiration. Well now the funny turn of events was just about to become a whole lot funnier, he immediately hooked into a fish and I decided it would be a nice idea to capture the moment for posterity and of course the Informer so I grabbed my “device”, which regular readers will remember I purchased for just such occasions a year or so ago, and tottered down to the disabled platform in my sling backs to gain a good view across the water of him playing his fish and click off a few pictures. He was smiling deservedly from ear to ear and enjoying the moment but the fish was staying down deep. “Is that a good fish by any chance?” I enquired, that strange tingle of suspicion, and anticipation was starting to run up and down the back of my neck! “I think it may be” Peter replied the smile was wavering slightly, “my arm is really starting to hurt” he groaned. The rod which bent through its entire length was looking like it was about to snap in two as he was starting to use a lot of side strain to stop the line tangling in the pipe of the bubbler. “Is your net handy?” I called over to him and I saw him glance anxiously to his left, it was in fact a little way off. “Hang on, I’m on my way” I called not waiting for an answer. I ran as quickly as my sandals would go around to help him, passing him his net. We had, up to this point, not set eyes on the fish yet and suddenly it realised it was hooked and decided to make a break for it leaping into the air. Peter fortunately is a very good angler and held on, keeping it under control and he played it perfectly while I snapped away. He eventually netted it successfully, after a couple of near misses and breath-holding moments and dragged ashore a whopping 8lb. 4oz. beautiful rainbow! With shaking hands he dispatched it quickly with a hefty priest borrowed from another angler and glanced up at me. “Well you couldn’t have written your “retro day” any better than that” I told him, “I love it when a plan comes together!” It surely was the big fish I had heard a couple of minutes earlier and “what fly?” I hear you all shout… well, it was a tiny black Pennell and if anyone deserved a big fish that day it was him! It just goes to show that the old ways and tackle still work, if you can be bothered, skilled and dedicated enough to try. Keeping things “simples” in the words of another of my heroes, Alexander, is sound advice.

Now for a few items of late news…

The plans for our new fourth lake have been submitted to Wealden Council! We will keep you updated on the progress as we hear any news. This new lake, if it gets the go ahead, will add another 16 or so swims giving us approximately 50 in total! It will be sited down in the dip of the land below Stag Lake and will be sheltered, (from the North winds in particular) and enjoy a lovely vista down the valley. Even on a busy day there will be plenty of room for all of our anglers, opening up another range of possibilities for “just the right spot” in any conditions. While the diggers are here we hope, weather permitting, to re-dig the shallow end of Stag Lake as well! Giving the Lake a more even depth will make for a better angling experience and help the fish in the hot weather to find cool water.

We held a marvellous, fun, Easter Competition on Sunday, 9th April, the hottest day of the year so far! Twelve anglers of all ages competed for a four fish bag and the trophy was won by Roy Plumbley , with John Whitlock a close second. The heaviest fish was caught by Mike Carden and the lightest by Ron Townsend.  £50 was raised in the chocolate egg raffle and this is to go to our chosen charity: Mastersport and Play.

The largest fish to be caught this month was a whopping 14lb 8oz Rainbow. Caught on Brick Lake (peg one) by Mr. Fan, on a Cat’s Whisker and only about six feet from the bank. We are stocking some large fish in all three Lakes so don’t forget to use a 6/8lb leader to stand a chance of landing one of these monsters. We stock blue, brown and golden trout as well as the rainbows and have no fly restrictions here but we do insist every fish is landed and killed and that the returns book is completed, even if you are unfortunate enough not to catch.

Over and out now … we have set up an information black board outside the Lodge for the latest suggestions for flies, current insect life and records of any good catches. Tight lines the coming month and watch out on our website for up-to-date news this year’s hatch of Mayfly, expected any day now!

Take a Friend Fishing promotion - do come and join us !!!!!!!!!!!!

