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Saturday 14th December 2013


As your editorial team take a break, from producing our ‘Latest News’, in order to celebrate Christmas among our friends and family, your long suffering reporter has just one more request to make of you.

Please take a few moments to read the newsletter from the Door of Hope Charity which was produced last Christmas by our Club member The Reverend Phil Streeter. He and his dear wife, Diane, do such selfless work in difficult circumstances. I do not ask or expect you to contribute. Just spare a thought for those good souls who try to make a difference and if you are so inclined say a prayer for their continued efforts.

Door of Hope Newsletter - Christmas with the Criminals

Friday 13th December 2013


On arrival this morning I found three men from Southern Water standing in the car park looking vacant. Not unusual, you may think. I naturally assumed that this must be the day when the elusive electrician was to arrive to actually connect up the motor. Fat chance! They apparently were there to put up some conduit in the green shed which houses the new air pump (ready for the electrician?). As a conscientious shareholder, I naturally expressed my concern at their lack of activity. Well, they certainly did not stand around for much longer. No sooner had I joined the bailiff in the lodge than one of the men came in to use our luxurious toilet facilities and when I next looked out of the window they were all gone. Either this was a five minute job or another wasted journey. Any bets?


Crumpets and roasted chestnuts, washed down with large cups of coffee, were the order of the day as the 'old boys' observed the multitude of cormorants who were delighted to have the reservoir all to themselves this morning. The lack of anglers enabled them to concentrate on their fishing while enjoying the glorious winter sunshine. They are reputed to each eat 6lb of fish daily. Many people think that when they flap their wings they are drying them but the bailiff insists they do this to help get the food down. Judging by the amount of flapping going on today, they are eating more than their quota.

However, my cursory (yet incredibly boring) research into this theory seems to contradict the 'swallowing' explanation. It transpires that way back in 1997 a Robin M. Sellers wrote a learned paper on "The Wing Spreading behaviour of the Cormorant". Between September 1983 and April 1989 he wasted 5½ years of his miserable life watching cormorants on the river Severn near Berkeley Power Station. His eventually concluded that his findings supported overwhelmingly the wing-drying (or more generally plumage-drying) explanation. He maintains that wing-spreading was performed both by birds which had caught fish and those which had not, and no connection could be found between the incidence of wing-spreading and foraging success. But the wing flapping which I have been recently observing is occurring while the bird is in the water, not on the bank spreading its wings, 'drying' itself. It appears to be happening in conjunction with the act of devouring an unfortunate fish but at such a distance I could be mistaken in assuming that the bird is actually swallowing something. So I think a little more research is required. Maybe I should contact Mr Sellers and suggest he spend another 5½ years observing "The Wing FLAPPING behaviour of the Cormorant" and then come up with another obvious conclusion.

With no opportunity to get close enough to produce a photo of the miscreants I resorted to taking a couple of snaps of the lodge and reservoir - bathed in more brilliant sunshine.

Wednesday 11th December 2013


Although plenty of Club members turned up today, only two decided to venture out. Despite the early chill, John Noble was determined to go onto the dam long before the sun had burnt through the heavy mist. Phil Streeter sauntered in at noon. After considering taking out a boat, he also decided to fish from the bank, as it was getting a bit late to justify the cost of a boat. However, given that the fish seem recently to be well out of range of the bank, I do not fancy their chances. In addition, neither of them had a Baby Doll in their fly boxes. Incidentally, the Baby Doll so successfully employed by Mr Burn to catch all his recent rainbows was PINK!

The remainder of the residents opted to stay in the warm. After running out of people to gossip about and the usual boring detailed update on the weeks Golf and Shooting exploits, they settled down to play crib and darts, while your intrepid reporter concentrated on toasting the crumpets for them. So now the cards are covered in butter! The good news is that, thanks to Don Burt, it's back to roasted chestnuts tomorrow. Equally tasty yet not so fattening!

Tuesday 10th December 2013


Another wonderful day at the reservoir with the water bathed in glorious winter sunshine. A great opportunity to wander around in total isolation and enjoy the complete peace and tranquillity. A good opportunity to mess about and take some unusual photos.

As far as the fishing goes, its a bit of a lottery. Club member T. Burn has consistently caught fish while others have recently failed miserably. On his last three visits he has caught all his fish on a Baby Doll. As far as I am aware nobody else has tried this pattern since his initial success with this fly. At the weekend he caught his four fish limit from a boat. All his fish were taken out of casting range of the bank fishermen. Could this be a clue and a more important factor than the fly pattern being used? I think so. Therefore I would suggest that you opt to go out in a boat if you want a chance to have a successful days fishing before the season ends on the 31 December.

Black Baby Doll

White Baby Doll

Friday 6th December 2013


Our favourite superstar has just flown in from LA. Although he is not planning another visit to the reservoir this year, he has promised to make an appearance when we reopen in March. I was delighted to hear from him and have pleasure in publishing a photo of our hero taken during a tour of Europe back in 2005.

We must congratulate Kenny Rogers on his recent induction into the Country Music Hall of fame. This was immediately followed by the 'Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award' at the 47th annual CMA Awards which took place in November. So 2013 has been a landmark year. Sadly no European tour dates are planned for 2014.

Watch out for exclusive photos of 'Our Kenny' at the reservoir next March.

Tour of Europe 2005 on a Suzuki 1500cc Intruder 169

Thursday 5th December 2013


A reservoir bathed in early morning sunshine tempted no fewer than three anglers to venture out today. However, the last couple of days have proved surprisingly difficult and the odd angler who has tried to find fish has failed miserably. Conditions today appeared perfect at the outset, but as the morning progressed it became overcast and colder. By midday one angler decided to give up due to the cold and lack of fish. Although the other two had not returned by the time that I finally left the comfort of the lodge, I doubt if they would have been any more successful. So another disappointing day when the trout refused to be tempted by anything the anglers could 'throw' at them.

Wednesday 4th December 2013


Just received (via e-mail) from our beloved Club Chairman, basking in the sunshine on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Good to know that the Club profits are not being wasted.

Monday 2nd December 2013


With so few anglers bank or boat fishing, conditions have been ideal for the cormorants who flock to the reservoir each day to enjoy an easy meal. All last week we could observe the cormorants, from the comfort of the cosy lodge, as they provided us with a very good indication of the best fishing spots. Any prospective angler would be well advised to also spend a short time observing their activities from a distance before rushing out to fish.

View from the Dam

Last week I watched four Cormorants apparently working in unison as they continually attacked a large rainbow. Although I am not aware that these birds are known to hunt in groups they were certainly not bickering among themselves as they constantly harried the unfortunate rainbow, who had obviously been sufficiently damaged to be unable to escape their relentless attacks.

At this time of year we would normally be at our lowest stocking level as we go into the winter. However, with the awful weather that we have experienced this year fewer fish have been taken and the reservoir is still full of rainbows. As a result the fishing should be exceptionally good. Certainly the cormorants think so, which is why they come in such numbers.

With an ageing membership it is hardly surprising that so few HFF Club members have dared venture out in the recent unsettled weather conditions. However, it is surprising that so few visitors have taken advantage of our winter price. Where else can you enjoy the exclusive use of a 55 acre trout water all to yourself? Then even the cormorants would be forced to buzz off.

View of the far bank from the jetty on 1st December

Saturday 23rd November 2013


The photo says it all.

Friday 22nd November 2013


Although the lodge can be very cold and damp at this time of year, once the wood burner has got going it is not only very cosy but can become almost tropical. So, given the continued miserable weather, it is hardly surprising that cribbage and darts are the order of the day. The standard of darts is appalling, but there are some fair crib players among the 'old boys'. If the unsettled weather continues I expect the 'Shove' board to make its first appearance next week. Despite all these indoor activities you can rest assured that anyone prepared to go fishing and risk a soaking can rely on the 'old boys' to keep a watchful eye on them from the comfort of the lodge. Should the angler return cold, wet and miserable they can at least be assured of a sympathetic reception and somewhere warm to recover.

Wednesday 20th November 2013


One brave angler ventured out on Sunday and caught two rainbows using a Baby Doll.

On Monday morning two anglers could be seen enjoying a slightly chilly but fine early morning’s fishing. There was not a breath of wind but it was overcast. Steven Stern was already out in a boat when I arrived and John Noble appeared a little later and opted to fish from the bank. Although there is no sign of the sun breaking through the clouds it was not as cold as forecast. Considering that we are now half way through November, it was a very pleasant day to be at the reservoir. On Tuesday I was pleased to see that both Club members had managed to catch fish.

On Tuesday morning two more anglers decided to brave a bright but rather chilly morning. Hopefully they will also be successful.


It transpires that the contractors did eventually manage to remove the old air pump from the green shed last week. They had informed me that they had to remove it that day as the new equipment was actually speeding down the A21 on its way to the reservoir. It is hardly surprising that subsequently, on looking into the pump house and seeing a collection of boxes and other bits and pieces, that your naive reporter incorrectly assumed that the largest of the boxes contained the actual pump.

Imagine my surprise, on arriving at the reservoir on Tuesday, to find a large lorry fitted with a crane unloading a giant pump system. It turns out that the boxes which arrived last week were just a collection of ancillary bits and pieces.

The actual pump is a superb work of art which deserves to be on show and not hidden away. My pathetic photos do not do justice to such a beautiful piece of engineering (from Belgium). By the time that you read this it will be ensconced in the Green metal shack awaiting the electrician to come and connect it. The installation team assure me that never again will our Bailiff have to try to contact someone when the pump stops working, as the system itself has sufficient intelligence to do so all by itself. Now, if we could find a bailiff who had ‘sufficient intelligence’........

Monday 18th November 2013


The next few weeks could well be your last opportunity to venture out. Not necessarily to go fishing but to go anywhere. Indeed, you may not even be able to battle your way out of your front door.

According to the Express newspaper in its recent headline, life is about to come to a complete standstill and the last thing that you will be thinking about is doing a bit of fly fishing before the season at Powdermill ends on 31st December. Indeed, come the 1st March it could still be the last thing that you are considering, given that you have survived the worst that the weather is predicted to throw at us over the next few months.

Words such as “horror winter”, “100 days of heavy snow” and “worst winter for sixty years” are enough to send most people stampeding to the nearest supermarket to clear the shelves.

So, before the onslaught commences, now is the time to enjoy one last fly fishing outing before life as we know it ceases for the duration.

The “View from the jetty” below is the most recent photo taken of the reservoir. Treasure the scene. You may never see it again.

View From The Jetty

Friday 15th November 2013


Despite the beautiful sunshine on Wednesday and Thursday, not a single angler took advantage of the change. Club Member Steven Stern was the last person to go fishing and he caught one fish despite the unsettled and inhospitable conditions. The next few days should also bring more beautiful sunshine.

To counteract the early morning chill and damp, the ‘old boys’ have been lighting the wood burner in the lodge. Consequently they have taken the opportunity to enjoy yet more free food. At this time of year it’s chestnuts collected along the lanes leading to the reservoir. A couple of mature sweet chestnut trees are all you require to provide a reasonable crop within a few minutes. The smell of them roasting on top of the stove is wonderful. Tasty too!

Monday 11th November 2013


A brief visit to the reservoir this morning served to highlight how bleak and miserable it continues to be. Despite the pleasant sunshine on Sunday, we are now back to normal!

A lone car which looked as if it had been dumped in the car park turned out to belong to Colin, our local birdwatcher and observer of wildlife. At first sight, I was not sure if it had been abandoned as it’s in a bit of a state (even worse and older than mine), full of litter, and even had his entire set of keys left in the driver’s door. I realised who it belonged to as he had left his name and mobile phone number on a scruffy piece of paper on the dashboard. Should any car thief or house burglar read this, do not rush out to the reservoir as it really is not worth the effort and hopefully he has found his way back by now and read my rude note left on the driver’s seat.

My only signs of life were the four geese casually grazing in front of the lodge. With no fire made up and no wood in the log basket, I decided that even I did not want to hang around and risk hypothermia. No sane person was going to phone and ask any sensible questions regarding fishing and, despite my assurances to the contrary, I really have not been the subject of PPI.

However, just before I managed to escape, a very nice chap phoned and offered to install (on trial) a cold drinking water dispenser for our staff to enjoy - totally free of charge! Amazing! It did cross my mind that I had never actually seen Vic drinking a glass of water and after a couple of days in our environment, who would dare us it? Nevertheless, one should never look a gift horse in the mouth (something to do with its teeth giving away its age). So I eagerly agreed and went on to explain how excited our employee would be at being given exclusive use of his own cold beverage facility. Sadly, I do not think one is likely to materialise.

As I write this, there is a weather forecaster on the TV wittering on about light showers while outside its hammering down with no sign of a let-up. So we are faced with the prospect of yet another week of abject misery! Oh, and for anyone that’s interested - Colin Fagg registered his first blank of the season on Saturday. I can only assume that even he could only withstand so much rain before finally admitting defeat.

Not wishing to leave you on a ‘downer’, may I recommend a quick visit to www.umbrellaheaven.com. They have an amazing range and even stock a number for coarse anglers, but nothing suitable for a fly fisherman. I feel a project coming on!

Sunday 10th November 2013


In our continued efforts to educate the ignorant readers of our ‘Latest News’ we have to ask you what our headline brings to mind. Most of you will just assume that we simply refer to the actual current weather conditions. The more intellectual among you might immediately think of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. Written in 1798, this is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Another useless and inconsequential thing that I learned at school! Before you all rush to put fingers to keyboard, just bear in mind that it turns out that he was just another nutcase and drug addict, like the majority of our revered poets of the period. So not all bad then!

To your (not so sophisticated) ageing reporter, the title immediately conjures up a completely different image. That of Tommy Steel. Although I was not a fan, I clearly remember him singing the awful song “Water, Water” which was featured in the film “The Tommy Steel Story” and immediately became a hit in 1957. The lyrics were loosely based on Coleridge’s poem and the song reached No.5 in the UK hit parade. Yes, I really was alive in 1957.

Autumn Reeds

Born in 1936 and still very much alive, you would expect our Tommy, now 77, to be ensconced in some quiet retreat in the country with his wife of 53 years, surrounded by his memories. No such luck. He is about to star in the musical Scrooge (for the umpteenth time). It opens at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton next Tuesday 12th November. It then goes on to Leeds, Blackpool, Brighton and the last performance is at Llandudno on 11th January 2014. Why can’t he retire gracefully like the rest of us?

So having provided you with more useless and inconsequential information and wasted another few precious minutes of your miserable lives; How is the fishing?

Well, what happened to the poor chap who went out last Friday in the usual miserable conditions and was the subject of my recent disparaging comments? He proved us all wrong and actually caught two nice rainbows, from the East Bank, both on a Cat’s Whisker. So why bother to heed my advice - or anyone else’s for that matter. Just come along and do your own thing.

This morning (Saturday) the weather is really awful. However, our heroic regular visitor, Colin Fagg, is out there in a boat in the torrential rain. He must be completely insane! But I bet that he catches fish!!!

Serenity, In Between The Rain

I am told that Sunday is supposed to be the best day for some time to come and we have a number of visitors who have booked boats. So maybe we will have a little more action to report.

With the persistently unsettled weather, anyone insisting on fishing has been virtually guaranteed to have the entire reservoir to themselves. Where else can you exclusively hire a 55 acre fly fishing facility for twenty quid? But you do have to be prepared for us to suggest that you might be slightly insane!

Anyway, we still have 52 days before the season ends and the water is still stuffed full of fish. We believe that we need to reduce stocks to enable the remainder to overwinter successfully. So, should there be a lull in the constant deluge, please take the opportunity to experience an enjoyable, cheap day’s fishing, in the Autumn sunshine, before the big freeze sets in. Not that I am a pessimist!


At this time of year, please take care when driving to the reservoir, as the rain continues to wash mud onto the lanes. This combined with this weeks hedge cuttings, left strewn all over the road, make conditions somewhat slippery. In particular, try to avoid arriving just before school starts as you are sure to meet some panic stricken mother racing along in a 4x4, desperate to get little Tristan to school - and she is not going to stop, slow down or even move over to avoid you but simply stares fixedly ahead. Should you have the misfortune to be unable to avoid them, please ensure that you have practiced driving backwards as they have no idea how to put their vehicle into reverse.

The Lone Angler, In Unusual Light Conditions

Despite the difficulty of getting to the water and the miserable weather, one lone visitor arrived Friday morning and insisted on fishing. He opted to fish from the east bank despite being told that the dam was a better bet. By the time that I left, the wood burner was pumping out plenty of heat. Just as well, as at midday there was a torrential downpour, complete with hailstones. If the poor chap made it back to the lodge he may have been able to eventually dry out. The forecast for the afternoon was awful but as I write this the sun is shining with not a breath of wind. A lovely afternoon! I only hope that our lone angler is still in a state to enjoy it.

Few people have fished this week and most have not stayed long. Needless to say the changeable weather seems to have upset the fish, which have been hard to find. As most anglers have fished from the bank and found it hard, it would seen that the fish are either not reachable from the bank or are not feeding. A boat could well prove to be an advantage but make sure that you have waterproofs.

A Cosy Warm Lodge

The last fish to fall to a dry fly was taken by John Noble on Tuesday. His fish were taken on a Daddy and a Grey Wolf. Not the sort of flies that I would suggest at the moment, but what do I know! Most people are now using lures of various descriptions, so my advice is to use what gaudy abominations you have confidence in. Be prepared to ring the changes and experiment. But, if I am really honest, being a fair weather angler, a visit to the reservoir is best spent in the warmth of the lodge listening to the ‘old boys’. And NO, I am not one of the ‘old boys’ but sometimes I feel like one.

Saturday 9th November 2013


With the continued wet weather, local farmers are not able to get onto the land, so a number decided that this week that it was a good time for as bit of hedge cutting along the lanes. By the time that I reached the reservoir I had driven round in circles trying to avoid the giant tractors which are a ‘must-have’ for any local farmer. These monsters tend to straddle the tarmac with all tyres churning up the verge (where there is one). I think that it’s time to send them back to where they belong – which is not on the relatively tiny fields which make up the Sussex and Kent countryside.

For some real nostalgia, go along the Bodiam Road (between Bodiam and Sandhurst villages) during the hop picking season, when you can see the little tractors, designed to run in between the rows of hops, trundling along the road in the direction of Sandhurst with their trailers, laden with hops. Are these the smallest tractors still in commercial use?


Having eventually arrived at the reservoir, I found that the men from ACL Engineering Ltd had already arrived in force with even more men and vehicles on their way. They had come to finally solve the problem of the broken air pump. The dilemma which faced them was how to get the old air pump out of its green tin shed and onto the back of a lorry. When I eventually left, the problem was still being addressed.

I was informed that the new pump was already on its way and trundling down the A21. It apparently is made in Belgium and hopefully will not be as difficult to install as its heavy predecessor. Will it be installed by the time that I arrive on Friday? We shall see!

With the lack of a working air pump the trout were able to utilise the natural temperature layers to remain reasonably comfortable throughout the earlier warm weather. Can you remember that far back? So I am not convinced that the air is of real benefit to us. However, it is not intended to benefit the fish but to improve the water being extracted.


A different, but equally attractive, young lady from the Environment Agency arrived to take water samples this morning. She recorded a surprisingly cool surface water temperature of 54oF (12oC). Ideal for the trout, but a bit chilly if you fall in. So be careful on the dam as it can be slippery when wet.

The cold temperatures have really brought out the Autumn colours and the reservoir surroundings are really spectacular with lots of browns mixed in with the greens. Are there more beautiful trout fishing venues in Sussex and Kent?

Saturday 2nd November 2013


Only one Club member ventured out in the persistent drizzle today and no one was stupid enough to fish yesterday. However, at some point during the next two months we must surely have the odd fine day when Club members can take advantage of their extended season ticket and visitors can benefit from the £20 day ticket (four fish).

The heavy rain has now coloured the water and will probably put a stop to all the surface action which has been so enjoyable of late. I expect that lures will now come into their own and the dry flies will have to be put away until next year. Despite all the gloom and doom concerning the weather, the fish are in fine fettle and catches are well above the norm for this time of year. Anglers who manage to pick the right day and dodge the rain are actually enjoying their fishing which is not always the case this late in the year. Hopefully, more visiting anglers will take advantage of the winter price and experience the beauty of Powdermill with all its varied and changing autumn colours.

Tuesday 29th October 2013


I apologise to, and sympathise with, anyone who has suffered as a result of the recent weather, but out at the reservoir it really bears no comparison with 1987. Driving to the reservoir at 8am from the Pottery Lane end (Brede) was a doddle. There were plenty of leaves and twigs on the ground where the road goes through the woods, but I was surprised at how clear it actually was. I had to stop once, down the hill to the reservoir entrance, to move a branch but that was all.

On my arrival, the reservoir was bathed in sunshine and the wind had definitely dropped. Shortly after, Lee Partridge, the Bailiff’s eldest son, pulled in with his car covered in sand (from Camber). As usual his vehicle was full of sacks of feed for his pheasants and the rest of the available space inside (mainly the footwells) littered with rubbish. A real working vehicle, which used to belong to Keith Blundell, which explains all the dents. Vic, the Bailiff, was just off to a shoot (he ‘Picks-up’) despite the continued threat of gusty winds. It will be interesting to hear how the birds flew and how the guns fared in these conditions.

Not long after we had made our first cup of coffee the phone started ringing. Members wanted to know what had transpired overnight and I was able to assure them that the only indication that anything unusual had occurred was that the plastic table and chairs left out on the grass had been blown around.

Around mid-morning Colin, our local birdwatcher and observer of wildlife, arrived half way through his circuit of the reservoir. He reported that there was not any really significant storm damage in the woods; plenty of leaves and twigs but only a handful of fallen trees. As far as wildlife is concerned, he did see a kingfisher and a couple of birds rarely seen around the reservoir, which I best not mention. Unfortunately, he also saw a large number of cormorants at the far end of the reservoir. Most were sat on the large dead tree which is their favourite lookout point. The number of these birds appearing each day is now causing us a great deal of concern. I have never seen so many trout with cormorant damage and with more birds now appearing I dread to think what damage they could be doing.

On the way home, heading towards Sedlescombe and the A21, I got as far as the four beautifully maintained Holly trees on Reservoir Lane when I was confronted with two men with chainsaws clearing a fallen tree. There was nothing for it but to back up and return via Brede. It is hardly surprising that all the suppliers of panel fencing around Hastings had sold out by Monday afternoon.

PS. By the way, the Bailiff still went golfing on Sunday!

Monday 28th October 2013


Sunday morning finds me laying on the sofa watching Formula 1. There has been plenty of rain overnight but at the moment the garden is bathed in glorious sunshine with only a slight breeze. However, we are experiencing some heavy showers which occasionally disrupt the satellite signal.

This is not the awful weather that was predicted, but I would not want to be outside partaking in any sporting activity as one could easily get caught in a very heavy shower. I certainly would not expect anyone to be foolish enough to go fishing at the reservoir today. Rumour has it that these conditions may well even be sufficiently unpleasant to put off the Bailiff from golfing today. This will be a blessed relief, as we will not have to endure a shot-by-shot replay on Monday morning. So Monday in the lodge could be a reasonably relaxed affair, with the regulars just basking in the heat of the wood burner while munching toasted crumpets dripping in butter. Don’t worry about their cholesterol levels - they all take tablets!


There are lots of improvements planned with some being scheduled for as early as January and February when we are closed. Having obtained a 25 year lease, we are more confident in embarking on long-term projects and hopefully we will see many changes for the better during the next couple of years. We hope that this will include better access and facilities for disabled anglers.

Reed Cutting In Preparation For Work Around The Jetty

Unfortunately, not everything we would like to do is possible as we have to remember that the prime purpose of the reservoir is to provide water to Hastings and the surrounding area. Angling requirements sometimes have to take second place.


The motor racing has now ended with Sebastian Vettel being victorious and wrapping up the Championship for the fourth time. And the sun is still shining and it looks really lovely outside. So I am going into the garden after lunch to cut my hedges. Yes, I am not joking. That’s how good it is. Maybe I can report on the mayhem tomorrow.

Sunday 27th October 2013


Having arrived at the reservoir just after lunch on a very pleasant sunny Saturday afternoon, I was greeted by just four cars in the car park, which I recognised as all belonging to regulars. So I just dumped the petrol for the mower and strimmer at the cottage. I did not want to hang about in case the impending apocalyptic weather caught me out and falling trees blocked my return to civilisation, down the narrow lanes.

No doubt others did not want to risk being caught outdoors either, so missed out on yet another good day for fishing. I understand that the end of the world is now due on Sunday/Monday. So that’s another two days when no one in their right mind will go fishing, even if the sun is shining! The forecast for the remainder of the week is not supposed to be much better (given that it had not been sufficiently apocalyptic to cause ‘the end of the world’).

So is there any good news? Yes, but only if we can survive the apocalypse and hang on until the end of next week, when we will see some glimmer of hope. Next Friday is the first day of November. We are then into our ‘Winter’ Prices when you can fish all day for a mere £20 for Four Fish.


There I was ploughing through the usual plethora of junk mail that HFF is bombarded with on a daily basis. Imagine my excitement on finding an invitation from Action For Charity to partake in another exciting adventure which I could add to my ‘Intrepid Reporter’ CV.

Climbing Ben Nevis would be a piece of cake after my many mountain exploits (you’ve seen the photos). Cycling 25 miles on a road? Easy, it would be akin to a Sunday afternoon stroll but on wheels. You only have to look at a photo of your ace cyclist taken just last month. As for messing about in a small boat on an inland water! Do I need to say more?

So now comes the hard bit. Where on earth do I find three other HFF Club members capable of making up a ‘team’? Most Club members would probably have difficulty surviving the journey to Scotland, let alone completing the challenge. The few that might cope with the physical stresses would certainly fall out and probably end up attacking each other.

Hopefully, something more suitable may eventually drop into the inbox. In the meantime, I’ll keep ploughing through the remainder of the daily dross.

Sadly this challenge is only open to teams of four.

Visit www.actionforcharity.co.uk for more details of the challenge along with many others.

Saturday 26th October 2013


I will not keep banging on about how enjoyable the fishing is at present. Even the Bailiff admits that we have never been so well stocked at this time of year. Colin Fagg, our most regular visitor, had his usual six fish the other day. These were caught on buzzer and Montana patterns. Club member, John Noble could only manage five, but these were all on dries so he actually did really well in difficult conditions. Earlier this week we predicted that Bob Sanger was destined to take his limit using his suspender buzzer. However, it transpired that he could also only manage five. He must try harder and go out sooner, rather than hanging about and disrupting the ‘old boys’ in the lodge for half the morning!

So what of the coming weekend? By the time that you read this, you will probably have experienced it, unless my lazy editorial team have got on with it for a change and made the effort to enable me to close the stable door before the chickens have come home to roost.

However, I do not expect to hear that many anglers fished at the weekend as they will have all been scared off by the latest histrionics. Ever since Michael Fish got it wrong, the weathermen have ensured that the slightest potential blip is turned into a guaranteed major climatic catastrophe. This weekend is no different with predictions of torrential rain and winds approaching 100mph.

The Lull Before The Storm At The Deserted Reservoir

This week the Daily Express warned of;
Apocalyptic weather to batter UK - expect relentless rainstorms and terrifying wind. Ferocious storms will batter Britain this week - with gale-force winds and torrential downpours expected.”

They followed this up with;
“A potential storm of the century this weekend, followed by more volatile weather next week – and above-average rainfall for the rest of the year.”

And later;
“You've seen nothing yet as 90mph gales and rain are set to lash Britain. THE “storm of the century” is poised to unleash devastating 100mph winds and torrential downpours on Britain.”

The Daily Mail took a more relaxed, matter of fact approach with;
“Britain faces its worst weather since the 1987 Great Storm with forecasters warning that 90mph winds carrying heavy rain will strike in the coming days. The hurricane-force conditions are likely to damage houses, fell trees and cut off power, with motorists warned against all but essential travel through late Sunday and all of Monday.”

Before I cause too much alarm and general panic let me assure you The Times headline is the less frenetic;
“Wild and windy start for half-term holiday” “weathermen said yesterday that the strongest winds recorded for several years will batter the south East with gusts of up to 80mph”

David Lyons' image of a ferry, with passengers on board, leaving Newhaven harbour, East Sussex, in a violent storm won the Your View category in the Take A View - Landscape Photographer Of The Year Awards

However, they accompany their article had this amazing photograph, which we are delighted to be allowed to reproduce here. It is of a ferry leaving Newhaven harbour in storm, by David Lyon. It won the ‘Take a View’ category in the Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards 2013. What I wouldn’t give to take a photo as good as this.

With the country bracing themselves for disaster, it seems that Southern Water are not so daft after all. So let me be the first to apologise for ‘slagging them off’ over the building the incredibly costly fortification surrounding the overflow. I always knew that my show of faith in retaining my meagre shareholding, purchased in the frenzy of privatisation, is once again proving to be safe and secure. Money well spent!

It now transpires that their timely action could well have ensured that the inevitability of Powdermill becoming the scene of a major, climate based, disaster has been averted. Well done, chaps. I will never run you down ever again – until the next time.

So don’t forget to visit our website early next week to see photos of the apocalyptic devastation. Apocalyptic? I don’t recall Mr Fish using such words. Please come back Michael, all is forgiven.

