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Wednesday 19 November 2008


Bitterly cold, three layers of clothing and I took a boat out at 9am. The sun was shining briefly and I rowed over to the bubble which I hadn't really tried all year. Second cast I hit a fish well in excess of two pounds using an intermediate with a very short leader. It fought well but alas there were no more. I moved over to the bushes and again within a few casts hardly moving the line I caught another in excess of two pounds and so it went on through the morning.

As soon as I caught a trout nothing more happened and I had to move. I covered the reservoir even rowing as far as the old stream bed up at the top on the left hand side, there was still quite a flow, as I could feel the line tension the deeper my line sank.

All were near the bottom and as with position it required me to change fly often and vary my retrieve. I noticed two rises up at the top and put a line of buzzers on a floating line. Within seconds I'd hooked another 2lb plus fish which had hoovered both droppers, both embedded in the lip.

By lunchtime I had six in the bag with the heaviest just under 3 1/2 lbs and only one under two pounds. Flies used were Damsel, H/E, Buzzers and I finished with a small cats whisker.

The appearance of the rainbow a the end of the season says it all, it's where the pot of gold lies.

A fitting end to very pleasant season, especially as we now appear to have a social side to the club where our fishing widows can commiserate with each other.

Thank you HFFC.

David Nicholls


Friday 31 October 2008


The Powdermill Cup now has its own page detailing all the winners.

See it here. The Powdermill Cup


Friday 31 October 2008


The rabbit population around the reservoir has been steadily increasing and the number of warrens in the bank at the rear of the dam has been a cause for concern. If left unchecked, their excavations could severely weaken the dam, so the rabbit population needs to be kept under control. There is arguably no more humane way of thinning out the number of rabbits than be ferreting.


Tuesday 7 October 2008


The Club’s annual fishing competition and barbecue took place on Friday 12 September and for most of the day it was sunny and dry, but we did have one heavy shower mid-afternoon.

The nineteen competitors were split into two groups. One group fished from the boats in the morning session and then swapping over with the other group in the afternoon, to fish from the bank.


Heaviest Bag:

Heaviest from a boat:

Heaviest from the bank:

Don Burt

Don Burt

Dave Nicholls

10lb 14ozs (6-fish limit)

2lb 5ozs

3lb 5½ozs

The evening Barbecue was well attended and an enjoyable time was had by all.

All six pages of the October edition of our MEMBERS NEWSLETTER is entirely devoted to this event.


Monday 29 September 2008


Match v. Hastings F F

POWDERMILL – 6th July 2008

Beautiful - if that isn’t the word that flashes across your mind when you first see Powdermill reservoir at Sedlescombe then you must be dead! Powdermill Reservoir is the home of the Hastings FFC, and if you want to know about the club or the fishing then you can’t do better than visit their superb website at www.hastingsflyfishers.co.uk - in fact if you go to the news page and scroll down there is a report with over 100 photos of this very event. Curiously, the Branch has never fished against the Hastings club or even been on a recent outing to the reservoir which they run so superbly. To rectify this obvious error the committee have set up an annual competition for the “Powdermill Trophy” whereby the two clubs compete for the trophy in a team competition.

Expectations were high as the teams met at the lodge, and not just about the fishing as most people hoped the nice start to the morning’s weather would hold and confound the forecasters. In fact the competition was affected by the weather but more of that later! After the initial pleasantries and a mix up on the numbers in our team, each side fielded twelve enthusiastic members.

The competition was run on the same model as the Troutmasters final whereby half the day is spent bank fishing and the other half spent boat fishing. Who does what and when is decided by a draw. There was an extra twist in that each boat team would be made of one FDG member and one Hastings member. I was drawn to be in the boat first so can only give a slight bias to the morning’s events. All the boats set off to their favoured spots under the one manpower engine on the oars! The locals had indicated that the reservoir fishes better at anchor than on a traditional drift but that was academic because the fish were not playing ball. All the boats struggled and we tried everything but apart from a few perch that came to minkies on sinking lines there was absolutely no interest. To make life more interesting, the wind picked up to what can only be described as ‘brisk’. Unfortunately rowing boats are not easy to handle in a ‘brisk’ wind and at one point, one boat, rowing for the dock, was actually being blown in the opposite direction, amid a cloud of rather interesting language, sweat and tears! The morning session ended and both boat and bank anglers headed back to the lodge to weigh in, have lunch and swap over. The timing for lunch couldn’t have been better as the heavens opened during the break. The boats hadn’t performed as expected as not a single fish was landed and to prove how unpredictable fish can be the bank anglers landed 28 fish with our very own Ray Love leading the pack.

