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Tuesday 30th December 2014


We promised you a Christmas Quiz and as usual you misunderstood exactly what we meant. As a result some emails were received complaining that it did not appear on Christmas day. Do you really think that we have nothing better to do during the festivities? Although our quiz is arguably incredibly boring, it is fairly unusual for this time of year, as it actually has nothing to do with Christmas or the New Year and has very little to do with fly fishing. We never implied that it ever had anything to do with Christmas, fishing or anything else for that matter so we have to refute the accusations that we lied to you!

After completing our quiz, those of you who still have lots of time on your hands could trawl through the past years "Latest News" and see how many "untruths" can be found. Unlike other waters we always "tell it like it is"ť and believe that honesty is the best policy especially when referring to members of the angling community, most of whom your Editorial Team appear to loath and despise. So rather than waste your time looking for reporting inaccuracies, why not add up the number of people who will probably feel insulted and abused by having the truth told about them.

Our quiz has no trick questions and some even have a vague connection to things fishy, but to give everyone a chance, many others do not.

As our No.1 contributor, we have felt obliged to repay his diligence by giving Bernard Arthur Charles Meaden, Freeman of the City of London, a head start. However, some cynics say that even the brightest super sleuth needs a Dr Watson so, to save his embarrassment, your editorial team have tried to point him in the right direction on a few of the more tricky questions. After all, with more exciting stories in preparation, we do not want to distract him for too long from hammering away on that old keyboard!


  1. Powdermill reservoir is 55 acres, but how large are the other local fly fishing reservoirs Arlington and Bewl Water?
  2. Who was the female lead in the movie A Fish Called Wanda?
  3. Apart from Trout, what two coarse fish are regularly caught at Powdermill?
  4. What type of fish is a Siamese fighting fish?
  5. Betty Joan Perske, died in 2014. One of your intrepid reporter’s favourite film stars, was better known as?
  6. Which river is the home to the most electric eels?
  7. What clarity of water warms the quickest?
  8. What name is given to someone born east of the Medway?
  9. Which city this year hosted the first Russian F1 Grand Prix for over 100 years?
  10. What family does the anchovy belong to?
  11. Gevrik cheese, one of your reporter’s favourites, is produced in which English county?
  12. What is a young Pilchard called?
  13. What is another name for the common European Sole?
  14. What kind of shark often ends up as the fish in your fish and chips?
  15. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water oily fish. Which fish is the best source of omega-3?
  16. In which country is Lake Banyoles, site of the 1992 Olympic rowing events?
  17. In what English river was the heaviest rod caught Sea Trout landed in 1992?
  18. Which former Coronation Street (your reporter’s favourite soap) actress was born Shirley Anne Broadbent?
  19. How heavy was the British record Perch, caught in East Sussex in 2011 and where?
  20. During which year did a man last walk on the moon?
  21. Which British cartoon strip character is known as Willi Wacker in Germany?
  22. In Finding Nemo, what was the name of Nemo’s father?
  23. What knot is used to tie the fly line to the leader?
  24. Why does the leader of the Tour de France wear a yellow jersey?
  25. What name is given to a wild yellow Iris?
  26. Which building has an Egyptian Hall for banqueting? (Clue: Bernie has often dined there)
  27. What is the real name of ‘Petticoat Lane’? (Clue: Bernie has reputedly arrested ladies there)
  28. The Old Bailey is on the site of which prison? (Clue: Bernie has frequently been there)
  29. Which river cuts through the Grand Canyon? (Clue: Is there nowhere Bernie hasn’t been?)
  30. Who was "On the Rebound" in 1961? (Clue: nothing to do with Bernie)
  31. Bonus Question: Which is the most beautiful water in the South East?

Find the Seasonal Quiz answers can be found by following this link: A Seasonal Quiz

Wednesday 24th December 2014


Most of our ageing male readers will never have ventured anywhere near Facebook. If any of you have ever had the misfortune to watch The Jeremy Kyle Show you will be aware that Facebook is an ideal vehicle for every mindless idiot to hurl insults at other equally inane individuals.

Sadly, a few of our readers that do frequent Facebook are the sort of lowlife who takes great delight in bullying the weak and afflicted. It has always been one of your intrepid reporter’s missions, and that of his entire editorial team, to name and shame any such individual.

So it gives us a great deal of satisfaction to come to the aid of poor old REG KENT.

In response to the announcement that scarecrows were appearing around the reservoir, on our Facebook page, Club member JOHN AUSTIN wrote:

“Instead of fishing and wasting his time fishing, should have given Reg this job let him do something useful!!”

OK, so JA’s ability to construct a sentence is clearly not his strong point. However, we must not run him down during this season of goodwill. After all, baby Jesus was destined to also become a carpenter and I am not sure how good was his command of the English language. However, I am assured by The Reverend Streeter that Joseph ensured that Jesus was trained properly and, unlike JA, did not specialise in the use of MDF, No Nails and plastic strips to hide the rough edges.

We make no apologies for having mentioned before that the saintly Reg is famed for driving the Tenterden Community bus filled with old ladies, who are actually younger than he is (no exaggeration). We dare not publicly state his actual age or the DVLA could be on to him. We can only suspect that Tenterden Council allow him to continue to career around the countryside in a bus filled with geriatrics, in the hope that he may eventually reduce the excessive burden on their hard pressed resources.

While we are on the subject of Reg, we should give Tackle & Gun in Tenterden High Street some more free publicity by mentioning, yet again, that when Reg has nothing better to do (which is most of the time) he can be found sitting in Tackle & Gun, where he has his own chair (no exaggeration), and consumes gallons of free coffee (much as he does when at the reservoir). That mention ought to be worth a couple of free flies for Reg. However, if we also mention that Tackle & Gun have the largest selection of Barbour clothing in the whole of Kent and East Sussex at genuinely unbeatable prices, he could be looking at three or even four free flies.

Now, perhaps Andy Lush, the exalted proprietor of the Friendly Fisherman in Tunbridge Wells would like to publicise some items that he desperately needs to off-load from his vast selection of fishing tackle.... We are open to offers.

Well, we have to admit that it is a quiet News day!



Delighted to learn that my latest attempt to 'unearth' a bit more history of the fishery has raised a bit of interest. I would be happy to hear from anyone with information beyond what I have so far discovered. The more controversy the better.

One of the basic principles of investigative work is never to make assumptions based on what you see (or think you see). Nothing is fact until proven beyond reasonable doubt. I agree with you regarding the resting place of our mill wheel, it must remain where it is. We have no idea at present how it got there or just how many mill wheels were in use as there were often several.

Having said that it would be nice if we could tidy up the area around our wheel and make it more of a feature. It is after all part of the Powdermill history.

I am currently working on some 'Tales from the Blue Lamp' I will send them off in the New Year.

Best wishes to you and yours,

Sherlock Meaden

Bernie Meaden - Loaded Up and Ready For Anything

  1. The bailiff can provide you with the exact location of the other half-wheel.
  2. Not sure about the “WE” reference, but the reporter can certainly lend you a spade.
  3. All you need to do is recruit a couple of other old duffers to assist in the “tidy up”.
  4. Others could donate a few rabbit-proof plants to beautify the tidied area.

Your reporter wishes you well, but having had to single-handedly plant lots of bulbs earlier this year, which hopefully you will all enjoy next spring (if the squirrels have not had them all), I don’t fancy your chances of being inundated with volunteers. Now, there’s a challenge!

Having declined to join the ‘working party’ your reporter would be happy to earmark some of our better quality timber and install wooden edging around the cultivated area to help ensure that it can be easily maintained.


Just because most of you fly fishers are currently being forced to participate and even pretend that you are enjoying the seasonal festivities, there must still be the odd moment when you can take a quick peek at our latest news page. On some unspecified day you will be delighted to discover that we will have published a Fly Fishing Christmas Quiz. This is guaranteed to delight, enthral, engross and amuse the entire family.

Unlike other fishing questions which appear primarily in angling magazine crosswords, there will be no obscure Scottish rivers, little known salmon flies or other equally irrelevant questions that an angler in the South East of England has little hope of knowing.

So it’s time to wish you all
A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday 23rd December 2014


For those of you who have yet to bother reading Bernie Meaden’s latest missive - Shame On You!

Now go and read it, before continuing any further, or you will not know what we are waffling on about.

Some of Bernie Meaden’s fanatical followers took exception at our editor’s assertion that ‘those in the know’ had a pretty good idea where another example could be found. Given the other example’s close proximity to the reservoir ‘those in the know’ consider that it is almost certainly the twin. Or is it?

Although your intrepid reporter has never bothered to go and ask the landowner to view it, he is reliably informed by those who have that this example is actually only half of one. Another reason for us to speculate as to whether ours is just the other half, rather than the ‘Full Monty’.

All we need is a determined man with a spade. Or shall we let sleeping dogs lie and leave this part of the mystery unsolved. After all, even the super sleuths in the Met do not solve every case.

What on earth are we on about? Well, I did tell you to read Bernie’s bit first! - Meaden's Memories


Slow but steady is the name of the game where boat refurbishment is concerned. Sanding and filling; sanding and filling; sanding and filling. So the next time an angler decides to moan about the price he has to pay to take out a boat............!

Monday 22nd December 2014


Bernie Meaden had nothing better to do the other day than have a wander around the reservoir taking awful photographs, including some of your unfortunate reporter. His aimless rambling lead him to the far end of the dam where he was confronted with our stone monument, a reminder of days gone by. This set him thinking about its origins and as a result of his initial investigations his latest story began to materialise. So, to read Bernie's latest report just go to the link to "Meaden's Memories" at the bottom of the menu on the left.

Friday 19th December 2014


For more years than we care to remember Colin, our local birder, has been sneaking around the reservoir observing the wildlife but primarily the birds. It is always a pleasure to see Colin and find out what he has spotted, as we all share a common interest in the flora and fauna around the reservoir and its welfare.

But I was particularly pleased when he arrived today brandishing, as promised, an envelope containing details of the number of cormorants that he had recorded over the past few years. Without boring everyone with the detail a number of interesting facts emerge.

Colin first recorded the sighting of cormorants at the reservoir as far back as 14 December 1986. Over the past ten years he has conducted 66 formal and detailed bird counts. During this time there were only 13 occasions when no cormorants were sighted and in the most recent 22 surveys there was only one instance when he did not see one. He has carried out ten formal counts this year and has seen cormorants on every occasion. Throughout the year the count has resulted in an average of 7.

The most that he has seen on one of his formal counts was 28 but that was way back in 2005. The most that I have seen in the air all at once was just last month (November 2014) when 24 cormorants took fright as we sailed down towards the end of the West Arm.

Colin Bids Farewell To The ‘Fishmonger’ And Reporter As They Set Sail

As part of our campaign to deter our feathered foe, the bailiff has fabricated what could only be described as ugly monster scarecrows. However, once positioned in the bushes we have to admit that they look pretty scary.

One Of The Evil Looking Scarecrows

Hopefully, we will soon be trialling what we describe as “a pop-up man” a form of automated scarecrow. Ideally this needs to be fixed onto a small raft which can be moved about and anchored in different parts of the reservoir. This will not be the first time that rafts have been constructed, as back in the 1930’s, immediately after the reservoir was completed, our founding fathers had rafts built on which they grew plants to encourage the development of insect life in what was then just a muddy hole, albeit a very large one.

Another Diabolical Scarecrow


As the main double-section log store gradually fills, up the amount of timber still to be logged is down to a single large pile. The mound of cut wood, still to be sliced into smaller pieces for kindling, is being put undercover to dry out as it unlikely to get dealt with over the Christmas period. However, with one of the four stores still completely empty, there is still plenty of room for more timber to be cut, stored and seasoned for future use.

The Remaining Log Pile

Thursday 18th December 2014


We received an email yesterday from our friends at ‘Salmon & Trout Sussex’ advising us that South East Water has a vacancy for a Recreational Ranger at Arlington Reservoir, near Polegate, East Sussex.

A Walk With Friends Around Arlington in February 2014

Having only visited and walked around Arlington Reservoir for the first time last February, your intrepid reporter probably did not see it at its best. The slight breeze was whipping up large waves in the direction of the dam and it all looked a little bleak. However, the number of fly fishers who come to Powdermill and say how wonderful it would be to be a bailiff now have an opportunity to fulfil their dream. Don’t all rush at once.