Monday 21st October 2013


It would appear that we still cannot rely on settled weather as we continue to alternate between dry and wet days. However, Thursday and Friday proved to be excellent as far as the fishing was concerned with every angler catching fish. Wandering along the dam on Friday I was able to photograph Bob Sanger landing a fish before I continued along the dam towards Brian McCarter, who I noted had already got a bag in the water. A couple of minutes later I was having to rush back to take more shots of Bob landing another fine rainbow. Both fish had taken one of his recently tied fly patterns with a small piece of white foam material attached to aid buoyancy. Although there was not a great deal of surface activity, the fish were obviously interested and I will be surprised if I do not see that they each entered six fish in the returns book when I have a look today.

Bob Sanger Fishing at Powdermill Reservoir

Saturday was supposed to start with the odd shower but gradually clear, with temperatures reaching 17oC. So, safe in the knowledge that the weather forecasters could not possibly continue to get it wrong, off your intrepid reporter went in search of adventure. The plan was to walk along the cliffs at Dover to the South Forelands Lighthouse situated between the ferry terminal and the village of St Margaret’s at Cliffe. Not only did your miserable reporter fail to reach the lighthouse, but he and his equally miserable companions could not even see it in the distance, due to the low cloud which accompanied the driving rain.

So was the weekend as bad at Powdermill? Did anyone bother to fish? We shall find out on Monday. But I will not be surprised to find that anyone braving the unpredictable weather did indeed catch fish. After all, the fishing really is good, which is more than we can say for the weather. Maybe it will all change next week.

Sunday 13th October 2013


Friday was wet but, as I write this, the continued misery forecast for Saturday has not materialised. Looking out of the window, we have wall to wall sunshine. Prospective visitors to Powdermill will have decided long ago not to bother as a result of the predictions. What a waste of a lovely day for fly fishing at the reservoir!

This year, like most other venues, we have had a shortfall in income. This is due to having had such bad weather at the start to the season which kept visitors away. So we need every ‘good’ day we can get before the year ends. With the water stuffed full of fish and the quality of fishing currently being exceptionally good, the last thing that we need is someone incorrectly telling everyone not to venture out.

The charlatans - who make a good living conning the innocent into believing that they have special skills and psychic powers which enable them to foretell the future of our unpredictable weather - have a great deal to answer. Why do we bother with weather forecasters? If they were in their sister occupations of Fortune Teller/Palm Reader or Psychic Medium contacting the dead they would be so unsuccessful that they would either be penniless and/or in jail. Or better still, burnt at the stake as Witches/Sorcerers having been overheard spouting mumbo-jumbo to confuse the innocent gullible peasants who are too frightened and feeble to make up their own minds.

The early mornings last week consistently began misty and damp but gradually the water and its surrounds came to life as the sun burnt through. Our photo, taken on Wednesday at 09.30am, shows the very last of that morning’s mist (where the colder water coming in from the River Rother meets the slightly warmer water in the reservoir).


I have never seen so many different fungi around the reservoir. As a lover of mushrooms, I wish I was able to positively identify any of the ones which are safe to eat. Sadly, despite the ‘country’ background of many of our Club members, we do not have a single one who claims to have sufficient knowledge to risk picking any of them. What an awful waste.

Saturday 12th October 2013


Three centuries of British Angling Prints
David Beazley

Creel Press. 2010.   Price £50.00

I have always had an interest in old prints and engravings. In my long-ago twenties, hours were spent water colouring 19th century landscape engravings that I had wickedly removed from old books. After mounting them on board, I even succeeded in selling a few.

David Beazley's fine art book is a treasure chest of reproduced prints, engravings and lithographs (350 of them) that cover three centuries of angling. If you are nostalgic about an uncrowded, technology-free Britain of halcyon summers, quiet winding rivers and pastoral landscapes, then this is the perfect book for you. It breathes innocence, serenity and a mesmeric historical other-ness.

The reproductions of these old prints, engravings, etc, are admirable. In all of the coloured as well as black/white pictures, anglers are depicted in idyllic surroundings. They are seen applying their angling abilities beside tranquil rivers, lochs and lakes, proving, as Timothy Benn says in his introduction, "that there is indeed more to fishing than simply catching fish."

The written text, expertly researched, does not crowd out the pictures in attempts to save on printing costs. Images gladly parade on every page, immediately softening the blow for any reader who shrinks from tackling voluminous amounts of print. The paper is smoothly skin-soft, and the dreamily reproduced pictures either contain an angler or depict an angling scene.

They range from the elegantly pastoral to the rough and tumble humorous. From a print by Francis Barlow dated 1671, to a last laugh picture by Henry Mayo Bateman dated 1922.

Beazley's meticulous research is impressive. It evidently gobbled up months, even years of time and money, yet there is no sense of arduous toil and labour. Fly fishing and its historical connections are the passion of his life. Hours would have been spent in on-line research as well as well trawling galleries, institutes and colleges in his quest for rare and ancient angling prints. In fact, his interest in the subject spans 30 years, all of which have been channelled into this beautifully produced book. Artistic, informative (measuring 24cm by 31cm), and evocative of "far away and long ago," it has the charm and sophistication to grace any coffee table.

I purchased the last copy from Orvis in Tenterden, Kent. God, or was it Isaac Walton grinned at me, for I purchased the book at a very much reduced price that would paint you green with envy. I'm sure it would be obtainable from Farlows in London, if not, take a trip to Amazon.

"Images of Angling" would make a superb Christmas present to yourself! You might even feel generously tempted to forward copy to John Thackray our website editor.

Rev. Philip E. Streeter

Friday 11th October 2013


Written by Bernie Meaden

I Don't Remember Vic Stocking This One

Back in August my granddaughter Anna Meaden travelled to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic to visit her father who is serving there as a police officer. As you probably know Ascension is famous for two things, one, Being an RAF base and stopover for our troops travelling to the Falklands Islands during the 1982 conflict with Argentina and two, an amazing place for big game fishing.

Anna's fishing experience only extends to fly fishing with her dad so game fishing was never high on her agenda, however, her dad persuaded her to take a trip out with a friend of his who operates a deep sea charter fishing boat, she reluctantly agreed thinking it would be a great way to top up her tan, oh boy how wrong she was!! This is what Anna said.

"There were three rods set up and we got bites on two of them. Craig [the skipper] tried to reel one in but it broke free after about five minutes. A tiny American woman took the other rod and attempted to reel it in, she was really struggling and wore herself out after only a couple of minutes. She later said it was more difficult than giving birth to her two children.

"I took over and strapped myself into the harness with the rod in a holster in a metal plate in front of me. The fish then took around 400m of line and I kept having to reel in whenever there was a bit of slack, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. It took me an hour and fifteen minutes to reel it in. I've got bruises up my arm from banging against the reel and bruises on my legs from the metal plates."

Eventually Anna was able to overpower the fish and the crew managed to drag it on board.

Back in the island capital Georgetown the fish had to be lifted off the boat by a US military crane. Anna arranged for the fish to be filleted and divided into hundreds of portions which were distributed among the islanders. Well done Anna, your male cousins are not the least bit jealous, honest!!

Anna Meaden (In Pink); Age 16, Height 5ft 4"  ;  Tuna 250lbs, No Contest!!

Wednesday 9th October 2013


The first quarter of October has continued to be as good as the latter part of September and, so far, the fishing has been as good as it has ever been at this time of year. Virtually everyone is using floating lines and such flies as Daddy Longlegs, Hoppers and Muddlers. There is plenty of activity on the surface and the dry fly fanatics are having as much fun as they do during the mayfly period.

Although the returns book will confirm that the fishing is good, it does not tell the full story as most anglers are hooking more fish than they actually land. A large number of fish are being hooked, played but eventually lost. When added to the number of missed takes, aborted follows etc, most anglers are experiencing a great deal of action.

Colours Begin To Change

A Large Shoal of Fish Rising Last Monday

The warm, sunny weather has made being outside very comfortable and enjoyable which obviously adds to the pleasure of Autumn fishing. Although we are informed by the forecasters that the weather is due to get colder, there is no reason why the current spell of good fishing should not continue. The nights are already colder even if the days are warm and as a result the fish have certainly become much more active than they were even a few weeks ago. Anglers are commenting on the super condition and fighting ability of the fish and, with the reservoir being so full of rainbows, we are hopeful that the good fishing could continue until we close at the end of December.



With the shorter days and potentially more unpredictable weather we are once again offering visiting anglers the opportunity of fish all day for the price of an evening ticket.

So from 1st November to 31st December you can fish all day for the following :-

Day Ticket:  £20
(4 Fish Limit) (From 8.00am Until Dark)

Boat:  £10   (For 1 or 2 Anglers)

Given the awful weather at the start of the season Club members will be able to continue to fish on their current season ticket until the end of December at no additional charge.

However, during November and December Members will be restricted to a 4 Fish Limit in order to maintain consistency with visitors and avoid confusion.


The fishing statistics for October have been updated. Visit the Fishing Statistics page for more information.

Sunday 6th October 2013


Having arrived very early on Friday morning, I was surprised to see that the men from Morrison Utility Services had already arrived. This was to be their last day as their task was almost complete. From a distance and in the gloom of a cloudy and dull dawn, the newly constructed metal barrier around the outflow did not look too overpowering.

Some observers have since described it as Southern Water’s answer to The Angel of the North. In my view both are about as useless as each other. Am I a Philistine? Probably!

According to the ‘Angel’s’ designer, Anthony Gormley, its significance was three-fold: first, to signify that beneath the site of its construction, coal miners worked for two centuries; second, to grasp the transition from an industrial to information age, and third, to serve as a focus for our evolving hopes and fears. I look forward to someone explaining the significance of Southern Water’s latest contribution to the natural look and beauty of the reservoir.

However, I have no doubt that we will soon get used to it and we may even come to appreciate its aesthetic symmetry. After all, Theodor Adorno, a noted German sociologist and philosopher suggested that “asymmetry probably results most effectively in beauty when the underlying symmetry on which it is built is still apparent”. B*ll*cks!


Some visitors to our website, having initially expressed concern at the recent lack of Latest News due to your reporter’s absence, now want to know what he was up to. We cannot give too much away as his activities were not necessarily all strictly legit.

So we simply show your intrepid reporter, accompanied only by his trusty companion to share the photography, in the base of a very remote, steamy volcano. Should they have been there? Best not to comment.

Unfortunately the photos do not give a true impression of the steam and smoke which emanated from the fissures or the burning heat which almost melted the soles of our boots. Not to mention the sulphurous smells! Amazing.


Steven Stern, retired GP and Amateur Chef extraordinaire, has excelled himself with his latest culinary masterpiece - Kataifi - which rivals the very best ever tasted by your voracious but discerning reporter.

Kataifi is a popular Middle Eastern pastry

Amateur Chef Extraordinaire

Kataifi is a popular Middle Eastern pastry made with a special form of shredded dough that is also called kataifi. It’s very thin dough made with wheat and water, shredded into extremely thin strips. Cooks need steady hands and patience to handle this pastry which resembles Shredded Wheat. Most forms are sweets, typically with nuts and honey which make them flavourful, crunchy, and very sweet.

Steve is used to having to pander to the demands of his increasing army of fans who eagerly devour his amazing cakes when he arrives with one. The Bailiff drools over Steve’s Guinness Cake. But your reporter feared that this latest request might prove a step too far. However, not only did the Master-Chef succeed in producing a delicious traditional version of Kataifi but also produced another super version with an apple filling. What a star!

What can we test him with next?

Saturday 5th October 2013


I enjoy seeing rabbits. Many people see rabbits as vermin. I understand that rabbits can be a serious menace and do need to be controlled. I even enjoy eating rabbit, as long as it’s not a portion of chewy old buck sold to me by the Bailiff’s eldest son, Lee.

I like ferrets, but not everyone does. However, I cannot see why anyone would object to the use of a ferret to hunt rabbits. So, on Tuesday, I was pleased to see the Country Boys with their ferrets, back on the dam after a long absence. They caught a total of ten which hardly makes a dent in the huge population.

Given that many people see ferrets as vicious creatures prone to biting it is even more delightful to hold such tame and well disposed and inquisitive creatures. These two ferrets clearly enjoy being handled and are totally at ease with people. But the Country Boys are not getting any younger and I wonder how long they will continue and how many more opportunities I will have to see them in action.


Those of you that have visited the reservoir in the past few months will have encountered the Bailiff’s four geese or at least trodden in their deposits. How can so few birds produce so much **** (henceforth referred to as goose droppings). Apparently, a single goose can produce 700lb of droppings per year.

It occurred to me that there could be a market for this which could supplement the Clubs meagre income. So I did some perfunctory research only to find that this is far from being a novel idea.

Goose droppings are rich in nutrients and aids the growth of different plants, including cabbages, turnips and tomatoes. I was even more encouraged to find that there are different ways of combining the goose droppings to get an even better all-round fertiliser including mixing with leaves in equal proportion. It just so happens that we also have no shortage of leaves at the reservoir. During the Autumn the ‘Wood Butcher' takes it upon himself to weep the path to the lodge (he has his own broom). The Bailiff is too lazy to do so and cannot see the point and, after all, we have not provided him with a broom. Anyway, it would only add a few moments for Woodie to stuff the swept leaves into sacks. And while he is outside coping with the leaves he may as well pick up the droppings. I am willing to fund the £19.99 for a Handiscoop 32” Easy Reach Poop Scoop from Amazon as my contribution to the project.

Further research reveals that our current battle with the ever advancing reed bed could also be used in our money making enterprise as reeds can be used to produce a very potent fertiliser. So if added to the other ingredients we have a real winner.

There is no point in just cutting the reed stems as the roots just continue their onward progress and the reeds are now threatening to overrun the boat jetty. This is why the Bailiff has recently been cutting down the reeds adjacent to the jetty in preparation for the roots to be dug out. A few reeds were originally planted by the Club. It just goes to show what can happen if a few stems of Phragmites Australis are left unchecked.

Friday 4th October 2013


Weather forecasters predict that the current heavy rain will move away at the weekend and once again be replaced by more pleasant weather. The fishing has continued to be good with only five anglers failing to catch anything during the past ten days. Surprisingly, some of these were members who have no excuse. One ‘blanker’ continued to ignore the evidence as the bailiff, having worked out what the fish wanted on that day at that time, proceeded to demonstrate how to do it by hooking eight fish (but only land four of them).

So when you visit and feel that you could do with some advice, why not ask the Bailiff. At worst he could tell you to shove off as he wants to go golfing, attend a boot fair or just simply lounge around. Or, if the mood takes him, he could show off and demonstrate how easy it really can be with the right method and fly.

Floating lines are still favoured with Daddy Longlegs still being popular. There seem to be more Daddies around than normal this year. However, I understand that sedges are also in evidence at the moment and using the right method with a sedge imitation can prove deadly.


You may remember last year’s story of SW being so concerned about the possible undermining of the dam by rabbits digging burrows that they employed a gang to fill in all the rabbit holes along the dam. Twenty-four hours later the rabbits had dug them all out again!

Last year, we had a problem with floating weed which got blown into the far corner of the dam. A significant amount went into the overflow and started to clog up the grill in the tunnel. We notified SW who eventually cleared it. This obviously got the SW ‘experts’ thinking and I assume that during their deliberations someone mentioned the great Storm of 1987.

If dying weed can clog up the outflow grill what could a flotilla of giant tree trunks do?

So this year’s lunacy has become a much more costly affair as it has now been deemed necessary to construct a giant barrier designed to withstand any conceivable attack on the outflow. Your intrepid reporter is so stunned by what is plain for everyone to see that he is unable to be sufficiently rude and abusive to express his true feelings. Your reporter has every right to be incensed as he is not only a SW customer but also an unfortunate shareholder.

After the storm in 1987 a great many trees did indeed fall in the woods surrounding the reservoir. After 25 years there are dozens still to be seen along the banks with their tops in the water. However, I am not aware that any tree left the bank where it stood, leapt into the water and floated away. Anyone arguing that bits of trees blowing off could cause a problem needs to appreciate that anything short of a giant trunk can still find its way past the barrier between the horizontal struts.

My horror and amazement at the crass stupidity of this latest farce is not necessarily shared by anyone else associated with Hastings Flyfishers. However, I look forward to someone, ANYONE, explaining what on earth is the thinking behind this wanton waste of our money.


Although we currently do not have enough seasoned logs stored for this winter, we do have a trunk felled last year ready to be cut. However, I understand that one should split the logs as soon as possible as the timber hardens and becomes much more difficult to split. I was therefore pleased to see this year’s logs being prepared and stored away. Kindling is also an important requirement so we are also busy amassing large quantities of this.

We are fortunate in having two first aid kits full of bandages and plasters, as at some point I expect Alec Chisholm (our chief kindling chopper-upper) to require some emergency medical care. He uses a very sharp bill hook and even if he manages to avoid chopping off one his fingers he is likely to get a splinter in the eye, as bits go flying off in all directions as he hacks at the pieces of wood.

Monday 30th September 2013


I am pleased to say that everyone who fished on Saturday ended up catching fish. Indeed, having reported that Colin Fagg and Geoff Piltcher had not caught anything by the time that I left, the returns book shows that Colin eventually caught his six fish limit and Geoff managed three.

Only four anglers turned up to fish on Sunday morning. One went out in a boat, and two opted to bank fish, despite the wind having become stronger and still blowing onto the dam. The fourth angler, Reg Kent, decided that it was too windy for him and chose to stay in the lodge and moan at me all morning.

It will be interesting to see if Sundays anglers can emulate the success of the Saturday boys despite the slightly more difficult conditions. I will find out from the book today.

Sunday 29th September 2013


Some of you may have noticed the lack of news during the past couple of weeks. No, the fishing has not been so bad that we dare not report the facts. Far from it. It’s just that your intrepid reporter has no competent assistant to provide cover in his absence.

After a fortnight away from the reservoir, it did not take much persuasion to make a brief visit on Saturday. On hearing that Chris ‘Theme For A Dream’ Richards was going that afternoon to do a bit of bank fishing it seemed a perfect opportunity to take some photos and get up-to-date with happenings at the water. Chris only really enjoys using dry flies and, as the Crane Flies (Daddy Longlegs) are now around in reasonable numbers, it is an ideal time to concentrate once again on this method.

On my arrival the breeze was blowing onto the dam which was not ideal. However, the returns Book showed that the fishing had been good during the last week with most anglers catching fish. A wide variety of flies have proved successful including Daddy Longlegs, Shipman’s Buzzer, Montana, Olive Damsel and Claret Hopper.

I spotted the two regular Saturday boat fishermen (visitor Colin Fagg and member Geoff Piltcher) both fishing with sub-surface flies and retrieving relatively quickly. However, I could not see any bags over the side of either boat. A third boat was out with two visitors on board but they were too far away to see what method they were employing. There was no sign of Chris who I found tucked around the corner at the far end of the dam. Brian McCarter was sat with his wife having lunch under the oak tree on the far bank and a couple of other visitors were also fishing from the bank, making a total of eight anglers.

There had been another fish delivery earlier in the week and there were plenty of fish in the reservoir and a number showing on the surface. However, the bank fishermen were finding it difficult with the gusting breeze. After a short while one of the pair of visitors in the boat hooked and landed a fish. I sat chatting to Chris and succeeded in distracting him sufficiently and he missed a take. His Crane Fly imitation was so small that I could not see it in the ripple but you could not fail to see the very determined take. Soon after he cast towards a rising fish and seconds later we both saw the swirl as the trout took the tiny fly and he was into a hard fighting fish which proceeded to jump and shake violently before being eventually landed. A nice, full-finned, fish with deep red sides. Not long after, he hooked another but it got off.

I saw Brian, having finished lunch, hook a fish on the far bank. He had to call his wife for assistance having left his net some distance away.

Having seen three fish landed in a short period, in far from ideal wind conditions with no flies in evidence, I returned home happy in the knowledge that, whatever the conditions you can still catch fish, and that the reservoir and the fishing had not suffered during my absence.

Crane flies (Daddy Longlegs) are non-venomous and non-biting. At least 4,250 species of crane flies have been described worldwide and there are 300 species in Britain with the commonest being the entirely harmless Tipula Paludosa. The larva of the European crane fly is commonly known as a leatherjacket. These larvae can damage lawns by feeding on the roots of grass plants. They only live for around three days as adults. I used to have a cat that enjoyed eating Crane Flies. They must be good for you as she lived two weeks short of her 20th Birthday. Come to think of it, she also loved catching and eating common houseflies and I am not so sure that they are as good for you!

Monday 9th September 2013


We have missed Laura from the Environment Agency as she has been on a well deserved holiday. We were wondering where she was as we had not seen anyone for a few weeks. Maybe they had sneaked along without us noticing. However, tests seem to confirm that the water quality in the reservoir is as good as it gets. Oxygen levels are fine.

The dreaded green algae has not appeared this year. There are probably a number of reasons for this but the vigorous plant growth in the shallower water this year must be a factor.

The temperature tests that we carry out are more comprehensive than those taken by Laura as the Environment Agency obviously do not need such detailed information. We take readings from all over the reservoir and at a variety of depths. Our tests show that the surface water temperature has dropped by 4°C since our last test, but the temperature at 25ft has remained fairly static at 58°C. Most fish are currently being taken on or near the surface rather than deeper down. Plenty of fish can be seen moving on the surface but they are not necessarily easy to catch and it is often difficult to see what they are taking.


Despite the hot weather on Thursday yet another fish delivery arrived from Hooke Springs. We were very concerned about the difference in temperature between the water in the delivery tanks and the higher temperature in the reservoir. We had made elaborate plans in case any problems arose but the fish were absolutely fine.

Long ago (on 20th July to be precise) we commented on the summer attire of Alan, our usual delivery driver from Hooke Springs. Despite his objections, our lawyer confirms that nothing that we printed could be considered libellous. However, his long-suffering wife was so embarrassed on seeing the photos that she made a point of ensuring that he was respectably dressed this time. So, despite the heat, his unsightly legs and knobbly knees were concealed by his Sunday best long trousers and his weedy upper torso was adorned with his idea of a youthful and trendy Hawaiian-style tailored shirt.

Sadly, we have to agree with his wife that, despite all her efforts to cover his inadequacies with tidy clothes, he is still no Mr Universe. Should Alan attempt to refute this in addition to pictures from the official photo-shoot we are also publishing a paparazzi shot taken after he had removed the shirt in order to avoid splashing diesel on it. Thank goodness, he did not see fit to also remove his Sunday best trousers!

Come on Alan, you surely did not expect us to say something flattering.


Accompanied by his wife, a Club member who had better remain nameless, arrived last Thursday midday, just as the fish delivery was being unloaded. Naturally, wishing to avoid catching the new ‘stockies’, Anthony Clark went to the far end of the dam. His wife was looking forward to basking in the glorious sunshine while reading the latest romantic novel. After all, being married to Anthony it is hardly surprising that she would occasionally want to escape to a perfect fantasy world with a handsome hero.

Unfortunately, she had hardly reached the end of the first chapter when they were obliged to return. Many of the ‘stockies’ had beat them to the end of the dam and had almost leaped onto the bank in their eagerness to be caught. With six fish in his bag, her peaceful day was ruined and the prospect of having to put up with her husband for the rest of the day meant that she was not a happy bunny. Sorry! But next time, check when we are stocking.


We all appreciate that it is difficult to please everybody but the HFF News editorial team are getting a bit fed up of the barrage of complaints from members and visitors who consider that they have been hard done by as a result of some embarrassing disclosure or, at the other extreme, no publicity at all. So in order to placate yet another of our indignant readers here is another apology.

John Hammond has lodged a strong protest on behalf of his grandson, Matthew. We understand that, since being photographed in a boat with granddad, Matthew has not stopped whinging at the absence of any photos in ‘Latest News’.

John Hammond With His Nephew Matthew

Now, had Matthew done something special or unusual during this trip, the full weight of our editorial team would have been thrown behind the story which would certainly have been accompanied by some of our high quality photographs. However, as Matthew’s grandfather failed miserably to enable the wretched lad to actually catch a fish, we are obliged to resort to showing you boring photos of Matthew being rowed around the reservoir, full of anticipation and enthusiasm, only to eventually return sadder but wiser. Sorry Matthew but it’s better to find out sooner rather than later that granddad’s idea of a good time is not necessarily yours. In future, stick to the Nintendo.


Having decided that they could handle the task of sanding down boat No. 5 (the latest subject of our refurbishment program) the Bailiff and the Reporter set about the task in their usual haphazard and cavalier manner. The phrase “Bodge-it and Leg-it” comes to mind. When our Boat Refurbishment Oberführer (better known as ‘Theme for a dream’) came to inspect their efforts he was horrified. Well you can’t be good at everything.

The general consensus of the ‘old boys’ sitting in the lodge is that the reporter should stick to what everyone knows he is good at - insulting and upsetting people. However, they are still trying to decide what the bailiff is good at!

Undeterred by the apparent justifiable criticism, the duo now seem determined to continue trying to do just enough to the unfortunate boat to “get away with it”.


Early on Friday morning, while sitting on the dam watching both the Bailiff and Reg Kent fail to tempt the odd rising fish, ‘Colin’ came sauntering along the dam from the direction of the woods. He is a keen birdwatcher and observer of wildlife in our area and is one of the 40,000 volunteer birdwatchers, in partnership with professional research scientists, who collect data on birds and other wildlife on behalf of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

Just before he arrived we observed two Curlew Sandpipers flying across the reservoir. He informed us that he had seen three that morning. As we all sat admiring the view a lone Cormorant arrived and flew down towards the western arm of the reservoir, probably to perch at the top of the dead tree at the far end, which is a favourite observation post for the Cormorants. I have never seen as many trout with marks where a Cormorant has attempted to catch them as I have this year. It is surprising how many survive such attacks but it makes you wonder how many don’t.

To our left, an attentive Great Crested Grebe with her two small chicks pottered around at the edge of the reed bed near the boat jetty. It’s a bit late for such small youngsters, so we can only hope that they survive their first winter. At the same time a Little Grebe was happily diving under the anchored boats, until it was disturbed by Club member John Hammond stomping along the jetty. John fished all morning but only managed one fish. Fortunately for his grandson, Matthew, he was able to avoid yet another mind-numbing experience by going back to school.

I was fascinated to see ‘Colin’ with his A6 sized plain exercise book in which his detailed observations were meticulously recorded. On returning home, my curiosity aroused, I had a look at the BTO website and discovered that since 2012 there has been....

....“a BirdTrack app which enables in-the-field record gathering via Android smartphones, a huge step towards streamlining the series of events from finding and identifying a bird to capturing the record for personal interest and to maximise its value for conservation science”.

So ‘Colin’ had better discard his dog-eared notebook and join the 21st century ornithologists.

Monday 2nd September 2013


The very pleasant weather during the past couple of days is apparently set to continue so the fishing conditions should remain very comfortable. A light breeze, not too hot and no rain. What more could you ask for.

The best of the bank fishing is to be found at the far end of the dam opposite the valve tower where fish are being taken on or near the surface. Elsewhere fish can be seen feeding, but tend to be just out of casting range.

Beautiful Weather for Boating

Boats are also often making straight for the collection of buoys next to the tower where fish are being regularly taken. However, fish can be taken anywhere around the main body of the reservoir. The west and east arms are being ignored by anglers, who are assuming that the shallower water is less likely to be holding significant numbers of trout. This assumption is probably right but if nobody tries we will never be absolutely sure. However, for the best chance to observe a Kingfisher, the west arm is the best location and it’s worth going down there briefly just for a chance to see one.


It is not often that we see Peter Kirman actually fishing. He splits his time between his homes in East Anglia and East Sussex so is often not around when the fishing is at its best. When fishing Powdermill he always takes a boat and does not necessarily follow the crowd and tends to do his own thing. He claims to be our longest surviving Club member and also happens to be a founder member of Highwoods Golf Club.

The Lesser Spotted Peter Kirman

Although he regularly makes an appearance in the Clubhouse, he will not necessarily bother to fish unless weather conditions are to his liking. So it was good to see him rowing off the other day for a brief session and subsequently returning with a brace of fine fish.

Sunday 1st September 2013


Your reporter (man of many talents) is in the process of repairing our best squirrel-proof feeder. Unfortunately, our super squirrel-proof feeder proved to be far from squirrel proof. The pests have even succeeded in gnawing through the metal gauze. To complete the repairs a small bit (about 12 inches) of steel banding/strapping is needed. These days, most firms use plastic-type banding for securing items, so finding any of the metal kind has proved unsuccessful so far. Anyone got a bit?

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Our recently retired local GP, Steven Stern, has been out fishing twice this week. Both boat sessions have started at some ridiculously early hour (fishing starts at 6.30am from June to the end of August). His inability to relax and enjoy a few extra hours in bed seems to have paid dividends as his ten fish total is the best performance this week. An added benefit of bouts of insomnia is that you can often experience some magical moments as the reservoir awakes from its slumbers. Your reporter is unlikely to experience any moments, magical or otherwise, before 9.30am.

Steve took this photo on his very early arrival, only to find that someone was already out in a boat. I can only apologise for what should have been a super photo, but a decent camera is the last thing that most of you consider packing in your bag. I detest cameras in phones. I could forgive Steve if he had not admitted having a half decent camera, but claimed that he did not want to carry any additional baggage due to his lack of puff!. You only have to see the size of his bag to realise that half its contents cannot possibly be necessary and what can be more important than the ability to record a special moment for posterity or just for your personal pleasure.