As football pundits say, it was a game of two halves and the second half saw the successful ‘bankers’ headed for the boats and even more testing conditions than the morning ‘boaters’ had experienced as the weather had deteriorated. Now in addition to the constant nasty wind came squally heavy showers. The only consolation was that the wind kept the clouds on the move and the rain couldn’t settle in but came through in pulses. One particular monsoonal downpour tested our waterproofs to the limit and during this the most amusing sight presented itself in front of me. One of our members who will remain nameless (as long as the £5 notes keep coming Bill) came past me in what can only be described as a squelch. I have seen people who have fallen in and remained drier!

The fish paid no regard to the weather but even so the fishing wasn’t quite as easy as it was in the morning. I did eventually work out a semi-successful tactic (very small - 16s - imitative patterns) and I managed to winkle out 3 fish. These fish were fin perfect powerhouses, fighting like demons all the way to the net, and you would be convinced that they were fish three times their size.

The end of the match was heralded by the arrival of lovely sunshine, the wind dropping and a gorgeous smell wafting across the reservoir. Who needs a whistle or klaxon to end a match when the smell of sausages cooking works so much better! This isn’t a new technique but simply the Hastings team and their family and friends had turned up and put together the most magnificent post match meal and BBQ to revitalise our spirits!

Remarkably only 2 fish were caught on the boats against 43 from the bank.

It is at this point that I really have to thank all the Hastings crew (members of Hastings team and all those friends and family who helped) for this meal and the superb competition but in particular Mary (for organising everything and having to deal with me in the run up to the event) and to Vic for superbly managing the reservoir.

Regardless of the result this event was never just about the silverware. It was always about making friends and forging a link with another like minded club in our own county. The social event at the end certainly cemented the friendship and brought the excellent day to an end. I can safely say, without fear of contradiction that I have never taken part in a more friendly competition with such wonderful people who really understood the spirit of fishing. Roll on next year!

Paul Davis


Monday 1 September 2008


‘The Last Breath’ is a UK Film Council funded film which has just been mainly shot at Powdermill reservoir. As well as the reservoir itself, the interior of the clubhouse / fishing lodge was used as the ‘Dive hut’. I understand that even Vic’s hat, complete with flies, was borrowed to add rustic colour. Did I say ‘borrowed’? I understand that Vic’s fee was a bottle of whisky!

Your intrepid website reporter was the last to know about this exciting event and did not find out until after it was all over. So I have no first hand report or photos.

It would seem that, although the film makers were a nice and friendly lot, they certainly knew how to take over the entire fishery, much to the confusion of the anglers. It has therefore not been possible to get any sense out of my fellow anglers who still seem to be traumatised by the disruption of their peaceful existence by the invasion of the film crew. I am therefore forced to rely on the local newspaper report.

CLICK HERE to read the full article which appeared in the Hastings AdNews.


Tuesday 26 August 2008


Both bank and boat fishermen continue to find fish. At this time of year, fishing can be hard and often the best times are early morning or late evening, but with the unseasonal weather conditions, the trout are exceptionally active and are being caught throughout the day.

The bigger fish which have been stocked in the last few weeks are proving to be elusive and must be caught soon.

Work has begun to clear the area between the bailiff’s cottage and the fishing lodge. Eventually it is hoped that it will be turned into an additional grassed area that ‘Woody’ can mow! During the initial clearing of the undergrowth, a large underground wasp nest was discovered and work came to an immediate standstill as the inhabitants were not very pleased to be disturbed. A fire was lit over the entrance to the nest but, at the time of writing, the wasps were still in evidence.


Monday 4 August 2008


The reservoir will be closed to casual anglers on Friday 12 September 2008 as we will be holding the annual competition for club members.


Monday 4 August 2008


The annual fishing competition for club members will take place on Friday 12 September 2008 followed by a barbecue in the evening. All members should have received a letter with a return slip to enter the competition and/or confirm if you are attending the barbecue. Please return these as soon as possible if you have not yet done so.


Thursday 31 July 2008


Members of Hastings Fly Fishers took on visiting members of the Sussex Fly Dressers Guild on Sunday 6 July. Each team consisted of twelve anglers.