The successful candidate will be passionate about flyfishing and in conservation management and the natural world in general. They will be competent in the use of tools and equipment needed in undertaking a wide range of environmental/grounds maintenance work.

A good level of physical fitness will be necessary, as well as excellent people skills and the confidence to work responsibly, without supervision. Good time management, organisational and decision making skills; together, with an eye for detail are essential requirements of this role.

The work is interesting and varied and involves scheduled weekend, evening and bank holiday attendances.

To apply, please submit a current CV to jobs@southeastwater.co.uk by midnight on Sunday 4th January 2015.

This post is subject to a basic criminal record check and the Right to Work in the UK.

In return, we offer a competitive salary, a minimum of 25 days annual leave, a stakeholder pension scheme in which the maximum Company contribution is 10% and a life assurance scheme.

Interviews will be held on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th January 2015.

For further details of the post please call Emma Hicks, on 01634 276309 or email emma.goddard@southeastwater.co.uk


With new stories from Bernie Meaden expected early in the new year your editorial team have decided to publish the last two episodes of his American trip before the holiday distractions reach fever pitch. You will find the link to "Meaden's Memories" at the bottom of the menu on the left.

Wednesday 17th December 2014


So far this December we have had just two visitors and six members come to fish. Club member, T. Burn has actually set sail twice this month. Hardly surprising as he is the only one to catch fish. Having caught two rainbows on his first trip, he returned to land another three weighing 5lb 12ozs using a baby doll. Why is he so successful while all others have failed?

T. Burn in the Middle


Just to show that Bernie Meaden is not a complete dummy when it comes to taking photos we have pleasure in reproducing his photo of our resident robin searching for insects amid the pile of sawn scrap timber.

Visitors to the reservoir will see lots of contractor’s men and equipment at the end of the car park below the dam. We understand that Southern Water is having a camera fitted on the tower and the workers are digging a trench from the tower, along the entire length of the dam, to the green shed at the end of the car park where the air pump is housed. The plastic pipe being buried in the trench will contain the video cable. I am pleased to report that the friendly (but camera shy) workers are enjoying the company of our robin who was happily rooting about in the piles of soil looking for the juicy worms on Monday. After all, it makes a change from the less succulent insects that he was finding among the timber.

Trench Diggers Equipment

So why is a camera needed on the tower. Who knows; but hopefully if it manages to capture images of your intrepid reporter going about his business, they will be more flattering than Bernie’s.


Work on the site of the second jetty began the other day just to establish the line so that the two are parallel. No further building on either fixed jetty or the refurbishment of the existing floating sections are planned before the new year.

Second Jetty

Monday 15th December 2014



I have been watching the Hastings Fly Fishers website with great interest during recent weeks so thought I would pop along and see how all the new engineering undertakings were advancing.

On arrival on Thursday 11 December I found several cars in the car park and made my way the club house. As usual the door to the rest room was firmly closed; I could hear muted conversation and knew immediately that John 'The Cake Tester' Thackray must be elsewhere. On forcing my way in and recovering from the blast of hot air that greeted me, I was delighted to see some representatives of the 'last of the summer wine club' in residence, eating cake and roasting themselves by the fire, no change there then. Shortly after my arrival The Cake Tester arrived in company with another stalwart director, Barry 'The Fish Monger' Morgan. Both were adorned in life preservers and Arctic cold water survival kit (well that's what it looked like) apparently they had been up the West arm annoying the Cormorants; good for them.

No, It's Your Turn To Skip

This Blinking Pole!

Now before I relate my little tale. The work so far in improving the jetty and access to the wheelie boats are a credit to the directors and their band of helpers who have been constructing the jetty. They are working chest deep in freezing cold water just to make things easier for us. A huge thank you, and hats off to you all. I for one very much appreciate the effort.

Now whilst looking at the new jetty the question arose as to whether there should be some sort of formal grand opening or dedication, that took my mind back..........

So, to read Bernie's latest recollection (but only for the brave) just go to the link to "Meaden's Memories" at the bottom of the menu on the left.

Editor's Note:
Bernie sent in a couple of photos that he took of more construction work down on the jetty during Thursday afternoon. The editorial team would respectfully ask Bernie to restrict his photographic endeavours to holiday snaps in future and refrain from photographing members of the editorial team. Never in his sixty odd years has your intrepid reporter ever had such appalling photos taken of him.

Tuesday 9th December 2014


The fishing is certainly difficult at present and very few anglers come to fish despite the pleasant sunshine of late. However, Club Member T. Burn made the effort to come and fish from a boat at the weekend and managed to land two nice rainbows. His entry in the returns book contains a single word in the “Fly Used” column and seems to indicate that it was some form of Fritz fly but only he knows as the writing’s not clear. All I do know is that he rarely fails to catch fish as he will use whatever is necessary to succeed. Sadly, it almost certainly was not one of your reporter’s infamous Orange Fritz patterns so despised and detested by the purists but I am sure that it was something equally abhorrent.


With the first phase of the new jetty now complete our attention has temporarily turned to other important tasks. However, at the end of the new fixed jetty the depth of water does not increase significantly for another ten feet, so we will be considering the practicality of increasing the fixed length. An underwater ground survey was carried out this morning to establish the likely line of a second jetty and the ideal length of its fixed section. The bed is significantly firmer and the slope is less steep than we had to contend with during the construction of the first jetty, so we do not foresee any difficulties if and when we eventually begin work.


As part of our campaign to deter the Cormorants from visiting the reservoir we have taken advice from The Angling Trust and Natural England and are implementing a number of suggestions that hopefully will help deter the invading hoards. In general, Club members enjoy the birdlife which abounds on and around the water and we are more than happy to live alongside the herons, grebes and other fish eaters, but the large number of cormorants that appear daily has now become a very serious threat to the fishery.

Although they can be seen flying in and out, few visitors or members will see the cormorants on the water. This is because they are currently congregating at the very far end of the West Arm, well out of sight. They are quick to fly off when a boat comes even halfway along the arm and long before an observer in the boat can see them on the water. The first indication of their presence is when they take off and are silhouetted against the bright sky. It will be interesting to see if the ‘bunting’ that we strung across the water today upsets them and, if so, for how long. They certainly did not return this afternoon after the initial strand had been suspended above the water to flutter in the breeze. But tomorrow is another day!

Friday 5th December 2014


Work on the fixed portion of the new jetty project is due to be completed today (Friday). The boys took advantage of the dry weather on Thursday to complete the actual staging and just the handrail remains to be fitted together with a few cosmetics. Unfortunately, the water temperature is less than tropical and the depth being worked in was at the most uncomfortable height for the shorter workers. Talk about brass monkeys!


The continued presence of significant numbers of cormorants is a major problem. This seems to apply to most fisheries in our area, but larger expanses of water such as Bewl, Darwell and Powdermill suffer greatly as a result of having more remote areas where the birds can spend time undisturbed. They are with us in varying numbers every day.

We are continuing to extend the number of non-lethal scaring techniques that we use as a combination of a number of different deterrents is the recommended approach rather than just rely on one method. The latest 'fun' method for the 'old boys' to enjoy has been used effectively at other waters of our size. The jolly jape involves the use of bird scaring rockets which are launched (at an angle of about 60 degrees) towards a group of cormorants on the water. The exceptionally loud explosion overhead sets them off into flight, at which point a second rocket is immediately launched into their midst which we are assured will really scare the living daylights out of them (not to mention how it might terrify the 'old boys').

Portec Skybird Rockets

A box of the giant rockets is being displayed by none other than 'The Fishmonger', who can also be seen modelling the latest thing in 'winter woollies'. Fortunately photos of him, which once seemed to appear every week in our 'Latest News', have been absent recently. His lack of recent angling success is primarily due to the drastic reduction in the number of times that he has fished this season. Hopefully, the next photo of him will not have been taken by your intrepid reporter in the A&E department of the Conquest Hospital.

Wednesday 3rd December 2014  - NEW -


We have pleasure in publishing Chapter 4 in Bernie Meaden's tale of his experiences during his four-week cruise to the US. You will find the link to "Meaden's Memories" at the bottom of the menu on the left.

Tuesday 2nd December 2014


The old jetty has now been removed and is stacked on the bank awaiting removal of the buoyancy tanks. Seven of the tanks contained water of which four were full. The tanks and structure will be renovated before being floated and attached to the new fixed jetty. Construction of the new jetty began late last week. Boat maintenance continues, as the fleet is gradually put to bed for our short ‘closed’ season.


Buoyancy Tanks On One Platform Of The Jetty

Club Member, T. Burn afloat on Saturday

Three anglers decided to take advantage of the sunshine and the unseasonably warm weather over the weekend. Two regular visitors arrived to fish from the bank while a Club member opted to take out a boat. The fishing in the main body of water is not proving to be easy, yet no one is bothering to venture down to the far end of the West Arm where all the majority of cormorants have been seen fishing. They are not stupid and know where their best chance of a meal is likely to be lurking. Unfortunately our anglers just go to the usual spots and wonder where all the fish are. Dick Walker always used to advise anglers to go around and examine the water before deciding upon the best places to fish and the tactics to be employed. Not bad advice.

The New Jetty Under Construction

Thursday 27th November 2014


Jonathan Chapman of Hobbs Parker fame is always seeking a bit of extra publicity for his Ashford based firm. They will sell anything from old bangers, crumbling dwellings, mangy animals and anything and everything which they are able to con the innocent punter into bidding for. So it is hardly surprising that regular exotic fly fishing holidays are the norm.

Despite a touch of envy your editorial team have great pleasure in publishing his latest email complete with tempting photos. Thank goodness he isn’t running some dodgy Travel Agency or he would not just be able to empty your pockets, but probably also leave you stranded on some God forsaken location.

(Just a bit of tidying)

Feel free to mess this up and add a few insults and untruths....

(What sort of people does he think we are? We never tell lies but some people do feel insulted when we tell the truth)

Fly fishing for Pacific salmon off the coast of British Columbia. (Sechelt)

(This will have you franticly opening Google Maps to find where on earth British Columbia is, let alone Sechelt. If it's any consolation even we had to look up Sechelt)

Those of you who fancy a challenge in stunning surroundings should try throwing a fly at Pacific salmon in the ocean as they 'stage' (gather) off the many creek and river mouths waiting for rain.

After a year or two at sea the returning fish gather at the creek mouths and estuaries making some fantastic and challenging fly fishing opportunities. Local fishermen can be seen parked and scanning the water looking for tell tail signs of leaping fish.

Coho salmon are the main attraction for the fly fisherman in the autumn averaging from 8lb to 12lb (I've had them up to 20lb).

Chinook salmon also put in an appearance, but in less numbers, and can run much bigger. My best is 42lb (not on fly) but in other areas of B.C. much bigger specimens are regularly caught.

Large numbers of Pink salmon run in late summer averaging from 4lb to 7lb and are great fun on the fly. Big numbers run in alternate years, last year (2013) was some of the best summer fishing I've had and both my son and I had sore arms on one particularly memorable day. Roll on next year!

Different areas of B.C. have different runs at different times and I can only speak for the places I go to. Flights are not too expensive and apart from a licence the fishing is free!

I have been fishing there regularly for the past fifteen years or so and 'my beaches' are far from the best but when they're on.... wow!

You may think that the fish are just waiting to be caught and it's just a matter of casting.... wrong! Like all wild fishing you get good times and bad.... I have had many fruitless days wandering the beaches looking for fish and other days casting every 'killer pattern' I have tied at literally hundreds of fish with no reaction.... I guess that’s what keeps taking me back.

If anyone fancies a go or needs any help or advice feel free to get in touch.... I'll help if I can.

Once the rains come and the fish run the rivers that can be brilliant too but that's another game all together........

Wednesday 26th November 2014


Scott Evans continues to nurse the victim of a road accident who is gradually improving and we are keeping our fingers crossed that this beautiful hawk can make a full recovery and be released back into the wild. Scott is photographed with ‘Captain’ Chisholm. (See the video in our Latest News on Monday 17th November).