So for those of you are foolish enough to insist on a phone/camera combination, I will soon be marketing a camera that can make and receive phone calls. You will then at least have a chance of taking a decent photo as there is not normally any point in having a mobile phone at the reservoir as its almost impossible to get a signal.

Saturday 31st August 2013


Sunday sees the start of September when the early morning starts cease and we revert to an 8am opening. However, the onset of shorter days means that the afternoon/evening sessions start at 2pm (rather than 4pm during the summer months). So if you cannot spare a full day, now is the time to take advantage of a long session in the afternoon/evening for only £20 (4 fish limit) and a boat for £10.

With the onset of autumn the water should begin to cool and the fish will become more active and are normally easier to catch. We are now awaiting the appearance of the Crane Fly (Daddy Longlegs) which should encourage everyone to get back onto dries. Our trout love these, so make sure that you have some of the various patterns in your fly box.


We have never seen so many acorns on the trees around the reservoir. No doubt some old countryman will explain that this is a sure sign of an impending hard winter. Even the pathetic scrub oaks behind the clubhouse are full of acorns. However, they are also full of rot having been seriously damaged by the grey squirrels that seem to take great delight in stripping the bark.

Regular readers of our ‘Latest News’ will be aware that your intrepid reporter is always waxing lyrical about the beautiful surroundings. However, he does not have the same affection for the trees behind the clubhouse which he considers to be an abomination and are causing irreparable damage to the rear of the building which suffers badly from damp. He has single-handedly waged a campaign to have these awful trees removed before they do further harm.

A few days ago a large rotten branch fell onto the path. Not particularly noteworthy but enough to reinforce your reporter’s determination to get something done sooner rather than later. Having spent part of the morning reminding those involved that we need to tackle the ‘problem’, the trees decided to strike back and only just failed to do what the ‘tree-huggers’ have failed to do and silence your agitator once and for all.

Literally seconds earlier, ‘The Fishmonger’ and your reporter were heading into the clubhouse when they heard a crack which resembled a gunshot. Looking around it was not clear what was occurring, yet the odd noise continued. After a few minutes ‘The fishmonger’ said that they had better get inside as something was clearly wrong, although it was not evident what!

Hardly had they retreated to the safety of the clubhouse than there was a loud crash as a huge branch hit the roof. The noise was tremendous and for a second they waited for the roof to collapse. Fortunately the ageing building does not succumb easily. On rushing to the entrance they found that their progress was completely blocked. It eventually took three strong men to drag the huge branch away from the entrance.

Soon after the incident, the Reverend Phil Streeter arrived to go fishing and was able to minister to ‘The Fishmonger’ who was showing signs of hysteria. Shortly afterwards Dr Steven Stern sauntered in, having caught four fish, and was able to console your agitated reporter with a description of the next cake he was planning to bake for the ‘old boys’.

Thursday 29th August 2013


Although we do not have anyone professionally qualified to train a prospective fly fisher in the art of casting, our bailiff is always willing to give beginners a brief free casting lesson to get them going. About half an hour is as much as you need, after which it’s mainly down to practice. Our photo, taken last week, shows the bailiff watching a beginner’s technique, after having initially given him a lesson on the lawn. This prospective fly fisherman has previously coarse fished.

Peter Jackson - Junior Flyfishers

The Bailiff Teaching Casting

Most HFF Club members started their angling escapades as sea or coarse fishermen and came to fly fishing much later in life. So it is good to see youngsters being brought to the reservoir to experience our sport at an early age. Last month, Peter Jackson visited the reservoir and brought his two grandsons (8 and 9 years) for a taste of fly fishing and to enjoy a bit of quality time with them. They fished in the third cut-out which has deep water fairly close in. The photo of them was taken a couple of days before the cut-out was strimmed. We like to leave the wild flowers to finished blooming before carrying out our final cut of the season.


Work has started on the refurbishment of yet another boat. This one should be a little more straightforward than the last two. The initial stage is to rub down the paintwork both inside and out. The front and rear bulkheads will probably be strengthened and fibre-glassed before the entire boat is repainted and new outboard motor mounts are fitted.

Boat Refurbishment

Metal Oars

Anglers occasionally had been reporting that there was a leak in Boat 11. This eventually proved to be simply down to an ill-fitting drain plug, which, since it has been adjusted, is causing no further problems.

We are gradually replacing any worn out wooden oars with lighter and relatively maintenance-free metal oars. Some anglers say that they prefer the old wooden ones, but our ‘experts’ claim that the metal oars are easier to row, requiring significantly less effort.


All the photos from this years very successful Club Competition and BBQ are now available.

View in Dropbox (No sign up needed).            View on our Facebook page.

Wednesday 28th August 2013


The returns book continues to show a confusing variation in the number of fish caught and the methods and flies used. However, the underlying conclusion that you can draw from it is that, despite the time of year, you can still catch your limit if you use the appropriate method at the time.

Boats are able to find fish at all water levels but bank anglers are sometimes reporting that they can see feeding fish but the trout are often just too far out to reach them.

The recent rainfall has raised the water level by about 1½ inches and it is no longer crystal clear. With the recent reinvigorating rain, the entire reservoir surrounds look fresh and green and it is difficult to concentrate on the fishing when there is so much to see and enjoy.


No, not the ageing pop group, but a line of trees. For those of us who travel to Powdermill from the direction of Sedlescombe we have the privilege of admiring the four Holly trees along Reservoir Lane. These are always kept beautifully trimmed. As I passed them on midday on Tuesday, they were receiving their late summer cut which will ensure that they go into the winter in an invigorated state and, hopefully, end up covered in berries.


At the recent BBQ our visiting ‘doggy’ expert was kept busy assessing the various qualities and attributes of the canine attendees. We are pleased to be able to publish photos of the winners in the various categories:

- Winner -
Best Attack Dog

- Winner -
Most Vicious Looking Attack Dog

- Winner -
Best 'Softie'

- Winner -
Best Tommy Cooper Impersonation

- Winner -
Best Looking Couple


Last week we promised to reveal the meaning of the above headline.

As usual our highly skilled BBQ Chef and his glamorous assistant were provided with the same three food items to feed the five thousand at the annual ‘Do’. Namely, Fish Burgers, Beef Burgers and Sausages.

Tim Stacey obtains the Fish Burgers from what I can only suppose is a very dodgy source. Your reporter maintains that they contravene the Trade Descriptions Act, as he does not believe that they actually contain any trace of fish and simply consist of rather mushy mashed potato encased in a highly coloured breadcrumb and sawdust coating. However, his opinion is clearly not shared by the vast majority of gannets who insist that they are delicious and cannot get enough of them. Anyone would think that the hoards had fasted all day in order to be able to consume as much free food as possible. No further comment necessary!

Keith Blundell obtains the beef burgers and the sausages. The burgers are from Bookers ‘Chefs Larder’ range. The first worrying sign that all was not well this year was when our highly experienced BBQ Chef commented that they did not appear to cook in the normal manner. Some diners subsequently confirmed that they were ****. Someone suggested that the apparent deterioration in quality was probably due to the lack of horse! In fairness to Bookers, much of their ‘Chefs Larder’ range is perfectly ok. However, a quick trip across the Channel to get some ‘lower fat’ cheval burgers could be the solution to our woes.

So now you will be beginning to realise the significance of our headline. Suffice to say that your wise reporter has restricted himself to only devouring the sausages from the BBQ over the past few years, knowing that they are made with loving care and are less likely to upset his delicate stomach. Yes, he really cannot find any reason to complain about the excellent quality sausages that we purchase each year from the highly acclaimed local suppliers based in Rolvenden. Korker Sausages are a high quality product and it was nice to see that one of the Hoad family (manufacturers of Korkers) was prepared to risk making an appearance at the BBQ. However, his confidence was well founded as I did not see any vegetarians who could have taken him to task (unless they were the people concentrating on the fishless burgers).

Your reporter managed to devour three Korker sausages, all nicely cremated (just how he likes them), before the hoards of gannets cleared them out. More than one Club member has mentioned that the Korkers sausage rolls are particularly ‘moorish’. Last week a visit to the highly recommended Hope Cottage Farm Shop and Tearoom (Hooe Road, Ninfield, Battle, TN33 9EL; Tel: 01424 892342) resulted in the opportunity to sample a GIANT Korker sausage roll. Delicious!

Monday 19th August 2013


Having felt obliged to publish a photo of the Club Competition winner as soon as possible, we have set about wading through the seemingly endless collection of incredibly boring photos taken on the day, in order to select only the most flattering. However, we are being put under intolerable pressure by the other prize winners who insist that we publish photos of them receiving their awards. Apparently relatives and friends, who managed to avoid attending the prize giving, are refusing to believe that they are good enough to win anything. Well, under normal circumstances they would be right, but the bar was so low this year!

Club Competition Winner 2013: Mick Coleman

However, Ted Stevenson was the only angler to catch a fish from the bank, so I suppose he deserves some recognition. In the last couple of weeks I have had to regularly remind him to stop looking miserable, so I am pleased that he has something to smile about at last.

Martin Brignall caught the heaviest fish. Heaviest fish? You must be joking! What happened to all the 5lb+ fish we stocked two days earlier to ensure that at least some of the incompetent anglers would accidentally catch one of these larger stockies.

Only Fish from the Bank - Ted Stevenson

Heaviest Fish - Martin Brignall

Having proved that your intrepid reporter is as inept as his fellow Club members, we can only hope that next year he will be allowed to do what comes naturally and simply wander around taking ‘snaps’ and gathering incriminating and derisory stories to embarrass and annoy his hapless victims.


To avoid any further complaints, the editorial staff also decided to rush through photos of the Cribbage Competition prize winners receiving their prizes. These were awarded to the winner and runner-up. Alec Chisholm beat ‘The Wood Butcher’ in the Grand Final by two legs to one. Having settled into his comfy chair, and feeling somewhat exhausted after a long hard day, Alec sent his granddaughter to receive his award.

Only HFF members could decide to hold an indoor competition in summer during the hottest time of the year. Hopefully indoor competitions will be scheduled in the winter as we are adding Darts and Shove Ha'penny competitions, so lots to keep members occupied while basking in the heat of the wood burner. We have a Shove board but no ‘proper’ coins/discs. Can anyone oblige?


With the continued relatively warm weather, the surface temperature of the reservoir remains at around 20°C. Our fish delivery last week was a very fraught affair due to the difference in temperature between the delivery tanks and the shallow water off the dam where the fish were deposited. Temperature and oxygen levels are both important factors, but there is no indication that oxygen levels are a cause for concern as fish seen cruising along the surface are stress-free, active and looking for food.

The lack of aeration is resulting in the water being significantly cooler the deeper you go. This would seem to be a benefit, as fish can always find cooler water. So we do not necessarily need to worry about the current lack of aeration, which is just as well as it is doubtful that the system will be in operation this season. However, it is a mixed blessing as many anglers miss the fun of ‘fishing the bubbles’, which is always exciting and can be particularly productive during evening sessions.

Our intrepid reporter has been informed, by an unnamed insider, that our friends at Southern Water are now proposing to replace our existing air pump with a new more efficient model rather than attempt a repair. The modern pumps use a great deal less electricity and are easier to maintain and more reliable and robust (I am beginning to sound like a salesman). A site meeting took place last Tuesday and we await further developments with interest.

Sunday 18th August 2013


The Club competition and BBQ took place on Friday 16th August. The weather could have been a great deal better but could also have been a great deal worse. We had some light showers during the afternoon and early evening but overall everything was alright in the end.

One of the good decisions made on the day was to persuade ‘Theme for a Dream’ to go home and get one of his giant pop-up tents to erect alongside the Club’s marquee. The tent was vast and ensured that, with both tents covering half the lawn, we had ample shelter to accommodate everyone in comfort during the busy BBQ evening. So any people who may have decided not to brave the weather definitely missed out.

I am sorry to say that the fishing competition which took place in two sessions (boat and bank) and lasting a total of seven hours proved, yet again, that the ageing HFF members not only lack stamina but are totally devoid of any imagination or innovative ideas when things get hard (unfortunately, on this occasion, me included).

Yes, your unfortunate reporter, feeling far from intrepid, had been forced by the bailiff to partake in this miserable affair. Suffice it to say that after an hour on the bank, where most of the time was actually spent sneaking along the dam taking photos of his hapless fellow contestants, he got bored and returned to the lodge for a coffee only to be forced to return by the angry spectators who did not want to be disturbed as they relaxed in the morning sunshine.

Lunch was a pleasant and extended affair as most anglers, having seen Alec Chisholm and your reporter depart the dam, became confused and assumed that the session ended at 12 noon rather than 12.30pm. So, most found themselves enjoying a leisurely 1½ hour repast, before having to return to the fray. Unfortunately, after a pleasant start, the weather during the afternoon session gradually became windy and overcast.

Your reporter and Alec sailed away in the wheelie boat for the afternoon session and joined all the other boats making for the deep water, as everyone had also done in the morning. Your foolish reporter had gambled on the rain staying away until later, but bang on 4pm, as per the latest forecast, down it came. This reminds me of the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, which teaches us to be prepared. (Phil Streeter, our ‘Reverend’ Club Member would be proud that a member of his fishing ‘flock’ has even heard of virgins!). Without any form of wet weather protection, your increasingly miserable reporter had to resort to engulfing himself in a large black dustbin liner supplied by Alec. It was hardly surprising that many boat and bank contestants sneaked back early, although the wheelie boat still managed to get back first!

Undercover Reporter

Your reporter simply cannot bring himself to provide details of the performance of the individuals involved in this competition as everyone would be seriously embarrassed. Suffice it to say that the only visitor on this particular day caught four fish, while fishing a “muddler” as he drifted down the middle of the reservoir. This was one fish more than our eventual winner. Also the visitor did not take seven hours to do it!

Tim ‘The Expert’ Stacey with overall competition winner Mick ‘The Plumber’ Coleman

The weather gradually cleared up during the evening and, as a special treat, we were entertained, for the first time ever, by Phil Streeter and his guitar. It turns out that he has a surprisingly good voice and rumour has it that people actually enjoyed it. Even your reporter is hard pressed to find anything rude to say about his performance. Unfortunately, he only entertained us with one song. Yes, I did say ONE song. Hopefully, he can be persuaded to learn a second song before his return performance, by popular demand, at next year’s BBQ.

The Reverend Phil Streeter - Folk Singer Extraordinaire

Sam Hills

Thanks to the usual crowd who worked so hard to make the evening event such a success and everyone who contributed prizes for the raffle.

A very special Thank You also goes to Sam Hills who, yet again, made some beautiful and highly sought after sticks to be given as prizes. This year he also made a stick especially for the bailiff on the occasion of his 65th birthday. It has a brass putter head and a couple of trout engraved on the collar. There are many lucky Club members who have had the good fortune to receive a ‘Sam Hills’ Stick over the years.

A selection of the other 300 photos taken on the day will be published here shortly.


Spurred on by the success of our first ‘Guest performance’, we are planning to book additional guest appearances next year.

Fortunately, Barry ‘The Fishmonger’ Morgan, noted for the tale that he told at the last of his wild parties (The saga of the lady stuck to the bathroom floor), will not be allowed to repeat it at our gathering.

However, Terry ‘The Cuckoo’ Beeching is planning to extend his repertoire and mimic some of the other old Kentish birds and may even amaze us with some local animal impressions. I have warned him against imitating a magpie in case someone rings his neck or, for that matter, any wildfowl in season in case someone has a gun handy and definitely no impersonations of a badger lest he wants to get run over by the bailiff. However, imitating one of our local wild boar would be acceptable, as they are never heard or seen around the reservoir; they just make a mess and bugger off!

Terry ‘The Cuckoo’ Beeching. A Skinfull?


Why the headline to this piece? Well, like all reporters, I am biased in my views, have hidden agendas and don’t really care who I offend. So, in the next few days, after consulting our lawyers, the full story relating to this headline will appear in ‘Latest News’. Watch this space.

Thursday 15th August 2013


Morning Session: 9.00am to 12.30pm

Lunch Break: 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Afternoon Session: 1.30pm to 5.00pm

BBQ: Starts around 5pm until we get fed up and go home.

All prizes for the raffle gratefully received.

This year, we have arranged for a well known and popular local singing star to perform for Club members and their families and guests. Please note that no cameras or any form of recording equipment is allowed during this performance.


Another delivery of rainbows arrived on Wednesday from Hooke Springs, to coincide with the Competition on Friday. A few larger fish were included in this consignment in the hope that some will be caught by the competitors to add to the excitement.


Our resident Bookmaker and BBQ chef, John Chapman, is busy calculating the odds for Friday's annual Club Competition. This is followed by our annual BBQ.

More famous for his baking skills rather than his angling prowess, Dr Steven Stern confounded our bookie by being the only person to catch six fish this week. Has Steve found the secret to success at this time of year? He may well have done, as he arrived early and apparently caught half his fish before many others had got out of bed. Well, that will not help him on Friday as the Competition does not start until 9am. However, judging by the current performance of other so-called ‘favourites’, he could well be a very good each-way bet.

Dr Steven Stern

Sunday 11th August 2013


This time last year we took a number of temperature readings around the reservoir and found that the water temperature was more or less the same at all depths. However, the aerator had been on for some time and this was obviously very effective in producing an even temperature at all levels.

On Friday we carried out the tests in the same locations and were very surprised at our findings, so on Monday we repeated the process. The only difference between the two sets of readings was a 2°F drop in surface temperature as a result of a cooling breeze. The tests that we carried out at a depth of 20ft were roughly at casting distance from the dam. The 30ft depth relates to the deepest areas of the reservoir.

On The Surface = 70°F       At 20ft Depth = 64°F       At 30ft Depth = 56°F

We have always worried about oxygen levels at this time of year and have always wanted to have the aerator working. This year, with the aerator still out-of-action we were naturally getting concerned about the welfare of the trout. However, with the significantly colder water the deeper you go, we are finding that the fish are still willing to continue to feed and do not even seem concerned about following your fly up from the depths, as they can simply return to the deep cooler water. So we currently seem to be better off without the benefit of the aerator as long as there is sufficient oxygen.


Regular readers of our latest news are complaining that we have recently become somewhat serious and appear to have stopped insulting Club members and are never rude about visitors.

So to redress the balance, I am pleased to publish photos, all taken this week, of Paul Strivens doing press-ups on the jetty, a visitor hiding his knobbly knees and Barry ‘The fishmonger’ Morgan looking ridiculous, as usual!

Visitor Hiding Knobbly Knees

Barry Looking Ridiculous

Paul Strivens Press-ups

Friday 9th August 2013


Here we are in August, when the fishing is traditionally hard and most anglers are doing something else. However, we are pleased to find that the fish are still prepared to go for our flies and are even being caught on dries. With the impending appearance of the flying ants (any day now), dry flies could once again be the only thing to use. We have vast colonies of ants in the field below the dam, which is why Southern Water contractors do not mow it. As a result, when the flying ants appear there are literally millions of them. When the prevailing wind blows them onto the water the trout have been known to go absolutely bonkers and the entire reservoir is a churning mass of constantly rising fish.

This morning (Wednesday) Club member Ron Woodruff caught three rainbows while fishing a Shipman’s Buzzer on the surface. He missed another half dozen before the fish suddenly departed. He thinks that they were taking some very small fly which was white in colour and that the white on the shipman’s could well be what attracted them to his fly. Virtually all the fish taken from the bank are falling to dry flies whereas most boats are fishing deep. Boat fishing has not been easy over the last few days and as a result there is little to choose between bank and boat.


Last week the shed located on the east bank finally had its roof re-felted and the roof trusses have also been reinforced. Although the interior is less than salubrious, it provides a welcome shelter if you are caught in a downpour.

The third cut-out has been strimmed for the second time this year and is looking very good. With the slight drop in the water level, we can now tackle the tree stumps at the water’s edge in both cut-outs 2 and 3, where the stump grinder could not reach. An opportunity to get the chain saws going at last!

This morning (Wednesday) we finally finished messing about with boat 7 and aim to actually get it into the water on Friday and start work on the next patient.

Emergency repairs to the floor in the lodge have had to be undertaken as a result of a combination of wet rot and woodworm causing sections to collapse. Although the repair to the floor at the entrance to the weighing room is reasonably permanent, the latest repair at the front door is a semi-temporary measure which will require some major work in the future.


The fishing statistics for July have been updated. Visit the Fishing Statistics page for more information.

Friday 2nd August 2013


A light intermittent drizzle on Wednesday morning did not deter some Club members from taking to the boats. Jeff ‘The Banker’ Piltcher eventually caught his six fish, but Terry ’The Cuckoo’ Beeching only managed two before leaving in the early afternoon.

John Noble arrived mid-morning having taken time off from his busy schedule in the very active and sociable village of Northiam. This year he has already won trophies for both his Horticultural show entries and Bowls competitions. As the 2012 winner of the Powdermill Cup, he will be defending this title on Friday 16th August which is the day of the Club Competition & BBQ.

John decided to fish the dam, despite the gloomy predictions from the ‘old boys’ in the lodge. Although he did not manage to actually land a fish, he had a couple of offers on a dry and a number of pulls on wet flies and even managed to play one fish that eventually escaped. He reckoned that he should have had four fish, so bank fishing is not a complete waste of time.

It could be just coincidence, but, on this occasion, John was accompanied by his wife. The ‘old boys’ in the lodge naturally considered if John’s abject failure could possibly be as a result of this distraction. After all “women should remain in the kitchen”. I strongly argued against this outrageous suggestion as, with the current sunny weather, they would be better off in the garden, hanging out the washing. (Please do not bother to email to complain as I am only joking.... or am I?)

The weather improved in the afternoon and a number of anglers arrived from 4pm onwards to fish on an evening ticket. Hopefully, the fishing was equally good.

The Bailiff had a pleasant and restful birthday, befitting of an old age pensioner.

Wednesday 31st July 2013


Vic Partridge, our resident Bailiff, has finally joined the vast majority of the Hastings Fly Fishers Club members and can now obtain all the benefits which Club members take for granted.

In addition to all the benefits which he obtained on reaching 60, he now has a vast array of potential assistance designed to support the really old and decrepit. Sadly he will have to wait until he is 75 before he can have a free TV license, but time soon passes.

Tuesday 30th July 2013


After a weekend which did not live up to the forecasters predictions of horrendous weather conditions, but ensured that few anglers were prepared to risk a soaking, Monday was warm, sunny and breezy.

A very brief visit to the reservoir resulted in a rendezvous with the geese who had somehow managed to escape from the bailiff’s garden and were strolling around the almost empty car park.

Only two members had taken to the boats early this morning. ‘The Fishmonger’ came wandering back from the jetty at about 10am, demanding that someone make him a coffee having skipped breakfast in order to make an early start. ‘The Dentist’ had sailed off down the reservoir looking for fish in locations other than where most are currently being found, in the deep trench along the aerator pipe. I await the outcome with interest.


"What has nearly arrived?" I hear you ask. Well on Wednesday 31st July (Tomorrow) it's Vic Partridge, our resident Bailiffs birthday, he will be 65. So now we have given you enough time to get your cards and presents ready, there can be no excuses.

Saturday 27th July 2013


Another shipment arrived from Hooke Springs on Thursday morning. If we had any doubt that we were in the middle of a heat wave we only had to look at Alan’s attire. Not noted for his sartorial elegance at the best of times, Alan had excelled himself by ensuring that all his colours clashed. Exposing his knobbly knees did not add to the overall effect. It got so hot that, after all the fish were transferred from the tanks, he even decided to remove his willies and go for a paddle.


As the fish were being unloaded we noticed that Colin Fagg had abandoned his position and was cruising quietly towards where the fish were being deposited off the dam. For a few moments we were not sure of his intentions, but we should have known better as Colin has no need to resort to desperation tactics. Needless to say he had already caught his limit and was just coming for a closer look. I particularly like his new hat.

As usual, all the boats caught fish but none of those who caught their limit were as quick as Colin. However, the bank remains empty of anglers and I do not expect the current batch of ‘stockies’ to stay long in the shallower water and will soon join the others in the deep.

The cool breeze is currently making boat fishing very comfortable, but the forecast for the weekend is for thunder, lightning and all manner of mayhem. After all, it is the first of the holiday weekends. For some inexplicable reason, the last lot of thunder did not put the fish off, but I expect the cowardly type of angler that frequents our reservoir will stay away; me included. So anyone prepared to disbelieve the forecasters, or just ignore them, could find that they have the place to themselves.


Having had a productive week’s fishing, the old boys were smoking again on Thursday morning. It’s a good job that we are not subject to a Food Standards Agency hygiene inspection and rating as they don’t have minus figures. After Alec had had finished making a mess, Vic decided that he had better do the washing up. This is such an unusual occurrence that I could not resist recording it for posterity.

Alec Filleting Ready to Smoke

Vic Washing Up The Smoker

Thursday 25th July 2013


Half a dozen boats were out today and Chas Hards was the first to return with his limit, soon followed by Jeffrey Piltcher. It was quite windy which took the edge off the heat and resulted in very comfortable conditions for boat fishing. Fishing in the deep water appears to be a must. Bank fishing is now an unknown quantity as the banks remain empty with everyone taking to the boats.

I had threatened to go out today to see first-hand how the existing stocks were faring in this heat, before tomorrow’s new shipment gets ‘mixed in’. The bailiff, clearly concerned at my lethargic attitude this year, was not prepared to let me wheedle out of my threat. A couple of hours was all it took to confirm that not only were the fish in superb condition, but they were feeding well. The fish were actually taking flies at varying depths, although those taken near the surface at the end of the retrieve are likely to have been following them up. I saw a couple of visiting anglers in a boat using floating lines, but sadly did not observe them catching anything. Intermediate or Sinking lines are virtually mandatory in these conditions.

Green fritz bodied flies with white marabou tails are currently favoured by Geoffrey Piltcher who uses this pattern on a size 10 hook with an intermediate line, which he counts down for 60 seconds before starting to retrieve at a medium pace. I preferred to use a sinking line and took fish hard on the bottom as well as near the surface at the end of the retrieve. All my fish came on this colour combination which I had tied over twenty years ago and cannot remember ever using before today. My preferred orange Fritz with a brown marabou tail and the all-black version elicited no interest. I ended up with identical flies on the point and the dropper, but all fish were taken on the point fly.


Despite the current heat-wave, the cribbage competition reached its climax this morning. The grand final played between Mick Wood and Alec Chisholm was a very serious affair, which went to right to the wire in the third leg. The ‘Wood Butcher’ took the first game, but Alec ‘The Smoker’ Chisholm came storming back to take the second leg and then took an early lead in the decider. Woody fought back and on the home straight it was neck and neck. It was so exciting that your intrepid reporter actually abandoned his seat in the far corner in order to get a closer look at the action. In a final flourish, Alec managed to peg out to become the winner of the inaugural tournament, from an initial field of 36 contestants. Years of playing crib when he should he should have been working as a welder in Southampton Dockyards has finally paid off.


No champagne for the crib finalists and the bored spectators, but as luck would have it Dr Steven Stern arrived with his latest offering, which made an excellent celebratory substitute. You could describe it as a cross between a cake and a pudding, but was clearly intended to be a dessert as it came with a tub of cream. If you had told me that he was bringing a gooseberry cake, I would not have been very keen as this fruit is certainly not my favourite. How wrong can you be? It was delicious.

Barry ’The fishmonger’ Morgan declined to partake in a slice as he was concerned about what it might do to his weight. I could have assured him that it could hardly make his pot any worse, but thought better of it as dividing it by four instead of five seemed to be quite an attractive proposition. In order to save the others from having an excess of calories I also decided to put his share of the cream in my coffee. Happy days.

Wednesday 24th July 2013


Only three anglers were out this morning (Tuesday), all in boats and all Club members. With the occasional shower and some distant thunder it was pleasing to see them stick to their task. It was not surprising that most sensible people had heeded the weather forecasters who had managed to be reasonably accurate for a change. As a result of the falling atmospheric pressure, those of you that understand these things will not be surprised if the fish ‘go off’ today. A glance at the returns book tomorrow morning will probably confirm my worst fears, but then tomorrow is another day!


On 12th June we reported that the second refurbished boat had been returned to the reservoir. What I should have said was that it was returned to the lawn in front of the lodge where it has remained ever since. In all honesty, we have continued to do things to it but progress on the finishing touches has been very slow. However, with ‘Theme for a Dream’ in charge, there was a final flurry of activity (in-between the showers) and I hope that we are now in a position to launch it at last. Well, at least, very soon!


Ex-Club member John Austin (Photo: Right) made an extremely unkind and uncalled for remark about dear old Reginald Kent. On the Hastings Fly Fishers Facebook page he posted the following in response to the photo that Reg attempted to take of your intrepid reporter - “Seems his photography is as good as his fishing !!”.

This is callous and cruel and totally unwarranted. I must point out to Mr Austin that the freedom of the press does not extend to any Tom, Dick, Harry - or John for that matter - who takes it upon himself to bully poor innocent pillars of the community. There is no room for two of us on HFF pages!

Mr Austin clearly does not appreciate Reginald’s hidden skills and talent for lateral thinking when facing piscatorial posers. For example, recently when the mayfly hatch ceased and nothing could be seen on the surface and everyone else had switched to other more appropriate methods, Reg for some inexplicable reason, put on a dry mayfly and reputedly caught two rainbows. He is therefore likely to have the honour of being the last person in 2013 to catch on a dry mayfly.