Sussex Fly Dressers Guild Hastings Fly Fishers

Six from each team fished from the bank in the morning while the others paired up (one from each team) to fish from the boats. In the afternoon they swapped over.

The weather was awful with strong winds and showers including the occasional torrential downpour in the afternoon! Despite the miserable conditions all 24 anglers stuck it out and although the fishing was exceptionally hard a total of 45 fish were landed, weighing 73lb 7½ozs. Boat fishing was awful with nearly all fish falling to bank fishermen. Indeed, during the morning session not a single fish was taken by a boat angler.

Hastings Fly Fishers Club
Sussex Fly Dressers Guild
34 fish
11 fish
55lb 9ozs
17lb 14½ozs
Best Bag John Noble 9lb 5ozs
Biggest Fish Tim Stacey 2lb 2ozs
Best Bank Bag Ray Lowe 8lb 12½ozs
Best Boat Total John Noble & Richard Foster 1lb 12½ozs

Nearly all anglers were pleased when the fishing was finally over and the aroma from the barbecue soon began to revive their spirits. A few drinks later and everyone was happy once more. The early evening sun even managed to make an appearance as your intrepid website reporter crept away, leaving the revellers to enjoy the rest of the evening.


Friday 4 July 2008


The two young geese are growing apace and have now turned from yellow to white.

Foxes are targeting the young of the waterfowl population. Mallard chicks are particularly susceptible when away from the water. The young coot chicks do not stray too far from the water’s edge so are less likely to fall victim to a prowling fox. The Bailiff is having to protect the flowers that he has planted with wire netting in order to try and stop the rabbit population from eating the entire lot.

(Photos of coot chick and boat planted with flowers being eaten by rabbits).


Friday 27 June 2008


Spotted in the car park at Powdermill. I particularly liked the addition of ‘2008’ !



Tuesday 17 June 2008


The two chicks that were hatched for Vic, in order to replace the cantankerous goose which was killed by a fox, have now taken up residence in an enclosure in the Bailiff’s garden. They have a cosy shed to shelter in, complete with heat-lamp and a small run.

At this stage we have no idea of the sex of the two chicks. It has been said that eye colour can be used to sex geese, the ganders having blue eyes and the goose having brown eyes. Also the gander has a shrill, high pitched note compared with the lower, deeper, harsher note of the goose. These two methods are not perfect ways to separate the sexes and we shall just have to wait and see. Let’s just hope that they are friendlier than their predecessor!


Thursday 12 June 2008


Chris Richards, affectionately but irreverently nicknamed ‘Cliff Richard’ by some of the less respectable members of the Hastings Fly Fishers Club, has finally landed a ‘big one’.

After many years of struggling to find time to go fishing, Chris has managed to clock up eight visits so far this year which is more than he managed in the last two seasons combined! As a result, he is having a good year, or is it because he is doing so well this year that he is making more of an effort to take time from his busy schedule to go fishing? Whichever way round, it’s good to hear from yet another happy angler.

Click on image to enlarge.

To a large extent, Chris is credited with having saved the Club a couple of years ago when it seemed that it was in serious danger of folding due to financial concerns. As a result of his involvement in reappraising the Club’s position and putting it on a much more positive footing, we have, once again, one of the best trout fisheries in the South East. It is therefore only fair and reasonable, after all his efforts to ensure the continued existence and success of the Club, that he has finally landed one of the double figure rainbows that we regularly stock at Powdermill.

Chris, ever the perfectionist, stated that he would have liked to inform me that the monster was caught on a dry mayfly, but unfortunately it was on a mayfly nymph. However, he went on to say that of the four fish he caught that evening, two were on dry mayfly. He also admitted that this evening session was probably the best 4 hours he has spent at Powdermill!

On Wednesday 4th June, he managed to find time to fish from 4pm until 8-30pm. His equipment consisted of a brand new Sage rod with a floating line with 12ft of the latest Orvis 'Maxknot' Mirage fluorocarbon on the end. No droppers, just a mayfly nymph.

He rowed the boat round “the top left by the little bay at the end on the right”. (from this description, I am none the wiser as to where he was!!) He said that on this evening there were fish in evidence absolutely everywhere. (There never is when I go!!) Anyway, he was soon into the 11lb 10 oz rainbow which proceeded to take all his line onto the backing. The monster fish took his line onto the backing three times over the next 30 minutes. At several points during the titanic struggle he thought it was never going to end up in the boat. Finally, with aching arms and a beating heart, he managed to slip the landing net under the fish and heave it into the bottom of the boat.