Visitors to the reservoir may see Scott constructing the new fixed part of the boat jetty which is scheduled to begin at the end of this week. The existing jetty is being removed, dismantled and refurbished. The two sections will be joined by a flexible ramp. In the longer term, we hope to be able to construct a second jetty so that there is plenty more room to manoeuvre the boats. Boat anglers at Powdermill are only too aware of the difficulty in berthing their boat on a crowded jetty.


At this time of year there are always plenty of annual tasks to do at the reservoir, but currently the emphasis is on putting the boats to bed for the winter. All the wooden boat seats have to be removed, sanded, re-varnished and stored away.

Clearing some of the dead or dying trees from behind the lodge have enabled part of the wooden exterior wall to dry out and the verdigrises’ which covered it has disappeared. Opening up the other end will enable the remainder to improve and could even reduce the slipperiness of the path. Hopefully this will extend the life of the ageing shack which so many people think is quaint. In truth it’s a money pit which needs so much spent on it that I sometimes despair. My daughter-in-law, who insists that it is charming and antiquated recently described it as “being Shabby-chic; but more shabby than shic”.


As we hurtle towards December and the countdown to the Christmas festivities, most fly fishermen are too preoccupied to come fishing. Most are planning their assault on the shops to purchase some impressive gift for their nearest and dearest. Sadly, most recipients will be disappointed.

For the past ten years or so your intrepid reporter has insisted on purchasing his own present to avoid the constant disappointment of being confronted with some other family member’s idea of what will delight him. The earlier you buy it the better (preferably as soon after Christmas as possible) so that by the time you get to open it, you have almost forgotten what it is. Never disappointing and just what you wanted!

Thursday 20th November 2014


Although few anglers come to fish at this time of year there is always something going on. It is hardly surprising that there is always plenty that needs to be done before the winter sets in. Unfortunately there is always more to be tackled than we can reasonably manage so the longer the mild weather continues the better.

Getting Ready For Winter - Logging

Getting Ready For Winter - Boat Maintenance

Wednesday 19th November 2014


Club member Norman Harle and his wife have moved from Staplecross to East Anglia to be nearer their son. Norman is an avid fisherman and will fish for anything wherever he goes whether it be game, coarse or sea. He is always on the lookout for somewhere to fish and is particularly noted for always finding time to fish when on holiday abroad while his long suffering wife takes to the shops. For the past two years he has been the winner of the Darwell Cup (heaviest fish in 2013 and 2014) and this year was the first to take the members season limit of 120 rainbows. We will miss him.

Norman Harle

Monday 17th November 2014


The headline is true but one could argue that it possibly is a bit misleading. Dull and cloudy but not cold and virtually no wind; the weather is not perfect but given that it is November, it is reasonable. However, Club member John Noble was the only angler to fish at the reservoir this weekend and, although he chose not to take a boat, he managed to land a fish from the dam. Bank anglers have been having a particularly hard time as most fish appear to be out of casting range, but then John is a particularly long caster!

John Noble

Don't forget that it's only Ł20 to fish all day and only an additional Ł10 for a boat. So, two of you can have a day’s boat fishing for a paltry Ł25 each. You could even be the only fishermen on the water. Where else can you and a friend hire an entire 55 acre trout fishery, all to yourselves and for so little?

And you could even meet the intrepid reporter, have your photograph taken by him and then have the opportunity of appearing and being insulted in our ‘Latest News’. What a bargain!


'Captain' Chisholm, who features regularly in our 'Latest News', has a surprisingly attractive daughter, Linda (who, joking apart, really does take after her mother). Her partner, Scott, is currently involved in a number of HFF activities and projects which have included ‘Suez Canal II’ and ‘The New Road’. In his younger days he used to regularly fly fish at Powdermill and still hankers after casting a line. We will avoid boring you with his innumerable other interests, but suffice it to say that we hope that Porsche enthusiasts will see something very special when your reporter’s planned ‘Fly Fishers Motoring Photo Shoot’ takes place next Spring at Powdermill.

In the meantime, take a look at the video of a ‘hit and run’ victim being tended by Scott. His skills are not limited to our feathered friends as ‘Captain’ Chisholm can confirm. There was the famous case of “Bambi in the Bedroom”, but that’s another story!

Saturday 15th November 2014


On Friday morning, during a brief coffee break, ‘Captain’ Chisholm excitedly instructed your reporter to look out of the window. Having only minutes earlier been bemoaning the fact that he had not seen a kingfisher at the reservoir for many years, your reporter was delighted to be confronted with one sitting on the railings in front of the lodge. Mesmerised by the beautiful colours and not wishing to alarm the bird he dared not go to get his camera and the two just sat and admired the kingfisher until it finally darted away.

At the End of the Long Arm

If that was not sufficient ornithological excitement for one day, come the afternoon during another brief coffee break, what should arrive to sit in exactly the same spot but a magnificent Sparrowhawk. This bird was so relaxed and stayed for so long that your reporter finally decided to cross the room to get his camera and take a few shots through the window. This specimen would appear to be a fully grown adult female. Sparrowhawks are regularly seen perching on the fence posts along the dam, but this was your reporter’s closest encounter. This was one occasion when your reporter wished he had brought one of his better cameras rather than just his ‘pocket’ model.

Despite there being no anglers present on Friday, we only observed four cormorants, happily fishing in the main body of the reservoir. However, the majority tend to congregate at the end of the ‘long arm’, where they generally have the area to themselves as hardly any boat anglers have bothered to go down there this season.

Our Sparrowhawk

The previous Friday your reporter and had sailed around the reservoir inspecting the banks and had counted no less than 25 cormorants fleeing from this the end of the long arm as he and his companion approached. They were also surprised at the large number of tufted duck feeding in the shallows in the same general area and on the way back were even more delighted to see a dabchick (little grebe) darting in among the overhanging branches.

With few anglers around to disturb the wildlife, the bird life abounds both on the water and in the air. Even the normally shy deer are making regular appearances on the far bank in full view of the lodge.


Visitors to the reservoir will notice that lots of work seems to be underway. Despite the unsettled weather, we need to take every opportunity to use the quiet winter period to get jobs done. With Powdermill’s beautiful surroundings also having the reputation of offering relative peace and quiet it is important that we try to restrict our noisier activities to when few anglers are present.

Never Mind the Weather - Indoor Wood Chopping

The Plant

The New Road

The Suez Canal II


The recent rainfall has meant that the reservoir is back to its full capacity and is actually pouring over the overflow. As a result of all the rain the normally crystal clear water is slightly clouded, but still far from sufficient to cause visibility problems as far as the fishing is concerned.

It's Cold In There

However, it would be wrong to suggest that the fishing is anything but hard at present. With the aerator having now been switched off for some weeks, the fish are really well spread throughout the reservoir. Anglers are having to work hard and move about to try and locate fish. With little fly life in evidence the lure anglers appear to have the advantage. Nevertheless, everyone who has succeeded in catching a rainbow agrees that they are fighting particularly hard in the cold water. And, believe me, when your reporter is obliged to don his chest waders to carry out some watery task he is only too aware that winter is almost upon us as he wades into a depth of around 27″. Ernie Wise was not the only one with Short, Fat, Hairy Legs!!!

Wednesday 5th November 2014


On Saturday 1st November, Club member Geoffrey Pilcher had managed a limit bag in the glorious sunshine. Sunday and Monday were wet and miserable. After two days with no activity at the reservoir it was a relief to wake up to find that Tuesday, in complete contrast to the previous two days, was sunny and the air was still. The prospects looked very good.

Unfortunately both the BBC and ITV morning programs featured the usual incompetent weather forecasters who had predicted plenty of showers across the South East. Hardly surprising that no visitor arrived to risk a soaking and only two Club members, both Tuesday regulars, arrived to have a go.

Don Burt - Enjoying Another Beautiful Day in Paradise

Don Burt and Paul Strivens appeared loath to actually remove themselves from the comfort of the lodge despite the splendid weather. As both are regular fishing ‘failures’, the other inhabitants of the lodge were not in any hurry to encourage them go out, only to blank and put others off from fishing.

Finally Don rowed off, but only as far as the nearest marker buoy where he proceeded to cast in all directions but caught nothing. Later, when your reporter stated that it was time to finally finish sawing the remaining timber, Paul decided to go fishing before he got press-ganged into helping.

Not long after settling in on the dam Paul was seen to be struggling with something that was powering its way around the reservoir while he hung on like grim death. So intent on getting an action photo of this titanic struggle, your intrepid reporter actually broke into a trot along the dam. As Paul had almost played the fish to a standstill before his exhausted photographer arrived, Paul felt obliged to wait before finally bringing it in. However, much to his disappointment and the reporter’s frustration, it soon became apparent that the ‘monster’ that had put up such a good fight was actually a normal sized fish which had been foul-hooked. It appeared to have gone for the dropper, missed, turned and got the point fly hooked in its side. Had it been in the tail it would have probably ‘smashed’ the line and been another ‘monster’ that got away. Paul had seen plenty of fish moving which were out of casting range before this shoal of about a dozen rainbows swam past, just under the surface, but actually within reach.

Paul Lands a 'Monster'

Paul's Foul-Hooked Fish

Poor old Don came in for lunch having also seen plenty of fish, but they were also out of reach between him and the dam. So it appears that the crafty rainbows have worked out that there is an area between the dam and the marker buoys (inside which the boats are not allowed) where casters cannot reach. They obviously enjoy swimming up and down just to infuriate and frustrate the unfortunate angler.

After a revitalizing lunch back in the lodge, Don decided to try his luck from the dam, given that he could not reach the cruising fish from the boat. After a short while, the observers in the lodge were gobsmacked to see Don’s rod bend. Your reporter, having completed sawing, refused to rush out again on another fools errand. Having only brought his small camera, he commandeered Mick Coleman’s Lumix Bridge Camera with its 600mm zoom lens and proceeded to take photos from inside the lodge through the filthy window. Unfortunately, Mick had fitted a red filter as he had come to try and capture the sunset. With no time to unscrew the filter the images appear weird to say the least. Will they ever get published? Unlikely as Mick has only recently moved into Digital, having been a died-in-the-wool black and white film man and anything associated with transferring images to computers are akin to the voodoo performed by witch doctors.

- Don Burt -
All Wrapped Up and Ready To Go

- The Kindling Mountain -
Sawn and Ready For 'Chopping'

No sooner had Don caught his fish than he decided that honour was satisfied and he could also call it a day. Both anglers departed, happy that the weather had been wonderful and, although the fishing had been frustrating, they had had some success and neither would go hungry that evening.

With the charlatans at the Met Office forecasting more rain and misery in the next few days, only the hardy (or do we mean foolhardy) are likely to go fishing. Hopefully, those that do will be a better class of angler!!!!


We have pleasure in publishing another chapter in BM’s recount of his experiences during his four-week cruise to the US. You will find the link to "Meaden's Memories" at the bottom of the menu on the left.

Saturday 1st November 2014




Winter Season is November and December

Visitors / Guests

All Day Ticket :  Ł20   (Max. 4 fish)

All Day Boat :  Ł10

Times: 8am Until Dark


Season Starts on Sunday 1st March 2014

Visitors / Guests

Day Ticket :  Ł30   (Max. 6 fish)

Evening Ticket :  Ł20  (After 4pm or 2pm - *See below) (Max. 4 fish)

Day Boat :  Ł15     Evening Boat :  Ł10

* Please note that Visitors Evening Tickets now start from 4pm in May, June, July
and August. Due to the lack of light in March, April, September and October,
Visitors Evening tickets and Evening Boat Tickets start at 2pm.

Friday 31st October 2014


The original intention today was to dig out the ‘Suez Canal’, but the machinery suppler had let our contractor down, so instead Scott started work on the roadway leading down to the hard standing. The heavy equipment is now arriving next Thursday, so we have a week to worry about the water level, which is gradually creeping up as a result of all the rain and will hamper the excavation.

Scott- Working on the Road


Colin, our local birder, arrived this morning with three fellow birders. To really infuriate them, all you need do is refer to them as Twitchers. There is a world of difference between the two and, on this occasion, your intrepid reporter took one look at Colin’s unsavoury looking companions and decided to remain uncharacteristically polite.