Also, in his continued efforts to produce the ultimate dry fly that is actually permanently buoyant, he has developed his own ‘Belt and Braces’ system of dry-fly preparation. We are unable to divulge the actual method, timings or sequence of stages, but it involves the use of a combination of Gehrkes Gink floatant, Mucillin Silicone Dressing, and his latest acquisition - Frogs Fanny. We have to admit that one needs a healthy bank balance to embark on such a costly project but Reg claims to have developed a completely unsinkable fly. Indeed, when the unsuspecting trout takes his fly it is rumoured to be unable to return to the deep and has to resort to whizzing along the surface. I kid you not!

Reg Kent

John Austin

So, in retribution I am publishing a photo of John Austin in the hope that you may come across him at some angling venue (he also does sea and coarse fishing) and take the opportunity to abuse him.


When ‘Theme for a Dream’ arrived this morning with the necessary equipment to continue the never ending refurbishment of Boat No7, he also brought a large number of courgettes, grown in his father’s garden, to distribute among the poor and needy.

Unfortunately, for those Club members who may be partial to the odd marrow or courgette they did not even make it out of the car park, let alone into the clubhouse. The Club’s greedy reporter, noted for his avarice where food is concerned, insisted on taking the lot. Greedy b*st*rd? Certainly not. It’s just that you need a lot to make a little as they are nearly all water. As a result, many people dismiss marrows or large courgettes as tasteless or unpalatable, but I can assure you that treated correctly these superb vegetables are delicious. I particularly recommend the recipe in my mother’s old Larousse Gastronomique book from the 1950s “Marrow au gratin (Courge au gratin)”. Delicious.

Sorry chaps, better luck next time.

Monday 22nd July 2013


With the continued settled weather there is no change to the tactics that we have been recommending for the past couple of weeks. We are very pleased with the current fishing prospects and continue to insist that the right methods will produce bag limits. However, we make no apologies for also keeping on about the beautiful and peaceful surroundings which make Powdermill so special and set it apart from any other reservoir, which is why so many refer to it as a lake. So continue to shun bank fishing in favour of a boat and get among some of the hardest fighting rainbows while trying not to be completely distracted by the amazing setting.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


A couple of eagle eyed readers have emailed to complain about Terry ‘The Cuckoo’ Beeching following the photo which we published last Thursday showing him attempting to phone Bill ‘The Carer’ Payne. The closer view confirms his guilt. With no prescribed penalty, the lynch mob will probably take the law into their own hands. His ‘Carer’ is currently too busy to minister to his every need, being somewhat preoccupied with the blackcurrant harvest (I love Ribena), so Terry cannot rely on Bill to plead his case. An even closer look at the photo reveals that ’The Carer’ has pinned up a picture of himself holding a monster rainbow. What a poser!


Vic Partridge thinks that fast food is hitting a pheasant at 65mph.

If Vic Partridge has 5 chocolate biscuits and you take 2 away, you have about 3 seconds to give them back.

Vic Partridge just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

Vic has a photographic memory. Sadly, he does not have any film.

Vic has the right to remain silent. Anything he says may be misquoted and used against him.

Man: “Can I have a fly rod and reel for my son?”.... Vic: “Sorry sir we don’t do trades”.

If I agreed with Vic we'd both be wrong!

Vic and his son, Lee, are out in the woods when Vic collapses. Lee takes out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps "My dad is dead! What can I do?" The operator says "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure that he's dead." There's a silence, then a gunshot is heard..... "OK, now what?"

What did Vic say when his boat hit a stone wall..... "Dam!"

The only reason Vic still likes to go fishing is that it's the only time he hears someone tell him, "Wow, that's a big one!”

Q. If Elaine is shouting at the front door and Vic’s dog is barking at the back door, who would he let in first?
A: The dog, of course. At least he'll shut up after you let him in.

Q. What do you do if Vic throws a pin at you?
A. Run.... he has a grenade in his mouth.

I was just told that Vic’s dog chased someone on a bicycle and bit him. Boll*cks, Vic’s dog can't even ride a bicycle.

Lee: “Dad, what does 'gay' mean?”
Vic: “It means 'to be happy”.
Lee: “Are you gay?”
Vic: “No, son. I have a girlfriend”. (Think about it).

Sunday 21st July 2013


People ask me why I am always keen to have photos taken by visitors to the reservoir but steadfastly refuse to encourage Club members to do the same.

William ‘The Carer’ Payne, Cliff ‘Theme for a Dream’ Richard and Timothy ‘The Master’ Stacey have all tried and failed miserably to produce acceptable photos which meet our exacting standards.

Reginald Kent normally can be found sitting in “Tackle & Gun Shop” in Tenterden High Street, where Keith Blundell informs me that Reg has his own chair. On Thursday, for some inexplicable reason, he decided to come and annoy us at the fishing lodge. He does this sometimes, but we do not usually mind as he seldom has his hearing aid turned up (something to do with saving battery power) so we can normally say what we like to or about him and he is none the wiser. However recently, due to the significant increase to his State Pension last April, he has taken to switching it on more often and ‘tuning it in’.

Not content with just sitting around demanding that people make him cups of coffee, on Thursday, he decided to follow me down to the jetty where I was intending to carry out a simple repair to the cradle which holds the life buoy positioned at the end of the walkway. Most anglers are totally incompetent when it comes to handling a boat and, as a result, the life buoy is constantly being rammed. The buoy seems to be impervious to the regular battering, but the metal cradle has not been so resilient.

Not content with getting under my feet, Reg wanted to take a photo, as he seems to think that I do not normally carry out such highly skilled and important work. After a great deal of badgering, I reluctantly passed him my camera and after some initial instruction he managed to take a photograph.

It gives me no pleasure to publish the result of his efforts. Perfectly in focus, but the camera does that on its own. In fact the camera does everything but point itself in the right direction.

So should any visitor have any photos, no matter how bad, I will be genuinely delighted to receive them. After all, they cannot be any worse than produced by my fellow Club members.

If you are not sure how to get them to us, just attach them to an email, addressed to mail@hastingsflyfishers.co.uk and enter “I cannot do any worse than Reg Kent” in the email Subject.

If you are visiting Tenterden and would like to see Reg Kent in his natural environment, you can call into “Tackle & Gun Shop” at 3 Eastwell Parade, High Street, (01580 764851) where the owner, Graham Parry, will be only too pleased to see a potential customer for a change.

On the other hand you could go to the other end of the town and visit Orvis at 4 West Cross, (01580 761999) where you will find a better class of customer.

And for a spot of lunch why not try something a little different and visit the excellent Özgür Turkish Restaurant at 126 High Street, (01580 763248, open 7 days). Just a few paces from Orvis and highly recommended. I would suggest that you try their Tenterden Special for £16.95.

Saturday 20th July 2013


I spend a great deal of time and effort trying to provide good advice to enable visitors to catch fish. This week I have gone out on a limb and predicted that everyone going out in a boat will catch fish.

More fool me.

I did not allow for the arrival of members of the ‘Jolly Roger Club’. I think that that is what they call themselves, although only two participants were actually sporting a scull & crossbones badge. The rest of the motley crew were attired in a variety of casual gear. Anyone would think that it was summer!

There were supposed to be eight of them but unfortunately only six made it as one of the wives is having a serious operation. We hope all goes well.

They had arrived later than planned, due to an accident on the A21. I also arrived late (at 09.45am) only to find this group of reprobates standing around waiting for the ‘Chef’ to finish preparing breakfast. The feast consisted of fried eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes and beans. What, no hash browns! Being ravenous after a long drive, of up to 100 miles, they were not prepared to wait for all the items to be ready and immediately got stuck in to bacon butties.

Eventually, at around 11.15am, having cleaned up all the food, they decided to set sail and do some fishing. It seemed that no sooner had they gone out than they were back for a leisurely lunch. When I decided to abandon my busy and never ending work schedule at around 1.15pm, they were already well into their lunchtime banquet.

My subtle enquiries established that not a single fish had been caught by them during this long and arduous morning session, although they did claim to have had plenty of takes. They clearly did not seem to understand or appreciate that their cavalier attitude to fishing was endangering my reputation as an honest broker, whose advice can always be listened to and believed. Now, fly fishing is supposed to be a very serious business and not something to enter into lightly. It is not just a case of coming to Powdermill to enjoy yourselves, especially not at my expense.

So, I now am forced to retract my previous forecast and now predict that anyone arriving at the weekend and looking in the Returns Book will see a whole load of “Nils”. Please do not just assume the worst and immediately go home. Just bear in mind that all the boat fishermen on Thursday caught their limits because they were all dedicated, conscientious, skilled, diligent and accomplished fly fishermen like you and me. The majority of the fishermen on Friday were a load of wasters, no-hopers and party revellers and not the sort of people that you would normally wish to associate with.

I was so incensed by their determination to enjoy themselves that I even steadfastly refused to be bribed with any of the breakfast items and not even the rather inviting looking lunchtime sausage rolls. After all, (and ladies please note) having reached peak fitness after my latest Mountain expedition it is important that your intrepid reporter continue to maintain his sylph-like appearance.

So for those of you who are considering coming to Powdermill to enjoy yourselves. My advice is DON’T.

Friday 19th July 2013


A cooling breeze on the water meant that Thursday morning was more comfortable for the three anglers who ventured out in boats this morning. Our most regular visitor, Colin Fagg, very rarely returns without a limit and he was joined at 11.30am by the Bailiff and Alec Chisholm in the wheelie boat. I will expect all three of them to have caught their limit when I inspect the returns book on Friday.

However, if Alec and the Bailiff make as much mess of fishing as they did of setting out from the jetty, I could be proved wrong. What a palaver!

The fishing is exceptionally good if you take a boat and fish near the bottom. Bank fishing is proving very hard but not a single boat angler has failed to catch fish this week and most have had limits.

Sadly, because we are noted for our superb mayfly hatch, anglers flock to our water during this period and then forsake us for the remainder of the year. The up side is that anglers who do come at this time of year find that they have almost all 55 acres to themselves and can enjoy some excellent fishing, in superb surroundings and in total peace with only the sound of nature all around them.


With the continued hot weather, Southern Water now needs to be ready to switch on the aerator to stop different temperature layers developing. Apparently if this occurs the layers can reverse during the cooler nights dragging up sediment from the bottom. The sediment in suspension would then be drawn off into the water treatment plant. When the aerator is operating, the trout (and some magnificent Rudd) not only appreciate the turbulence but it can result in a feeding frenzy as food is drawn into the bubbles.

So are we ready? Not quite, but they are working on it. Our favourite Southern Water engineer (an expert on air pumps) has been working extremely hard to resolve the problem. Normally SW only carries out tasks with a minimum team of six people. It is sometimes the case that fewer staff turn up, but they will only be inspecting (looking) not necessarily doing physical work. So you may wonder why we have only one man tackling the broken air pump. It’s simply because he is one of the few who knows what he is doing, is very hard working and conscientious, and is prepared to toil away in almost unbearable heat inside the all-metal building that houses the equipment. So, when the air finally comes on, just spare a thought for our unsung hero. His name and address has been withheld in order to protect him from his colleagues who may feel that he is letting the side down.

The air pump has blades which open out as the motor starts and speeds up and then go back as it goes off. Having been idle all winter it is hardly surprising that the oil has gunged-up (my technical term not his) and it could necessitate a major strip down. The saga continues, but we are confident that his persistence and skill will prevail.

Thursday 18th July 2013


Despite the soaring temperatures during the past few days our ageing Club members refuse to stay indoors in the cool. Those few foolish enough to row or motor off in a boat have almost exclusive use of the reservoir, but they are at serious risk of getting sunstroke. Fortunately, the more decrepit members, who simply sit outside on our new picnic tables and argue as to whose turn it is to put the kettle on, can always be relied upon to watch every move that the anglers make. So should someone on the water collapse due to sunstroke one of the observers could possibly leap into action.

Now, anyone in his right mind would assume that the chance of seeing fish, let alone catching any in this boiling heat and dazzling sunshine would be pretty remote. Well, this could not be further from reality.

Photo Note: Don Burt, with heavy coat in case it gets cold!. Also note the trendy Clintons plastic bag.

Before Don Burt set sail on Tuesday I rushed out to take what I thought could be the last photo of him alive. It would not necessarily have been his last photo, as I would have been obliged to take some candid shots when he was eventually recovered from the middle of the reservoir. Unfortunately, he eventually returned with a bag of fish, so my chance of making a few quid by selling the story and photos to the Nationals was thwarted. Sadly, catching fish is not considered by them to be news.

On Wednesday morning it was even hotter. On this morning, two idiots set sail. We boys on the bank witnessed no apparent activity from either boat. As the temperature rose we were actually forced to go inside.

Terry ‘The Cuckoo’ Beeching, in an effort to reverse his appalling recent run of ‘bad luck’, had gone out in a boat on his own. His ‘carer’ was fed up of taking him out, only to have to put up with his incessant moaning due to his consistent failure to catch anything.

Don Burt, rowing out on a completely
deserted and flat-calm reservoir.

Terry Beeching, pointing to a Cormorant
mark on one of his fish.

We were not surprised, therefore, when he came sauntering back at about 10.30am, as we just assumed he had just given up. More fool us. Although he was in full view in his boat and we had not seen him play or land a single fish, he was brandishing a bag limit of super rainbows.

Terry reported that, before he returned, he had motored over to Chas Hards, the other foolish angler (presumably to brag about his success) only to find that Chas had already got three fish. With Terry’s ‘expert’ advice he will undoubtedly catch his other three. However, before Chas was able to make a glorious return to an appreciative crowd, we old boys all decided to go home, having had a surfeit of coffee and having also run out of absent members to ‘slag-off’.

So, to sum up. So far this week, only four Club members have gone out in boats during the heat of the day, yet all have caught fish. Did I not mention Dr Stern who went out on Monday? Yes, even he did not return empty handed and he’s not noted for catching fish, just for baking cakes!

So what’s the secret? There is no secret, just a realisation that during this hot weather the fish are deep down. Members prepared to endure the heat, put aside their floating lines and ‘acceptable’ flies and take to the water are all catching fish. So put on a sinking line and get your lure down to where the fish are as they are only too willing to provide you with plenty of sport.

Photo Note: Three of Terry Beeching’s fish on the scales.

For those who prefer more comfortable conditions, why not just come and enjoy an evening’s fishing (starts at 4pm until dark). As it gets cooler, it is even possible to enjoy an evening rise, if there is sufficient fly life around. I should point out that, even this morning, Terry could see a few fish taking very small brown coloured flies off the surface but he did not bother to try for them as he was already getting plenty of takes with his sinking line. He did consider changing after fish number five but was fearful that he would then fail to get number six. After all, he desperately needed to get a limit after having to fish for so long in the shadow of Bill ‘The Carer’ Payne.

The odd member who has attempted to fish from the bank in shallower water has had little or no success, so I have to advise any angler actually wanting to get among the fish to take a boat and seek out the deeper water.

Terry trying to pass on the good news
to his 'Carer'. Sadly, no signal!

Some of the ‘boys’ who cannot believe
that the Cuckoo’s broken his duck!

Tuesday 16th July 2013


Being better known for his inactivity and lack of enthusiasm when its suggested that he make an effort and go fishing, it is hardly surprising that some people assume that your reporter is actually one of the laziest people, incapable of making an effort to stir himself let alone appear as ‘Intrepid’ as he often claims.

So, as promised, here are a few photos of your intrepid reporter making light of some of the most rugged, but spectacular, trekking areas in the European Alps. The Bavarian Alps, particularly the area on the immediate border with Austria, is seriously underrated by British visitors who tend to make for the better known Austrian resorts.

Your hero’s greatest achievement on this trip was the descent of the Rauschberg mountain (5,335 ft). Accompanied by his wife, the pair ascended the mountain via the cable car. However, on the spur of the moment, they (well, ok it was all my idea) decided to come down on the route which the locals had apparently warned against, because of the precipitous slopes and steep gravel or shale paths which made walking down very difficult and treacherous. However, your handsome hero had obviously not been paying attention when this was first mentioned.

As I was aware that the alternative way down was via a trail designated as a ‘Black’ route where people have died, falling over the edge, this had not been considered by me to be a ‘fun’ option.

The very few people we met climbing up could not believe that we were foolish enough to risk going down. Four exhausting hours later, neither could we!

I still maintain that, given I struggle to walk any distance uphill, I would never have scaled the Rauschberg by any route and, given that I did not want the ignominy of having to travel both ways by cable car, the route I chose at least ensured that we got down alive (just).

After this escapade, I made sure that our subsequent adventures into the mountains were planned with a little more care.

Other adventures such as the trek down the Unternberg mountain were less hazardous and a lot less exhausting and therefore more enjoyable, if not so satisfying or as worthy of bragging about to other hotel guests!

So, the next time someone makes a ‘funny’ comment about your intrepid reporter lounging in my usual chair in the corner doing nothing (Wednesday 3rd July 2013); Think on, I could spring into action at any minute!

Monday 15th July 2013


"It's not the winning but the taking part that counts". It's a phrase echoed by the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who said "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”

These sentiments could possibly be employed to minimise the humiliation suffered by HFF at the hands of the Eastbourne branch of The Fly Dressers Guild when they trounced us in the annual competition at Powdermill. I am very relieved to have been away when the competition took place as I was thus spared the embarrassment of witnessing the appalling performance of my fellow Club members, where “fighting well” was certainly not a phrase which could be applied to them. The less I say the better, as I can guarantee that at least one participant would be incensed by my views. Do I care? Certainly not! So here goes.

Geff Pilcher

Paul Strivens

On a very hot and bright sunny day when there is no sign of fish anywhere near the surface, what should you do?

Before I answer this difficult question let me, in all humility, state that I have only made the effort to fish three times so far this year, so it would not be unreasonable to suggest that, given my lack of effort, I have no right to pontificate and advise anyone on the appropriate tactics to apply in such conditions. However, given that this was ‘billed’ as a competition, all be it a friendly one, let me simply make the following naive observation :-

Regular visitor, Colin Fagg, and Club member Geff Piltcher were not involved in the competition, but I am informed that they were the only other anglers to fish that day and that they each caught their 6-fish limits, having started long after the competition began and finished long before the competition ended. In fact, Geff did not bother to saunter out to his boat until 11am and was back by early afternoon. Sinking/intermediate lines and ‘lures’ were the methods that they both employed and all their fish were taken deep.

It is true that the EFDG only just beat HFF, but that is no excuse. The bailiff has provided me with the statistics but I am too ashamed to publish them. The only Club members worthy of being excluded from the list of wasters are Paul Strivens and Bob Sanger. Even Bob had to be shown the way and even given the right fly (a Humongous) by his opposite number in the boat, but at least he had the sense to take notice.

Note : The photo of a selection of ‘HUMONGOUS’ flies, as available from www.troutflies.co.uk, look identical to the fritz flies that I have been using for years.

Humongous Flies

Bob Sanger

Paul apparently actually caught his fish without any outside help. When I spoke to Paul earlier this week he admitted to being somewhat surprised at his good fortune, but then I always suspected that he’s not as daft as he looks. These two were our top boys, catching three fish each. So how do the rest of you explain yourselves? What price an orange fritz and sinking line now!!!

In my humble opinion, the only satisfying outcome from the entire debacle were the photos taken by Bill Payne, who is gradually learning to match the style of your reporter’s simple ‘Happy Snaps’. Thanks Bill (but now you realise that you can’t take really good photos and still catch fish. Not even one fish!). Bill cannot make the excuse that he was also looking after ‘The Cockoo’ as Terry ‘The Cuckoo’ Beeching had the good sense not to make an appearance on this occasion. He was apparently sulking, having been out-fished by his ‘Carer’ on recent visits.

So next year in similar conditions leave the conventional gear at home and come armed with a line that sinks and a few multi coloured Fritz lures.

It’s the taking part.... B*ll*cks! If you can’t beat them join them!

Sunday 14th July 2013


The answer, in the case of Hastings Flyfishers, is only ONE. But it is preferable to have a further four people sitting around, casually watching and advising him. Well, it’s important that we maintain adequate levels of ‘care’ to ensure that we comply with all Health & Safety requirements.

So why did we need four onlookers?

Obviously we would require one to operate the mains power cut-off. But that’s in the other room and you would have to climb onto a chair and remove a heavy wooden cover to get at it, which would be extremely difficult and dangerous, so let’s not bother.

One qualified to use the First Aid Kit. Yes, we have two First Aid Kits – possibly an administrative oversight (ie: a cock-up) or a wanton extravagance. So we keep one permanently locked away for ‘best’. Unfortunately, the ‘every-day’ one probably lacks vital items.

One poised to make some hot, sweet tea should anyone become overwrought with the drama of it all.

And finally, One to operate the camera, should our resident electrical expert fall off the ladder or get electrocuted. This naturally falls to your intrepid reporter as he is the only person permanently attached to a photographic device and whose regular seat provided a perfect view of this latest assignment.

All onlookers need to be ready with lots of helpful advice. No one is needed to hold the ladder, pass up tools or assist in any way. Just as well.

Unfortunately, nothing untoward occurred so I was forced to resort to taking photos of a man up a ladder. However, he had no replacement bulb, so the entire process will have to be repeated when a new bulb arrives! Let’s hope something more exciting happens then.


In all seriousness, we continue to carry out our comprehensive review and maintenance program in an effort to ensure that we provide a safe, secure and pleasant venue. If you have any comments or suggestions we are always only too willing to hear your views, either in person or via the website. Anything, no matter how apparently insignificant, will always be given our best attention.


There are not many gardeners who would encourage rabbits to nibble their plants. Neither do we, which is why we have to resort to having the rather unsightly netting around the ‘flower boat’. (Similar wooden figures as seen in the ‘flower boat’ are available from John Chapman Enterprises. Contact chapm440@aol.com for latest prices).

However, there was no such protection for the plants in the decorative metal wheelbarrow (available from John Chapman Enterprises. Contact chapm440@aol.com for latest prices).

The result was that all the soft new growth was nibbled and we were expecting the worst. However the outcome was simply to invigorate the two plants in the wheelbarrow (yes, only two plants) which became much bushier and have already filled the barrow with a riot of colour. Well, maybe not quite a riot, but I think that’s the word often used by seed suppliers when describing what you can expect from their pathetic paper packet containing a few ‘valuable’ seeds.

Fortunately, John Chapman Enterprises do not supply flower seeds. But the actual plants can be obtained each spring from Martin Brignall, but you have to supply your own rabbits.

Martin does not have a personal email address but can normally be found surrounded by sheep somewhere on Romney Marsh. He is also our accredited supplier of hens eggs, but he rarely remembers to bring any when he comes fishing.

Saturday 13th July 2013


Laura, from The Environment Agency, arrived on Friday to carry out her usual tests and take samples of the water.

Data Taken 4th June 27th June 12th July
Water Level 100% 98% 93%
Temperature 16.2ºC / 61ºF 17.1ºC / 63ºF 18.0ºC / 64ºF
Dissolved Oxygen (DO) 95.8% Air Saturation 101.9% Air Saturation 97.3% Air Saturation
Conductivity 351 357 364.2
Salinity 0.17ppt 0.17ppt 0.17ppt
pH 7.66 7.85 7.76

With water continuing to be slowly extracted and no forecast of significant rainfall in the next few weeks we are likely to see the reservoir level continue to fall. However, it is normally already much lower at this time of year so the gradual drop in the water level is still considered to be insignificant as far as the fishing is concerned.

Despite the rise in temperature the fish are not showing any signs of distress and continue to feed and are fighting hard when hooked. With the forecast of continued very hot weather for at least the next few days, it is likely that fish will continue to be found at deeper levels. There is no sign of the aerator being switched on, so the fish are still well spread throughout the reservoir.

To get down to the deeper levels where the fish are, there is now a definite advantage in fishing from a boat.


With the delivery of yet another full load of rainbows on Thursday, the reservoir is at its highest stocking level so far this year. Although the mayfly hatch is now over and fewer visitors are therefore coming to fish, the fishing is arguably ‘easier’ as a variety of methods can now prove successful. As we are primarily a fishing club, rather than a commercial outfit, we are just as keen to maintain good stock levels during the quieter visitor periods as our members still want to experience excellent fishing throughout the entire season. So from now on, it is an ideal time to enjoy some superb sport without the crowds which you can sometimes encounter during the mayfly period. Unfortunately, being known as a superb mayfly water means that many anglers only make the effort to come during this period and therefore miss out on the excellent fishing we provide from the beginning of March through to the end of December.

It is a great pity that so many anglers only come for the mayfly hatch as they really do miss so much of what the reservoir has to offer during the rest of the year. At this time of year I think that the reservoir is at its most beautiful although many prefer its autumn colours. It should be noted that we tend to suffer much less than other venues when the temperature rises, which is why we can continue to maintain high stocking levels throughout the summer. However, in general, fishing from a boat rather than from the shallower water off the dam or bank tends to be more productive from now until the end of September. Having said that, because it is so much more peaceful at this time of year there are always boats available.

Given that we only have a dozen boats available on our 55 acre reservoir, it is hardly surprising that you are never short of places to fish - in total isolation and peace and quiet.


The fishing statistics for June have been updated. Visit the Fishing Statistics page for more information.

Wednesday 10th July 2013


Despite the number of rivers, streams and mountain lakes that we came across, all stuffed with some superb wild trout, we only saw two anglers. One was fly fishing for trout in the river Traun just outside the small town of Ruhpolding. He was standing in the shallow, slack water on one side of the river and casting into the fast run on the opposite bank, where trout of around 2lb to 3lb were waiting for food to be brought to them. Because I was crossing the bridge above the angler I had no opportunity to approach him. However, there was no evidence that he had caught anything and the trout, which I could clearly see from my vantage point, were totally ignoring his offerings.

The other angler was float-tubing on Lake Mittersee, which is one of a string of small lakes on the mountain road between Ruhpolding and Reit im Winkl. As we walked around part of the lake, we watched him cautiously moving along the inaccessible far margins.

Dieter Rauchbauer uses his Guideline float tube to fly fish for the large number of pike that reside in lake Mittersee. They go to a maximum of about 1 metre in length and he returns them all as his wife does not eat them. On either side of lake Mittersee, lakes Weitsee and Lodensee are more noted for having large numbers of trout and Dieter also fishes these. Because of the floods that had recently ravaged this area, the lakes were still much fuller than normal, which had meant that the pike were not where Dieter expected them to be and he had failed to catch anything on this trip.

I noted that he was using the latest Sage Pike rod (9’0”, weight 10) and a matching Sage reel loaded with a Rio Pike 10wt floating line with a clear Intermediate tip. The rest of his gear was also all top quality. However, his pike flies even made me cringe. Talk about big and gaudy! However, he showed me some of those he uses for trout which were perfectly acceptable.

We did not see a single coarse fisherman despite the wide variety of coarse fish in the lakes. There was also no suggestion of anyone fishing for trout by any other method than with conventional fly equipment and Dieter was somewhat bemused as to why anyone would consider doing so.

No, I did not do any fishing. But, despite having avoided showing photos of myself on the website in the past, I am tempted to publish a few photos to show you why your ageing reporter really can be referred to as “Intrepid”.

Sunday 7th July 2013


Thanks to everyone who participated, helped or just came along to enjoy the annual club competition against the Eastbourne Flydressers Guild.

Here are just a few photos from the day with more to follow along with a full report. Many thanks to Bill Payne and the Eastbourne Dressers Guild for the photos.


Friday 5th July 2013


Once the sun comes out, so do many of the inhabitants of the 'old peoples home' who normally reside inside the lodge. Their time outside is normally spent bird watching, commenting on the casting abilities of those anglers in view, arguing over who's going back in to make the coffee, monitoring the number of fish caught, sitting thinking or in the case of the vast majority, just sitting with vacant looks on their faces.

Its going to be a glorious weekend for fishing with temperatures touching the low twenties with a light south-west breeze blowing onto the dam, perfect for the club competition against the Eastbourne Flydressers Guild on Saturday.

Old Peoples Home

Arthur Packham


Ex Club member Arthur Packham moved to the West Country last year. However, recently he made a surprise visit to the reservoir. Unfortunately, the fish proved elusive. He has found some good trout fishing close to his new home so he is still able to continue to enjoy plenty of active sport.


Wednesday 3rd July 2013


As you can see from the photo, John "Your Intrepid Reporter" Thackray is away for a well deserved break and his usual permanent position in the lodge is empty!

There has been much debate and worry over the silence that has fallen on the club this week but we are now beginning to quite like it, will your chair still be there for you when you return John?

Also in John's absence we have been making good use of his cup which is more like a vase anyway!

Make sure you use this time to your advantage by coming along and enjoying your fishing without the fear of his camera being shoved in your face and your photo ending up on here.


The work involved in restoring our ageing fleet of boats is not one for the faint hearted. A great deal of time and effort as well as skill is required to ensure that the almost indestructible fibre glass boats will still be floating when most of us are long gone. Although the very popular green 'plastic' boats require much less maintenance, time will tell if they can outlast their much older fibre glass companions which in theory can continue to be renewed.


Monday 1st July 2013


There have been many superb photographs taken at Powdermill by some very talented amateur photographers who also flyfish. I am always delighted to be able to include their efforts on our website and am often humbled by the incredibly high quality and innovative images that they produce. I simply claim to take 'snaps' and am happy to just 'point and shoot' so I really do appreciate how hard it can be to produce some of the wonderful photos.

Sadly, I cannot say the same for the aspiring film makers. It would seem that the transition to moving pictures is not as simple as one would assume. I can honestly say the there are only two videos produced by amateur film makers that I have enjoyed and be impressed with. The remainder are either boring, badly filmed, have awful sound/commentary or, in my humble opinion, are simply rubbish.