Over half the fish that Chris has caught this season have been on dry mayfly, which is what it is all about for most of our Club members. Can’t be bad!!

"Theme For A Dream" was recorded by the real Cliff Richard in 1961 and reached No. 3 in the UK charts in February of the same year.


Tuesday 03 June 2008


A club member, who shall remain nameless, had a bit of a disaster last week. He had left his dry fly floating on the water while he contentedly sat in his boat having a refreshing cup of tea. Needless to say the inevitable happened and the next thing he knew was that his valuable Sage rod was disappearing over the side. Despite throwing the hot tea all over himself in his haste to grab hold of the rod he only succeeded in falling into the bottom of the boat. Despite the bailiff’s efforts to recover the unfortunate anglers equipment it still remains somewhere between the willow tree and the sunken road.


After the sad demise of the bailiff’s demented goose earlier this year, I am pleased to be able to announce that replacements are on their way. Vic arranged for three goose eggs to be incubated by a broody hen and two have now hatched. The less agile among us may cringe at the thought of another vicious bird on the rampage let alone two, but hopefully these will prove to be friendlier.


Every year we hope that the lifebelt situated near the boat staging remains unused. This is not because we hope that no one needs its services, but because each year a pair of blue tits raise a family in the lifebelt holder. This has been a bumper year for our bird population with over 30 baby blue tits having been raised in our nesting boxes around the fishing lodge. The aquatic bird population is also doing very well with plenty of chicks in evidence. However, only one Hobby has been spotted so far this year.


Wednesday 28 May 2008


Purely by accident, your intrepid website reporter has just found out that the Hastings Fly Fishers Club had made an appearance at the annual Parish Council AGM held in the Sedlescombe village hall in April. Although two of the County’s self professed leading fly-tyers made a rare public appearance at this event, in order to demonstrate their art, no photographer was on hand to record this auspicious event.

However, we are fortunate to have been able to coerce Mary Stacey, our Club Secretary, into spilling the beans on this auspicious event. This is her report -

“Sedlescombe Parish Council run an annual magazine, which includes a little ad for any local club or business who want to subscribe, and once a year when they have the Parish Council AGM they invite subscribers to have a small table display on show after the meeting. We thought we would give it a go this year so Tim Stacey and Doug Rigby went along on 29th April and "set out their stall" before the meeting started. After such a lot of hard work they obviously then had to adjourn to the local hostelry for refreshment whilst the meeting went ahead.

After the meeting they were then on duty at the table where their vices were on show!! They demonstrated the art of fly-tying to a large population of the Sedlescombe area and great interest was shown in our display and the Club. Vic and myself also went along later obviously to provide the glamour aspect and I was able to talk to a lot of people who expressed an interest and in some cases never even knew we were there. We were welcomed most warmly and expressly asked to attend again next year as it had been enjoyed so much. The other displays were for example, the local school, gardeners Club, WI, Police, archery Club etc. It turned out to be a very enjoyable evening and lots of literature and information was given out which hopefully will lead to more interest in the Club.”


Tuesday 27 May 2008


On 18 May, while fishing from the far bank adjacent to the green hut, Mick Coleman caught a rainbow weighing 12lb 1oz, on a Mayfly Nymph. Although Mick and Maggie Coleman were the generous donors of the latest addition to our fleet, L’Aquapêche 370, Mick prefers to fish from the bank. Although there were plenty of anglers present to witness the capture, there was not a single camera to record the event.


Tuesday 27 May 2008


One of the very few eyesores which has been quietly rotting away has finally been removed after many years of neglect. The photo below shows the gap where the old Portaloo has stood for more years than most of us can remember. The Portaloo, once considered to be the height of luxury has been standing neglected and unused for so long that we only just managed to demolish it before it was classified as Grade II listed! For the nature lovers amongst you, a visit to the site is well worth the detour on the way to the fishing lodge as you can see a rare example of wild hops entwining a tree to the left of the clearing where the portaloo once stood.



Monday 26 May 2008


If you are a club member and have not yet been accosted by the bailiff... Beware! He’s after your money. However, this time he is offering something worthwhile in return... or so he claims. For little more than the cost of its manufacture, he is offering to provide you with a beautifully embroidered Club Badge for the bargain price of £5.