It transpired that they were very happy having observed a flock of over 100 Greylag geese over the reservoir. Having seen hundreds (if not thousands) of Greylags feeding off crops on Hayling Island earlier this year, your reporter remained unimpressed, but they assured me that it is very unusual to see them around this area.

The Birders

I did not have the heart to inform them that we had spotted a few flying over the reservoir earlier in the week. I believe that the open season for ducks and geese runs from the beginning of September until the end of January. As no one shoots game birds around the reservoir they had better stay put if they know what’s good for them.


The fallow deer that had appeared on the far bank last Tuesday had been females, but this afternoon a buck appeared sporting a superb set of antlers. With no boat or bank anglers in the vicinity the buck seem very relaxed and happily grazed in the open for at least twenty minutes. However, there was no sign of any accompanying does. Later, as the light began to fade a couple of females also came out of the woods for a short while in exactly the same place.

There were two bucks calling on and off all day. One was south east of the reservoir and the other seemed to be to the west. Although there appear to be less each year, it is reassuring that there are still a few about despite indiscriminate shooting and deer fencing.


Only one boat was out this morning, containing that dastardly duo - The ‘Cuckoo’ and his ‘Carer’. One fish was hooked and lost and that was the sum total of their morning’s excitement. A visitor arrived in the afternoon, went out in a boat, but did not stay very long and reported that there was no sign of any fish or any fly life on the water. Despite your reporter’s suggestion that he stay longer and get his money’s worth, he insisted on going home to the bosom of his family, having maintained that he had still enjoyed a pleasant if uneventful couple of hours.

As Darkness Falls

Later, as darkness fell, a stroll down to the jetty revealed that the reservoir, which had remained inactive all day, was finally coming alive. Initially, a small shoal of Rudd could be seen rising to the left of the jetty, but this soon spread all around. The fish appeared to be taking something off the surface but it was not possible to see anything. Then larger single fish began to make ripples further out and as it got darker the number of rises within the limited view increased. These were almost certainly rainbows. They were all definitely feeding and not just surfacing. If only our visitor heeded your reporter’s advice. But even if he had, he would probably still have left before all this activity began.

If things are not going to happen until this late, we may have to fit lanterns to the boats and a beacon on the jetty to guide them ashore. Or maybe we could erect floodlights. On second thoughts maybe floodlighting is not such a good idea, as our Power Companies are apparently already struggling to meet demand. With the threat of power cuts this winter, such an event while someone is in the middle of the reservoir would not be funny. However, it would provide us with something interesting to report for a change.

Thursday 30th October 2014


Wednesday was awful with rain all day, yet one hardy visitor refused to be deterred. Our friend Richard Thomlinson, who visits us occasionally from his home near Haywards Heath, is not one to be put off by bad weather. This is just as well as this is not the first time that he has turned up when most anglers would remain at home, let alone go out in a boat in the middle of a reservoir. In such awful conditions he really does deserve to catch something but sadly the most likely catch will be a cold.

Having been professionally involved with wood since1987, his company Thomlinson’s Oak Framed Buildings have produced some wonderful constructions. We always enjoy hearing about his recent projects. Despite its title, they do not just deal in oak, as the cost of this material can be prohibitive and not always appropriate. If you ever need a timber expert or a high quality build you could do a lot worse than speak to Richard.

And No! Your reporter had to forgo the plan to finish sawing, but the weather will also delay the next timber delivery so all is not lost.


The editorial team prefer to use stills on the website and only rarely include a video in ‘Latest News’. However, there are occasions when only a video will do. Wednesday morning was one such occasion. There are three things of note. One is the very rare sight of a certain person doing some house-keeping, another is the sight of someone stuffing his face despite being on a diet and lastly you can see (or rather cannot see) the man who would rather not be spotted by the authorities. We apologise for the bleeps.

Michael ‘The Wood Butcher’ Wood will be amazed by the spectacle as he is normally expected to perform the weekly ‘sweep’ on a Friday. So why was the broom out today? Your reporter is not sure as no one actually enquired as to why. Could it be that the ash from the fire, which has not been cleaned since first lit earlier in the month, is beginning to spill all over the floor? It’s not actually ‘beginning’ as it’s been doing so for ages. So it’s twice a week from now on? Very unlikely, as there’s a first and a last time for everything. So back to the usual pig-sty next week!

For those of you who wish to know what’s so amusing about the car being washed, please make discrete enquiries of your reporter.

Wednesday 29th October 2014


The temperature on and around the reservoir on Tuesday was significantly colder than the day before and anglers were occasionally sneaking back to the lodge to warm up by the roaring fire. However, this was not a day for remaining in the lodge and observing proceedings out on the reservoir from the comfort of the lodge as there were urgent activities to undertake before the rain arrives on Wednesday.

Men from Southern Water were due to arrive to try and locate our water meter. Two men, two vans and two sets of equipment duly arrived and the hunt was on, with the bailiff, Fishmonger and reporter in close attendance. Despite wandering about with a couple of metal detectors and prodding the ground the whereabouts of the elusive meter could not be found. This was indeed a puzzle as the meter reader (not a SW employee) had been regularly “reading” the meter. We, along with the chaps from SW look forward to finding out how readings were taken. X-ray vision could be the answer or maybe he’s a mole.

Search for the Elusive Water Meter

No sooner had the water meter hunt been abandoned than the emphasis switched to fish smoking. “Captain” Chisholm was making his usual mess preparing the fillets while the bailiff spent most of his time attempting to relight the burners. The reporter had grudgingly been instructed by the ‘Captain’ to fabricate these new burners out of a couple of the bailiff’s rusty old tobacco tins. They worked after a fashion but either refused to light or turned into a raging inferno. I the uninitiated could view the entire process they would not be so keen to consume the results, but no one has yet to go down with food poisoning.

The reporter’s obsession with creating a mountain of fuel for the wood burner has not abated and sawing continues apace and the mountain continues to grow. The activity continues to disturb the peace of other Club members who have take to scurrying past lest they get roped in. Weather permitting, on Wednesday, the ‘Captain’ and the ‘Fishmonger’ are scheduled to start chopping the pieces into kindling, while the reporter finishes cutting the remaining scrap timber. The bailiffs skills are directed towards stacking the logs; a highly skilled activity, so we are lead to believe, but does not appear to involve a great deal of sweat.

Growing Timber Pile

The extraneous activities distracted from the usual observation of anglers successes and failures. However, we did hear that fish were being caught from both boat and bank. Sadly, we are obliged to report that instead of basking in the glory of his success last Sunday, Paul Strivens foolishly reappeared in the hope that he could repeat his surprising performance. Needless to say, lightening rarely strikes twice in the same place. Another regular failure, Reg Kent, did not disappoint. But, in fairness, he spent most of his time in the lodge scoffing any item of food that he could find. Sponge cake, crumpets dripping in butter and Jaffa cakes all disappeared down his gannet-like throat.

Tuesday 28th October 2014


All five boat anglers caught fish on Monday, but the four anglers fishing from the dam in the afternoon struggled because of the wind direction and failed to catch. With the fish seeming to be out of the reach of the bank fishermen at the moment, the use of a boat is a positive advantage. The fish are not deep and most fish are being taken close to the surface or even on a dry fly.

Peter Ralf on the Dam


Your intrepid reporter prides himself on being brutally frank but also open and honest. So we must apologise to Paul Strivens for having berated him last week for letting the side down having failed to catch yet again. He was so incensed he reappeared at the weekend and proceeded to catch lots of fish. Rumour has it the he was so embarrassed at his recent pathetic performances that he had actually sneaked along to the Fishmonger in Tesco and purchased a few specimens. Your reporter would like to come to his defence, as we can assure all the sceptics that Paul is too mean to spend good money just to enhance his standing among Club members. After all, given your reporter’s low opinion of the vast majority of members, there is a distinct advantage in just being part of the crowd and keeping a low profile. So, just a flash in the (frying) pan Paul?


With the onset of winter and the urgent need to build up stocks of timber, the woodcutters are franticly working to ensure that the fires will keep burning for many winters. Unlike UK Power Companies, who are apparently now in danger of causing an energy crisis, the ‘old boys’ in the woods are determined to ensure that they will be self-sufficient if a disaster occurs. Their main concern is the potential loss of power for the kettle. So now they are looking for an old kettle which can go on top of the wood burner. Yes, we know you can buy a new model, but the word ‘buy’ is not one which sits well with their philosophy on life. Anyone know where one is going begging?


Last Friday, Sue and Martyn Brignall came to remove the geraniums from the ‘flower’ boat. As usual the plants will be nurtured over the winter and returned in the spring. Boats are designed to resist pressure from outside but this old tub is under pressure from the soil inside and is gradually collapsing. Hopefully it will survive another winter.

Flower Boat

Flower Garden

Plans to develop the ‘Secret Garden’ are gathering pace. The garden is so secret that even those involved are not only confused as to its whereabouts but are not absolutely sure what it contains.


The deer rut is well underway around the reservoir and all afternoon on Monday a stag could be heard calling. His grunting sound can be misinterpreted by the uninitiated as coming from a wild boar. During the past week there have been lots of deer sightings and a couple have even emerged from the woods, come down to the reservoir and appear to watch the anglers. In addition to the usual colours there are a number of black deer which are the progeny of a lone but very prolific father.

Monday 27th October 2014


Hot on the heels of Part 1 comes Bernie’s account of what I suspect was his most emotive and poignant visit of the entire trip. Sadly mere words on the screen do not compare to listening to his moving account. Maybe we should be considering a video. Can we put up with your reporter in the role of Film Director?

OK, we will stay as we are, as better the devil....

You will find the link to "Meaden's Memories" at the bottom of the menu on the left. Please do not miss this one.

Bernie Meaden 'In Action'

Sunday 26th October 2014


This item could well have been entitled “JUST STICK TO REPORTING THE FACTS”

Your disgraced reporter is now obliged to eat humble pie, having expressed severe doubts on Friday about our lone visitor’s ability to catch any fish on such a day. Yes, the weather was indeed bad, the afternoon rain was indeed constant, and the fresh faced youngster did not look like someone with a great deal of experience despite having caught fish on previous visits.

Your despondent reporter spent Friday evening in a depressed state, worrying as to how the poor chap had fared, certain that yet another eager youngster had almost certainly been put off fly fishing for life. Your reporter’s repose was disturbed by visions of the poor young man reverting to more youthful angling pursuits, returning to his snug and cosy bivy where only the screech of the bite indicator would force him to venture out into whatever the weather had to throw at him. Not being able to contain his anxiety, your reporter made a fleeting visit to the reservoir on Saturday morning, just to confirm his worst fears.

Friday 24th October 2014


Very well done! And a Dry Daddy on such a day - now that’s real class!

So in future your reporter will try to learn to keep his views to himself, stop distressing anglers unnecessarily, and just stick to reporting the facts.


Saturday morning proved to be very traumatic as, on arrival at the lodge, your reporter was immediately confronted by a very angry Bob Sanger, who demanded to know why virtually everyone else but himself had been recently mentioned and praised for their successes.

So without further ado, readers please note that BOB SANGER managed to catch two obviously confused and desperate rainbows from the dam on Saturday 18th October.

Bob Sanger - His Best Side!

For his many fans, I can exclusively announce that he will be making a star appearance at Brick Farm fishery at 7.30am on Sunday 26th October (or was it Monday 27th October), where he will be taking part in some insignificant Club competition. Not HFF but some other fishing club that he is a member. Please do not hesitate to go along to meet him, as he will be only too happy to sign autographs, answer any inane questions and demonstrate his angling expertise while taking part in this competition. We look forward to reporting on his success.

For those of you who may have difficulty recognising Bob when you get there, it gives your editorial team no pleasure in publishing the least offensive photo of him we could find in our archives.

Saturday 25th October 2014


Thursday was dull and cloudy but the lack of rain and wind tempted five Club members to arrive to fish during the morning. Yet again the normally useless collection of old duffers managed to defy your pessimistic reporter’s prediction and began catching fish. Even Terry ‘The Cuckoo’ Beeching succeeded in landing two rainbows. Only one unfortunate soul failed to catch.

Paul Strivens arrived fairly late and left reasonably early, a beaten and broken man, having seen everyone else land fish. Sadly, Paul did not even have a touch as he sat on the dam alongside the successful Arthur Macey, so he could not even claim that you had to be in a boat to succeed. Having started with a bang at the beginning of the season, Paul’s ‘luck’ has gradually faded.

