Caroline's October Report

This month I will start the report for once, if you’ll forgive me, with the news!

The men have arrived this morning (18th September) to begin the construction of our fourth lake here at Brick Farm! A truly historic moment, I’m sure you will agree. For those of you who have not yet seen the aerial plan we have displayed in the Lodge, the site of this new water is to be down in the dip of the valley below Stag Lake and will sit on a more East-Westerly orientation, thus allowing many more sheltered options on a windy day in the spring or winter, or even a British summer! It is to be larger in size than Brick Lake and will have a wildlife island in the middle. With contoured banks for interest, it will have swims to suit the left or right handed angler! It will be dug to a good depth right round and be filled from the overflowing spring water coming into Well Lake at the top of the fishery, so will remain clear and cold! There will be a track down to it to enable stocking and we intend to provide another railed, double-width platform for those needing wheelchair access. In time there will be mulched, woodchip paths and hardstand fishing swims and a “bus shelter” style hut for shelter from the sudden, unexpected squalls that sometime catch anglers out without a coat and a composting-style toilet for folk caught out in that particular department! If all goes well we expect to be opening it for fishing by this time next year and no doubt will have “a bit of a do” to launch it to our anglers. We will keep you posted!

Following the recent rainfall all the lakes are now almost full and the temperatures have dropped to a level for the fish to begin to become active and hungry for some excellent autumn sport. Anglers report hard fighting fish and aggressive takes now and we have recently been able to re stock some beautiful large blues, rainbows and browns for your entertainment. We will continue to stock all lakes weekly.

Now that the wonderful autumn months are upon us why not introduce a friend, partner or youngster, (we recommend for the children no younger than the age of 12) to this absorbing, fascinating sport-hobby-way of life? This is the perfect time to enjoy the late sunshine and enjoy the cooling fresh air in our very special piece of the countryside. We can offer tuition and rod/tackle hire and to help you take your first steps to experience this exciting new past-time. If you are a group of angling friends or belong to an angling club why not come for a day’s fly fishing and book a lunch. We can tailor a day to suit all requirements in regard to fishing tickets and menu and in fact this is a good chance to remind all of you that Christmas is fast approaching and we will be offering a festive version to suit all tastes!

We offer vouchers for gifts as Christmas presents and these can be purchased for the one you love from the comfort of your armchair via the phone. Just call us at the Lodge on 01323 832615. These vouchers are a popular present for angling partners or friends.

A date for your diaries… our Christmas competition this year will be held on Thursday 28th December. We will run this friendly and fun day along the usual lines with a charity raffle and simple but delicious lunch. This is always a popular day following the festivities of the Christmas period and a good day for blowing away the cobwebs. We will be happy to take any names now for an idea of numbers, just call the Lodge.

We have had some nice fish landed lately, caught on a number of fly patterns but still leaning towards the more natural, small imitations. Having said that… by the time this is issued the little devils will be taking all sorts of everything I suspect, as they start to instinctively feed up for the winter! As I mentioned, this is a fantastic time of year so why not treat yourself to a six fish ticket and come for a whole day!

Over and out now for a period of frantic fishing fun - a time of bonfires and blackberries, log fires and hot chocolate. Beef stews and sloe gin!! I can feel a new selection of flies in the making!

 

Happy autumn everyone! Caroline and Annie

Caroline's report for August/September with special info re the Black and Blue Competition

Every man should have a shed! I’ve been saying this from the day I got married! Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with my hubby and we get along just fine – most of the time – but as important and precious as a couples time together might be, our time apart from each other is equally important. Hubby’s dad had it about right; he had seventeen, yes, seventeen sheds of all shapes and sizes on his ground and stayed happily hitched for the best part of fifty years until, sadly, death did them part! When a wife has had a trying day and the man of her life is getting under her feet and becoming a bit annoying as they have a habit of doing, she can say, “Haven’t you got a few jobs you’ve been meaning to do in your shed dear, I need to get on in the house a bit darling” and no offense is taken, no harsh words said and he happily trots off to fix a broken chair or mend the bird table. Equally it works just as well the other way around. When a man needs some “space” from his trouble and strife all he has to do is say, “I’m off down the shed for a while to do some chores, call me when dinner is ready” and again no harm done, no sharp words spoken in anger or malice. In this pleasant, convivial way it is possible to have some “me” time while not upsetting the one you love, a recipe for a successful partnership and happy life together in complete harmony.