Angling Trades Association supported by the Environment Agency promotes

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TAKE A FRIEND FISHING

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 JUNE 16 - 2 JULY       /       OCTOBER 14 – 29

The Environment Agency is supporting this promotion by offering free one-day rod licences for each of these time periods

We are supporting this promotion by offering:

*  2 for the price of 1 for anglers introducing a friend who has never fished here before

*  Children under 16 years can fish for free on our 2-Fish £25 and 3-Fish £30 tickets

Caroline's Report for April

April is a wonderful month I have decided. The sun has some real warmth to it at last, the frogs are “playing” in the margins filling the lakes with spawn for the trout to eat, the grass is a lovely green colour again, the blossom is out in the gardens and hedgerows, the wildlife is emerging from the winter hibernation and on a more personal note, Easter Eggs are in season! One of our Eastbourne and District Fly Fishermen has just pointed out “this should be the best month of the year for fly fishing”, so, all in all what is there NOT to like about April? Brick Farm Lakes is the perfect venue for those of you who love your “nymphing” or buzzer drifting, for Whisker twitching or even, (depending on the weather) sedge soaking! If the wind is a bit keen, why not consider a session with a muddler, perfect for a choppy surface or, maybe a deeper Damsel, the blue flash variety is a must, or maybe black is best? There are NO fly restrictions here and with a policy of regular stocking we give our anglers every chance to catch a hard fighting Blue, a fin perfect Rainbow, a pretty Golden or a whopper of a Brown! We can proudly boast to being one of the most affordable venues in the South where there is a chance to catch a double figure fish and have a choice of lakes with the finest of facilities. We really do have a wonderful range of trout sizes here and are well stocked for Spring.  And a quick word to all our anglers – Please do photograph your big catches because we love to add those photos to this report and to put them into the Lodge.  Or ask Annie to photograph them!  Thanks a million.

Around the banks we have cleared away many of the “in the way” bulrushes and brambles, making each and every one of our thirty-something swims clear and ready for action. We have repaired the electrics ready for the use of the aerators and bubblers and have started mowing already to keep the grass areas trimmed and tidy. We are ready to begin a fun filled spring season of this wonderful sport/hobby/past time/ way of life!

We can happily announce that the planning application for our new fourth lake has been submitted and are keeping everything crossed that this will in fact, be dug in the autumn, ready for fishing next spring or sooner! This additional body of water will give us lots of extra fishing space and is to be sited in a natural sheltered spot, just right for anglers to tuck themselves away and still be able to fish, even when the weather is inclement. This new lake will mean that we will have up to fifty swims available for our customers and all of which will be wooden or hard surfaced, no standing in liquid mud at Brick Farm! We will also be installing another railed, wide width platform for anyone needing this security and safety. The existing one on Brick Lake is and the new one will be available to pre-book, just call the lodge.

This year we have entered into a scheme where if you hold a current membership to the Angling Trust, on presentation of your card, you may deduct 10% off the price of your fishing ticket. This is a nod towards keeping the cost of your beloved sport as affordable as possible!

On Sunday 30th April we are holding our Troutmasters fish off Competition (senior and junior) so if you had the good fortune to land a good size fish and win a badge you will have received your letters of invitation. We hope to see as many of you as possible to make a good day of it and if you have not received any details please call Annie at the Lodge! 01323 832615.

Over and out now and tight lines for a wonderfulspring.

Caroline's August Report

Let us start this month with the weather. Will it be a hot month? Will we have a break from these constant, annoying winds that just will not stop? Will it remain seasonally unsettled and deliver us into an early autumn? Who knows! Either way we will have to manage with what we are given and make the best of this sometimes tricky time of year. Many of our Brick Farm regulars take a break and are replaced by summer visitors from all over the place. Folk arrive from up North, from the East and West and from distant countries. It’s a month where our normal routines tend to go out the window; the children are on holiday of course and everyone’s lives are forced to revolve around them and their needs and our normal habits and daily lives are ad hoc, flexible and downright muddled.

Many fisheries choose to take their own, well-deserved, holidays now but at Brick Farm Lakes we will remain open for business as normal and look forward to seeing some of those regulars not caught up in the August mayhem and a host of holiday visitors as well. We are intending, weather permitting, to stock the Lakes throughout this period and all the normal facilities will be available from the Lodge. Some essential, seasonal maintenance such as mowing, weed clearing and strimming will be taking place so there will be a bit of noise at times but we will endeavour to keep it in short bursts so as to minimise the disruption to your quiet fishing time.