Terry 'The Cuckoo' Beeching

Rather than keep going on about how miserable he is, your editorial team dug deep into the archives to remind Paul of better and happier days. We are therefore pleased to reproduce this previously unpublished photo from March 2014. There could be an added bonus, as most Club members just look at the pictures and so will assume that Paul has just caught this fish. This may help restore his status amongst his fellow no-hopers and improve his self esteem. So no need to throw himself into the water and end it all yet.

Friday began dry but by mid morning the rain began. Only one angler had dared to come to fish and he was in his early twenties. Your reporter was somewhat alarmed as it is vital that young fly fishers are nurtured and on such a day the prospects were poor. Not wishing to risk a disappointed youngster, the chaps huddling around the fire made sure that he was well aware that his chances of any success were virtually nil. Fortunately he had already been a couple of times this season and had caught fish on both occasions, so he was fairly relaxed about his prospects. Feeling sorry for the foolishness of youth, your reporter directed him to this week’s hotspot. Although the advice he received lacked any conviction, off he happily went, undaunted and un-phased at the prospect of eventually returning fishless. The optimism of youth invariably overrides common sense.

Paul Strivens

By the time that your reporter departed, the lone boat could just be seen through the hazy rain, its occupant still flogging away. In most other circumstances, having an entire 56 acre trout water for your exclusive use for a day would be wonderful. However, on such a day as this we can only hope that, unlike Paul Strivens, this youngsters luck stays with him and he manages to go home with the enviable record of never having blanked at Powdermill. We promise to inform you, but on this occasion be prepared for some bad news.

Has the weekend be any better? Hopefully a few anglers will brave the unsettled weather and your reporter can be optimistic once more.

Thursday 23rd October 2014


Five Club members took the opportunity to fish in the calmer wind on Wednesday, without being constantly at risk of being impaled by an errant fly. The pleasant weather encouraged three to each take out a boat while the other two stuck to fishing the dam. Steve Stern was fishing from a boat close to the far bank (roughly opposite the hut) and was apparently enjoying some success. At lunchtime I was informed by Derek Coles, who had rowed in for a coffee, that Steve had already caught three. At this point Derek had not netted a rainbow, but had caught a superb perch in beautiful autumn colours. Yes, even the resident coarse fish (perch and rudd) can be especially pretty at this time of year.

Fortunately, your reporter was otherwise occupied for most of the day so was spared from having to sympathise with the two pathetic individuals on the dam who spent most of the morning watching fish rise out of reach of even their longest, wind-assisted casts. At this time of year when one would expect activities to quieten down we seem to be busier than ever doing all the jobs that need to be done before winter sets in. However, judging by the roaring fire and the number of crumpets being toasted and chestnuts being roasted, you would think that winter has already arrived in the lodge. To add to the culinary delights there was a choice of two home baked cakes, courtesy of Mary Chisholm and Steve Stern. Even ‘The Fishmonger’ abandoned his strict diet to have a bit of cake for the second day running. And why not? After all, Powdermill is all about enjoyment. I only wish someone would convince your down-trodden reporter.


Yes, Bernie’s back! No sooner had he returned from his latest 4-week P&O cruise than he was out on a smaller expanse of water. Off he rowed on Tuesday, to a different part of the reservoir from where everyone else has been fishing, and succeeded in catching three rainbows but insisted that he should have had his limit, had he not been out of practice. Welcome back Bernie.

To enjoy the first part of his latest adventure go to “Meaden’s Memories”. You will find the link to "Meaden's Memories" at the bottom of the menu on the left. Don’t miss it.

Wednesday 22nd October 2014


At this time of year it is great to see that every day someone decides to come fishing irrespective of the weather conditions. We work very hard to try to ensure that we can provide the best fishing possible throughout the entire season, not just during the ‘Mayfly’ period for which we are noted.

Don Burt - A Lull During the Storm

So, despite the gale force winds which were battering much of the UK on Tuesday, I was pleased to find that Don Burt had arrived as usual for his weekly fishing expedition. However the bailiff was loath to allow him onto the water in a boat, so Don opted to fish from the dam. One rainbow was all he could manage as he battled with the gusting wind, but at least it did not rain. We were pleased to hear that there were quite a few fish in evidence although because of the hurricane many were just beyond casting distance (his excuse for not catching more).

With the next couple of days expected to be slightly calmer but cloudy, we hope to be able to welcome the odd angler. And I do mean ODD!


Even if you are not foolish enough to fish, it is well worth making the effort to fight your way through the wind-blown debris on the lanes to reach “the most beautiful water in the south east”. At this time of year the vegetation around the reservoir is beginning to don its autumn colours. As the bailiff and your intrepid reporter wandered along the dam, moving the staging higher up before they floated away on the rising water (the staging, not the bailiff and reporter), they could not resist stopping to gaze in wonder at the stunning beauty that surrounded them.


With the acceptance of the offer on the last of the four shacks up for sale in Fir Tree Close, developers are now turning their attention to more important issues. Work is about to recommence on the ‘Suez Canal’ project and we also expect to begin major improvement work on the area surrounding the boat jetty. All this effort is intended to benefit those anglers not as mobile as they once were. For regular updates on these exciting activities, just continue to visit this ‘Latest News’ page.


With the Clocks going back an hour next Sunday it will become darker in the evening. But all is not lost as during NOVEMBER & DECEMBER visiting anglers will be able to take advantage of our Ł20 four-fish all-day ticket. So from dawn to dusk you can enjoy some wonderful fishing in fabulous surroundings at a bargain price. Plus, if you want to set sail in one of our boats, you can do so for a mere Ł10 for the entire day. Share one with a friend for only Ł5 each. And if you get cold and wet, you should be able to dry out in front of the roaring fire, while receiving plenty of tea (or coffee) and sympathy from those more sensible individuals lounging about in the lodge. Our generosity knows no bounds!

Wednesday 15th October 2014


Despite the rain on Monday two Club members and a visitor came to fish in the morning and two more visitors arrived in the afternoon. Even more surprisingly, they all caught fish. Tuesday turned out to be dry but slightly colder and generally cloudy and miserable. The barometer in the lodge indicated that the pressure was still falling - not a good omen. Although no visitor deigned to fish, three Club members turned up in the morning. One opted to fish from the dam while the other two went out in individual boats. Another Club member arrived at 2pm to take an afternoon boat. Although conditions would not seem to be ideal, yet again by the time that your reporter departed at around 2.30pm all four anglers had caught fish.

So despite the continued unsettled weather, anglers are catching fish and missing lots more takes, if their tales of the one that got away are to be believed. Even Don Burt, who has had a difficult season, has succeeded in landing fish on his two recent visits and was the first to wet his net this morning.

The forecasters predict continued dodgy weather for the next couple of days, but I understand that things will then improve with the apparent possibility of temperatures rising to around 20şC. How this will affect the fishing is anyone’s guess, but it may encourage more visitors to come to enjoy what I hope will be a continuation of the current ‘good fishing’. Winter could well be just around the corner, so for goodness sake take this last opportunity to fish in reasonably pleasant weather and actually catch fish!

An extract from an article in the Daily Telegraph (May 2011) by Clive Graham, a Ranger on the river Test entitled “Testing times for the fly fishing world” Clive detects ripples troubling famous waters of the River Test. The article commences as follows :-

“Over the centuries, presidents, princes, prime ministers, poets, sportsmen, aristocrats, diplomats, artists and rock’n’roll superstars have made their annual pilgrimage to the 35 miles of the River Test during the magical month of May. Magical, because it used to be famous for its blizzard-like hatches of mayfly.

It was here that the term “duffer’s fortnight” was coined, the few weeks of the year from mid-May when even the clumsiest fly fisher would be rewarded with a bag of plump brown trout.”

As far as Powdermill reservoir is concerned ‘duffers fortnight’ lasts for the whole of March and April when our rod average is invariably at its highest and everyone should be expecting to get a limit bag almost irrespective of the method used. Once the Mayfly hatch begins at Powdermill the fishing becomes really exciting and frenetic, but landing the fish is not so easy and one-in-ten takes is all you can expect to turn into a hooked and landed fish. Not so much a case of ‘Duffers Fortnight’ as 50 days of ‘Heart Attack’ Heaven!


Your reporters patient and accommodating spouse over the years has gradually managed to whittle down the number of books on display and your reporter has fought a valiant rear-guard action to retain, let alone continue to extend, his collections on various themes. So it is hardly surprising that the idea of ‘moving out’ and making his small selection of fly fishing books available to his fellow anglers was a logical solution to keeping his dearly beloved happy and easing the pressure on the more important books.

As usual this involves your industrious reporter in more work. So the first bookshelf is up and the pictures on the walls reorganised. Any additional fly fishing publications that anglers would wish to donate to the collection for the benefit of others will be gratefully received.

Even before the shelf was erected, books were being borrowed. Norman Harle arrived this morning specifically to desperately search the index in each likely book, searching for the Clouser Minnow which is apparently a very effective fly for bass as well as trout. Despite your reporter’s scepticism, Norman was delighted to find a description and picture of the fly in one of the books. It turns out to be just another form of streamer fly. Off he went, book in hand. We await his results with our usual level of disinterest.

Monday 13th October 2014



Revised visitor prices for NOVEMBER & DECEMBER
With the reservoir staying open until the end of December and the shorter hours of daylight,
From 1st November visitors will be able to fish all day for Ł20 with a 4 fish limit.



Fishing for Club members will be extended this year to the end of December at no additional charge.

(still subject to the total season’s 120 fish limit)


Many prospective fly fishermen come from the ranks of coarse or sea anglers who want to try something different or fancy extending their angling options. Others who have no specific angling background tend to be persuaded to try by existing fly fishermen who do not necessarily have the skills, time or patience to try to show the unfortunate victim how to make a half decent attempt at casting.

Sometimes it is just as well that the fly fishing friend or relative does not attempt to teach the novice. Speaking from bitter experience, your intrepid reporter still cringes when he recalls his benevolent neighbour showing him how to cast in the field behind their houses. While using a Bob Church Reservoir rod (as stiff as a poker and as heavy as a sea rod), the object of the exercise was to obtain the maximum distance by any means. I still own a pair of these rods and look forward one day to getting them out of storage and ruining someone else’s potential technique.

Derek Coles

Fortunately, we only get a handful of enquiries each year from prospective students. Although our Bailiff is not a qualified instructor, he can sometimes be grudgingly persuaded to attempt to give the odd brief (but free) lesson. However, I am delighted to report that throughout the year I have had the pleasure of watching new Club member, Derek Coles, effortlessly cast a superb line in all conditions. Derek has had the benefit of lots of professional tuition and it shows. He has also had the opportunity to go fly fishing in so many different situations that he has been able to put his training to good practice and successfully hone his skills. I believe that he is also more than capable of explaining and demonstrating what is required and passing this on to a bemused novice.

Would he be willing to provide the occasional brief demo and lesson? Leave it to me to persuade him on your behalf. Just email us at mail@hastingsflyfishers.co.uk.


News features on both these items are currently on hold due to legal issues, but further developments are expected within the next forty-eight hours.


When your reporter departed late last Friday afternoon the sun was shining and the couple of boats out on the water had bags over the side. The afternoon had been spent chopping all the timber that was sawn to lengths ready to be made into kindling and we managed to fill yet another one-ton sack. So it’s back to sawing more timber, if weather permits.

Sadly, the weekend has been a bit of a washout and I do not expect to find that there had been much action over the two miserable days. Will next week be any better?

Thursday 9th October 2014


November and December fishing?
Come back this weekend for more details.


Expert caster Derek demonstrates?
Come back this weekend for more details.


No such thing these days?
Come back this weekend for more details.


An honest Estate Agent?
Come back this weekend for more details.

Wednesday 8th October 2014


Despite the heavy overnight rain followed by occasional showers during Tuesday, four insane anglers insisted on arriving to fish on Tuesday morning. Dr Stern, back from a few days ‘up north’ in Yorkshire, had the good sense not to take his usual boat and risk pneumonia. On this occasion he fished from the end of the boat jetty where he could make a hasty retreat back to the lodge if things turned nasty. On strolling down to photograph him, not long after he arrived, I was surprised to find that he had already caught a rainbow. Earlier, John Keeling had also landed one, midway along the dam. Our only visitor was fishing on the far bank and therefore I could not say if he had caught anything, but Anton is an experienced angler (and superb fly-tier) and I would not expect him to end fishless.