So let's at least praise the two videos worth watching which have both been produced by Club member Russell Platten.

View on YouTube - “ULTRA-FAST, extremely easy and secure! Tie a fish hook to your line in seconds”

View on YouTube - “ULTRA-FAST, tying fly leaders and droppers and joining fishing line”

However, the winner of the worst Video at Powdermill also goes to Russell Platten. This is so bad it's really worth watching as it is entitled "Hilarious Fly Fishing Fail, What a plonker!". Plonker being the operative word!

View on YouTube - “Hilarious Fly Fishing Fail, What a plonker!”


Friday 28th June 2013


Unfortunately, I missed Laura from The Environment Agency when she came early this morning (Thursday) to carry out tests and take samples of the water. But my tardy arrival did not deter her from leaving me the initial results of her tests. Thanks Laura.

Data Taken 4th June 27th June
Water Level 100% 98%
Temperature 16.2ºC / 61ºF 17.1ºC / 63ºF
Dissolved Oxygen (DO) 95.8% Air Saturation 101.9% Air Saturation
Conductivity 351 357
Salinity 0.17ppt 0.17ppt
pH 7.66 7.85

With water being extracted, albeit slowly, and no top-up rain there is now a noticeable, but relatively insignificant, drop in the water level as far as the fishing is concerned.

The 17.1ºC water temperature is still very comfortable for the trout. At this time of year I would expect it to be at around 18ºC and in danger of rising above that.

The latest Air saturation percentage has caused some considerable confusion among the slackers who spent most of their time playing truant instead of applying themselves at school. This seems to pertain to virtually all the HFF members who are all so old that the highlight of Science at school in the middle of the last century was playing with blobs of mercury. As this has subsequently been proved to be a lethal substance, it goes some way to explain their current state. It also proves the importance of education at an early stage as, fifty or sixty years later, they are still blindly unaware of the science that supports the world around them. However, the saying that “a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing” is painfully illustrated by the ‘Wood Butcher’ who, on hearing the figure of 101.9% air saturation, quick as a flash, asked incredulously how you can have more than 100% of anything.

So, here goes. BUT if you do not need to know or couldn’t care less about Oxygen Saturation and Conductivity, please ignore the blue text below and move on to the next topic.

A simple example of how water can exceed 100% oxygen saturation is to imagine that the dissolved oxygen reading of a relatively stagnant lake at night is 9.65 mg/L when the temperature is 17°C. This corresponds to 100% air saturation. During the next day, the sun warms the water to 22°C where 8.22 mg/L represents the 100% air-saturated value. However, the temperature change has occurred rapidly enough to prevent the oxygen in the water from ‘escaping’ to the air because of non-ideal equilibration conditions. The lake still contains 9.65 mg/L of dissolved oxygen, but now the temperature is 22°C where 9.65 mg/L corresponds to 117% air-saturation ({9.65/8.22} x 100). If the lake had been equipped with an efficient aerator, the equilibration process would have been rapid and prevented the observation of readings greater than 100% during the temperature change.

Conductivity is a measure of the ability of water to pass an electrical current and in water is affected by the presence of inorganic dissolved solids. Conductivity is useful as a general measure of water quality. Each body of water tends to have a relatively constant range of conductivity that, once established, can be used as a baseline for comparison with regular conductivity measurements. Significant changes in conductivity could then be an indicator that a discharge or some other source of pollution has entered the water. Conductivity is also affected by temperature: the warmer the water, the higher the conductivity. For this reason, conductivity is reported as conductivity at 25 degrees Celsius (25 C).

Now, before you assume that I am a right little know-all I must stress that, in my youth, all my academic achievements (of which there were few) involved the arts and not the sciences. Due to my lack of expertise in this field, I was obliged to select the simplest explanations from the plethora of incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo that can be found on the net. So in truth I am probably as bored and confused by these explanations as you are.


On Tuesday at around 11am, one of the three goslings disappeared from the area of the car park where the family were wandering around contentedly eating the grass and depositing vast amounts of the results of their excellent digestive systems for the unfortunate anglers to tread in. We can only assume that it was taken by a fox, probably to feed its cubs as there was no sign of even a stray feather left behind. It is surprising that the parents did not make sufficient noise to attract someone’s attention, but no one saw or heard anything. So now there are only two.


Robert, the manager of Hooke Springs Fishery, eventually delivered the latest consignment of rainbows. As it is about twenty years since he last came to Powdermill it is hardly surprising that he got seriously lost. The ensuing saga of the faulty phone and his attempts to contact us is too protracted a story to relate here. Suffice it to say that we have now found a way to answer the phone by putting it on ‘loudspeaker’.

So until it is mended or replaced, please bear in mind that, if you phone, you will be able to be heard by everyone in the room. No swearing, no ‘slagging’ anyone off and, above all, no Indiscretions of any kind unless you want everyone to hear about it and even have it published on our ‘Latest News’ web page. How will you know when it’s fixed and everything is back to normal? Easy; it will be when your conversation no longer sounds as if it is being conducted in a tin can which is doubling up as an echo chamber and you can hear the rude comments being made by listeners in the background.


With the delivery of a new consignment of fish yesterday and further deliveries arriving each week during July, the fishing should become easier than it has proved so far this week. The current trout population have undoubtedly become ‘wiser’ and spoiled for choice and seem to be more capable of distinguishing the real thing from the dry fly angler’s pathetic imitations.

Even the ‘lure men’ are finding that a full belly results in trout being even less inclined to snap at some unrecognisable monstrosity, let alone sum up the effort to chase it.

The latest batch of ‘new boys’ should make the fishing easier, but it’s surprising how quickly they learn. Although there are fewer mayfly to be seen they are still consistently appearing and with the amount of other fly-life around most anglers are still content to fish dries.

However, some anglers are equally happily using intermediate or even sinking lines with various sub-surface examples of the fly-tiers art dragging along behind them. And despite being scorned by the puritanical doctrinaires, they can catch fish while others struggle. For example, you should never knock young Mr Pilcher’s various Tadpole varieties or even my infamous Orange Fritz. Each to his own and everything has a place in the scheme of things at Powdermill – apart from the Booby which continues to be banned by the Bailiff. And rightly so!


Thursday 27th June 2013


After the hiatus of Tuesdays competition between Sussex and Kent, tranquillity returns to the reservoir. With just a very gentle breeze and weak sunshine the reservoir is not only looking at its best, but for the time being is providing comfortable fishing from both bank and boat. Despite the perfect conditions few anglers were in evidence yesterday morning and not a single visitor had appeared by the time that I left at around 1pm. The fishing in the last few days has not been easy as the trout appear to be stuffed with a wide variety of insect life, particularly the ubiquitous mayfly.

A large number of rainbows were last stocked on 11th June and, with no new deliveries for two weeks, even the most recent introductions seem to have become reasonably well ‘educated’. Never fear; for those of us who are experiencing difficulty in tempting the current residents, I am pleased to announce that another large consignment will be arriving today. This consignment will restore stocks to their maximum level and should make it easier to find some fish which are neither wise nor full of food.

On the basis of the previous delivery, the newly introduced fish should start taking flies off the surface almost immediately. One assumes that they follow the example of others which have got used to feeding on the various creatures that are currently in abundance all over the reservoir.

The reservoir, both above and below the water, is certainly full of a wide variety of life, which from now on should make it interesting for those who want to “match the hatch”. Those still keen to use mayfly patters should still find enough of the real thing for some time yet. The Hobbies are still around which is a sure sign that there are plenty of mayfly to come. Most references to the Hobby suggesting that its primary quarry at Powdermill should be the huge number of dragonflies that abound at this time of year. However, I have yet to see one even attempt to take a dragonfly, whereas they can be readily observed taking the much smaller mayfly.

So as we approach the last few days of June and slip seamlessly into the start of yet another month, the prospects for July look to be very positive. Normally July heralds the start of the summer lull. But this year certainly does not conform to the norm. The reservoir level is only a couple of inches below the overflow, the water remains crystal clear, water temperature is still good for the fish, plant life is excellent, fly-life is abundant, wildlife is all around you and some Club members are even known to occasionally smile and be thankful for their lot!

Visitors always appreciate the beautiful surroundings that even the most miserable Club members are unable to ignore. So with the reservoir now looking its very best and the prospect of yet more good fishing ahead, why are there not more visitors coming to experience a day in paradise? Why not make the effort; we promise that you will not be disappointed.


Wednesday 26th June 2013


Winston Churchill once stated that "Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential". Well, there was a distinct lack of ‘strength’ among the sixteen ageing participants in this year’s battle of the Counties between Sussex and Kent. Some even failed to make it to the end of the competition. There was even less indication of any form of intelligence, as the vast majority stuck to one method as they blindly hurled their dry flies as far as possible onto the apparent lifeless water. However, in fairness to the ‘old boys’, there was plenty of effort, but it was mainly misdirected and there was no chance of anyone showing any potential.

Winnie would probably have been heard to say that “Never in the history of Hastings Flyfishers have so many caught so little”.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”, is another of his sayings, but he clearly never imagined that there could be such a collection of failures who could so rapidly lose all enthusiasm and talk themselves out of any hope of success even before they had started.

In deference to my ageing colleagues I am not prepared to identify the appalling performance of individuals. Suffice it to say that the sixteen Club members caught a grand total of three fish. Yes, I did say THREE fish. Half way through the five-hour farce, a visiting angler came strolling along the dam on his way home with three fish - which he caught all on his own.

At the outset, as there was no organised allocation of ‘pegs’, there was a general stampede for favoured spots, well before the 2pm start. However, everyone pretended that they were not really bothered and tried to look as if they were just sauntering along the dam while trying to keep ahead of their rivals. Nevertheless, no sooner had each arrived at their chosen location, than they all immediately began franticly casting, on seeing their neighbours do so. Norman Harle, having beaten everyone else to the ‘hot spot’ between the Valve Tower and the overflow, promptly caught a fish which he was forced to return, as there was still some considerable time before the 2pm siren was due to be sounded.

So, eighty man-hours of fishing resulted in just three anglers recording one fish each. Some anglers actually hooked, played and lost fish. Martin Brignall almost landed two trout, but fortunately lost both close to the net where his wife, Sue, was waiting with net in hand. I say ‘fortunately’ because his miserable failures avoided a formal complaint being lodged by the Sussex team captain on the basis that his captures would have been ‘assisted’. Martin is not noted for his ability to multi-task and is obviously incapable of doing two things at once. Reg Kent apparently had a fish take his fly but failed to react, even after it tried a second time to hook itself and despite shouts of abuse from Keith Blundell, his fellow team mate who could not understand Reginald’s inactivity.

The entire afternoon seemed to continue in this vein, with your lethargic reporter being obliged to wander along the dam, taking the odd ‘snap’, without any real enthusiasm. Despite my general disbelief at having to observe the atrocious performance of each and every one of the contestants, I was obliged to pretend to lend a sympathetic ear to the general whining.

Much to everyone’s relief, 7pm finally arrived and, thanks to the generosity of KB, a few drinks were consumed while prizes were awarded to the undeserving. The Sussex team were the overall winners of the competition as all three fish fell to their team members. So, only five Sussex team members failed to catch a fish while the entire pathetic team representing Kent could not muster a single fish between them, despite being the outright favourites.

Thanks to Jack Russell having apparently developed some incurable disease (on realising that there was an entry fee) and withdrawing from the Kent team, your hard done by reporter, who was destined to make an appearance for Sussex, felt obliged to stand down in order to even up the numbers, on the pretext that he could then concentrate on photographing the contestants and report on their achievements. Regular readers of our latest news will have noticed that Club members are so vein that they insist on having lots of flattering photographs of themselves as well as glowing reports of their innumerable successes.

Well chaps, on this occasion you have all been nothing short of appalling. Even I would have struggled to produce such a diabolical performance.

The competition between HFF and the Eastbourne branch of the Fly Dressers Guild takes place on Saturday 6 July. I dread to think what mind numbing performance we will produce against such worthy opposition. Thank goodness that, on this occasion, I will be on holiday; far far away!


Tuesday 25th June 2013


The wind continues to play its part in making fishing difficult from parts of the bank, but boats can always find sheltered spots. Mayfly continue to hatch and dry flies are still the favoured option. The forecast for this week is for settled, calmer weather. I was pleased to find that Monday morning started fine with not a breath of wind, making fishing conditions comfortable for both boat and bank anglers. this could turn out to be a good week to experience the excitement of the mayfly hatch.


Friday 21st June 2013


Catherine and Andreas visited the reservoir on Wednesday evening to see what wildlife was about.

In Wednesday's news I stated "Even the two Hobbies flying high up in the treetops did not appear to be feeding on mayfly." How wrong I was.

Catherine says "I then spent a wonderful hour being rowed around the reservoir by my other half, snapping the two beautiful birds that were milling about (not particularly energetically, and always at the level of the treetops - on closer inspection of one of the attached photos, you can see why - hundreds of mayfly were hovering around above the canopy).

These are some of Catherine's photos taken on Wednesday evening.

High quality photos can be viewed and downloaded from Flickr. Click Here to follow the link.


Wednesday 19th June 2013


Warmer weather and a calmer breeze made for comfortable fishing today (Tuesday), shame about the fish. "Why is that", I hear you ask.

Well now, everyone knows that I am not one to complain, but this morning I was obliged to leave the comfort of the ageing and somewhat decrepit armchair in the corner of the lodge, which is my 'location of choice'. This in itself is not entirely unusual, as I often have to wander aimlessly around the reservoir annoying anglers and then adding insult to injury by photographing them.

Don Burt

Jim Adams

However, on this occasion I was being forced to accompany someone, who had better remain nameless, on a foolhardy fishing expedition which eventually took us to virtually every corner of the reservoir. My only consolation was that because we were in the wheelie boat, complete with electric motor powered by a lorry-sized battery, I was not obliged to have to row for miles. Our search for a rising fish, or any fish for that matter prepared to actually consider the possibility of taking one of our dry flies soon seemed futile. Mayflies were appearing all day, but never in large numbers, and although fish were rising they were always where we had just been, where we were going, or everywhere but where we were at the time. Even the two Hobbies flying high up in the treetops did not appear to be feeding on mayfly.

Eventually, one suicidal rainbow took my Grey Wolf at around midday.

Dr Steven Stern

The afternoon was even more unproductive, but at about 5.30pm, as we decided to make for the shore, the breeze abated and mayflies began to appear in greater numbers. Rising fish became more prevalent and The Reverent Phil Streeter landed his second rainbow while fishing dries from a boat next to us. At this stage we were fishing in a spot recently vacated by a visiting angler who had had his six fish limit on dries. My somewhat demented boat partner, who had not had a touch all day, despite trying a vast array dries and even resorting to 'underwater' creatures such as the Daiwl Bach and mayfly nymph, was all for taking advantage of this increased activity. However, as by this stage we had both dismantled our rods, my pathetic cries of protest finally persuaded him to grudgingly end my misery. I suspect that we could well have turned our backs on what looked like being a cracking evening's sport. Tomorrow will tell when we take a peek at the returns book.

Plenty of Boats Were Out at the Reservoir

So, it was a day of mixed fortunes with at least one limit bag, but quite a few blanks being recorded by the time we left. What should have been an ideal day for dry fly fishermen proved to be difficult and sub-surface flies probably took more fish. Not everyone was even using floating lines which is sad as Mayfly Season should not really be about pulling flies blindly through the water. You can do this at any time during the rest of the year. But don't listen to me as, when it comes to fly fishing, I know next to nothing and can consistently prove it by failing to catch sufficient fish to placate my demanding family. However, I am renowned for cleverly avoiding having to clean even the small number of fish that I manage to land. In fact I am proud to reveal that I have not had to gut a single fish this year. What's the secret? Simple, persuade my boat partner, Alec Chisholm, to fillet all the fish that are destined for the smoker. Oops, I mentioned his name.

Visiting Anglers to Powdermill Reservoir


Sunday 16th June 2013



The club competition against the Eastbourne branch of the Flydressers Guild which we announced as being on Saturday 29th June will now take place a week after on Saturday 6th July. We apologies to everyone for the inconvenience and hope that members who were due to fish in this competition are still available. Could participants please contact Vic Partridge to notify him of your availability.



Eastbourne Flydressers Visit Back In June 2011


Saturday 15th June 2013


Although Friday turned out to have the best weather of the week, it was still windy for most of the day. Some anglers had their limit but a few others blanked. The number of mayfly that could be seen varied considerably during the day, but where reasonable number were found, rising fish could be seen. Anglers were catching on mayfly nymphs as well as dries. There is no sign of an end to the hatch and we still expect mayflies to be in evidence during the whole of June.

Visitors at Powdermill Reservoir

Water conditions are perfect and fly-life is abundant. Fish stocks are greater than in past years and we have had many compliments concerning both the quality of the fish and their hard fighting abilities.

At midday the emerging mayflies were being harassed by a Hobby all along the west arm of the reservoir. It was catching most of them quite high up along the southern tree line. At one point two hobbies were observed.

East Arm - Powdermill Reservoir

There appear to be thousands of blue dragonflies around the reservoir but we did not observe the hobby feeding on any of these. At the farthest end of the east arm we observed hundreds of these damsel flies crammed together laying their eggs on a weed-bed no bigger than twelve square metres. The result was a spectacular swathe of vivid blue on top of the weed which was truly amazing, reminiscent of a bluebell wood.

The number of young birds that can be seen around the reservoir is particularly pleasing despite the usual predation.

If you can pick a day when the weather is sufficiently pleasant to want to go fishing, there is no doubt that you still have plenty of opportunity to enjoy our 'Mayfly Season'.

David Nichols


Friday 14th June 2013


A very happy angler, Barry 'The Fishmonger' Morgan with his 11lb rainbow, which he captured this week.

Barry is proudly modelling the outfit much favoured by discerning anglers and taken from the 'Kentish Country Bumpkin' range. Ever since Beau Brummell revolutionised the way men dress in the 19th century, New Romney in Kent has been synonymous with the sartorial - so much so, in fact, that Barry has developed his own Kentish style which he hopes will be adopted by the renowned tailors of Saville Row.

The trousers are the very latest in modern sophisticated attire and represent the ultimate fashion statement for the over sixties, combining style with 'country' practicality. The generous 'cut' allows for ease of movement and the patented 'Instant Zip' provides minimum delay for the incontinent.

Dual shape knee-pads are not only decorative but provide added support when crawling through the undergrowth. This is particularly beneficial for those of you awaiting knee replacement surgery, who will appreciate the additional padding. The differing pad shapes enable users to distinguish between their right and left legs, by reference to the comprehensive manual which can be provided with the trousers as an optional extra.

Both the over-shirt and the contrasting under-vest do not have collars in order to save material and thus help save the planet. These comfortable items have been designed to appear well worn and attractively unhygienic; commonly known in the trade as 'casual scruff'.

The outfit is rounded off with a elegant, pigeon fanciers style, flat cap made specially to colour co-ordinate with the trousers.

Glasses are by Specsavers. Users are able to regularly mislay them, as when you buy one, they get another one free. In the unlikely event of the sun ever shining these can be substituted with sunglasses which can also provided by Specsavers at extortionate prices. Well, you didn’t really think that the second one is actually ‘free’.

Unfortunately, your intrepid reporter was not on hand to take this photo, which is why Barry’s feet are missing. Bill Payne, who uses very expensive and sophisticated photographic equipment, either lacks the skill of your intrepid reporter/photographer or was too embarrassed to risk including the orange socks (I am not kidding). Had the shoes been shown, I understand that they were traditional lace-ups carefully selected from the British Red Cross Charity Shop, located at 42 High Street, New Romney - Tel. (01797) 367021. A wide range of used shoes always in stock.

Barry, what do you look like? Almost as ugly as the fish! But well done, old boy!


Wednesday 12th June 2013


Some superb fish arrived this Tuesday from Bibury Fish farm. The weather still continues to play a major role in life at the reservoir. However, despite of the changeable conditions, Mayfly continue to appear daily and should continue to do so for the rest of this month. Virtually everyone is dry fly fishing and even those normally dedicated to other methods are being 'lured' into using dry-fly methods when confronted with rising fish all around them.

Bibury Fish Delivery

Bibury's Wonderful Trout

Fishing a dry can be exciting enough but when you can cast to a rising fish and see it take your fly it is the ultimate thrill. While waiting for this morning's fish delivery, the Bailiff decided to have a few casts (after all, it was only drizzling). I foolishly decided to leave the shelter of the lodge and accompany him in the hope of getting some good photos. Not many fish were rising, but he did manage to cast to rising fish which took his fly. The sequence of four photos illustrate how a proficient angler can easily release a fish (even with a barbed hook) without even touching the fish, let alone taking it out of the water. If only others who want to catch and release could do the same. Sadly, I have seen too many instances of fish which would have been far better off being bashed on the head than eventually returned, which is one reason why we do not allow visitors to catch and release.

Catch and Release - The Bailiff on the Dam

The second of our rowing boats has now been refurbished and returned to the reservoir where it is awaiting the fitting of new rowlocks before being returned to the water. Due to the unavailability of more practical transport, the boat came back on a somewhat unusual trailer.

The Second Boat Being Refurbished

High quality photos can be viewed and downloaded from Flickr. Click Here to follow the link.

The Geese Are Growing

Lee Partridge Finds a Long Snake Skin

Anglers arriving in the car park are now regularly having to avoid the family of geese, now that Sodom and Gomorrah are allowed to take the youngsters out for a stroll. They will shy away from anglers and are not aggressive so those of a nervous disposition need not worry.

Warmer weather and an abundance of food will encourage the grass snakes to come to the water. Being excellent swimmers, it is not unusual to see one striking out to swim from one bank to another and will occasionally pass within netting distance of an angler in a boat in the middle of the reservoir. On a casual inspection of the partially cleared area in the reed bed in front of the lodge, the Bailiff's son, Lee Partridge, spotted a skin shed by a very large grass snake. Please bear in mind that grass snakes are completely harmless and are only too keen to get out of your way. You will not see any adders around the reservoir.

Monday morning was particularly pleasant and the old angling master, Tim Stacey, was enjoying a bit of dry fly fishing from the dam. However, the fishing was harder than usual and he had only caught one fish when I sauntered along to watch the master at work. Tim boat fishes, more often than not, so I don't often have the opportunity to observe his technique at close quarters. Needless to say, I was able to distract him sufficiently to ensure that he missed the only take he had, before I decided to go and annoy someone else.


Friday 7th June 2013


The only problem at the reservoir at present is the constant NE wind. If only it would die down or at least revert to the seasonal norm and come from the SE it would make bank fishing so much easier. However, another fish delivery arrived from Hooke Springs to ensure that we maintain plenty of fish during our busiest time of the year. Mayfly activity was less than usual on Thursday, but lots of other flies were in evidence around the lodge.


On Wednesday, after difficulty getting the ride-on mower started, the Bailiff finally commenced his favourite occupation of riding around, annoying anglers who have come to the reservoir seeking peace and quiet. I was sitting outside chatting to Keith Blundell and having a relaxing cup of coffee while we observed his progress along the dam with a certain amount of satisfaction having got it going. He was halfway along the dam on his final run along the back end when he nearly had his comeuppance. Hidden in the long grass was a large pothole which caused the rotor to dig into the ground and the mower slid sideways. The engine stalled and we could see the mower leaning at an acute angle. Fortunately, the Bailiff managed to abandon ship without the mower toppling over on top of him.

High quality photos can be viewed and downloaded from Flickr. Click Here to follow the link.

To cut a long story short, the rescue team were unable to manhandle the mower back onto the top of the dam. It eventually had to be towed back onto the dam, with your intrepid reporter nervously on-board, steering it. As a reward, and much to my surprise, I was allowed to drive it back to the safety of the lawn outside the lodge.

To continue the gardening theme, on Thursday we planted up the hanging baskets and troughs adorning the front of the lodge. Last year, Sue and Martin Brignall planted the wooden boat with geraniums and other assorted bedding plants. They over-wintered the geraniums and brought them back earlier this week, together with some French Marigolds and other bedding plants to re-plant the boat once more. The display in the boat is always a pleasure to behold and we all appreciate Sue and Martin’s efforts.

The Brignall's Flowers


I have seen a wide variety of outfits worn by anglers over the years and it takes something really unusual or outlandish to attract my attention. However what I really like to see are people who either dress eccentrically, just have awfully bad taste or simple could not care less. Which category do the pair in the photo fall into? To give you a clue – I am told that one is an artist. Certainly more interesting than the dowdy looking “Hardware” brand of jacket and trousers favoured by a number of Club members (reviewed in Latest News on 5 April 2013).

Put Simply... Fabulous!

Dr Stern's Summer Hat

Despite the chilly winds, I was also interested to note that Steven Stern has put away his winter outfit in favour of casual summer gear, complete with a rather swish ‘ventilated’ hat. Unfortunately the threatening dark glasses remain – scary! Regular readers will know that Steven is noted for his culinary prowess. This week he treated the residents of the lodge to a trifle. Was it a sherry trifle? Not sure what alcohol it actually contained, but whatever it was there was plenty of it. Yummy. However, as my GP, he always insisted that I remain an alcohol free zone. Hypocrite or what!


The fishing statistics for May have been updated. Visit the Fishing Statistics page for more information.


Thursday 6th June 2013


With the breeze blowing onto the dam, bank anglers were having difficulty casting into the wind, which probably partly explains why all the boats were taken on Wednesday. Plenty of mayflies were in evidence around the lodge which is always a very good indication that flies are emerging, either in small numbers all around the reservoir or in larger numbers in specific areas. The prime location appeared to be around the overflow at the far end of the dam. In the afternoon it was more a case of 'nowhere in particular' but plenty finding their way to the grassy banks. Fishing was not easy on Wednesday with plenty of missed fish and only a very small percentage being hooked and landed. Dry fly tactics are not necessarily easy and require the angler apply a greater level of concentration, but tremendous fun even given the frustration of missed takes or drowned flies.

A rare sighting of Peter Kirman on the water.

Steven Stern netting a fish for his guest.

The Met Office forecast that the wind will continue to come from the NE for at least the next five days, so a boat is by far the best option. Given the potential demand for boats, we would strongly advise you to book to avoid disappointment. Please remember that you can only book day boats, as if all the boats are taken there is no guarantee that any would be free by the afternoon. Also, as from 1st June, fishing now starts from 6.30am and Afternoon/Evening tickets start from 4.00pm.


Most trout reservoirs provide only two basic pieces of information relating to their water. One is the temperature and the other is the water level. Now, we don't usually bother because, despite what some may believe, its not that important on a day to day basis as changes are never that drastic. Before you all email to complain and state that this information is vital in order for you to make any decision as to whether to visit the reservoir tomorrow, let me assure you that I am more than capable of being even more boring than usual if that's what you really want.

So just to prove that we can provide you with plenty of more important, yet equally irrelevant, information regarding the water and how it will effect your fishing, I have pleasure in providing you with the following data, hot of the press from my pals in the Environment Agency. My 'contacts', Louise, Laura and Serga, check on what your irresponsible Water Companies are overcharging us for, on the pretext that they are investing in the future, repairing leaks, paying bonuses to their executives and lining the pockets of their shareholders (of which I am one - so sod the rest of you!).

Data taken at 14.13 on Tuesday 4th June 2013

Water Level 100%
Temperature 16.2ºC / 61ºF
Dissolved Oxygen (DO) 95.8% Air Saturation
Conductivity 351
Salinity 0.17
PH 7.66

If you require any further specific information, please ask. For example you may wish to know about water clarity. The simple answer is that it is "Crystal Clear" and as good as it gets, which is all you really need to know, but I can get you the laboratory results if you really need them. And they call me boring!


Tuesday 4th June 2013


Monday morning and it’s a pleasant day, if a little breezy. Your reporter did not arrive until midday to discover that few anglers were out after a very busy weekend, during which even ‘Woody’ was able to catch his limit on dry Mayflies.

Terry ‘The Cuckoo’ Beeching had been given special dispensation to go sailing in the morning without his ‘carer’, Bill Payne, who eventually arrived at lunchtime. As Terry had disappeared into the blue yonder, Bill had to phone him to persuade him to come back. On his return to the jetty, I was obliged to castigate Terry for leaving his mobile on and Bill for making a non-emergency phone call. However, we were pleased to note that, because he had not been using approved dry fly methods, Terry had only managed one fish all morning. However, with Bill’s calming influence, we expect a better result this afternoon.

Bill Payne & Terry Beeching (with fish)

Alec and the ‘Fishmonger’ also set sail soon after. It was quite a performance freeing the wheelie boat from its moorings, much to the amusement of your hysterical reporter who nearly fell off the jetty because he was laughing so much. Unfortunately, no one actually fell in.

With only five anglers in three boats and four other anglers fishing from the bank, it is going to be a quiet day unless there is a stampede later for the evening rise. So, having collected his share of the morning’s ‘smoking’ session and cajoling the Bailiff into fitting new line into his petrol strimmer (very difficult), your intrepid reporter departed to do some strimming at home. Yes, he does have a home to go to occasionally. Woody went to Robertsbridge to “mow the dead” and Vic set out in his unending task of strimming the areas around the reservoir that cannot be mowed. So hopefully, tomorrow, we can report on the grass cutting results!

High quality photos can be viewed and downloaded from Flickr. Click Here to follow the link.