Believe it or not, time spent fly fishing with a partner is another way to spend both some quality time together or enabling us to find a little of that all-important space we all crave now and again. It is one of those rare sports which women and men can compete, side by side, in total equality. The day can begin at the Lodge with a convivial morning coffee and bacon roll, time to talk tactics together and discuss flies and tippets and lines with each other. Enjoying a good chat with the regulars and a moan about the weather is the traditional way to start a day’s fishing with your dearly beloved side by side. Then you can either: Fish side by side on the bank, following each other round the lakes all day. Perhaps helping to land each other’s fish, untangle each other’s knots, or swap flies. Have some lunch together and admire the view while talking about the family’s problems. Or you can: Each head off to a totally different lake, wave every now and again from a distance and keep your fly choice a secret! Eating your sandwich in a secluded spot, away from everyone else and enjoy total peace and quiet in complete silence, meeting up again only at the end of the day when utterly restored to a state of well-being and gentle countenanceonce more. The choice is yours!

Now for the news…

We have kept up with the mowing, strimming and weed clearing throughout the last month. Apologies for any noise, but  it takes a lot of work this time of year to keep the swims open and the grounds up to scratch, especially as we have recently had some much needed rainfall and everything is growing so fast. We have also removed the troublesome tree from peg 15 on Brick Lake, round in the cove to the right. This tree has been plaguing anglers for years and we finally decided enough was enough! It’s removal will allow this particular area to be fished from both sides, in any wind conditions, thus opening up more possibilities for you all when choosing a spot.

We have “closed off” the top parking area for a while. It is now a convenient picnic spot for our anglers, but is still available for Blue Badge holders to park their cars of course! We do need to encourage all anglers to start at and return to the Lodge at the end of their trip to fill in the returns book on both arrival and especially on departure! Even if you are unfortunate and do not catch any fish we DO need to see this recorded in the book to enable us to stock effectively for all your enjoyment. We thank you for your co-operation.

Our planning application for a fourth lake has been successful!!! We are aiming to begin to dig this autumn with a view to having it fishable by spring 2018. We will be keeping you informed of the progress of this exciting project as we go and are looking forward to the extra space and angling options this will provide for all of us.

As I mentioned last month we did not have time to submit the results or pictures of our “Black and Blue Mystery Pairs Competition” held to raise funds towards the purchase of a Tramper, all terrain mobility buggy for Paul Martin (Chuckles).  Our huge thanks go out to all those who in many different ways supported this event. We had a truly marvellous evening and raised more than £3,000, almost half of the funds needed! The results of this unusual Mystery Pairs contest were (1st) Slim Wallace and Matt Dean (2nd) Paul Martin himself and Keith Holford (3rd) Robert Barden and Caroline Cutmore.  Extra special thanks must also go to Fulling Mill (Box of flies), Airflo (Fly Lines) and Markerstudy/Bewl Water (Landing Net) who were so kind in generously donating these items for Robert Barden to present to Paul Martin to help to make the day even more memorable for him (especially as he broke his net during the competition!!).  Thank you all – a great day became even better!

The cooler weather of late has meant we have continued to stock plenty of good quality trout this month. The lake water levels are high and the fish very active, if still a bit “picky” with their food! Smaller natural flies are the best option at the moment. Diawl Bachs, Buzzers, Damsels (small), black spiders and gnats and dry daddies and the like are fooling the little devils. The most important tactics at the moment are: MOVE about, ASK advice and COVER the margins! We have seen some lovely fish landed and heard many tales of the ones that got away!! Never mind, there’s always another day!

Over and out now, tight lines from Annie and me for the wonderful month of September. This is my personal favourite time of the year. A great time to be out in the fresh air with a rod in your hand! 

Caroline

 

Very special request for support and fun ......................!!!!

Hello to all our anglers:          Please read this ………………

 

Recently one of our regular young anglers was involved in a car accident which resulted in life changing injuries – but this did not change his enthusiasm to come fly-fishing!!

 

I would like to invite you to come and take part in a light-hearted fun fund-raising Mystery Pairs Competition on the evening of Sunday 30 July 2017 and to pick up a form to get yourselves sponsored for £s (or pence, but preferably £s!) per fish for this    ‘3-Fish ticket per angler’ event.