Dr Stern fishing off the Jetty

The only angler foolish enough to set sail and risk a soaking was Club Member, Don Burt. The previous Tuesday Don had inexplicably managed to catch three rainbows. However, I was reassured to note that he had reverted to his usual pathetic performance and by the time that he rowed in to meet his daughter for lunch he had failed to locate anything. Fishing the water around the ‘bubbles’ where everyone else has been catching fish (including himself the week before), he was somewhat bemused by his current lack of success, despite using identical methods. But then no two days are ever exactly the same and you have to be flexible. Hopefully his luck will have changed in the afternoon and I will be able to confirm that, despite the dodgy weather, everyone caught fish on Tuesday.


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An early viewing is strongly advised.
Offers in excess of 177,836.90 Albanian Lekë.
Option to lease part of car park for car-wash facility.

Tuesday 7th October 2014


I can only apologise to Keith Blundell for doubting his ability to match John Austin, his bitter arch-rival. John could not wait to contact Keith to crow about his success last Friday which is why Keith appeared the following morning determined not only to catch his six fish but also to match his nemesis by doing so by midday. His success just goes to prove that a bit of intense rivalry can bring out the best in our otherwise lethargic Club members. The fish fell to a Buzzer and a Hopper, both predominantly black.

Henry and his Pal

Visitors have also been having a modicum of success. The Browns (who I believe are father and son) each had their four fish limit while boat fishing using a black buzzer and Cats Whisker. Another visitor, Mr N. Hook, a local butcher, managed three while bank fishing from the dam. Regular visitor Henry Smith, who lives just down the road in Sedlescombe, caught two from the far end of the dam. Henry was accompanied by his friend who was enjoying his first visit since undergoing major heart surgery. It’s good to see him back in action. Your reporter was pleased to photograph the happy duo. Henry is the one in the ridiculous hat.

Rev. Phil Streeter

Keith 'El Mustachio' Blundell

I am normally very happy to mention our regular visitors and friends from France, but they let me down on this occasion, as on Saturday Messieurs Vasseur and Dewez only managed one each.

The only fish to fall to a dry fly last weekend was caught on Sunday by Club member Phil Streeter. I am always scandalised to find that the Reverend Streeter has been out fishing on a Sunday. However, Phil is not one to conform to the common perception of you average ‘Man of God’, but is still the nearest thing to a ‘Saintly Man’ that the Club can muster. Bless him!


What a change in the weather. Rain, drizzle and more rain. Not a single angler was prepared to brave the miserable conditions on Monday. Given the forecast for an unsettled week ahead, I do not expect many Club members to brave the elements, let alone day ticket visitors. So, roaring log fires and crumpets will be the order of the day for the ‘old boys’. However, all is not lost as there are a few inside jobs awaiting such a week as this.

Nevertheless, given that the good fishing continues, any improvement in the weather should be seized upon before autumn turns to winter and fly fishing is left to the hardy few. As fishing continues until the end of December, we can only hope that there are also plenty of fine winter days for the ‘normal’ angler to enjoy.


It is with great pleasure that we are able to announce the engagement of Fiona Smith and Lee Partridge (eldest son of our bailiff). It is not normally the practice of your reporter to say pleasant things about anyone associated with Hastings Fly Fishers, but there are occasions when it is difficult to find something derogatory or cynical to say.

Fiona Smith

Lee Partridge

Over the years Lee has always been willing to lend a helping hand and is the ‘muscle’ behind most of our activities which call for brute force and ignorance. Your intrepid reporter, the bailiff and even other Club members have no problem providing the ignorance, but ‘brute force’ is in short supply.

Despite Lee’s few good points, your reporter really cannot understand what Fiona sees in a shaven-headed hulk who spends most of his day tending to brainless pheasants and then goes out all night hunting elusive game. Although it’s traditional to run down the boy and extol the virtues of the girl, in this instance Fiona really is the best thing that has happened to him. But I am told that love is blind and Fiona does occasionally have to wear glasses.

Sunday 5th October 2014


Before our lethargic and lazy editorial team had got around to publishing the report of John Austin’s performance last Friday, the jungle drums had been working overtime. So, on making a flying visit to the reservoir on Saturday morning, your reporter was hardly surprised to find John Austin’s regular boat partner and arch rival, Keith Blundell, out in a boat in the same area on the ‘bubbles’, obviously determined not to be outdone. The bailiff confirmed that Keith had already caught a fish. In the hour or so before your reporter left, he saw Keith land another two.

Will he tempt another three? Not if a couple of visitors have anything to do with it as, on seeing Keith playing fish number three, they could be seen franticly up-anchor, rush over and moor as close as decency allowed, but on the other side of the line of bubbles. They promptly hooked and landed one which Keith will no doubt claim should have been his. That’s OK because Keith now has a ready-made excuse if he fails to match Austin’s haul.


With the reservoir at what is almost certainly its lowest for this year, now is our last opportunity to create the channel through the reeds, onto the recently excavated concrete area in front of the lodge. Your intrepid reporter, in the spirit of Stanley (shades of Stan Laurel rather than that of Henry Morton Stanley) donned his chest waders and slashed his way through the last of the reeds to emerge in the open at the edge of the Potamogeton natans (broad leaved pondweed).

He then disappeared from view behind the reeds much to the consternation of the bailiff who was not sure if he had drowned and was genuinely relieved when his hero emerged, still slashing away with the lethal scythe in the style of the Grim reaper. Now comes the hard bit - excavating the channel.

Saturday 4th October 2014


John Austin is no slouch when it comes to catching fish, irrespective of if its sea, coarse or fly fishing for trout. As the man most likely to finally end the failure of any Club member to catch his limit, I was pleased to see him out in a boat when I arrived on Friday morning. However, the first angler to land a fish was yet another visitor. By mid-morning I had seen every boat angler net fish but the four anglers on the dam remained fishless despite some abortive ‘takes’.

John Austin

The Catch

While wandering along the dam commiserating with the unfortunate anglers I was obliged to come to the assistance of poor old Reg Kent who was struggling to attach a Daddy to one of those nasty little metal clips which are supposed to make it easy to change flies. I too struggled to get the eye of the hook onto the clip which was unnecessarily tight and was relieved to finally manage it without damaging the delicate legs of the imitation Daddy.

Reg Kent

The Daddy

Further along, I stopped to chat to Arthur Macey, who was pictured earlier in the week ‘not catching fish’ on the dam and was well on the way to repeating his previous pathetic performance. He informed me that John Austin had caught at least three fish. By the time that I was ready to leave, at about 2pm, John had rowed in with six rainbows weighing just under 11lbs. Hopefully other boat anglers will have followed suit but as for the sad group of anglers along the dam I hold out little hope of any success. Will I be proved wrong when I next look at the returns ledger? Probably not!

Tuesday 30th September 2014


A glance at the entries for Sunday in the returns book proved, yet again, that it takes visiting anglers to show the Club members how to catch fish. I can remember a time, not so many seasons ago, when it was inconceivable for the monthly rod average for Club members to be lower than that of our day ticket visitors. I can even remember Doug Rigby at a Club AGM asking why it was that visitors failed to match the success of our members. Well, not any longer!

Arthur Macey on the Dam

There are always plenty of excuses. The one I tend to trot out in order to save my fellow members embarrassment is that members can now fish as often as they like, so they can just pop along for an hour or two, just catch a couple and go off, fully refreshed, while the day ticket boys have to stay all day and catch as many as they can before going home exhausted. Did I suggest that Club members could “catch a couple”? If only!

Today’s photo shows an action shot of Arthur Macey - not catching a couple on Monday.

Saturday 27th September 2014


A steady trickle of visitors each day combined with the usual Club members has meant that the reservoir has had an air of activity not normally associated with this time of year. With the current pleasant weather conditions forecast to continue into October, we can hopefully look forward to more anglers coming to enjoy some good fishing before the cold weather sets in.

A Visitor On His Way to the Boats

Despite the large number of fish present, I would not wish to suggest that the fishing is easy. However most anglers are catching fish but do not expect to get your limit, and you certainly won’t unless you are prepared to really work for it. Most anglers are happy to have a reasonable number of ‘takes’ to maintain their interest and are pleased to take home one or two fish. At this time of year the number of ‘takes’ which translate into fish on the bank is unusually low. No doubt someone can explain why?


Having published some pictures of shack number four at the start of construction, we are pleased to show you the finished ‘building’. Having now constructed more than sufficient dry storage for our wood, we can now resume the felling and logging of the dead and dying trees as well as the chopping of scrap timber to make into kindling. Anyone wishing to dispose of their scrap timber is more than welcome to add it to the pile awaiting our attention.

The students of Greek mythology amongst you will know that Hercules had to perform twelve Labours, but fortunately he had the help of Hermes and Athena, sympathetic deities who showed up when he really needed help. Sadly, fables rarely mirror reality and the only help received by your intrepid reporter from fellow Club members during the protracted construction of the shanty town was the occasional nosey parker or know-all who was only too happy to make some inane comment or give the usual unwanted advice.

Friday 26th September 2014


Although there are very few Daddy longlegs (Crane flies) in evidence around the reservoir, the trout are still willing to take an offering. However, patience is the key when using one. For the less patient, a small green buzzer seems to be a good option.

Wednesday was not an easy day but Geoffrey Piltcher proved that dogged determination can pay off. He took a boat onto the bubbles and fished for most of the day in the same spot and his perseverance was eventually rewarded with 5 fish. Earlier Geoffrey was photographed in the car park assembling rod number one. He normally sets up three rods but on this occasion for some inexplicable reason he took only two. The other unusual occurrence was to find him wearing long trousers rather than the usual shorts. A sure sign that winter is just around the corner which may not be a good omen, but it was a pleasant change not to find him displaying his less than attractive legs.

Thursday was equally difficult but everyone caught one or two fish apart from Paul Strivens who despite an excellent start during the very early part of the season, has subsequently reverted to his usual lack-lustre performance. Fortunately Paul manages to remain upbeat and can be relied upon to be one of the ‘jollier’ members who can occasionally be found chatting in the lodge.


Friday is expected to be a bit of a disaster as a number of regular ‘failures’ are threatening to make an appearance. One such angler is none other than “The Wood Butcher”. Sadly, your intrepid reporter will subsequently be forced to listen to a whole series of pathetic excuses to justify their incompetence. However, he has learned that people tend to avoid coming near him while he is working, just in case they are roped in to assist. So in order to avoid having to feign sympathy for the ‘old boys’ current failures, he can currently be spotted in the trees behind the lodge, constructing yet another ‘shack’ in what is rapidly becoming a bit of a shanty town. However, there is no truth in the rumour that he plans to let them out to illegal immigrants, although a car-wash service in the car park would be a welcome facility. As shack number 4 nears completion, it is hoped that this will be the last for the time being.

Sheds 3 and 2

Shed 4

Shed 4

Shed 4

Tuesday 23rd September 2014


People phone, email or even turn up in person to ask how it’s fishing. At the beginning of last week a chap actually drove the 30 miles from his home to the reservoir and, because your reporter could not assure him that he would catch fish, he decided not to ‘risk’ his Ł30 and departed. The weather was wonderful, the reservoir was a picture and fish were being caught from both bank and boat, but not everyone had succeeded in landing fish so it was not possible to guarantee his success.

Today (Monday) was such a day, when it turned out that limits could not be guaranteed. Everyone claimed to have had takes but lots of fish were not hooked and two of the frustrated and bemused anglers returned empty handed. No one managed a six fish limit and the best was four fish. Everyone could see loads of fish and at one point there were about fifty swifts franticly taking small black flying creatures from a small area on the water, in a spectacular display. Then equally suddenly, the birds were gone.

One visitor resorted to using a Cat’s Whisker, stripped at speed, to take his two fish. The bailiff was not impressed, but if that’s what it takes, why not?!