The high quality cloth badge is intended to be sewn on to your fishing waistcoat alongside the plethora of Trout Master badges and other such memorabilia that you will have undoubtedly acquired over the years. Sadly, I have no badges but do have a number of flyfishing waistcoats, so I am spoiled for choice as to where to put it. Unfortunately, although she has many talents, invisible sewing is not one of my wife’s better attributes. Maybe sticky ‘Velcro’ is the answer as I could then transfer it to the appropriate waistcoat!.

Thursday 17 April 2008


New Fishing Statistics finally added.


Wednesday 09 April 2008


As a result of the recent report on the latest good fish to come out of Powdermill, I have received a couple of e-mails from subscribers wanting to know a bit more about the method used. In response David Nicholls has provided me with the following:



“I was using an intermediate line with a 6lb leader, about 15ft of it. I'd tried with a floater and long leader but they appeared pretty deep. The fly was a size 12 green nymph. I was up in the far end where the huge bay is just past the last little bay on the right, casting towards the right bank of trees, allowing it to drop within 2ft of the overhanging trees. The wind was taking the line and it was dropping into the shallows. About 6-8 ft from the tree line. I'd had several nibbles and it just slowly took the line away. It then went off in to a power drive towards the dam nearly taking me to the backing. It lasted about 10 minutes and then the fight went straight out of him and he came to the net. He hardly fitted in and the neck of the landing net broke. (I bought a new one today.) As with the large one the other day I tried to revive him, he'd taken the hook quite deeply in the mouth. I kept him alongside the boat for a long time, attempting to revive him, I'd intended to let him go but he just kept rolling over. In the end he gave up. A really deep bodied fish weighing in at 10lb 15oz. Today I took him up to the smokery off the A21 as I'll have him cold smoked.”

Tuesday 08 April 2008

As far as I am concerned the weather is still not warm enough to venture onto the water, so I have still yet to cast a fly on Powdermill this season. However, those of you who brave the fickle weather seem to be more than happy to rub my nose in it by e-mailing our website to report on the wonderful fishing that I am missing. I thought you might like to see a couple of the photos sent in by the David Nicholls which were taken at Powdermill this week.

David wrote....

"They're still out there. It was the day after the snow and it was still thawing. Mid afternoon at the far end. Some sleet some sunshine. Lots of takes and then a very slow tightening of the line and it was away. For such a large fish it gave a good fight for some 10-15 minutes and then succumbed to the net which it promptly broke. A brilliant afternoon's fishing which also yielded a 2lb 4oz fish to the net. This seemed a mere minnow when placed alongside.

Powdermill gets better every year.

Regards David Nicholls"


Thursday 03 April 2008

New Trout Recipe added. Contribution by Chris Webb

Monday 31 March 2008

Visitors who brave the fickle weather are reaping the benefit of quality over-wintered fish. Chris Dance caught a six fish limit totalling 14lb 4ozs, which included a rainbow weighing 4lb 6ozs. Ian Colclough of Weybridge Guns & Tackle in Surrey visited us on a far from ideal March day and was so delighted with his day’s fishing that he actually e-mailed us to tell us about it! Most anglers just take all our efforts for granted so it is nice to get the occasional feedback. To see Ian’s e-mail click here.

Tuesday 26 February 2008

New Trout Recipes added.

Thursday 14 February 2008


Welcome back everybody. This year the main fly fishing season at Powdermill Reservoir starts on Saturday 1 March 2008.

Anglers may commence fishing from 08.00 and if the weather continues to be as good as it has been we should have a busy weekend. If you intend to go out in a boat during the initial weekend it may be wise to book it in advance if you want a particular favourite boat rather than rely on pot luck.

A large number of anglers prefer to fish from the bank rather than use a boat and prime spots on the bank are always at a premium if there is an initial rush of enthusiastic early season anglers. It is therefore advisable to be reasonably early, rather than stroll along at midday only to find that all the best places are taken.

Quality Fishing
Fishing during the last few weeks has been exceptionally good for the time of year with plenty of dry days with lots of sunshine and gentle breezes. Fish are still well spread throughout the reservoir with trout being caught along all the accessible bank areas. Winter fishing has yet again proved very successful and with the new stocks now being introduced ready for the 2008 main season, the mix of established and new fish should ensure that the new season gets off to a good start for both bank and boat fishermen.

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