If ever there was a day for fishing a Muddler across the surface of Well Lake here at Brick Farm then Monday 27 October was it!
For those of you who fail to keep track of days and dates this was the day of “The Big Storm”. The day we were all told to stay indoors with a box of candles at the ready and not to put so much as a toe through the cat flap unless absolutely essential.
Well, call me a silly old fool (and hubby frequently does), but fishing definitely falls under the “essential” heading to me and as the wonderful Eastbourne and District Fly Fisher’s Club were holding a friendly, casual day here it would have been rude not to at least turn up, also a bit of a stiff breeze was not about to deter yours truly. I therefore arrived at the allotted time only to find the lodge and fishery empty, deserted, devoid of all sensible life, well Keith and Woffles were here but that was it!
Yes, I must admit that the electricity was off at home and I had passed three fallen trees on my five minute journey here, but if you minus the wind it was actually a lovely autumn day. The Eastbourne gang apparently did not share my enthusiasm and were obviously still tucked up at home as instructed by the glamour models from the weather department. Incidentally, Hubby has begun to take a keen interest in the daily forecast, ever since Michael Fish (who used to go to school with my dad at St. Mary’s boys school in the Old Town of Eastbourne) has retired but still fails to have a clue as to what the weather is about to chuck at us, funny that!
Anyway, back to Mr Muddler. Well, after a complimentary coffee in the lodge, I gazed down the windswept Brick Lake and was just starting a bit of a re-think. Maybe I was pushing my luck to attempt to cast a fly, just having the first cluck of being a chicken, just beginning a hurried risk assessment of my health and safety and just adjusting my weight firmly onto my back foot when who should turn up but the man himself, Mr Brian Smart from the A.D.B. My trusty mentor, my roll-casting coach (I promise to keep practising!) and man of all knowledge in the art of angling, particularly fly fishing. He ruthlessly and deftly put paid to any backing out plan I had begun to hatch by pointing out that it was a “perfect day” to practise my casting into the wind so he and Keith waved me off from the steps of the lodge, rather like they thought they may not see me again anytime soon or ever again come to that!
Off I went clutching my rod and net for dear life and fortunately the wind was to my rear as I climbed the hill which was lucky as I don’t think I would have made it otherwise. I arrived rather quickly at Well Lake and was faced at once with a stark, conscience pricking choice, to go to the “rive gauche” as Brian had clearly instructed or take the “simples” option round to the right where, with the wind behind me I would at least stand a chance of launching a fly amongst the white horses galloping out of control across the surface. Well, I ask you what you would have done in my situation, bearing in mind returning back to the lodge was definitely out of the question. Of course I chose the wimp’s way out and headed to the right, landing rather heavily onto the first platform that the gale blew me onto. Here I stuck my foot on top of my net to prevent it blowing across the field and braced myself as one might who is expecting at any moment an-interesting-turn-of-events-to-occur-without-warning, i.e. to be blown overboard and get very wet! I girded my loins and unhooked my fly. The Muddler I had chosen was a natural black and brown and as the fish up to recently been feeding aggressively on the surface in the nicely cooling spring water of Well Lake, I was hoping that this was still the case, despite the rough conditions. I had also never fished one of these at Brick Farm before, why, I don’t really know. Maybe up to now the conditions had not presented themselves to me quite as vividly as they did today? I can only say it was an instinctive choice. My new mate, Mr Muddler suddenly brought back wonderful memories of a time when I fished with my dad at Arlington in the 1970’s. He swore by these flies (and also Baby Dolls I recall). We were always getting swept up the dam or washed up the bank by rough weather, going out in the row boats in conditions health and safety would no doubt frown at these days but that was, in a strange way part of the FUN!
Timing my casts between lulls in the wind was just about possible and every now and again there was a spooky, unexpected drop in the gale when I could cast over a different section of water. I had a whack of a take on my second cast but lost him at the net AGAIN. This time there were mitigating circumstances in my defence…the rod was bowing sideways in the opposite direction to the fish and the line was blowing out horizontal to the water like streamers, making me look a bit like the QE2 leaving dock. Even with glasses on I had blurred vision with streaming eyes and by the time I realised I couldn’t hop nimbly off the platform as usual and needed to drop to my knees in order reach the fish it was too late, a quick head shake and he was gone! At least I knew that my fly was a good choice and sure enough about five casts later I had another fish on and this time was ready to land it safely. The trout were hitting Mr Muddler now for all they were worth, chasing and following it into the bank but despite the aggressive hunting of the fish I failed to hook another for more than a few adrenalin filled seconds but it was brilliant sport never-the-less. I am sure if I had stuck it out I would have caught more fish but I was happy to have landed one at all in these testing conditions and feel I deserve the E.D.F.F.C medal for the day by just trying, even if I did take the easy way out, sorry Brian!
Now for the news…
We are pleased to announce the date for our popular Christmas Ladies V Men competition to be held on Saturday 28th December. This competition is open to all anglers of any ability and is first and foremost a fun way to get together and enjoy the festive spirit with fellow fisher persons. Start the day with a glass of mulled wine, sausage bap and coffee in the warmth of the lodge at 8.30am, a time to decide teams, pick captains and talk tactics. Fishing begins at 9am and ends at 1.00pm. The cost is £35 for a four fish ticket and the trophy will be awarded to the team with the heaviest average bag. There will also be prizes for the individual smallest and largest fish of the day.
Don’t forget for those awkward men in your life (and I suppose I must, at this point say women as well) we can solve all your Christmas worries in one fell swoop with our easy to buy vouchers. Just call in or ring the lodge and we can do it from the comfort of our armchairs. That’s Christmas SORTED!
The new third lake is filling up at last after the recent very heavy rainfall. The plants are being sourced and the building of the platforms will begin soon. Sophie has declared she has a favourite name picked out for the lake and this will be announced when she has had a final look through the very many entries submitted.
Flies work well have been the usual Cats, Montanas, Damsels and Buzzers. Dry flies are still producing the odd fish on Well Lake where the fish seem to be in all levels of the water, orange is the colour of the moment on Brick Lake and new flies I have spotted in the book are Nomads and of course Mr Muddler!
Other recent rainbow catches include a 3lb 8oz by James N from Rye on a Montana, a 3lb 8oz by David Wood from Polegate on a Black, a 3lb 8oz by David Atkins from Hove on a Cats Whisker, a 3lb 8oz by R Brown from Hastings on a Goldhead, a 3lb 6oz by L Fisher from Rye on a Montana, a 3lb by Quinn Moyle from Crawley on a White Fritz and a 3lb 2oz by Peter James from Seaford on a Montana.
The weather is set to get much colder now and this is for some strange reason when the larger fish come out to play. Is it because they are hungrier or maybe the lakes are much quieter? Who knows, but many of our anglers tell me tales of their biggest fish being caught when ice is on the water and snow on the grass. With our aerator keeping Brick Lake ice free and a warm lodge to retreat into for a break and a free tea or coffee, there really is every reason to wrap up and go fishing.
All the details of up-and-coming events and dates can of course be found on our newly designed web site and many more wonderful photos can be viewed on our Facebook page.
Wishing you all extra tight lines for December and a very Merry Christmas, from Sophie, Keith, Woffles and me.