We have a “new Product “to offer to all of our angling couples! Whether you are a husband and wife fishing team, a Father and Son/daughter or just a couple of good mateswe can offer a “shared, 5 fish” day ticket for £35. This means that neither of you will have to stop fishing. If you do not choose this option you have to fish to your own, individual ticket and NOT fish for each others fish. We have many anglers who do come with an angling buddy and so hope they will appreciate this new idea and make good use of it.

We will be also offering a £5 August up-grade on any ticket… in other words if you catch your ticket limit you are welcome to carry on fishing and pay £5 per fish when you finish.  As we all know, only too well that August can be a month of “feast or famine”. A time when, if you deploy all the tactics in the book it can either pay off or not! Let’s not forget, August is a wonderful time to introduce a new novice to this wonderful sport, a time when it is good to be out-doors with a picnic and making the most of the last of the longer days before autumn comes.

Flies to suggest for this time of year are the obviously the more natural patterns rather than the lures, flies such as Bloodworm, PTN’S, Diawl Bachs, Crunchers and the like. Dry flies such as Daddy Long Legs are starting to work very well and small, winged wet flies such as Invictors and Stragglers.

On Sunday 17th July we were happy to see the (almost) entire Eastbourne and District Fly Fishers Club enjoy a summer-time hog roast at their base here at Brick Farm Lakes. They held a casting competition on the banks of the Lake and this was won by David Turner and a healthy £160 was raised in the very generous raffle, a good time was had by all and if you fancy joining the Club next year for some angling fun and company just call the Lodge for details, currently only £15 to join for the year.

Over and out now and tight lines from Annie and Me, Caroline, for an action packed August.

Caroline's June Report

Well! Thank heavens for that! I heard the Cuckoo today! I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t hear it this year and now I can relax that summer has officially arrived! The dog has taken up her summer residence on her cushion in the sunniest corner of the patio, Hubby is cursing the rapid growth of the lawn and weeds and we have taken the always slightly apprehensive decision to clean out the log burner.

Here at Brick Farm Lakes we have excellent news to inform you! The mayflies are hatching again this year off the surface of mainly Stag Lake, as are the sedges on Well Lake. The fish are consequently choosing their food carefully! In other words being a bit picky, becoming a little fussier in their diet and turning their nose up at the normal lures that have worked so well over the winter. Brick Lake is a bit of an exception to this as fry patterns are still bringing results and damsel nymphs are always a good bet here. Now is the time of year to definitely dust of the dry flies in your box or treat yourself to some new ones and come and hone your skills in this particular, precise, unique aspect of our wonderful sport.

The early part of the day is still proving to be the best time to be out on the water. We now open the top gate at 6am. (Lodge opening still at 7.30am) from Wednesday- Sunday. You can sign in in the shed, pay in the safe and start to fish at a truly magical time. When the air is still, the mist is rising off the water, the countryside is quiet and the fish are feeding on the surface, what better time of the day could there be to enjoy your hobby and find some precious peace in a hectic life.

Date for you diary… Saturday 18th June is our annual summer solstice fishing evening, supper night and general mid-year get together. With the longest day of the year and hopefully some glorious weather why not come and enjoy some jovial company and an excellent supper of baked potatoes filled with cheese, homemade coleslaw, chili, or beans. Choose one or all!! Served with a selection of summer salads and garlic bread, all washed down with a glass of wine or beer perhaps. Let’s make the most of a late end of the day fishing session when the trout come out to play.  Families and friends are welcome to join in the fun and come and spectate from the deck area overlooking the lake. Please call the Lodge in good time to book a place for this popular event.

 

Time to leave you with the news that a lovely selection of large rainbows has been stocked in all three lakes for your entertainment and enjoyment! Up to double figures in fact! Also a batch of beautiful Blues and stunning Brownies as well! Come and see for yourself!

Tight lines for a fun- filled- flaming June!