Another angler decided to try a Daddy longlegs although none were in evidence. He immediately had fish taking his offering. In a very short space of time he had four fish take this fly but only felt one and eventually caught nothing. So who was this unfortunate angler? Oh no! It’s Mick ‘The Wood Butcher’ Wood again, making a complete farce out of yet another potentially good opportunity.


Bernie Meaden and his wife are off on yet another luxurious P&O cruise. On this occasion it’s a four week cruise to the USA and Canada. I think that this is their twentieth P&O cruise and as usual they are sailing from Southampton. Although Bernie is a retired Metropolitan Police Officer, your intrepid reporter will not tolerate anyone mentioning bribery or corruption in conjunction his eye-wateringly expensive sea voyages.

Hopefully we can look forward to some interesting anecdotes when he returns. However, I recently received something to keep us going while he is away. On this occasion he takes us right back to the beginning of his angling adventures. You will find the link to "Meaden's Memories" at the bottom of the menu on the left. Don’t miss it.

Saturday 20th September 2014


Every angler who fished yesterday (Thursday) caught fish.........Oh, except for Mick ‘The Wood Butcher’ Wood.

On this occasion the Bailiff was quick to come to his defence by explaining that he arrived very late in the evening after all the ‘activity and action’ had subsided. The well known angling writer, Brian Harris, and his two companions were apparently packing up by the time that Woodie arrived. The three visitors had gone onto the dam at 2pm for the start of the evening session and the two men both had their four fish limit while their young lady companion had two fish.

Mick ‘The Wood Butcher’ Wood

It just so happens that the latest delivery of stockies had arrived at midday and there is a theory among some Club members that newly introduced fish upset the existing fish and the fishing goes ‘off’ for a day or so. However, there is another theory that stockies are used to their last feed at the fish farm at around 5pm, and at this time of day they will be looking for food but will not expect anything later. Sometimes the fishing reflects these theories and at other times it doesn’t! So, who knows? However, Woodie is insisting on using the latter theory as his excuse and he’s desperately sticking to it.

The sad truth is that, after the usual horrendous expedition with ‘Captain’ Chisholm in the wheelie boat last Tuesday, he decided to sneak along under the cover of darkness to enjoy some time fishing on his own for a change. So while the more intellectual amongst us were at home in front of the TV correctly answering all the questions posed on “Eggheads” (BBC2 at 6.30pm) he was franticly thrashing the water in the belief that it was only the ‘Captain’ that has been holding him back. Unfortunately for him his nil return was immediately spotted by your eagle-eyed reporter, when glancing at the returns book, the following morning. So now everyone knows that not only are his efforts down to his incompetence alone but that he has also ruined what should have been another great day’s fishing report.

To make matters worse he actually admitted to losing a fish because the hook could not have been tied on properly. For goodness sake! Sometimes I despair and wonder why we bother.

Your reporter’s next visit to the reservoir will not be until Tuesday and he genuinely believes that during his absence the vast majority of anglers will have continued to enjoy excellent fishing. Hopefully, ‘The Wood Butcher’ and ‘The Captain’ will be taking a break.


Did you know that the Bailiff is one of twins? And when it comes to fishing expertise, the Bailiff’s twin sister can show many so-called expert anglers how it should be done. Newly retired, she can now enjoy more time with her equally highly skilled angling husband, fishing their favourite waters around the country. ‘The Wood Butcher’ was recently overheard suggesting that it would be great if the Bailiff followed her example. Given that the Bailiff has just tried to excuse Woodie’s latest pathetic performance, some might suggest a level of ingratitude.

The Twins

Friday 19th September 2014


Your intrepid reporter’s return to Powdermill has coincided with a very significant improvement in catches - with virtually everyone landing fish, even some of the most incompetent amongst you. This entire week has been a delight especially for your reporter as he has not had to commiserate with disillusioned anglers returning from a fishless expedition looking for someone to reassure them that it is not their fault when it invariably is!

Thursday's Delivery

To be even more optimistic and make life even easier for you all, I have yet more good news. This very afternoon, we have had another fish delivery. Now, I know that we keep going on about the number of fish being caught in relation to the number stocked, but yet again more have gone in than have come out since the previous stocking.

So, with such pleasant weather and potentially excellent fishing prospects, why are so few visitors making the effort to come for a day’s or evening’s fishing? I could hazard a guess, but how many people dare I offend at any one time!


Despite the ageing membership of the Hastings Flyfishers Club and the popularity of our beauty spot, we currently have no plans to start selling burial plots around the reservoir. This is just as well as the legality of doing so may be questionable. The rumours began when anglers were recently confronted with a series of grave shaped excavations adjacent to the path leading to the boat jetty. Hopefully, next spring will reveal the fruits of our labour.

Grave Digging


It was so sunny and warm this week that even our resident lizards could not resist leaving the security of their rocky homes along the dam and venturing further afield to make the most of the unseasonal weather. Your reporter snapped this fellow climbing up the lodge wall in order to gobble up the unfortunate insects that were also there to enjoy the warmth of the early afternoon sunshine.

The Mowing Continues

A Resident Lizard

The warm weather has also stimulated the grass into more growth. At a time when we would normally be putting the mowing equipment away for another year, we find that we are having to continue mowing and strimming. ‘Woodie’ is particularly alarmed as, being responsible for hand-mowing the Golf Course, it looks as if his work is not over despite having announced some time ago that he had finished for this season.


Norman Harle just pipped Martyn Brignall this week as they both reached the 120 fish allowed for members to kill in a season. Norman was particularly peeved as his very last fish was the smallest that he had caught all season. I find it hard to sympathise.

Sunday 14th September 2014


Your intrepid reporter returns from his travels to find that anglers are no longer struggling to catch the odd fish but are now actually able to catch their limit. The number of sixes and four fish evening limit catches that have been recorded in the past couple of days reflects the continued high stocking combined with the gradual drop in water temperature. So, for the less hardy amongst you, the remainder of September should be an ideal time to come fishing before the really cold weather.

Your reporter arrived at the lodge just in time to witness the return of the Powdermill Trophy to Mick Wood, after it had been engraved with his name as the 2014 winner of our prestigious annual competition. Being an Arsenal supporter he could see the funny side of the blue ribbons!

Saturday 30th August 2014


First thing this morning (Friday) I replied to an email from a prospective visitor advising him to wait a couple more weeks before undertaking the 200 mile round trip to the reservoir. Not unreasonably, he does not want to undertake such a journey if the fishing is poor. I believe that it is not easy at present, but that by the middle of September even our most incompetent Club members should be able to catch fish once more. So imagine my surprise on arrival at the reservoir to be told that Bernie Meaden had set off in a boat the previous afternoon and managed to actually land five fish and lost a number of others. So, as the bailiff maintains, the fish are there and can be caught.

In September the weather will be cooler and the water temperature will continue to fall. So by mid-September conditions should be ideal and, as we are continuing to stock, the fishing could be as good as it generally is during the early part of the season. As we are open until the end of December (we are only closed during January and February) there could be some excellent autumn and winter fishing to be had.


From 1st September, we revert to the earlier Evening starts for visitors. So instead of a 4pm start Visitors can begin fishing at 2pm until dark on the Ł20, 4-fish evening ticket. A Visitor’s evening boat (from 2pm) costs Ł10 so If you are lucky enough to have a fishing companion, the two of you can have an afternoon and evenings boat fishing for a mere Ł25 each. Now that’s what I call good value.


No more news from your reporter for a couple of weeks as your resident gossip monger is taking a well earned break, but promises to return with exciting tales of his adventures together with his usual honest opinion of the pathetic and incompetent performance of members and visitors who deign to fish our beautiful water. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to return to find everyone catching fish, but then your reporter would have to revise his justifiably low opinion of you all.

Website Administrator (or if you prefer Content Strategist)
If you have any tales to tell from the reservoir or any articles, views, opinions or photos you would like to share, then get in quick before your reporter gets back. Send anything you can to mail@hastingsflyfishers.co.uk and we will see what we can do. The lunatics are taking over the asylum!

Thursday 28th August 2014


With the heaviest downpours at the reservoir so far, Tuesday was horrendous. During a very brief break in the clouds, Don Burt insisted in going out. The bailiff bailed out Don’s boat for the second time that day and off Don went with the bailiff and reporter watching in disbelief. It was not long before the rain began again. Initially just a few drops but at this point your intrepid (but not stupid) reporter beat a hasty retreat back to the warmth and safety of the lodge. Almost immediately the heavens opened again leaving Don alone and presumably wet and miserable. Hopefully the fire would still be alight on his return; fishless! How do we know that he will be fishless? Well, why change the habits of a lifetime!

Time to Build an Ark?

Don Burt - Be Prepared

Moaning about the effort required to bail out!


The forecasters predicted a relatively pleasant day, free from rain. They were right, but no one believed them as only one angler elected to fish. Club member, Derek Coles, set sail mid-morning. Although he is able to cast a very long and straight line, thanks to some professional tuition, this is not necessarily a big advantage when fishing from a boat. So will he succeed in tempting some foolhardy fish to take his fly? Only time will tell.

Don Burt - Its Starting to Rain

The first boat was moved onto the hard-standing today. This vessel was our recent second-hand acquisition which will now have to wait until next season before being launched onto the reservoir. With the reduced demand for boats during the remainder of the season, more will find their way onto the hard-standing where it will be easier to carry out annual maintenance. The reduced number of boats on the jetty will also make it easier for our decrepit and incompetent boaters to manoeuvre in and out.


According to the weather page on our website, the next few days are going to be perfect bliss. No rain and by Sunday you will all be basking in glorious wall-to-wall sunshine. Most of us wily oldies know full well that the weather during the first two weeks of September can be exceptionally good. That may account for the impending lack of ‘Latest News’ during this period as your intrepid reporter takes to the road for more exciting adventures.

Nirvana? - Remember That Weather

However, life goes on in his absence and even more fish will be arriving early next week to further boost the stocks of trout that steadfastly refuse to be caught in any numbers. Ok, so Ron Dove somehow managed to land five the other evening, but he was as confused by this as the rest of us.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, on your reporter’s return, he was regaled with a Returns Book filled with ‘success’. Sadly if we have to rely on our incompetent Club members, this is a forlorn hope. Maybe the odd visiting angler with some semblance of ability will grace us with their presence and show the ‘old boys’ how it’s done. Fat Chance!

Tuesday 26th August 2014


Bank Holiday Monday began with light rain at dawn, got heavier and heavier as the day progressed, and never let-up. On such a miserable day, with such a gloomy weather forecast, you would not expect anyone in their right mind to go fishing. The A21 road between Hasting and Sedlescombe was deserted, as the hoped for Bank Holiday crowds that create jams the length of the “Snail Trail” into Hastings stayed at home.

Imagine your reporter’s surprise, on arriving at the reservoir, to find a van in the car park. Had Southern Water hired expert ‘killers’ to eradicate the so-called rabbit menace? Wrong (as usual). It transpired that the driver of the vehicle had actually gone fishing.

As the Bailiff, Woody and your reporter sat around the blazing wood burner, they fretted about the wellbeing of the lone angler who could not be seen from the comfort of the lodge. Eventually, at around 2pm, he came into view when he finally moved along the dam. Woody departed, reassured that the lone visitor had not drowned. By 2.30pm the miserable wretch could be seen packing up his gear. The bailiff therefore decided that it was time to go home for his siesta.

Ignoring the awful weather, off galloped your intrepid reporter, to get one quick photo of this poor soul trudging back along the dam. This was to be the only ‘action shot’ opportunity of the day.

It transpires that Bob Gooden is a relatively normal and sane, if somewhat misguided, angler who under normal circumstances would not venture out in such conditions. However, having been starved of good fishing at his usual haunts of Arlington and Bewl, he has had to resort to visiting Powdermill - on one of the worst days of the season! So, now he’s had a hat trick of disappointing venues! After a long chat about killing ‘nasties’ in Central London, Bob and your reporter went their separate ways, down the deserted lanes.

Friday 22nd August 2014


The evening rises are still proving to be the most productive time but as conditions change, fishing during the day can prove equally successful. However, the first sentence of Steve Stern’s latest text says it all :-

“Such a shame only 4 people to enjoy the evening rise. Phil Streeter who arrived early nearly managed a limit bag for the first time this evening. My boat partner, a guest, was so impressed with his trout limit plus Rudd he's signing up as a member. I equalled my best fish total for the year and may run out of trout before the end of the year....”