Monday 3rd June 2013


The first week of June looks like being perfect for dry fly fishing with settled weather conditions and our Mayfly hatch now in full swing.

Last Friday, I took this photo of a trout smashing into a poor unfortunate mayfly as if it was going to be its last meal. For a very brief period the fish seemed to become frantic as they competed for the emerging flies and, instead of sipping gently from the surface, they resorted to smashing into them. Quite a nerve racking time for the confused photographer, not knowing where next to point the camera. So this turned out to be the best that I could do.

Trout taking a Mayfly.


Sunday 2nd June 2013


On Friday afternoon I found Keith Blundell fishing on the dam with Catherine Barnes and Andreas (Andrew) Fina. Catherine and boyfriend, Andreas, are our two favourite professional photographers who occasionally come to Powdermill to take wildlife photos.

Keith was fishing for the first time this year, having had a triple bypass. Catherine was messing about with a high tech camera on which she had fitted a very weird lens with an ultra narrow focus. And Andreas was making a mess of trying to fly fish. Andreas comes from Bavaria, which has some of the best trout fishing in mainland Europe, yet has never fished in his home country.

All Photos were taken by Catherine Barnes.

High quality photos can be viewed and downloaded from Flickr. Click Here to follow the link.

The wind was blowing his cast back towards him and, after I had witnessed his latest energetic cast being hurled forward only to be blown back behind him, I could stand it no longer. I just had to intervene, after I had stopped laughing! Not noted for my distance casting skills, I was pleasantly surprised at how far my cast went and I handed the rod back to Andreas, feeling very smug.

No sooner had Andreas began retrieving his Diawl Bach than he was into a nice trout which he proceeded to bully into the net in an alarmingly short space of time. In truth, it was half out of the water up the dam before I was ready with the net. Catherine was franticly trying to take photos and Keith was desperately rummaging around in his bag for the priest, which he had not expected to be required. The whole operation was over at record speed and there was no time to savour the moment. True German efficiency and a real team effort!

by Bernard Meaden

As fly fishers we all wish to pass on our skill and enthusiasm to the next generation in the hope they will get as much pleasure [and frustration] from it as we have, I am no exception.

Ben Ross at Dever Springs aged 10

James aged around 7 years at Hayes Fishery

I started to teach my Grandson James to cast a fly when he was five years old, although I have to admit I did most of the casting and he just did the exciting bit. The pure joy and exhilaration he experienced on catching his first trout had to be seen to be believed.

I am sure you will agree a vital aspect of handing on our craft is to pass on the niceties of a day at the fishery and how to respect the environment you enjoy by not leaving discarded line and other detritus behind. One of the tips I handed on to James concerned bank fishing, and how when you move along the bank, be sure to have your net handy as sods law states that if you do not you will immediately contact a fish.

Callum Meaden at Tenterden Trout Fishery

James Meaden aged 11 at Tenterden

Now for the fun bit. One bright early spring day when James was about eight years old, we went to have a look around Lakedown, the fishery consists of four lakes in a very pretty setting. As we walked around the water I spotted an elderly gent fishing, it was clear that he had moved along the bank as his bag and other paraphernalia [including his net] were some distance from where he was actually fishing. As we approached he struck into a fish, here's what happened next. I stayed at a suitable distance but James decided to go and stand beside him, the conversation went like this;

James; "You haven't got your net have you?"

Fisherman, a grunt.

James; "My Grandad says that you should always have your net handy if you move."

Fisherman; "Tell you what son, I'll do you a favour."

James; "Okay what?"

Fisherman in a very broad Irish accent; "You get my net and I won't throw you in."

James got his net and made a new friend, I tried to fade into the background.


Friday 31st May 2013


Despite the thing that we have promised not to mention this week, I have to say that Thursday was a funny sort of a day. The fishing appeared hard in the morning, with the wind making life particularly difficult on the dam. Both ‘The Fishmonger’ and ‘The Cuckoo’ were managing to hook the dam on a regular basis, unfortunately for them, in front of your reporter’s camera. Boat anglers also seemed to be having a hard time. Colin Fagg, our most consistent visitor, had started early in the morning but did not return to the jetty until about 4.30pm, having had to work very hard all day to get his six fish limit.

'The Cuckoo' - Where's My Fly?

'The Fishmonger' - Where's My Fly?

Despite the difficulty that anglers appeared to be facing, at about 2pm it became apparent that there were actually lots of Mayfly dancing in groups all around the fishing lodge. They were obviously coming from somewhere. Before I could dissuade them, 'Fred Karno's Army', who had been messing around with the boats in front of the lodge decided to set out in search of the exodus. Armed with their rods, they began marching along the dam looking for signs of a hatch. 'The Wood Butcher', 'The Fishmonger' and 'Cliff Richard' eventually took up positions at the far end of the dam around the overflow where there were a good number of flies in evidence. The Bailiff came sauntering along a few minutes behind, having stopped to cast at a rising fish about half way along the dam. He arrived with fish in hand trying to act nonchalant, but looking a bit smug.

'The Wood Butcher'

'Cliff Richard' - Theme for a Dream

Your selfless reporter, having foregone the chance to fish, began taking yet more sub-standard snaps of the four members of 'Fred Karno's Army', to later bore the unfortunate readers of 'Latest News'. Flies continued to emerge in greater and greater numbers around the confined area between the tower and the dam. The fish kept rising to the increasing number of Mayfly, which made the odds against the imitations being taken even worse. Things were becoming tense and exciting as takes were missed and fish continued to rise all around. 'Cliff' finally hooked and landed a fish while contentedly humming the tune of 'Theme For A Dream' - his favourite from his 1961 back catalogue.

'The Fishmonger'

By now your dedicated reporter had decided that he had brought the wrong lens for the task in hand and wandered off along the east bank muttering obscenities to himself. However, on reaching the other side of the tower, he found that there were few signs of Mayfly on the water. Dr Steven Stern (now our retired local GP), was fishing from a boat within casting distance of the tower. He was dressed in his Wyatt Earp Western style hat and coat (as worn by Burt Lancaster in the 1951 film "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral") together with a very threatening pair ultra dark glasses. The complete ensemble making him look very sinister. He appeared to be fishing in water totally devoid of any fly life, yet was within twenty yards of 'Cliff' who was inundated with emerging Mayfly. Steve had started fishing well before 8am (illegal). However, from 1st June to 31 August you can start from 6.30am, but try not to rev your engine in the car park so as not to wake the Bailiff. The doctor finally returned to dry land at around 4.30pm to weighed in his single fish of the day.

At the far end of the east bank there were Mayfly dancing along the grass, but still virtually no sign of flies emerging from the water and very few rises. Boat anglers in the vicinity seemed to be casting aimlessly at nothing in particular. By the time your exhausted reporter had eventually trekked back to the outflow, the boys had each landed two fish, apart from 'The Fishmonger' who had inexplicably failed miserably to touch anything, let alone land one. Only about an hour or so after they had started, the wind strength increased, flies almost stopped appearing and fish ceased rising in any numbers. As the storm clouds gathered, Fred Karno's army decided to head back for a well earned coffee before the rain came. No sooner had they packed up and started marching back, (followed by a very relieved reporter, thankful to be finally going back to the comfort of his favourite chair) than the heavens opened. By the time they got back to the lodge they were all wet and uncomfortable, but the boys had had a lot of fun. Having ensured that they extracted the maximum enjoyment from ‘The Fishmongers' lack of success, everyone went home happy.

'The Wood Butcher', the Bailiff and 'The Fishmonger' packing up.


Thursday 30th May 2013


Mayflies continue to emerge in small but steady numbers with the occasional flurry. Not that many flies 'dancing' on the shore today, but fish are clearly interested in feeding on flies off the surface and dry fly tactics continue to be the most popular method. After all, that is why so many visitors come at this time of year. But other methods can still be successful. Just ask Club member Norman Harle, or regular visitor Colin Fagg, both of whom will use whatever it requires to catch their prey. However, I know that both have also caught on dries in the past few days. Remember the old HFF saying "One on a Mayfly is worth ten on a Damsel".

In the past few days, the mornings have been marginally better than the afternoons, and evenings have yet to come into their own. It is impossible to predict what is likely to happen on an hourly basis let alone from one day to the next so, in all honesty, it is really a matter of deciding when you want to come and fish and make the most of the day. The only guarantee is that, at some point every day, the mayfly will appear and fish will be taking them.

Patience and concentration is the key as for every fish landed, everyone can describe their innumerable missed ‘takes’, near misses, fish sinking flies, anglers striking too soon or too late or not at all. And so it goes on with tension often reaching fever pitch. Why do so many anglers want to fish a dry at Powdermill. It's not that it's the 'proper' method to use, although many claim that it is. It's because it is the most exciting and pleasurable way to miss catching a trout as well as catch one. Those of us with heart conditions should take note. A surface 'take' can be a heart stopping event, no matter how often you experience it.

I was trying to chat encouragingly to a visitor this afternoon, who was glumly examining the returns book while considering whether to fish or not. Another visiting angler came in to weigh in his two fish. The visitor was not impressed with the apparent small number of bag limits taken the previous day and said so. At which point the returning angler put him firmly in his place by stating that if he and most of his fellow anglers that day had landed a fraction of the opportunities they had had, they would have finished ages ago. He added that he had experienced the most enjoyable day for quite some time and he was going home a wiser but extremely happy man and could not wait to return. And, if the gentleman wanted a guaranteed bag limit, caught with little effort and no skill, he should pop along to....... where he could probably knock them out in less than an hour and be back home in time for tea. Good on you, old boy! Some of us are too polite to say what we feel, but this chap was genuinely upset by his fellow visitor’s attitude.

I hope that I am right in assuming that most visitors feel the same way and derive the same enjoyment from what Powdermill can offer or we are all wasting our time. For those of you who would rather ‘fish in a barrel’, I have no problem in giving you a couple of reputedly ‘sure bets’. Just email us at mail@hastingsflyfishers.co.uk. But when you get there, don’t forget to check their returns book as you could well be disappointed!

For those of you who want to enjoy arguably the most beautiful water in the South East with one of the very best Mayfly hatches, you are most welcome. We look forward to seeing you and, hopefully, give you a day to remember.


Wednesday 29th May 2013


The weekend has been very busy with plenty of anglers using dry fly methods and thankfully catching plenty of fish. We are sorry for those of you that came to fish on Monday evening as, judging by the number of nil returns from the late comers, the fish were not playing by the rules. Everyone who arrived during the day caught fish and I am assured that overall the Bank Holiday weekend has been very enjoyable, primarily due to the improvement in the thing that we are not allowed to mention.

Tuesday morning and everything was back to normal as anyone venturing outside will know only too well. However, the fish do not seem to be bothered, as they could be seen rising all morning and there were plenty of birds swooping down and feeding on the emerging mayfly. Two of the three anglers who briefly ventured out this morning had their flies dive bombed by birds who were obviously impressed with their lifelike quality. Unfortunately, neither angler can take credit for having tied his mayfly imitation, one of whom was the Bailiff who scavenges many of his flies from what he finds left in the bottom of the boats. So if you ever see him using your favourite fly it was probably once yours!

We still have not seen a major mayfly hatch, so the best is undoubtedly still to come. You should bear in mind that last year it was not until 6th June that we published Tim Heasman's superb photo of a massive mayfly hatch. We have also yet to see a Hobby which would normally be around by now. All the evidence continues to indicate that we are still two weeks behind the norm, so we should have mayfly appearing throughout the whole of June.

The spectacular Hobby always makes an appearance once the mayfly and other insects are around in reasonable numbers. If you have never had the privilege of watching one of these amazing birds catch a fly in its talons and then stuff it in its beak while still flying at speed, then you could be in for a real treat. If Hobbys are in evidence and you are in a boat with hatching flies around, one is quite likely to swoop right in front of you, almost within touching distance.

Last year, on 19 June during a photo-shoot at Powdermill, Andreas Fina took some fabulous photos of a Hobby catching mayfly. I do not apologise for showing you a couple of last year’s shots so that those of you who have not seen a Hobby know what to look out for. Inside the red circle is the target mayfly.

Catherine and Andreas

Andreas is the boyfriend of Catherine Barnes, our favourite professional photographer . They both occasionally take time off from their busy schedules to have a ‘busman’s holiday’ at Powdermill, photographing the wildlife. As I am only a ‘happy snapper’ I am very envious of what talented people like Andreas and Catherine can produce. If you too would like to be impressed and amazed just have a look at some of the wonderful photos posted by Andreas on Flickr. It's not just Catherine who can consistently produce good photographs. The lad really has talent!

Click Here to visit Catherine Barnes Photography
Click Here to visit Andreas on Flickr


Monday 27th May 2013


Stuart Homewood of S.J. Homewood Ltd.

I was pleased to hear that, this Bank Holiday, many anglers are taking the opportunity to visit Powdermill and have the opportunity to fish for and catch trout using dry fly methods. The mayfly hatch is proving to be very consistent, but we are still not near its peak. Don't miss out on your chance of catching surface feeding trout in the most satisfying and exciting way.

In my absence, Chris sent me a couple of photos of the first of our completely refurbished boats. Stuart Homewood kindly gave up his time to deliver the boat on Saturday and take the next one away. Stuart is a well known and highly acclaimed local builder by the name of S.J. Homewood Ltd with an enviable customer feedback rating on 'Checkatrade'. However, one customer review stated that "...work was performed with a smile". Now we all know that a smiling builder...!

Chris managed to spend a short time fishing before having to leave. The four fish that he landed all fell to a dry mayfly.

Visit www.sjhomewood.com for all your local building needs.


Saturday 25th May 2013


Those of you still undecided regarding a visit to the reservoir this Bank Holiday will be pleased to hear that there are still boats available. Most anglers are likely to just turn up on the day rather than pre-book a boat due to things we have promised not to mention. However, if they find that there are no boats available, they can always fish from the bank which has proved equally productive in recent weeks.

Chris Richards preparing to operate.

However, the first of the boats that we plan to completely refurbish is due to return tomorrow morning. Chris has spent a great deal of time working on it and it's been a bit of a 'labour of love'. Friday morning, I arrived early to find that Chris had started to carry out a temporary repair to one of the boats sitting on the lawn in front of the lodge. He is evaluating a new technique which, if it proves satisfactory, will reduce the man effort required as the shell may not need to be sanded before treatment. The resin he used smells exactly the same as Plastic Padding, but is painted on with a brush. An added bonus can be obtained by taking a good sniff of the product!

Chris Richards at work, supervised by the Bailiff and 'The Fish Monger'.

We have also completed the maintenance of all the signs around the reservoir. If only people would take notice of them, especially unauthorised walkers (sorry, I mean trespassers) who either risk being impaled by a fly or simply want to throw sticks in the water for their dogs to the annoyance of every angler in the vicinity.

Anglers should also bear in mind that wading can be dangerous, especially on both sides of the willow tree (on the west bank beyond the boat jetty) where the bank shelves very steeply. Anyone fishing there really should take seriously the warning notices about wading.

Barry 'The Fish Monger' Morgan always wears his inflatable jacket.

Fortunately, if you do intend to take risks, you will be pleased to note that Southern Water staff have just carried out maintenance on the life belts around the reservoir. However, if you are going to fall in, please try to do so somewhere near one of the lifebelt stations and preferably within calling distance of someone capable of throwing the heavy ring far enough to reach you. Unfortunately, this will exclude most Club members. I wish more bank anglers would wear inflatable jackets as, from what I have witnessed, they seem to be at more risk of falling in than boat anglers. People who admit to being unsafe in a boat still think nothing of stomping about on a steep and sometimes slippery dam. Last year, one lunatic even dived in after his rod as a fish dragged his, temporarily unattended and very expensive Sage down the dam slope and into the water. Fortunately, two others fishing nearby came to his rescue.


Friday 24th May 2013


It is hard to find genuine good news when faced with the current weather conditions. So we do not apologise for publishing a photo of the hailstones which battered the unfortunate anglers this morning (Thursday). Although they were still catching fish on dries, the anglers themselves got a right soaking! Despite the continual misery, virtually everyone somehow still managed to catch fish and mostly on a dry mayfly. Even regular visitor, Colin Fagg, not noted for following ‘normal’ Powdermill tactics, is in danger of conforming by catching one of his six fish limit today on a dry mayfly.

However, as we are about to face another Bank Holiday weekend (and the rest of the week is School half-term) we promise not to mention the weather again, as it's just too depressing. Whatever happens we promise that, for the duration of the holiday period, our 'Latest News' page will only feature good news.

The best news of all is that we can officially announce that Sodom and Gomorrah are now the proud parents of three healthy chicks. As this was their first attempt, and being just two individuals thrown together, we are delighted that they have become diligent parents.

Vic, who normally plays the part of an unemotional ex-gamekeeper, capable of slaughtering anything that moves without giving it a second thought, has now taken on the unlikely role of doting uncle. He did not even want me to take photographs during the early days, as he was worried that my attempts to do so may upset them! However, they have since proved to be very resilient and the entire family even managed to escape from the pen and go walkabout the other day, but fortunately they were found strolling down the lane and ushered back home.

The three cut-outs in the woods have now been strimmed and raked and we have been pleased to see the odd fisherman making the long trek to take advantage of the seclusion that each affords. With the removal of a couple of trees at the rear of the first cut-out, even the longest back-cast will no longer get snagged up. We still have to remove some of the vegetation and branches in the water around the second and third cut-outs which could not be reached from the bank. This will enable the 'Captain' of the ill fated wheelie boat (see news on 2nd and 3rd May) to show his true skills. It’s bound to turn into another drama.

In the next few days we have a video by Club member and film maker extraordinaire, Russell Platten. This particular video with the very catchy title “Ultra fast , tying fly leaders and droppers and joining fishing line” is actually quite good and well worth watching (praise indeed). The photo of Russell playing a fish was taken mid-afternoon on Thursday, just before another downpour!

Next week, we will also be giving you our ‘irreverent’ views on the article about Powdermill in June’s “Flyfishing & Fly Tying” magazine.

We also have another short reminiscence from Bernie Meaden to take your mind off the thing that we will no longer mention.

However, as we expect the Mayfly hatch to continue for at least the next three weeks, we would suggest that you stop logging on to our ‘Latest News’ page to see what’s happening and just pick your day, book your boat and come and enjoy the best dry fly fishing that the South East can offer.


Thursday 23rd May 2013


It would seem that the Mayflies are fed up of waiting for a consistent spell of warm sunny weather and a steady hatch continues to take place. Although we appear to still be nowhere near the first massed exodus, you can now see small groups performing their frantic dance, in their favourite spot, above the grass adjacent to the car park. Despite the cold on Wednesday morning, flies were emerging and fish could be seen taking the odd one off the surface. However, most anglers appeared to be struggling. At midday, the Bailiff sauntered out for a few casts off the dam before the fish delivery arrived which was due at around 12.30pm. He promptly caught a fish, but on this occasion it took the dropper not the mayfly on the point. Is he skilful or just lucky? All I can say is that he sees fish that I don't and given his results he would have run out of luck years ago. To paraphrase the great Gary Player - The better you are the luckier you get!

As I write this, the late afternoon conditions look ideal for those of you who can escape to enjoy an evening's fishing. I promised to plant my son's tomatoes in his greenhouse later, so sods law... The fishing is bound to be good! Despite the variable conditions, there still seems to be some point during the day when the fish 'switch on' but you still need some luck to be in the right location, preferably using the right method. I will be interested to hear if there was indeed a rise this evening and I look forward to seeing the returns book tomorrow to see what transpired.

In between the fishing, the occasional game of cribbage is taking place in the lodge. As the inaugural HFF Crib Competition gets under way, both the bookies favourites Vic Partridge and Alec Chisholm won their initial matches.

On your way to the reservoir, look out for the beautiful bluebell woods which are at their very best right now. Especially my favourite - Little Brede Wood. You will see this wood if you are driving from Sedlescombe at the turning off Brede Lane into Reservoir Lane. Look to your right. Although a bit of 'tidying up' has been taking place in Little Brede Wood, the bluebells are still as good as ever.

Oh yes, and another 300 sparkling rainbows arrived from Hooke Springs. Could be a cracking Bank Holiday weekend. Don’t mention the weather!


Sunday 19th May 2013


Having taken to my bed for the past couple of days, yet still not fully recovered, I nevertheless felt obliged to make the effort this Saturday morning to see what's happening at the reservoir. After weeks of misery with few members and even fewer visitors prepared to put up with the awful weather, it was a relief to be able to announce the appearance of the first Mayfly. To my surprise, on arrival yesterday morning, I found that the car park was full. All the available boats were out and anglers could be seen catching fish from both boat and bank.

With three boats still out of commission, you really will need to book a boat in advance if you want to be sure of securing one during the busy Mayfly hatch. Please bear in mind that visitors are only allowed to book boats up to TWO DAYS IN ADVANCE.

Depending upon which weather forecast you take note of, it could be good or bad during the next few days. They all seem to agree that from Wednesday onwards things will be good. So you had better come fishing in the next few days as, given the accuracy of our forecasters, by Wednesday it will be awful.


Saturday 18th May 2013


No comment necessary. Well done Chris.


Friday 17th May 2013

By Bernard Meaden

With apologies to Merlin and Lady Nimue.

To be truthful I had almost forgotten this tale until mentioning it to the 'Last of the summer wine' players in the clubhouse the other morning.

The story begins in early June 2008 when a nameless club member was boat fishing close to the Willow tree, apparently he decided to pour himself a cup of coffee and in so doing left his line in the water [we've all done it] it was at this point he got his only take of the day and over the side went his treasured Sage rod, it was last seen disappearing in the direction of the old road.

This unfortunate incident was well documented in the June 2008 issue of 'latest news' on the HFFC website.

Now comes my part in this tale. In late October 2008 I decided to go out in a boat for a few hours and arriving at the fishery found I was the only person silly enough to brave the conditions. I decided to start fishing close to the entrance to the East arm, where I had been successful a few days previously. I was using an intermediate line and cast in under the trees on the NE corner, I let the line sink for around ten seconds and began to retrieve, the line immediately went tight but there was no movement from my intended prey. It must be a branch or root I thought and began an attempt to recover my line, however it was putting an enormous strain on the rod so I decided to hand line, gradually there was slow movement and suddenly the tip of what I assumed was a thin branch began to emerge from the depths.

Bernard Meaden

By now the sun had broken through and had shed an eerie light on the scene, slowly but surely the 'branch' began to take shape and eureka! it was a fishing rod, sadly there was no slender female arm holding it aloft. Eventually I managed to take hold of the rod and haul it into the boat and found I had hooked it about halfway down it length. The rod was covered in slime but was a complete outfit with a reel and line [no fish]. At this point I made no connection with the June incident.

At home I cleaned the rod and found it was a Sage and in remarkable condition considering it had lived on the bottom of the reservoir for several months, sadly the same could not be said for the reel and line. I realised that this was possibly the rod lost in June and took it to Vic, our bailiff. Sadly the owner has never been seen since the loss and to my knowledge has not been back since, maybe he gave up fishing, who knows.

Sadly this is not the end of the story as in February 2010 the clubhouse received a nocturnal visit from the ungodly, who ransacked the premises and broke into Vic's store room stealing whatever they could find. Unfortunately this included the luckless 'Excalibur' Sage. Clearly the miscreant who committed this act did not possess the morals or noble intentions of Sir Bedivere as he did not return Excalibur to the lake.

Editor’s Note. Did you know that Hastings Flyfishers is full of interesting and unassuming Club members. Well, among the Honorary Freemen of the City of London are such notables as Pitt the Younger, Nelson, Wellington, David Livingstone, Florence Nightingale, Baden Powell, Winston Churchill and Bernard Arthur Charles Meaden.


Thursday 16th May 2013


An hour before the first sighting of the small Mayfly hatch by the willow, the latest delivery of rainbows arrived. This batch should settle in nicely before the first Mayfly really get going, which we anticipate could be as soon as this weekend. The reservoir is bursting with fish which are reported to be feeding on a variety of creatures. One angler stated that a fish he spooned yesterday turned out to be full of daphnia. Isn't it still too cold for daphnia to be around in any quantity? Anyhow, once the Mayfly hatch increases the fish will soon concentrate on this nutritious food.

The latest fish delivery, from Bibury Fish Farm, arrived late and we were getting concerned that something had gone wrong. However, the fish finally arrived in sparkling condition having been late leaving the farm. Once in the reservoir they could be seen going in all directions at quite a pace, as they were 'topping' as they went along.

A new delivery driver had to be persuaded that his heavy tanker lorry would not sink into the dam. As the dam has withstood all the traffic that it has been subjected to since it was completed in 1932, we assured him that it would take the weight of anything that can get through the gate. However, the large lorry only just got through the gate with inches to spare. If he had known how many rabbits have their homes in the back slope of the dam, he would have have had reason to be concerned. Last year a group of men employed by Southern Water came with spades and filled in the rabbit holes, presumably because of concerns that the dam was being weakened. I am not sure what they thought that this exercise would achieve, but guess how long it took the rabbits to dig themselves back out!!!

Now that Mayfly are making an appearance at last, we can only hope that the weather conditions do not spoil our enjoyment of what we hope will turn out to be as good a hatch as we had last year. So now is the time to get organised and make your final arrangements to visit the best Mayfly water in the South East.


Wednesday 15th May 2013


Club member, Martin Brignall, while fishing from the dam, thought that he saw a mayfly emerge from the water last Monday. A noisy crowd were sitting next to him, making a nuisance of themselves. These included the Bailiff, Barry ‘the fishmonger’ Morgan and your ever-present reporter. At that exact moment, we were all distracted by the osprey circling high above the reservoir. Martin then began to wonder if he had imagined it.

However, after the fish delivery this afternoon, the Bailiff and ‘the fishmonger’ decided to wandered down to the jetty in order to abuse a couple of Club members who were in a boat off the willow tree. It transpired that Terry Beeching (famous for his imitation of a cuckoo) and his long-suffering regular boat partner, Bill Payne, had been witnessing a significant number of Mayfly taking to the air. In the water around the boat jetty there was also plenty of evidence of spent chucks. So the hatch as definitely started, but it’s still early days. So how far behind last year are we?


Wednesday 25th April 2012

While awaiting the latest delivery of fish this morning, the bailiff claims to have seen a lone mayfly struggling off the water at the far end of the dam.

Friday 4th May 2012

On Thursday the bailiff and his son, Lee, decided to have a few casts by the out-flow.... Vic then saw a fish rise in front of him so they both put on a dry mayfly. Vic’s first cast immediately elicited a take and he began to play the fish only to see Lee’s fly disappear as another rainbow rose. The battle to land the first fish of the season on a dry mayfly was on.

So Martin Brignall was probably not hallucinating on 13 May and his sighting corresponds to that of Vic’s on 25 April last year. An 18 day difference. However, the Bailiff could well catch on a dry Mayfly by the end of the week which would reduce the difference to about a fortnight. The criteria is that you must see fish rising to hatching Mayfly in order to claim to be the first and heaven forbid that you should succeed before the Bailiff


Friday 22nd June 2012

With mayflies still making an appearance, albeit in small numbers, there is still plenty of opportunity to see the elusive Hobby performing some amazing acrobatics ,as one or more of these beautiful birds hunt down the unfortunate mayfly.

We are now well into the second half of June, yet dry fly tactics are still proving successful and the favourite method for most regulars....

Given the late start this year, it will be interesting to see if the Mayfly hatch can continue into early July.


Tuesday 14th May 2013


I stated that when I left the reservoir on Friday, the four visiting fishermen on a day visit from Northern France look set to all catch their limit. Well, they did not quite manage it as three got their six fish limit but the fourth member of the group only managed four. Nevertheless, they all enjoyed the day and we look forward to their next visit.

We have more wild orchids in evidence this year especially in the area around the outflow at the far end of the dam. The trees have now greened up nicely and the reservoir is looking beautiful, especially when the sun is shining. A few of us were sitting on the dam this afternoon watching a crow harassing an osprey which was circling around the reservoir. At one point a couple of us insist that we saw a second osprey but the two did not seem to be together. There is always something to see around the reservoir at this time of year. If you do not see anything, you certainly cannot miss the frog chorus. They really are a noisy bunch with most of the din coming from the reed bed to the north of the boat jetty. However, if you venture down to the shallows at the far end of the west arm, you had better take some ear plugs as if the frogs are on form down there the noise is almost unbearable. Nature at its loudest!


I have been badgering John Keeling for some time to share his method of producing fish stock/soup. As far as I am aware, John is the only Club member who uses the waste parts of the trout to good effect. John, having eleven grandchildren, knows how important it is to be able to feed the five thousand with just a few loaves and fishes. He therefore appreciates how important it is not to waste a single morsel of food no matter how inedible it may appear. To this end, John cleans and fillets his fish then, instead of discarding the carcass he uses these remains to make a delicious soup which is perfect for freezing.

Click here to visit our Trout Recipes page.

FlyFishers Soup

John Keeling


Saturday 11th May 2013


We are already a third of the way through May and the weather is still unsettled with high winds now being the bane of life at the reservoir. So far, the best fish this month fell to Club member Chas Hards, who landed a 6lb 7oz rainbow on Bank Holiday Monday. He caught all his fish on a floating line using either a Dawl Bach or a Mayfly nymph.

Although so far this season, all the bigger fish have been caught by Club members, I am pleased to note that the last 30 visiting anglers have all caught fish and that no visitor has blanked this week.

