September 2013 fishing report

Roger Simeons, aged 12, with his bag of 4 rainbow trout caught on a glorious autumn day using a floating line with a midge tip and a self-tied Scruffy Montana

I discovered a wonderful new sport last week! … Outdoors, inexpensive, engaging and relaxing (that means non-energetic to me). I’d heard of this sport before, but always been too busy to take the time to give it a try. I was a little unsure of where to go to have a stab at it and ignorant of exactly what I needed to get me started. I need not have worried, I was instantly hailed “a natural” and quickly realised as I stood at our Brick Farm Lakes promotional stand at the Hasting and Bexhill Sea Angling Festival that I had, in fact, been participating in this second most wonderful pastime for the best part of forty years! Some folk call it “people watching”, but I just know it as being sociable, especially if you combine the watching with the lost art of talking. I was, needless to say, in my element! I took to it like a duck to water, a dog to a bone or a trout to a fly. All you need is a comfy chair, a ready supply of decent coffee and an ability to watch the World with all the wonderful people in it drift by. Throw in a good old natter and Bob’s your uncle!

We had been invited to attend this wonderful weekend by one of our regular visitors to the fishing lodge here at Brick Farm Lakes and not having participated in anything like it before we were a little unsure. Thank heavens we decided to say yes! It truly was both a very well organised and supported event held in Bexhill, on the lawns next to the Delaware Pavilion and quite literally a stone’s throw from the beach. There were many wonderful stands to promote a whole host of locally produced foods, wines, ciders, cakes, jams, breads, seafood etc., etc. and stalls with inspirational gifts for Christmas. There were caterers handing out nice nibbles of calamari and mackerel pate and demonstrating their cooking skills all alongside the fishing fraternity with their tackle, T-shirts, casting school and information tents and there we were, in the thick of it! We set up an impressive photo gallery of the lodge and lakes taken in all their glory. We had displayed a selection of the essential, but inexpensive tackle needed to get started in this wonderful hobby and of course prepared piles of leaflets and newsletters to hand out. This month (September) we also launched our brand new web site so we were able to point new customers in this direction to enable them to gain a good idea of where we are and what we can offer in the way of tuition, tackle hire etc. The wind was too strong unfortunately for us to demonstrate any casting as planned which was a pity as people always find it fascinating to watch and are usually keen to have a go at it, particularly the children, but never-the-less we were amazed at the amount of genuine interest shown throughout the two days by young and old, ladies and gents, girls and boys.

On the Saturday I had Harvey Goodchild with me for company. He is with us at Brick Farm for his work placement from Plumpton College where he is in his last year of his fishery management course. He was able to chat away comfortably with the youngsters about all he is achieving in this field and passed on brilliant advice and helpful tips to them in a very informed and enthusiastic way. Keith Curtis, our owner here at Brick Farm joined him in the afternoon to pass on the necessary lodge/corporate/group information to those interested (why not come with a group of fellow anglers for one of our specially organised days tailored to suit every occasion). On the Sunday Sophie Curtis (wife of Keith) was manning the stand with me and able to pass on her expertise on the catering we offer at the lodge. For anything from a delicious good old full English breakfast to homemade cakes, soups, ploughman’s lunches, buffets, Christmas lunches etc. She was also there to talk about the delightful book “Woffles… A Fishy Adventure” written by the family with illustrations drawn by her son James and worthy of many notable, professional reviews, we sold many of these for early Christmas presents and they are available to buy from the lodge on your next visit perhaps.

The very first lady I plucked up the courage to hand one of our leaflets too when she walked past on the Saturday morning  saying, “have you ever thought of trying the art of fly fishing madam?” Turned around and greeted me as “Lady Mayor”, Mrs Frances McLaren Winterborn, complete with her thick gold chain of office and following entourage (I had failed to notice. Whoops!) She kindly took pity on me and stopped to chat of a past time when she lived in Scotland during the period of post war rationing when her family regularly feasted guiltily on salmon when the rest of the country were struggling to find a tin of spam! Unfortunately I was caught off guard and suffering a degree of stage fright neglected to capture the moment for posterity on film. Blast!

I met and talked to many, many people that weekend, until my throat was dry and my head ached but it was such good fun passing on my enthusiasm and knowledge to the potential fly fishermen and women of the future. There were the children, fascinated by the array of colourful flies out on display and keen to enrol on one of our environment agency complete beginners days. (Please call the lodge for details). There were the ladies, amazed to find that a complete set up of rod and reel weighed little more than a pair of knitting needles or a mobile phone (depending on their date of birth) and keen to see which of their lunch crowd would be up to keeping them company for a lesson. (Come on all you ladies, your fishery need you!) There were the lovely retired gentlemen looking for a new hobby to fill their days in a sociable but peaceful way and lastly there were the “old salty sea dogs” who had fished at sea all their lives since they were “a nipper” in all the weather conditions that nature was cruel enough to chuck at them, wondering, with a concern that was quite touching, as to how they could continue to “hunt and gather” when they were forced reluctantly too hang up their oil skins for the last time and relieved to find that it couldn’t be simpler.

And now for a few items of late news…
Don’t forget you can buy the perfect gift for your loved ones right here at the lodge. Our gift vouchers make the perfect present for Christmas for the men in your life (or women, or children or grandparent or anyone!) Just pop in or ring us for an over-the-phone service.

We have now started to pump the well water into Well Lake for it to fill, via the overflow, our new third lake. We need some more rainfall to complete this task so once again we are in the lap of the Gods! Watch this space or follow developments on our web site of face book page. Official new name to be announced shortly.

We have been continuing our efforts in weed clearance and strimming and all the general maintenance involved with keeping the fishery up to the standard we know you would expect to enjoy on your visit. This is an on-going effort by all of us here at Brick Farm.

Our annual Ladies v Mens competition will this year be held on Saturday 28th December. Truly a great way to blow away the festive cobwebs and get the body and mind back to normal. A good FUN day.  Contact the lodge for details and to book a space.

Finally… the fishing is coming good again and after a very hot summer it’s quite nice in a funny way to start lighting the fire, making the soup and catching the fish! Buzzers are brilliant, Daddies are a definite and Montanas a must.

Wishing you all tight lines for the coming month. 

Caroline Cutmore helping some novice anglers prepare to fish