 

All the funds raised at this event will go directly to the fund the aim of which is to collect sufficient funds to purchase a all-terrain off-road mobility scooter for Paul. 

 

Let’s see just how much we can raise to kick the fund off and help to get Paul off-road just as soon as possible ?????

 

So come and join us for the …….

 

Black and Blue (all will be explained!)

Mystery Pairs Competition

 

Enter in the Lodge or by phoning 01323 832 615

Caroline's report for July

 

Ok… it is now officially, according to the MET office, the start of summer… so what do we get chucked at us? The worst storm and wild weather to hit the South East since the storm of 6th June 1870 which apparently cost the life of Thomas Pierce and presumably many other sailors “in sight of home” according to the memorial plaque in the church yard in Pevensey. When I read the words etched on it a while ago I did a double take, the 6th of June by chance is our birthday, and my identical twin sister and I (Yes, sorry, I know it’s hard to take in but there are indeed two of us!) growing up, were always blessed with  wonderful weather for our Big Day. Surely at the start of a British summer we could never have had such terrible storm force winds. Perhaps the engraver made some awful mistake and suffered a severe slip of his chisel when he was working and this terrible tragedy really happened in January, his mistake going unnoticed for 147 years.  I know, highly unlikely! While I stood and pondered at the time, I tried to imagine what particular set of strange meteorological, astrological or even mystical circumstances had come together on this particular June 6th. The poor sods must have set sail full of confidence for an easy passage up the Channel, maybe finding time for a spot of sunbathing on deck, perhaps planning a little fishing en route or even a chance to drop anchor and indulge in some skinny dipping to cool off in the summer heat but no, instead they were tossed and battered by a cruel sea never to see land or loved ones again! A complete freak of bad luck I decided, a colossal, unfortunate, miss-alignment of the stars, a coming together of special, never to be repeated conditions weather-wise that they could not have predicted. Well how wrong was I! Suffice to say my Big Day this year was spent not at all how I had intended. No fishing trip as planned and no grilled trout on the BBQ for supper! I spent the day wondering if the electricity was about to switch off, listening to the howling gale and watching my lovely roses being totally wrecked!  The garden was being shredded before my eyes and my freshly planted oriental foxglove can unfortunately testify to this. I suppose it could have been worse… I could have been out at sea!

The weather will improve, the winds will calm down and we will be able to return to our fly fishing and enjoy the summer again.  Although the fish are becoming a bit on the picky side in regard to the normal flies, this time of year finds us dusting off our dry fly imitations and trying new tactics to fool the little devils. There is never a better time to take a stroll round the lakes here at Brick Farm and keep your eyes open for those tell-tale signs of activity on the surface or in the close margins and get a good “feel” for the water before choosing a spot to fish. There is never such a good time to seek advice and pick the brains of regulars or with us in the lodge with regards to recent “hot spots” or flies of the moment. There is also never such a good time to make full use of your day ticket, starting as soon as we open the gate, (7.30am) fishing for those first key hours in the day while the sun is lower in the sky and then perhaps, if distance allows, popping home for a break in the heat of the mid-day and returning later in the afternoon to catch the end of the day as the sun drops. If you live too far away for this then why not bring a picnic and enjoy a shady spot for a while. Just being outdoors at this time of year is a pleasure all by its self we wait all winter for, so let’s make the most of it! Unlike some other fisheries, we continue to stock regularly throughout the summer months so there is every chance to catch your bag, it may take a little longer than normal but that is all part of the fun! Trying new tactics and different swims, using different flies or teams of flies, (no restrictions here at Brick Farm) is all part and parcel of fly fishing at this time of year. I personally have dozens of small winged and hackled wet flies I have never used and I have decided that this is the time to steer away from the old Cat’s Whisker or fritz lure and work my way through this assortment for my next few trips.