Chas Hards

On Friday we had the pleasure of welcoming four of our friends from the other side of water in Northern France. Fishing from two boats, they all caught fish in the morning and, being French, they then took time to return to dry land to have a convivial lunch with an excellent bottle of wine. They continued to catch in the afternoon, but I left before they finally returned. However, they all looked set to catch their limit, before having to face the long journey back home. It is always a delight to meet our Continental cousins and we really do look forward to welcoming them back soon. They are all so nice! Thanks again for the bottle of cider (made by the brother of one of the anglers) which I hope to enjoy this weekend.

The French Invasion

Following his success last Tuesday, Bernie Meaden took to the water again on Friday in the hope of repeating his success. Fishing from a boat in the same general area as previously, he caught the first two from the right-hand side of the bay facing the dam at the north end of the reservoir. The next two were captured down the narrow eastern arm and the final two came from the deep water to the north of the third cut-out. Bernie was using a fairly slow sinking intermediate line and caught the fish using a damsel and a silver Invicta.

Bernie Meaden


Friday 10th May 2013


On Wednesday, for the second time this year, the fish from Hooke Springs were delivered by Steve (see photo) rather than Alan, our usual delivery driver. Steve is a very experienced aqua culturist and was previously at Chalk Springs. At Hooke Springs he is primarily engaged in their breeding and early rearing program. His knowledge and views relating to this aspect of the business are very interesting and enlightening. I was reassured to hear he does not subscribe to the belief that blues fight harder than rainbows as, although some of our members and many others may disagree, we have no hard evidence to support this assumption. As Steve says, they are identical fish under the skin.

However, I do believe that a triploid (infertile) trout seems to be less aggressive than a diploid (fertile) trout (pound for pound). However, the Environment Agency clearly states that "Investigations by the Game Conservancy Trust revealed no significant difference in performance between triploid and diploid trout" and as if to further give weight to this view they state that "The use of triploid brown trout in fisheries is increasing voluntarily". Of course it is, triploids grow faster and are therefore much cheaper to buy. However, read on.....

Did you know that by 2015 brown trout capable of reproducing will not be able to be supplied, in order to safeguard the purity of the master race (oops sorry, I mean the potential purity of the resident population). There does not even seem to be a suggestion that we at Powdermill would be allowed to take native fish from our stream-fed reservoir and have them artificially reared and raised and returned to the water, as somewhere along the line they could be defiled! A casual wander around the internet only serves to further alarm me and I was particularly interested to note that what we need is "State control of wild broodstock and egg production" to safeguard the "evolutionary potential of the species". Can I hear the sound of marching jackboots along the dam?

Do you have a view?

Mr & Mrs Brignall



Last Tuesday was a bright pleasant day with a very light breeze or a relatively flat calm. A lovely day to be out on the water or on the bank. Most people caught fish, but the majority of these were taken during a brief ninety minutes from about 11.30am until about 1pm, when they appeared to 'switch-off' again for no apparent reason. Club Member, Martin Brignall, very rarely goes home empty handed but on this occasion, having arrived in the early afternoon, failed to get a touch. Martin is a stoical angler and will keep going irrespective of conditions but on this occasion nothing worked.

Fishing from a boat Club member Bernie Meaden was the only angler to manage to catch his limit. Bernie managed to land four fish from near the reeds in the north bay, before they 'switched off'. Having subsequently not had a touch, he moved to deep water to the north of the third cut-out which is not far away from where he was. Fishing with an intermediate line, having still had no takes, he cast out and decided to pour a drink from his flask. It took longer than expected to find his flask and pour his drink by which time the line had sunk to the bottom. Soon after he started to retrieve he hooked a fish which he estimated was about 25ft deep. He continued to fish at this depth and soon had another. Virtually everyone else were using floating lines and not fishing very deep, as lately most fish have been taken relatively near to the surface and this day had been no exception.

The weather conditions were perfect for our large head of rudd who were going around in small shoals, taking very small black or brown nondescript flies off the surface. A handful of these beautiful fish were hooked by lucky anglers using minute flies.

The weather conditions are so varied at present that it is impossible to predict what will happen from one hour to the next, let alone over a period of a few days. Wednesday was a prime example with only two hardy souls venturing out in the morning in the strong wind and driving fine rain. Others had subsequently arrived, taken a brief look and departed. By midday it was glorious and the two anglers were lunching in the warm sunshine, sat outside on one of the new picnic tables, with a good bottle of wine and smiles on their faces.

Bernie Meaden


Wednesday 8th May 2013


Steven Stern has sent us yet another of his favourite fish recipes. This recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey’s “Far Eastern Cookery” and works well with trout. Steven has gained an enviable reputation among a select group of Club members for his unusual and tasty cakes, which regularly appear in the lodge but never stay around long. I had never tasted his highly praised Guinness Cake as it’s the Bailiff’s favourite. This weekend another Guinness Cake arrived and the Bailiff, realising that I was going to miss out yet again and feeling sorry for me, saved me a small slither. It proved to be just as good as everyone said.

Click here to visit our Trout Recipes page.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Grilled Whole Fish Sour and Spicy  from Far Eastern Cookery


Monday 6th May 2013


Peter Last sent us some photos taken at the reservoir on 20th April.

The photos included a couple of his son William aged 8, fishing with his uncle Paul Last. Peter and his brother Paul both fished from about the same age as young William, and are both still very much in love with the sport. The brothers were both born in Mountfield and lived right next to Darwell Reservoir, in the days when Hastings Flyfishers had the fishing rights there. They admit to spending pretty much all of their entire childhood at Darwell as their father paid for both boys to be Club members.

The other angler, seen netting a fish, is a friend of theirs, Andrew Golding from Ore.

They arrived just after 2pm on the Saturday and only fished until about 5pm. Paul caught his four fish limit and Andy caught three. Andy lost a nice fish estimated at around 4lb, the fly just pinged out as he was landing it and the fish just turned and swam away.

Andy was using an intermediate line and Paul was using a Sink Tip both had long leaders. Both were catching on a little nymph with a red tail, and it seemed to them that the red was the attraction as both had slightly different flies, but felt that they were still catching because of the red.

Peter stated that the weather was quite nice but there was a stiff gusty breeze blowing into the dam which limited casting distance.


Our favourite cake maker, Dr. Steven Stern, having been given a couple of 'the old boys' smoked fillets, decide to make some Smoked Trout Pâté last week. Being a bit of a fan of Felicity Cloake's weekly reviews in the Guardian newspaper, in which she seeks to find the best version of standard recipes, he decided to use the recipe for smoked mackerel pâté. This apparently works just as well with Smoked Trout.

Click here to visit our Trout Recipes page.

Smoked Trout Pâté


Friday 3rd May 2013


It was cold enough to light the wood burner in the lodge this morning. The wind is stronger today but the hardy souls who ventured out were all catching fish. Our reporter decided to leave the lodge early for a change, but not before Colin Fagg, probably our most regular visitor, strolled into the lodge to weigh-in yet another limit bag. Fishing from a boat, adjacent to the first cut-out, but casting away from the bank, he caught them all on his version of a bloodworm. Although I have not seen his successful bloodworm, I understand that it is a bit of a monstrosity. Although Colin was using an intermediate line he stated that the fish were not very deep.

If only the weather would match the quality of the fishing on offer we would all be happy fly fishers. We can only hope that the Bank holiday weekend is more settled and that next week heralds the start of some really decent fishing weather.

The saga of the dying battery, which resulted in the wheelie boat ending up on the dam last Wednesday, has today been finally resolved to everyone's satisfaction. The 'Spanish Inquisition', a somewhat biased combination of Prosecutors, Judges and Jury members convened in the morning. Despite their efforts to prove conclusively that it was either the fault of the incompetent ship's 'Captain' or the slap-dash Bailiff, they finally had to grudgingly agree that they were probably both "Not Guilty" on this occasion.

The Bailiff assured the court that the battery had been put on charge and that he remembers hearing the charger 'humming'. The much maligned 'Captain' insisted that the battery was not sufficiently charged and that a responsible person would have looked at the dial on the ancient charger to further ensure that power was actually flowing into the battery. This potentially acrimonious situation was finally resolved when it was established that, at some point, the fuse in the charger had blown. It was concluded that this had probably occurred sometime after the Bailiff put it on, thus excusing him of any blame. However, with it being proved that the battery had almost certainly lacked sufficient power to drive the over-laden boat, especially given the high winds, the 'Captain's' plea was also accepted and he too was exonerated without a stain on his character. Indeed, the jury also commended the 'Captain's' refusal to abandon ship and praised his efforts to save the vessel and its precious cargo.

No significant maintenance work will take place during the Bank Holiday weekend in order to ensure total peace around the reservoir. So, weather permitting, you will be able to enjoy some outstanding fishing in idyllic surroundings.


The fishing statistics for April have been updated. Visit the Fishing Statistics page for more information.


Thursday 2nd May 2013


Although the fishing was good on Wednesday, the weather forecasters got it wrong again by assuring us the wind would be very light. As the day progressed, the wind got stronger and colder and some anglers sitting on the dam, fishing into the wind, apparently gave up due mainly to the cold, despite catching fish.

However, in general, the weather is getting warmer and, not only has this encouraged more anglers to come and enjoy the excellent fishing, but has stimulated us to get on with outstanding jobs.

Vic Clearing The Area In Front Of The Reed Bed

In addition to the stump grinding, tree felling and pruning which has taken place over the past two days in the three cut-outs, we have finally got round to other long overdue jobs.

The felting of the log store roof turned out to be a precision exercise, with Tim Stacey insisting that his masterpiece be felted with the same care and attention that he put into the construction of the edifice. I did not realise just how accurate one has to be when ‘slapping’ on a bit of felt, but if you’re a professional, only perfection will do.

Tim Felting The Log Store

We have also made a start on clearing the area between the wall in front of the lodge and the reed bed which was beginning to get out of control. The area below the wall in front of the lodge would appear to be marshy soil, but just a few inches below the surface it is solid concrete.

As you should all be aware, boat anglers should not go nearer to the dam than the marker buoys. Last year we placed these too far away from the dam. A year later, our efforts to move the marker buoys have only been partially successful. We (the bailiff and his eldest son), with great difficulty, managed to eventually free the first three markers attached to weights stuck in the muddy bottom and tow them nearer to the dam. The fourth marker (nearest the tower) steadfastly refused to move. During the entire process, it was all I could do to hold the camera steady. This was due to my shaking with laughter as they nearly went overboard on a number of occasions during the protracted exercise. Despite our efforts, when we came to admire the results of our labours, we realised that they were still a little too far away from the dam, but they will do. Please give anglers on the dam plenty of room by not letting your boat go inside the buoys.

The two furthest cut-outs will now be levelled and strimmed with the intention of creating an idyllic fishing environment with plenty of room for your back-cast. We hope to eventually create a ‘lawn with flowers' similar to that which is gradually evolving on the east bank. The wild flowers that are naturally colonising the east bank are a real delight and make all the efforts of Club members to help clear it over the years well worthwhile. The flora in the cut-outs is likely to be even more spectacular due to the excellent soil quality and sheltered environment.

Moving The Marker Buoys

Unfortunately, while sailing back from the cut-outs with the stump grinder on board, the battery began to run out of power and the strengthening wind began to blow us towards the dam. Despite the captain’s efforts we finally came to rest on the dam. The terrified Tree Surgeon was only too pleased to be afforded this opportunity to abandon ship. As did Flea, the dog! Despite unloading all the equipment (apart from the valuable stump grinder) the boat still could not get off the dam. A new battery arrived and with the bailiff franticly pushing with a pole, the gallant ‘captain’ finally managed to limp into port, only to run aground due to the excessive weight of the grinder. What we need is a plimsoll line! Fortunately, your reporter was unable to take photos of this farce as he was the unfortunate ‘captain’ and, anyway, the camera had been unloaded with the rest of the gear. Every ounce counts! Why did the first battery fail? That’s another embarrassing story best not gone into, lest you think that we are all a bunch of idiots. Come to think of it, the evidence is overwhelming!

Stump Grinder

The day was not a complete sequence of disasters and misery for me, as I took a short time off from cutting branches to explore along the north- east arm with my new pal, Flea, who delighted in running along all the trees which had fallen into the water. This is the first time that I have seen this section of water from the bank and I can assure you that it will never be fishable from dry land but is well worthwhile exploring by boat. Some good catches have come from here over the years, yet most boat anglers never go there.

In my opinion, the fishing is now as good as it gets, but I appreciate that the weather can still be a little unpredictable. Hopefully, the coming Bank Holiday will see some pleasant weather which will encourage you to visit the reservoir. After all, it is looking greener as each day goes by and really is stunningly beautiful. Combine the scenery with superb fishing and you have the perfect way to spend a day in paradise.

Flea, The Tree Surgeon's Dog


Wednesday 1st May 2013


We could bore you with more glowing references to the superb fishing currently being experienced by almost everyone who has fished in recent days. Mr Took is the latest Club member to report the loss of a monster fish. Not a man to exaggerate and, like John Noble before him, another highly experienced and respected angler so yet again his claim has to be taken seriously. Will anyone ever land one?

Sadly there is always a good reason why some of us are too preoccupied to be able to cast a fly and this week is proving to be no exception.

Each year the east bank at the far end of the dam gets more like a pleasant grassy bank. But once upon a time it was unfishable, being covered in trees and bushes. A great deal of effort by Club members (when they were younger) resulted in what we see today. However, after the bank had been cleared, each year nature tried to reinstate the woodland as the tree stumps attempted to re-grow. The only long term solution was to remove the remainder of the tree stumps. Such was the success of the project that, this year, having got fed up of the constant annual battle against nature in the three cut-outs, we have once again called in our favourite tree surgeon complete with stump grinder.

The only way to get the machine over to the cut-outs was by boat and we were not certain if we could succeed in this endeavour. Somehow, your intrepid reporter (and on this occasion 'Intrepid' is an apt description) found himself in charge of setting sail in an overloaded vessel, complete with a nervous tree surgeon and his demented dog, who had to be restrained from leaping into the water (the dog, not the tree surgeon). However, the trip there and back proved to be much easier than expected.

After a hard days toil in the third cut-out your weary reporter, not used to such exertions, was glad to get back to laying on the sofa writing up this latest news. Unfortunately, we have to do it all again tomorrow in the other two cut-outs. Life at the reservoir is all go!

So where was Tim Stacey during all these goings-on? We have the photos Tim. What's it worth?


Tuesday 30th April 2013


Having reached the grand old age of? Let's not go there but needless to say whenever I rowed on Powdermill reservoir I always treated it as the Oxford and Cambridge boat race, I just gave it full thrust and at the end of the day my arms were hanging out of their sockets having rowed at least twice the length of the reservoir often into a head wind. The following day would be even worse and thus no fishing for a few days.

I always looked longingly at the anglers, who with a twist of the handle cruised sedately up the lake with such ease and often more annoyingly, into the spot I was headed to fish.

Bite the bullet as they say and buy an electric outboard motor.

What, where, how and which? How often have I bought an article only to find cheap is definitely not best, too expensive is not always the answer etc. etc.

My first port of call was through John to put some feelers out to the inner sanctum, (the lodge,  no,  the Fishing lodge to get some feedback.) All that I got was don't go less than 55lbs. I didn't know they were that heavy. Google was the answer after reading a few reviews it became apparent that 55lbs referred to the thrust of the motor through the water and this poundage was the equivalent so many horse power per poundage, don't even go down this line. There are so many ponderables, how heavy is the boat? Is the motor at full thrust? How deep is the prop. What type of prop, (mine came with a two fin prop and a spare three pin prop, which to use?)

It appears that you can equate to 20-25lbs as 1HP or 55lbs to 1HP depending on which web site you read, just remember nothing less than 55lbs. I know there will be many others that will say they find 35lbs adequate I will not disagree with anyone on anything, please write your own articles.

I then spent a few weeks getting totally lost as to which brand and which site to choose.

I eventually came up the Bison outboard motor through Fishingmad, with a 62lbs thrust, it's a new motor on the market for Bison which appears to me one of the two more reliable makes for  outboards. A 55lbs is about £139 and for an extra £10, I was able to buy the 62lb version at £149.

It came within a day.

Now, which battery? Back to the inner sanctum. Out came the answer you must have nothing less than an 110amp leisure battery, what is a Leisure battery I asked myself? It is in fact a deep cycle battery, still none the wiser, digging deeper it is a battery with larger lead plates to hold the charge longer, I won't go any deeper all I needed to know was that I needed an 110amp leisure battery.

Thank goodness for Google and the internet.

Within seconds I came up with an offer of one from Advanced batteries, they have offers now and then. Most can be up to £100, they had a REAL heavy duty battery on offer at £75. It does weigh a little more than most but there are usually strapping guys who are lithe and slim, (that's you Vic) who I am sure would help the less able to pass it in to the boat.

This also came within a day. The Bison outboard came with a carrying cover/case and as mentioned a spare prop. The two blade is apparently a weed cutter.

Also needed is a trickle charge battery charger, this is one that will switch itself off and on while charging in your shed/garage and not blow the plates when it reaches full charge, also a sack trolley or two wheeled luggage carrier. I already had a sack trolley which when loaded carries everything, bags coats etc. easily to the jetty.

The moment of truth.

My first day out was windy wet and testing. I thought, we'll go for the Full Monty and try the large whaler which is boat number nine. Like a good red wine, full bodied with some belly in it. Yes it is a bit of a faff loading the boat and setting up, but no longer than five minutes, there appears to be no maintenance to the outboard and you just clip the pos/neg to the battery terminals.

A couple of tips from Vic which were;
  • 1. Don't open the throttle too quickly as this will strip the gearing, just be gentle with it and certainly don't put it from forward to reverse quickly as this will also strip the inside, let the prop stop turning and make your manoeuvre.

  • 2. Put some Vaseline on the terminals this has been quite a good tip especially as every time I've been out it has rained. All the Vaseline disappeared after a few trips which requires a touch up.

From the word go it was bow up and the boat was planing, so powerful that I have to keep it off full throttle and this is the boat that is the largest in our fleet. Very responsive, it also has a dial on the top of the housing which lets me know how much battery charge I have left and also how much is being used as I open the throttle.

So far the battery charge doesn't drop at all having been up and down and around the lake twice. I make a habit of unclipping one of the terminals when I am fishing in case I nudged the handle and it kicked in to power. I used the two fin blade for several trips and found there was a little bit of a vibration when going at full throttle, I have now changed this to the three fin blade and it has settled down admirably, I am more than pleased with my choice of combination.

I have since used it on boat No 1 which one of the smallest boats in our fleet and found it more than powerful and prefer to use it on a larger vessel.

These are only my own personal views I would welcome any feedback from other users of electric outboards.

I have now lost a whole hour's fishing time as Mr. Thackray has refused to let me out until I wrote this article.

The reservoir appears to be kicking off with some fine catches this week and I guess unless I book a boat ahead of time I will be bank fishing.

Oh how I love my new motor, I can now fish two days on the trot without those aching arms.

David Nicholls,
(AKA Kenny R and many other things)

Editor’s Note. Having witnessed the bow lifting off the water as the boat aquaplaned across the reservoir (Donald Campbell would have been impressed), we are now likely to have to invest in speed restriction signs or the ensuing wash could well swamp the poor souls fishing from the dam.

Also having attempted to lift the battery I can confirm that it is indeed not only very heavy but about half the size again of what I know as a leisure battery. It’s a real beast of a battery. Sadly, there is no longer the financial incentive to take the trouble to get fags and booze from across the Channel, as it certainly should have the staying power to get us there and back on a single charge.

Time will tell if the setup proves reliable, but I have to admit that if I were to get off my backside, leave the comfort of the Clubhouse, and venture out onto the water a little more often, I would be investing in this super outboard motor. However, I would probably opt for a ‘standard’ leisure battery which is significantly lighter (important for a wimp like me) and, being a bit of a cheapskate, costs only £57 from Battery Megastore (as currently used to power our Wheelie boat).

On the other hand, if I am going to beat Dave to the latest ‘hotspot’ maybe I had better invest in one with an AH230 rating - whatever that means!

Finally, I should point out that although I was apparently responsible for making him arrive late today, this did not stop ‘Kenny’ catching his six fish limit.

Thanks David.


Friday 26th April 2013


The fishing from both bank and boat continues to be superb. In the past week, a number of anglers have reported being smashed by an unstoppable fish. This included John Noble, one of our very experienced and respected Club members. We can assure everyone that this is unlikely to be the same monster fish, unless it's carrying out a lone vendetta against those anglers catching its younger brothers. I have already been told by a Club member that he would rather catch six 2lb fish than this monster. Why not settle for one monster and five 2lb fish? Lest we forget, before you all start moaning, I am pleased to give you a salutary reminder of how it used to be. Note the photo of a younger John Noble with a prize capture back in the winter of 2005; not so long ago. If you caught one like this today you would be complaining that it didn't put up much of a fight and want your money back! How times have changed. So if a big fish takes your fly, treat it with respect if you want any chance of landing it and enjoy the experience and excitement.

John Noble in the winter of 2005

On the subject of size, it is surprising how many fish are being lost at the net. There seems to be an aversion among fly fishermen to using a decent size net. On Tuesday, we used my boat partner's net which was a prime example. The number of times the question was asked "have you got him" with the response B*******, as off it went again. I was told today by a visitor that his pal lost a very big fish at the net as the fish was too big for him to easily manoeuvre it into the net. The line somehow got caught in the metal part of the frame and it was gone. This is one instance when we should all agree that size is important.

Martin Brignall and Barry Morgan

Visitors expecting to be greeted by the Bailiff's two pet geese are expressing concern at their absence. I can assure you that he has not devoured them. Mum is sitting on eight eggs and Dad is standing guard. For those of you that pass through Sedlescombe on your way to the reservoir, you will note that the six geese that frequent the village green have five chicks in tow. Be careful as they have priority on the road.

Having taken care on the road through the village, please take even more care along the lanes leading to the reservoir. The lanes are far busier than they used to be with Sat-Nav's taking drivers down the narrow twisty roads between Brede and Sedlescombe, mostly at speeds normally associated with rallying. I even got forced off the road by a police car last week and have the scratches down the side of my car to prove it. Luckily for them they were going too fast for me to get their number. In addition, look out for potholes. The Bailiff's son, Lee, smashed a wheel in one this week. He was not a happy man. I suspect that he was driving too fast, but he's a bit big for me to suggest that to his face! However, having taken care and arrived safely, those of you who have not been before will be rewarded by finding the most beautiful and secluded reservoir surrounded by gorgeous scenery. If that wasn't enough, you are guaranteed a very warm welcome and hopefully some superb fishing.


Tuesday 23rd April 2013


Boat and Bank anglers are now experiencing excellent sport with catch limits being the norm. Just look at the returns book.

For those who want total peace and quiet in relative isolation, there is lots of choice if taking a boat. The excellent bank fishing means that it is not essential to go off in a boat to find the fish. However, if you do, you will not have to put up with lots of other boats and you can get completely away on your own, and still find fish as they are now all over the reservoir. The west arm is now fishing well, and you can find fish right down to the shallows at the far end. For something really different try the east arm, as few people realise that the best 6-fish bag ever caught came from here. The bay directly opposite the dam is a popular and very productive spot. But there is nothing better and more satisfying than using your own feelings and finding your own hotspot.

Try not to look too closely at what others have been using and try what fly you feel is best for the conditions. Now is the time to experiment.


Thursday 18th April 2013


The odd shower does not deter our Club members and a few of them arrived early yesterday prepared for the worst. Sadly, only one visitor came yesterday morning, but he enjoyed some excellent fishing. The fish proved to be all along the dam. Martin Brignall, having finished lambing on Romney Marsh, took time off yesterday. He took up his favourite position on the point of the dam, halfway along. Proving to everyone that the fish were not just at the far end of the dam, he was soon into a good fish. Barry 'the fishmonger' Morgan, sitting nearer the clubhouse, on the next platform to Martin, soon came in after catching three fish, mindful that last year he took his 120 fish limit long before the end of the season and had to pay extra to catch more fish.

Only two boat anglers took to the water today. Geff Pilcher did not row far and attached his boat to the first buoy near the reed bed, between the jetty and the clubhouse. At some point during his regular Wednesday fishing appearances he will try this location, as he has had many fish from this spot over the years. Yesterday was no exception. In the other boat, Don Burt rowed off and soon disappeared down the west arm, towards the area which had previously been reported as being cloudy. He had not returned by the time that I had left, so he was almost certainly into fish as he will not stay anywhere for long if he’s not catching.

Everyone else had caught fish by midday, which was when your hard pressed reporter decided to depart with his meagre share of the first of the season's smoked trout. The good news is that Alec Chisholm has at last been given a 'proper' smoker. After a great deal of confusion and a certain amount of disagreement, we finally assembled and got it working. It helps if you read the instructions. The results were amazing as, unlike the previous model (the dreaded four-drawer filing cabinet), once in operation this one needs virtually no human involvement. We were therefore able to retire to the warmth of the clubhouse for a well earned coffee while the smoking process continued apace. Twenty minutes later, we had perfectly cooked oak smoked trout fillets. My colleagues assure me that it is not necessary to wash your hands as hot smoking kills all germs. Yummy!

New picnic benches are our latest extravagance. The old tables originally were at Darwell Reservoir and were moved to Powdermill when Darwell closed as a trout water. So they have given good service and, even now, still have one more task to perform. They are destined to be chopped up and used as kindling for the wood burner.

Hopefully, with fine weather expected this weekend, we will see more visitors as, at long last, the fishing is consistently good. So, ignore any pessimistic weather forecasts, risk the outside chance of an odd April shower, and enjoy some really good fishing.


Wednesday 17th April 2013


Some more superb fish arrived today from Bibury Fish Farm. As usual, they were delivered by Ian who, because of the soft ground by the Clubhouse, took them up Southern Water's access road to the east side of the dam, by the tower. That is nothing special, but Ian then managed to reverse the vehicle and trailer onto the actual dam and, after unloading the fish, went straight round and proceeded to go forward back down the track. He is the first driver ever to do this, rather than just parking at the top and then having to reverse back down the hill. We were impressed.

Ian from Bibury

Fish from Bibury

Colin Fagg

As we keep telling you, with every delivery the fish stocks increase. Although the fishing is now reasonably good, weather conditions are still keeping anglers away in any numbers and those that do fish do not survive the cold winds for very long. However those of you who can withstand the discomfort or happen to pick a pleasant day can do well.

Regular visitor, Colin Fagg, always goes out in a boat and rarely returns without catching his limit. His first trip this year was no different, with his six fish weighing a total of 12lb 7ozs and the heaviest tipping the scales at 3lb 6ozs. They were all caught on a bloodworm pattern, presumably having seen that Jack Russell also caught his 6lb 5½oz fish the previous day on a bloodworm pattern. Jack, however, was bank fishing, and hooked the fish at the far end of the east bank by the inlet. Norman Harle's 7lb rainbow, caught on opening day also came from the same area as he was fishing from the first cut-out on the opposite bank. Maybe more bank anglers should try this area rather than become obsessed with fishing around the outlet or at the east end of the dam.

J. M. E. Took books

Club member J M E Took, undeterred by Tuesday's cold wind, was the only angler to go out in a boat and, after trying a couple of places, found fish along the bushes by the second and third cut-outs. Lots of missed takes and two fish later he was 'on a roll' and confidently heading for a limit bag when his phone rang. A problem with the flow of fuel from the oil tank at home meant that he had to grudgingly abandon his hot-spot and head back to shore. So another misleading return, but not for the usual reason. You would think that the author of the highly regarded books "Birds of Cyprus" (1992) and "Common Birds of Cyprus" (1973) would favour warmer conditions, but HFF Club members are a hardy and stoic lot!

The growing number of flies listed in the returns book just shows how accommodating the fish can be once you locate them. Various colours and styles of Damsel, Buzzer, Montana, Daiwl Bach, etc. etc., not to mention bloodworms all make an appearance.

My plans to venture out this week have been put on hold due to the continued inclement weather. So not all HFF Club members are totally insane; some are just cowards!


Tuesday 16th April 2013


Monday morning’s warm sunshine was a pleasant surprise and it was great to see plenty of vehicles in the car park for a change. The fishing was also pretty good in the morning, but by midday it had turned cloudier and by early afternoon anglers began to feel the cold. The fishing, which began so well, also got progressively harder as it got colder. Although fish were being caught all along the dam in the morning, the easiest fishing was still at the far end, opposite the tower.

In The Sunshine

The most productive area for boat anglers has been along the bank to the north of the willow tree. Cast close to the bushes. The bay at the north end of the reservoir between the two arms is also a good bet.

It Can Still Be Cold Outside

The recent rain seems to have clouded the water at the far end of the west arm, where there has obviously been a lot of run-off from the surrounding sloping land. The few boat anglers who has taken the trouble to go down there report that there are obviously fish around, but takes are not forthcoming in the cloudier water.

Our weather forecast suggests that we are still not into what we would describe as pleasant, settled weather (see our Home page and in more detail on our weather page). The wind looks like being the key factor during the rest of the week. It should continue to blow from the south (good for fishing from the dam), but is supposed to come from the north by Friday. The BBC’s “Countryfile” weather forecast predicted plenty of rain all week but we are much less pessimistic in this respect. Countryfile weather forecasts are treated as gospel by our predominantly rural Club members so it will be interesting to see who is right on this occasion.

The only certainty at the moment is that the warmer it is, the better the fishing seems to be.