Here at Brick Farm Lakes we have a wonderful Lodge for you to enjoy. We provide complimentary tea and coffee for our anglers and at this time of the year cold water and squash are on the counter. Guests are free to sit and enjoy the beautiful view from the deck area. We would like to remind you however, as we approach the holiday season that … dogs are not allowed around the lakes and obviously best not left in cars and only children fishing properly on a one to one basis with an adult are permitted around the lakes, for safety reasons and for the enjoyment of all anglers toddlers are not permitted around the lakes at any time. Here we have clean toilet facilities and if I may say these are I’m sure, as important to men as to us ladies! I had reason to really consider very hard weather I returned to a certain fishery I visited recently. Although the fishing was good and the setting beautiful the lavatory left a lot to be desired, the scrap of soap was disgusting, the toilet had not been cleaned in days if not weeks and as for the towel on which we were supposed to wipe our hands, well let’s just say that I seriously doubt if any self- respecting house elf would have even considered wrapping himself in it! This is not good enough in this day and age. We fisheries are constantly being encouraged to promote our beloved sport to the young, the elderly and the disabled. We are expected to provide beginner days, casting schools, charity events and the like and, whilst I know that some fisheries are set deep in the middle of the countryside, to have clean toilet facilities are essential and the very minimum for an up-to-date 21st century business.

We have had some wonderful fish caught in the last month. Some stunning Rainbows have fallen to the skilled hands of our lucky anglers. The fish are fighting hard and in fin perfect condition so well done to all of them and there are plenty more left out there for everyone!

Over and out now … tight lines for a… I-haven’t-used-this-before-let’s-try-anything-and everything summer.

Caroline's report for June 2017

Someone said to me the other day “you like a good chat don’t you?”  I took this comment as code for, “why don’t you shut up a minute and let me think straight”, this is hubby’s more direct approach and one, I must admit I have become used to hearing and ignoring, most of the time. My point being that by chatting and of course listening back, we all learn from each other and solve life’s little problems together. In the unique sport of fly fishing this is absolutely part and parcel of the experience of the day’s fishing as much as catching a fish, in my humble opinion. Whilst tending the Lodge here at Brick Farm Lakes I very often see anxious faces arriving with looks of apprehension, stress and worry. It may be because they have simply forgotten to bring their net, not sure if they are allowed droppers or fear they may not be in time for an egg and bacon sandwich! These problems are quickly dealt with and folk sent on their way quick sharp to fish but sometimes a little more specialist attention is need. Maybe failing eyesight will not let them fit a new leader loop, they may have not fished for years and require more of a confidence boosting chat re flies and tippets etc.  This time of the year in particular anglers and yours truly may sit over a coffee for well over an hour or sometimes longer (don’t tell Annie) to discuss the best and various methods for fishing a dry fly! More often recentlyit is that they know absolutely nothing about any form of angling, have never even held a rod in their life before but have always fancied “giving it a go”, these folk in particular are often nervous and unsure what to expect at that all important initial enquiry. This is the best part of my time in the Lodge! To chat to a complete stranger and instil enthusiasm and knowledge at the same time and to see them relax and smile and leave as more of a “new friend” than just a “customer” is wonderful! To have booked them a lesson, alleviated their worries and started them off on their fly fishing adventure is brilliant and all from taking the time to have a “good old natter” as Nan used to say, so please forgive me if I “go on a bit” in the words of an exhausted hubby.

 Now for a few items of late news…

Once again we saw some wonderful fish caught in May! The record being a beautiful Rainbow of 10lbs 5oz caught by Mr. Buster Jenner (only a youngster at 93 years!!).  We are still stocking regularly and including some of the large Rainbows and Browns while the weather remains cool. The water temperature remains colder than normal for this time of year and although this meant “curtains” for the freshly planted Begonias it is good news for the fish! They are fighting hard and are extremely active. The May Fly and sedges are hatching out in force and we have just begun to see the first blue damsels and dragon fly over the water. We are keeping the grass around the banks trimmed nice and short and weed clearing will take place to keep the swims as free and clear as possible throughout the summer.

We held our Troutmaster Competition fish-off for adults and juniors on Sunday, 30th April. It was a good turn out and a decisive victory for Calvin Wallace. The junior competition was won by David Carden (he will be in the adult’s competition next year!!)  Congratulations to them both! They will represent Brick Farm Lakes at the finals later this year.

Please note that through the summer we will be opening the gate at 7.30am and closing at 8pm. We will happily arrange to open longer into the twilight hours for those anglers keen to experience the potentially“extra special” experience of the “evening rise” of fish during in the summer months but only for pre-arranged group bookings.

Over and out now and let us hope for a month of glorious roses and Pimms in the garden along with a wonderful hatch of buzzers and midges!

Tight lines, Annie and Caroline.

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