Monday 15th April 2013

Jack Russell


News has filtered through to me that Club member Jack Russell, known for his pessimistic outlook and perpetual complaining, has apparently got something to smile about at long last. My spies tell me that last Friday he managed to bag one of the bigger fish on what I think was his first fly fishing trip this season. We hope to bring you the full story in the next couple of days.


One morning last week, I watched in amazement, and with a certain amount of pride and satisfaction, an event unlikely to be seen elsewhere. From the comfort of the lodge, I observed the angler fishing beside the outflow move away, having caught his six fish. The four other anglers also fishing the far end of the dam, in the next four positions, all proceeded to move along one place, in a relaxed and orderly manner. Now, I do not wish to appear to be xenophobic, but I do wonder what our Continental cousins would do in similar circumstances. How many would be trampled underfoot or pushed into the reservoir in the rush to secure the prime spot. For once it made me proud to be British.


Friday 12th April 2013


We are pleased to see that all our visitors so far this week have caught fish and therefore you should now consider yourself unlucky if you do not get your limit.

However, we have to admit that two wretched Club members somehow failed to catch fish this week. Admittedly neither fished for long, but that's no excuse. We will not embarrass them by naming and shaming, but this really was surprising as we are not exaggerating when we say that the fishing really is good at last, after five weeks of freezing misery.

Thursday's fish delivery has further increase stocks and, with fish continuing to arrive each week, we hope that the excellent fishing will continue. We also hope that continued warmer weather will encourage more visitors to come, in the knowledge that the fish are finally behaving as they should do at this time of year and that they will not freeze to death!.

Bank fishermen have tended to stick to the dam with the eastern end being more productive. During the previous few weeks, the wind was regularly blowing into the eastern corner of the dam by the tower. This combined with food being drawn towards the outflow, has resulted in the area on each side of the outflow proving to be a bit of a hot spot. Few anglers have fished the far east bank but this should be worth trying if the wind is from the south east.

Boat anglers were struggling to find fish in any numbers, but there are now indications that the west bank to the north of the willow could be the place to be. Cast as close to the bushes and weeds as you dare as the fish are often very close in. We still have had very few boats out so there is still plenty of opportunity to explore un-fished areas.

The bailiff and I have separately promised Alec Chisholm that we would accompany him in the wheelie boat next week if the warmer weather continues. Alec and I never stay in one place for long, even if we catch fish, and we will invariably cover most parts of the reservoir. However, the bailiffs first boat fishing expedition of the season is almost guaranteed to find the best areas to try this season. It is strange that each year its different.

Despite what many visitors would expect to use, our Club members continue to favour floating lines for both bank and boat fishing. Remember that the deepest part is only about 30ft. The bailiff only possesses floating lines. A wide variety of flies are now proving successful. You need to refer to the catch book if you want to know what the latest successful fly is that others have been using.


Wednesday 10th April 2013


An article on Powdermill reservoir is due to appear in the June 2013 issue of FlyFishing & FlyTying Magazine. This should be available on 15th May in all good newsagents (and probably some bad ones), not to mention supermarkets where the vast majority of magazines are now sold. Despite being a mere £3.40 for this glossy, high quality magazine, I expect the majority of our cost conscious Club members to read the article while 'browsing' through the magazines on offer at their retailer of choice.

We have no prior knowledge as to what the article will contain so we await its publication with a certain amount of interest.


Friday 5th April 2013


Don Burt modelling the 'Hardwear' Jacket and Trousers.

With the continuing cold weather, it is important that anyone who insists on venturing out onto the water, or even fishes from the bank, keeps sufficiently warm and dry. Exposed faces and hands are particularly difficult to protect, but there is no excuse for not keeping the rest of you as comfortable as possible.

Now, we have never reviewed a product before, let alone endorsed one, as no matter how good a product is said to be, other club members will invariably disagree. However, for the first time, we appear to have a consensus.

Last year, a Club member, Mick Coleman, purchased a jacket and trouser set from Fishtec by mail order made by Hardwear. He was so pleased with the quality, performance and price of the suit that his unequivocal praise tempted our bailiff, Vic Partridge, to also invest in one. Vic used his throughout the shooting season and was also very impressed, stating that despite the awful weather he never got cold or wet and despite the rough treatment it is still as good as new.

The apparent bargain sale price together with the glowing testimonials started a veritable stampede among Club members and, so far, we have eight members who have invested in this outfit, which is in danger of becoming de rigueur for all Club members.

Both the jacket and trousers have proved to be 100% waterproof and will keep you warm being fully fleece lined. Given Vic’s rough use of it, we can confirm that it has also proved to be hard wearing and resilient.

The deal breaker, however, is the price. The retailer claims that the RRP of either the Hardwear jacket or trousers is £79.99 (£159.98 for the set) yet they are offering the set for a mere £49.99; an apparent remarkable saving of £109.99. Despite my cynicism, I must admit that the asking price does appear to represent remarkable value and even I am tempted to invest. This is despite the fact that I never venture out unless conditions are perfect and that I already have more than enough fishing apparel. It’s never easy to resist a bargain!

Links to the Hardwear Trousers and Hardware Jacket.


Monday 1st April 2013


With temperatures not expected to exceed 5ºC and winds to continuing to come from the north-east at around 21mph, the outlook for the first week of April is fairly miserable. The only positive aspect of the weather forecast is that there is only a very small chance of rain on Wed/Thurs. However, it is the cold that has continued to keep visiting anglers away from all the trout waters in the South East, not just us. Nonetheless, we have suffered more than most, as we have not pretended that the fishing at Powdermill has been anything but dismal all month. Although the cloudy water continues to gradually clear, the fishing is still difficult and, with few anglers fishing for long before the cold beats them, the rod averages for March plunged to a record low. So, last month, only one of the larger fish, that we have stocked so far, has been caught. This fell to Club member Norman Harle on opening day and weighed exactly 7lb.

The current weather will undoubtedly influence when the mayfly start to hatch and we will not be surprised if it is considerably delayed this year. Last year, the bailiff took a trout on a dry mayfly on 3rd May, and although mayfly hatches continued to increase it was not until 22nd May that we experienced the most spectacular mayfly hatch in years, which continued on and off well into June. Maybe Big John, our resident tipster and bookie, had better open a book as this could be a very difficult year to predict when the first fish will fall to a dry mayfly.

On the positive side, by continuing with our planned stocking regime, fish stocks are now well in excess of the norm and there will come a time when weather conditions improve enough for anglers to take to the boats in sufficient numbers to find the fish, which, at the moment, do not seem to be along the dam in any numbers. Also the likelihood is that they are currently very deep and many anglers fishing Powdermill prefer to use only floating lines. I note that anglers at other waters are having success with boobies which are banned at Powdermill because of past 'abuse' by visiting anglers. There are many reasons to explain why life is difficult at the moment, but we will continue to remain optimistic.


The fishing statistics for March have been updated. Visit the Fishing Statistics page for more information.


Friday 29th March 2013


Despite the continued bitterly cold weather, we continue to receive fish deliveries as planned in the knowledge that one day the weather will improve and we can start fishing in earnest. This delivery contained more giant rainbows to add to those stocked last month. Hopefully, some lucky anglers are going to experience some real early season excitement when they hook one of these monsters.

At present, those anglers that brave the cold at Powdermill do not last long before they retreat to the warmth of the lodge. The Easter weekend looks like being just as miserable, so I make no apology for showing an action photo of the most popular current activity of crumpet toasting! To enhance the range of sporting activities available I am also pleased to announce that the dart board has finally been installed. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the camaraderie in the lodge whether you come to fish or just have a look around in preparation for when the weather improves.

Despite the landscape seeming still to be somewhat bleak there is plenty going on around the reservoir. The great crested Grebes can currently be seen on the water performing their elaborate courtship display. This involves a lot of beak-to-beak head shaking, and culminates in the birds raising themselves out of the water, breast to breast, by paddling very rapidly. The bad tempered and argumentative coots can be seen all along the dam as there are so few anglers trudging up and down it. The growing cormorant population is a cause for concern but, although they have been seen taking trout, we believe that they are mainly eating the coarse fish. It is very common to see Buzzards high above the reservoir even at this time of year. There is also plenty of evidence of the ground dwellers but most remain well hidden.

There used to be a large log adjacent to the reed bed at the west end of the dam on which frogs or grass snakes could regularly be found enjoying the summer sunshine. This rather precarious log has been replaced with an old fishing platform on which we expect to attract an even greater number of sun worshipers later in the year. So please do not think that it's been dumped there; it is there for a purpose. The platform has its own story to tell, having floated away a few years ago only to return this year to from whence it came.


All the supermarkets have recently been publishing trout recipes in their magazines as farmed trout is currently seen as a relatively cheap fish. ASDA have produced this recipe which uses fennel which is rich in Vitamin A and contains calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Having tried it your Hastings Flyfishers Chefs can confirm that this is a very flavoursome way of serving your trout.

Click here to visit our Trout Recipes page.

Trout with Fennel


Saturday 23rd March 2013

Brian McCarter


People have complained (well at least Brian McCarter commented that someone he knew had mentioned) that our 'Latest News' page has recently contained little information relating to the fishing and too much about other goings-on at the reservoir. Brian, quite correctly, stated that this is of no interest to anyone other than club members, the vast majority of whom have not got access to a computer let alone any idea of how to use one.

I wholeheartedly agree with Brian and humbly apologise for boring non club members with our internal squabbles, constant complaints and regular references to the log fire. Anyone would think that we have not been fishing! Well, the truth is that the vast majority of us have not been stupid enough to go out in the freezing cold, howling gales and torrential rain. Did anyone mention Snow?

So, for those of you who want to know what is happening regarding the fishing, the answer is -

That's not strictly true, as yet another delivery arrived yesterday and I can now honestly say that we now have more fish in the reservoir than ever before, as they keep going in and very little comes out. Others may claim that they have put millions of fish in their water, but...! I can also tell you that during the last weekend not a single angler went out to fish at Powdermill. Yet another record?

However, on Thursday, John Noble, who is known for his dogged determination, went out on his own to brave the elements and was eventually rewarded with five rainbows. The rest of us watched him, with mounting concern, from the warmth of the lodge (yes it's that fire again). Is Mr Noble insane? I leave you to make up your own mind, but in my view fishing should be a pleasurable occupation. What fly did he use? Who cares! Well ok, it was a Black Gnat.

John Noble

With yet more fish arriving next week, we can only look forward to some 'easy' fishing once the weather improves enough for us to get out there.

So the message to all our prospective visitors and members alike is by all means come and join us at the reservoir but, for the time being, leave your gear in the boot of the car and discover what a friendly and welcoming bunch we really are - especially if you have a need to moan about something or have extreme and controversial views and would like a sympathetic audience. I would not be surprised to arrive one day to find fellow anglers, having whipped themselves into a frenzy, erecting a gallows in the woods. The first to climb the steps are likely to be the members of the HFF board who are all apparently a bunch of incompetents who can do nothing right!!!!!

PS. No sooner did I state that the fish from Hooke Springs were sticking to the southern part of the reservoir than they decided to disappear completely. The fish from Bibury arrived and the delivery vehicle promptly got stuck in the mud. My fault apparently, but that's another story. The Bibury rainbows finally got into the water and went off in all directions so it is anyone’s guess where they will end up. They have slightly darker markings than those from Hooke Springs so I believe I will be able to tell the difference if anyone ever catches one.

PPS. For those of you who have pessimistic tendencies, you will not be surprised to note that I overheard a wise old lady, in Sedlescombe Doctor's Surgery on Tuesday, tell a companion that this miserable weather would be lasting until the end of April. I have an awful feeling that she could be right!

So that's the end of the latest FISHING news. I suggest that we revert to jollier subjects until the weather improves. Sorry Brian.


Monday 18th March 2013


Fish are being caught despite the slightly coloured water and the cold and wet conditions. However, not a single angler braved the miserable weather at the weekend. The only consolation was that it was even worse in Australia for the opening Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne, which was my excuse for staying home in the warm this weekend.

The water clarity continues to slowly improve. The bailiff went out this afternoon and put on one of the smallest black flies from his hat and promptly hooked a fish, so there is no problem with the fish seeing the fly. As long as there is little rain and run-off during the remainder of the week, the conditions will continue to get back to normal for this time of year. However, we do need some warmer weather as there is no pleasure in fishing in the current cold conditions. This time last year we were enjoying perfect fishing weather and catches to match. What a difference a year makes. At least the water authorities will have no reason to mention the dreaded word "drought". Our main concern this season has been how to get the tankers up to the reservoir in order to unload the new stocks which continue to arrive weekly despite the lack of people fishing.

This week we are receiving our first delivery of the season from Bibury Trout Farm based in the Cotswolds. It will be interesting to see if these fish act differently from previous deliveries from Hooke Springs which appear to have remained in the southern part of the reservoir and have yet to spread out.


Friday 15th March 2013


With the continued cold weather, the majority of 'old boys' are still loath to venture out onto the banks, let alone take to the water. Having turned their thoughts to other activities that we could do as a club and come up with few sensible or acceptable suggestions, they have fallen back on the familiar and least controversial activity to be suggested so far. Surprisingly, it requires little energy and enables them to remain in the warm.

So Cribbage it is! A jolly, friendly game of cards with no gambling involved. So everyone is happy. Fat chance! It was not long before the arguments and accusations began. Should it be a five or six card deal combined with a one or two card discard? What does and does not constitute a run/sequence during play? Why is Alec going back down the wrong side of the board? And so it went on.

I was so exhausted and tense, having spent all morning trying to mediate, that I could not be bothered to go out when the latest delivery of fish arrived. So you will be particularly pleased to note that I do not have any boring photos of yet another stocking which looks exactly the same as all the previous ones. I am going to have to instruct all involved to try an occasional change of clothing just so visitors to the website can see that we really do have more than one fish delivery!

I'm really looking forward to the second most popular suggestion - The Crazy Golf Tournament. Maybe we can involve the rest of the visitors to Hastings seafront and given that the participants will all be armed with offensive weapons, I am sure that it would not take much to get our local constabulary involved. Perhaps I had better forewarn my friends on the Hastings Observer as we could do with some more local publicity. After all, we are such a friendly club!


Social Secretary - Alec Chisholm

Wednesday 6th March 2013


Our recently appointed Social Secretary, Alec Chisholm, having cut his teeth on a Sussex v Kent fly fishing competition late last season, is keen to broaden the scope of our activities. Currently, club members either go fishing, sit outside watching the bird life or sit in the lodge drinking coffee and chewing the fat!

Apart from the very occasional angling match (3 last year) we are not very competition minded. The incredibly popular annual Club BBQ is the only event where family and friends are happy to come in any numbers – free food and drink being an impelling incentive.

While activities such as Fly tying would seem to be an obvious choice, the lodge is not really a suitable venue, being somewhat dark and lacking the right furniture. Bingo is not considered to be an appropriate pastime for the majority, who are content to postpone this activity until they move into their chosen care home. The installation of a dart board or shove ha’penny board have been suggested but we can enjoy these down the pub.

So Alec would like your suggestions as to what members and their families may like to do.

Click Here for the Latest Suggestions and to Leave Your Own


The geese have arrived. Apparently Vic has obtained a goose and a gander. Hopefully, the gander will be well behaved for a change and not go around terrorising unfortunate anglers. If we are really unlucky, the goose will eventually produce the start of a flock. Once they are allowed to roam around, watch out for the poo!


Tuesday 5th March 2013


Trout Gravadlax

Today is going to be sunny and dry with light winds blowing from the south-east making it perfect fishing weather. So come 5 o'clock this afternoon having spent a wonderful day with the rest of us cheery fishermen and you've reached your limit, what are you going to do with these marvellous specimens of trout you caught? Well, we have two new recipes for you to try out.

Click here to visit our Trout Recipes page.

Trout Gravadlax
Baked Trout with Shrimps & Potato Salad


Monday 4th March 2013


Do you remember the angry goose which used to terrorise anglers and attack his reflection on the side of your car? Do you remember the two geese that eventually made tasty dinners for the local foxes? Well, here we go again!

Yes, the bailiff is yet again eagerly awaiting the delivery of another two geese which could arrive at any time. We have no idea what sex they will turn out to be but he has already thought of a couple of names for them. We are hoping that he eventually adopts his second choice of SODOM and GOMORRAH. These names are ideally suited to the birds that some unscrupulous breeder always dumps on the bailiff. His geese invariably turn out to be the most irritable, vicious and objectionable birds. I have witnessed the more timid anglers among us fleeing from an angry goose perusing them across the car park. If only we could have a couple of well behaved geese such as the seven little angels that roam around The Green at Sedlescombe.

The Foxes Dinner - August 2008.

A number of other name combinations have been suggested, but knowing our luck S&G will undoubtedly prove the most appropriate. These are some of the more popular choices:

Bonnie & Clyde; Sugar & Spice; Calamity & Chaos; Sony & Cher; Romeo & Juliet; Ant & Dec; Abbot & Costello; Zeus & Apollo; Wilma & Betty; Punch & Judy; Laurel & Hardy; Jekyll & Hyde.

Any other suggestions? Please let us know.


Sunday 3rd March 2013


Dazzling prizes are on offer as part of our efforts to encourage potential visitors to phone in and find out the latest situation at the reservoir.

The competition will run between 9.30am and 10.30am daily, from Monday 4th March 2013, and is open to non-members only.

For further details on how to enter and the complete competition rules and terms and conditions please click the link below.


Saturday 2nd March 2013

Norman Harle

Reg Kent


I arrived at the reservoir at around 9am to find the car park already half full. The NE wind, combined with the persistent fine rain, made it feel even colder and decidedly unpleasant. The five foolish anglers, some of whom had been fishing since 8am, were becoming progressively miserable and it was not long before we had the first casualty of the weather when Reg Kent entered the warm clubhouse dripping wet and frozen.

One by one the defeated anglers limped in to be greeted by the surprisingly sympathetic crowd, who were all in an unusually good mood, having been feasting on sausage rolls, cake, biscuits and gallons of coffee while enjoying the tropical temperature generated by the wood burner.

At around 1.30pm, Norman Harle arrived. We attempted to persuade him that this was not the day to venture out, particularly as no one had had a single touch, let alone actually caught anything. Despite our appeal for a little sanity, he resolutely set off to one of his favourite spots, right around the far bank, to the first cut-out in the woods. Don Burt had been to the same spot earlier that morning only to be confronted with a lot of floating weed which he complained to the bailiff about on his return.

By 3pm the last of the revellers in the clubhouse decided that it was time to leave and I thankfully joined them.

I had hardly had time to settle down in front of the telly when the phone rang. It was Vic, phoning to tell me that Norman had caught a beautiful rainbow weighing exactly 7lb. I phoned Norman later in order to get a little more information. He caught the fish, using an intermediate line, on what he calls a “Black & Green” fly, a pattern which he has been using for some years. He was having to cast over the floating weed and then lifting-off early to avoid getting caught up in it. Because of the trees at the rear of the cut-out he had a restricted back-cast and was not casting out very far when he had this one and only take. The larger rainbows invariably patrol around the margins and this one was no exception. Unfortunately, Norman did not take any photos of this fish and when I phoned him he had just finished cutting it up into steaks, so it’s too late!

So a miserable opening day turned out to be a good one for one angler.


Friday 1st March 2013


Today is the day. The reservoir is well stocked and its not going to rain (Revision 10.44am; Ok, maybe it is! ), what more do you want. If you aren't ready for the new season yet why not just come along and sit in the lodge being grumpy. Tight lines all!


Unfortunately, despite trying to protect his anonymity, many readers of our last 'Latest News' feature assumed that the photo which accompanied the article was of our unscrupulous bookie rather than the rank outsider that I was warning you against. As a result he has been inundated with callers wishing to place bets.

Peter Ralph, who wishes to remain anonymous, would like to point out that he has a very large Alsatian (see photo) who is only fed on raw whole chickens (perfectly true). He also feels obliged to warn you that, in the unlikely event of the softie attacking you (the dog, not Peter Ralph), under no circumstances should you try to bribe him (Peter Ralph, not the dog).

In order to completely clear up the confusion, the Editor has decided to publish a photo of the bookie but has still withheld his identity to avoid any reprisals. Suffice it to say that this is not Peter Ralf.

Hopefully, now that the new season had began, we will see you at the reservoir in the near future. Don't forget that the fishing in March is inevitably good. And you can definitely bet on that!



Thursday 28th February 2013


For those of you who can access our Facebook page, you have the opportunity to make a quick buck at the expense of our local (illegal) bookmaker. He is offering odds on who will be the first club member to catch a trout. Unfortunately, like all dodgy characters, he is likely to find some reason not to pay out or even do a runner, so if you are going to have a bet make sure that you have some "enforcers" with you when you try to collect.

As usual, he has based his opening odds on past performance and has failed to take into account that his list of 'favourites' are all unlikely to make it to the starting post due to the prevailing conditions. While I do not wish to give the casual reader the insider information which I have reserved for our loyal Facebook followers, I should point out that if you access Facebook to get my red hot tips, I cannot be held responsible or guarantee that they will prove accurate. However, after many hours sitting in the clubhouse studying form, I suspect that my two choices are the only two stupid enough to suffer for an entire day, desperately trying to catch a fish, when most normal anglers would have retreated to the warmth of the clubhouse. One man who is possibly stupid enough to venture out tomorrow, but will not last the distance, is pictured here. Do not waste your money on him.


Wednesday 27th February 2013


The weather forecast for Powdermill is for some reasonably settled weather during the first few days of March, with temperatures ranging from 6ºc on Friday to 10ºc by Tuesday and only a slight possibility of an odd shower. We all know that the wind can play a significant role depending on its direction, not to mention the wind-chill factor which can make actual conditions quite uncomfortable. The wind initially will be from the north-east which makes boat fishing arguably the best option, but by Tuesday the forecast is for it to come from the south-east and ideal for those preferring to fish from the dam.

Vic the Bailiff making last minute preparations.

Sadly, the meteorologists are renowned for getting it wrong and, to be fair, unless there is a sustained settled period, it is impossible even for the bailiff to predict the weather at the reservoir (particularly wind direction). So you are welcome to phone before you visit in order to get the latest news on weather conditions and how its fishing.

Tel: (01424) 870498 between 9.30 and 10.30am.


Hundreds more superb rainbows were delivered earlier today which will be the last consignment before the season opens on Friday 1st March. This will give them time to settle in and spread out before fishing commences.

Unfortunately, this is the first delivery that I have not been present to witness as I have been struck down by the dreaded stomach virus that has been rife locally. But all is not lost, as I will be able to use my convalescence as a valid reason for remaining cosy and warm in the clubhouse on Friday and not having to go out fishing.


Monday 25th February 2013


1922: The Parish Council noted "considerable alarm that the Hastings Corporation are making arrangements for boring a well in the Parish of Sedlescombe, in close proximity to the Village, for the purpose of augmenting the water supply of the Hastings".

1923: Parish Council resolved "That this Council views with much concern the prospect of the Hastings Corporation forming a pumping station from a bore hole in this Parish within 750 yards of the well on the Village Green which supplies the Village with water and desires the Rural District Council of Battle to oppose the Bill in Parliament unless satisfactory agreement can be made to provide an individual supply of water, should it be necessary".

1928: Powers being sought to acquire considerable acreage of land in the Parish to obtain a water supply for the Borough of Hastings. Bridle paths to be closed and public footpaths diverted.

1929: Work began on construction of Powdermill Reservoir.

1932: Filling of Powdermill Reservoir with 188.3 million gallons of water completed after just over 4 months.

Photo of Powdermill after the Great Storm of 1987


In the 1936 Sedlescombe Parish Council minutes the Parish Clerk wrote "Village Green reported as being in very bad state owing to excessive rainfall during the winter." The situation did not improve during the remainder of 1936 as, in Sedlescombe, local records show that there was a total of 636mm of rainfall for the year. This compares with a mere 446mm in 2011. So before you next decide to moan about the awful weather that we are having, just remember that it really could be worse.


Friday 22nd February 2013


Despite it being our closed season, this does not mean that nothing is going on at the reservoir. However, the awful weather has severely restricted outdoor activities and there is no doubt that we are well behind schedule in completing all our pre-season jobs.

So, what is going on? The answer is a lot of gassing! This consists mainly of moaning, arguing and gossiping about anyone not present. Unfortunately, this situation has been encouraged by the warm and cosy conditions generated by the wood burner. Last Tuesday we had no fewer than 14 old buffers crammed into the clubroom basking in the tropical temperatures, all drinking coffee and becoming more animated as the caffeine levels increased. Hopefully, once the new season commences, most of them will revert to their normal jolly selves but until then we will have to put up with another week of disagreeing and bitching. Roll on 1st March!


Wednesday 20th February 2013


Since publishing a couple of pictures of the log store, we have been inundated with requests to show a photo of the artisan that constructed such a magnificent edifice. To be honest, Tim Stacey insisted on having his photo taken in front of his architectural masterpiece so that he could show his grandchildren that he can build things other than fences. I often pass one of his works of art and can testify to his skill at producing all forms of fencing. So if you need any form of fencing erected, he's your man. But don't mention needing a log store or you may have to consult the planners!


Early season visitors to the reservoir may be sad to see the remains of some of the deer which failed to survive yet another harsh winter. However, some can still be seen from a distance, sheltering among the trees. A skilled surgeon could possibly reconstruct the shattered limbs but we cannot find the mastic gun. Apparently, I was the last to use it. So it's my fault again! Sorry chaps, but we may have to cremate the remains in the wood burner.


Tuesday 19th February 2013


Despite the beautiful sunny day, a thin layer of ice around the edge of the reservoir had to be broken up before the first fish delivery of the new season could be placed in their new home. Fish of 2lb and upwards are being stocked and more will be arriving before the start of the new season on Friday 1st March.

The reservoir was looking particularly inviting today with unusually bright sunshine and a flat calm. It was perfect opening day weather. The forecast is for colder weather and knowing our lick it will end up being cold and miserable by the end of next week. Last year, the opening day was awful and only one idiot dared to venture out. The rest of us kept warm around the wood burner in the lodge.


Monday 11th February 2013


All winter long the timber that we cut last summer has sat in a pile in the open, exposed to the elements and the wettest winter since records began. It is therefore hardly surprising that, being forewarned of my impending visit after an absence of some weeks, due mainly to ill health, the Bailiff attempted to greet me with a roaring log fire. Fat chance! The log burner was stuffed full of wood which, despite his best efforts, refused to burn and after an hour or so we resigned ourselves to having to remain wrapped up against the cold and damp. However, all is not doom and gloom as Tim Stacey has finally got round to building a log store.... and what a log store it is!

Photos do not do justice to the substantial nature of what, after all, is just a shelter, meant to keep a few logs dry. Based on past usage, we have calculated that the edifice will house at least five years supply of logs and could easily accommodate a couple of illegal immigrants who could enhance our facilities by setting up a car wash in the car park. After all, we have plenty of water and with the appalling state of the lanes leading to the reservoir they would undoubtedly do a roaring trade.

In fairness, I should not complain at what would appear to be excessive overkill as it will easily outlast the current membership of the club. One day in the far distant future, when the club, clubhouse and all signs of fly fishing have long been eradicated, some intrepid explorer will come across it hidden in the deep undergrowth and wonder what ancient civilisation built this amazing structure in this remote place.

On the other hand, we (I mean Tim) have yet to felt the roof - hence the gaudy blue tarpaulin - so by the time we get around to this task the building would probably have rotted. If you do not believe me and think that I am being unfair and possibly exaggerating, then I suggest that you stroll over to the shed on the far bank at the other end of the dam and carry out a quick inspection, but be careful in case it collapses on top of you!

So we have two roofs to felt. Any kind person willing to lend a hand?


Saturday 12th January 2013


Fish deliveries begin in the middle of February and our current concern is not the possibility of snow and ice but the continued wet weather. At present it would be impossible to get a delivery vehicle onto the dam to unload. I cannot see how the ground could dry sufficiently. Last year was horrendous with vehicles getting stuck in the mud; this year looks like being even worse.

On 1st March, if the weather is fine, I will turn up with my gear still as last used, way back in early June, and assume that everything is fine. Sensible anglers will have gone through their kit at the end of the season and carefully put everything in order. For those of you who did not sort out your fishing bag, clean and oil your reels etc. etc. don't leave it to the last minute. There are only 48 days left before the start of the 2013 season at Powdermill, so its not too early to start thinking about what needs to be replaced or refurbished. For the fly-tyers among you, there is not a better time to supplement your collection, especially as the rain continues to fall and outdoor activities remain limited.

For those of you who still have some trout buried in the bottom of the freezer or at the back of a freezer drawer, now is the time to clear them out before they are past their best. The more generous among you can still give them away to your deserving friends and family before the new season sees new stocks start rolling in. However if you are too mean to give them away and cannot find anyone to buy them, we have a new recipe for you to try.


In ASDA's monthly magazine (Page 59, Jan 2013 Issue) you will find a very simple, quick and easy to make recipe featuring rainbow trout.

Click here to visit our Trout Recipes page.

Honey, Lemon and Mustard Trout


Friday 11th January 2013


We are currently closed during January and February, the new season starts on Friday 1st March 2013 but there is still news to report on.

Each year you can rely on the odd member to complain that they were not told early enough of the only two dates in the HFFC calendar. So this year there is no excuse for missing out because of prior engagements. Make a note of these dates in your diary:

Eastbourne Fly Dressers Guild
Saturday 29th June 2013

HFFC Competition & BBQ
Friday 16th August 2013

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