The lack of news this week is due to my absence. Arriving for the first time this week, late on Friday morning, I was surprised to see four boats out with one bank angler about to tackle-up. With the cooler and cloudier conditions it will be interesting to see how they all fare and will be a good indication of how it is likely to fish this weekend.

Monday 18th August 2014


Since the Club celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2007, we have continued to hold an annual Club Competition and BBQ. So last Friday we held our eighth annual event. The twenty ageing Club members foolish enough to take part this year had a reasonably pleasant morning and relaxing early afternoon. However on this particular day the forecast downpour arrived an hour earlier than predicted and ensured that all the contestants got a thorough soaking. Some chickened out and hurried in as the heavens opened, but still got very wet. Other idiots insisted on continuing, in the forlorn hope of catching another fish, or in a number of cases, their first fish.

Did we say “a number of cases”? In the end, the twenty anglers caught a total of ten fish and seven of these fish were caught by just three anglers. The mathematicians amongst you will quickly realise that the vast majority of decrepit and incompetent members have upheld the abysmal standard that your reporter expects of them and confidently predicted in Thursday’s ‘Latest News’.

Nobody was even sufficiently lucky enough to land one of the recently stocked 2˝lb rainbows, but ‘Uncle’ Ted Stevenson did manage to hook one. He was able to see that it was well over 2lb when it leapt out of the water right in front of him, before surging away and subsequently discarding the hook.

So who were the eventual prize winners?

Since the competition was introduced as part of the 75th Anniversary celebrations, every year it has been won by a different bemused angler whose pathetic performance just happened to be not as awful as the other contestants. This year proved to be no different. However, even the bookmakers were gob smacked by the news of the eventual winner.

The bailiff’s 50-1 outsider proceeded to behave true to form during his boat session in the morning, flogging the water but not having a single ‘knock’. However, having taken note of the bailiff’s recent “two casts - two fish” location on the dam, he sneakily slipped into this potential ‘Hot Spot’. Sure enough, three fish later, it was none other than Mick ‘The Wood Butcher’ Wood who found himself inundated with prizes as well as the illustrious Powdermill Trophy.

Michael is not just a nice fellow, but one of the very few true Club members, ready and willing to do whatever he can to support the Club. So, despite your reporter’s disappointment at yet another pathetic ‘Club’ performance, he was genuinely delighted to have the honour of presenting Michael with his trophy and prizes.

Apart from the undisclosed amount of cash (handed over discretely in a sealed envelope, which he will not be declaring to Revenue & Customs), he also received one of the highly prized ‘sticks’ expertly made by master craftsman Sam Hills. Being a dear friend of Sam’s this is not Woody’s first stick, but you really cannot have too many of these masterpieces. Woody was equally thrilled with his beautiful pewter flask, complete with separate miniature funnel. The attractive silver trout tiepin rounded off his collection of prizes.

As you cannot win two prizes, one of our ‘new boys’ Derek Coles took the best from the bank. Being a new addition to the ‘family’ he is currently often referred to as “the tall white haired bloke” by the ‘old boys’ as it takes a number of years before names get attached to faces. Having caught two fish from the bank in the morning, he was leading the field at lunchtime but, like almost everyone else, he could not capitalise on this despite the many hours of boat experience he has notched up this season.

The ‘Best from a Boat’ went to Dr Steven Stern. Steve nearly missed the prize giving as, once he had finished stuffing his face at the BBQ, he was planning to sneak home early. This was a sensible plan, as people were soon to find out that, in addition to another of his extraordinary cakes, he had also donated a vast quantity of various pickles and preserves for the raffle. His unusual concoctions are fast gaining a following (your intrepid reporter being his biggest fan) and the odd jar of pickle or preserve is highly prized among ‘foodies’. However, an entire box-full can seem a bit daunting, so he thought it best not to be around when the horrified winner was confronted with a whole year’s supply of eye-watering spicy pickles.

Dr Steven ‘Don’t ask me, I’m retired’ Stern was one of only four anglers who managed to land a fish from a boat and, much to his surprise, his just happened to be a couple of ounces heavier than his nearest rival.

The usual thanks goes to Mandy & John, our caterers, who after eight years and sixteen Club BBQ’s are beginning to get the hang of it! Thanks to everyone else who contributed to making the day so enjoyable despite the lack of fish and the brief downpour.

I personally am particularly delighted to have found an assistant photographer willing and capable of taking photos of old people and making them appear half reasonable. Thanks Sue.

So who was the unfortunate winner of the pickles? John Keeling is no stranger to the Doctor’s concoctions as he won a vast quantity of his pickles in the raffle two years ago. So he knows exactly what to expect this time, as does his family if the gasps of despair emanating from their direction is anything to go by. At least it should keep them all ‘regular’!

All the photos from this year's event are now available. (No need to register to view on either site)

View in Dropbox.

View on our Facebook page.

Friday 15th August 2014


Those of you are old enough to remember the adult magazine ‘Rustler’ will be interested to read the latest anecdote from Bernie Meaden. This story can be found on Bernie’s own page "Meaden's Memories" at the bottom of the menu on the left.


Friday sees the annual Club fishing competition with 18 entrants and the evening BBQ with around 50 to 60 ‘revellers’. The pop-up marquee was erected and the smaller one had its frame assembled, but just as the roof sheet was slid over the top the heavens opened. We were very fortunate to just manage to avoid being soaked. Once the sunshine returned the tenting was completed. Showers and sunshine continued to be the order of the day and there is a distinct possibility that we could be in for much of the same tomorrow. The forecasters are slightly more optimistic than your intrepid reporter, who will be taking a change of clothing just in case.

Although your intrepid reporter will not be competing in the Club fishing competition, he still risks a soaking as his roving reporter’s role will see him desperately scrabbling around the reservoir in the forlorn hope that one of the ageing competitors foul hooks a fish. On the basis of their recent performances the competitors are unlikely to catch one by conventional methods but with so many fish crammed into the reservoir, foul hooking is a distinct possibility.


Someone really needs to have a word with our ageing Club members about the advisability of exposing sensitive parts of the body at this or any other time of year. Fortunately our strict codes of practice and censorship will only permit the publication of the least offensive examples. So in the hope that others realise just how revolting the sight of their pasty white legs can be, we feel obliged to show a couple examples of arguably the least revolting, as modelled by retired banker Geoffrey Piltcher. How worse can they get - you would be surprised!

Geoffrey 'Legs' Piltcher

Thursday 14th August 2014


The combination of yesterday’s fish delivery, slightly cooler temperatures, more cloud cover and calm water should result in excellent fishing. Yet there was no sign of the three boat anglers, who had been out all morning, catching any trout. All three were fishing near the aerator.

In the afternoon the bailiff was driving the mower up and down the dam and could see lots of fish rising, mostly in the calmer areas where there was no ripple. At around 3pm, on finishing ‘tidying up’ the grass on the dam in preparation for Friday’s Club competition, he was joined by your intrepid reporter, who had been bitten to distraction by the creatures under the trees around the woodshed. Both were ready for an excuse to stop for a coffee. However, while waiting for the kettle to boil, the bailiff decided to have a quick cast off the dam and the reporter decided to go along with his camera in the hope of getting some action shots of the bailiff.

On arriving at the first staging, the bailiff immediately saw a fish surface and cast at it. As the fly hit the water he was instantaneously into a fish. The reporter was still strolling along the dam a short distance behind. There was indeed plenty of fish activity and when the bailiff decided to have a second cast it took only a matter of seconds before the fly on the dropper was taken by another rainbow. They could see another fish chasing the point fly as the fish was being played. At this point the pair decided that it was too easy and that the kettle would have boiled by now, so they departed. Two fish in two casts and nearly three in two casts. What flies was he using? It is irrelevant as the fish were clearly intent on feeding on whatever they came across and we believe that they would have taken anything within reason. Despite many experienced anglers insisting that in these conditions the fish must be deep, it was evident that the fish were willing to take flies off the surface, so why wouldn’t you prefer to use a dry fly on a floating line?

When your reporter departed at around 4.30pm the boats were still fishless, flogging away at what they thought was the only appropriate method in these conditions.


No, not a member of the infamous dance troupe, but simply a poor imitation of the illustrious Thomas Chippendale. Yes, it’s your intrepid reporter wielding his electric saw (with its blade guard tied in the open position to make it easier to cut through wet timber). He could be seen scavenging through the piles of scrap timber searching for suitable bits, while stepping on the odd nail sticking out of rotting planks (three times). A Health & Safety officer’s nightmare staff member!

Using yet more of Norman’s (Keighron Fencing Ltd) ‘waste’ timber, today’s project was a relatively straightforward requirement. The old wooden ramps which were used to enable the mower to be driven into its lockup container had rotted and completely disintegrated. So a new set was urgently required as the mower had been stranded in the open, subject to the vagaries of the elements. Having found more than enough timber, your over-enthusiastic woodworker ended up making three ramps. His reasoning is that when more suitable timber arrives, he will make another one to create a second pair. After all, you can never have too many wooden ramps!

Unfortunately, the next planned activity involves more unguarded’ electric saw blade action. ‘With the completion of the Kindling Store, all the scrap timber is now to be cut into manageable pieces which can then be chopped into kindling, hopefully by some enthusiastic volunteers. Fat chance!

Wednesday 13th August 2014


In among the fish delivery on Tuesday we were pleased to receive an unexpected quantity of rainbows weighing 2˝lbs. Hopefully, Jon Chapman will abandon his dodgy car wheeling and dealing and rush over for an evening’s fishing and try to catch something that will more than ‘fill the plate’ for a change.


No, not the famous Partridge Family from the 1970’s TV sitcom, but the Bailiff’s youngest son, Greg, with his two boys watching the latest fish delivery on Tuesday. In his youth Greg was an accomplished fly fisher who spent many hours at the reservoir. Now residing in Hampshire with his wife and their two boys, he has little opportunity to come and fish his ‘home water’.


Strolling back into the lodge mid-morning on Tuesday after a very wet weekend at Broadstairs Folk Festival, your intrepid reporter immediately sensed that something was wrong. The ‘old boys’ seemed decidedly nervous and became even more cagey when enquiries were made about the availability of cake. Eventually they were forced to come clean and admit that they had been stuffing their faces with a cake that they found in the fridge. Cake in the fridge? Yes, it is the safest place and the only one where we can guarantee that our resident pet mice cannot get at our food. They can become so desperate (the mice as well as the ‘old boys’) that, in order to get at the contents, they have been known to gnaw through cake tins (the mice, not the ‘old boys’). The ‘rats’ (previously referred to as the ‘old boys’) claimed to be innocents in a genuine misunderstanding.

It transpires that Steven Stern had finally managed to produce what he considered to be a perfect Victoria sponge. He had brought it in with strict instructions to the bailiff to pass it to the Club’s leading self-professed expert cake taster and Victoria sponge aficionado, in order to obtain an authoritative assessment. To avoid embarrassment we will not mention what happened to make the doctor’s previous Victoria sponge taste so “bizarre” (His word not ours - see 2nd August).

Also to avoid embarrassment, we will not mention the names of the ‘old boys’ who, without so much as a by-your-leave, could not resist scoffing the cake that they ‘discovered’.


At this time of year we would normally warn prospective visitors that this coming Friday (15th August) we will be enjoying (not necessarily the most appropriate word) our annual Club competition during the day followed by a BBQ in the late afternoon/evening.

On the basis of the number of visitors that we currently welcome, I do not think that we need worry this year. Indeed, if you would like to come along and out-fish our Club members we will be delighted to publicise your efforts while criticizing the usual pathetic performance of this year’s 18 miserable contestants.

Sunday 10th August 2014


The other day I challenged any of the ‘experts’, who occasionally visit Powdermill, to come and fish when it is not ‘easy’. Needless to say, I do not expect any of the Premier Division boys to take up the challenge, so we will probably have to make do with someone from a lower division.

As if perfectly on cue, I receive an e-mail from Jon Chapman, an occasional visitor to our reservoir. In the recent past he has complained at the size of our fish. We freely admit that in recent weeks one of our suppliers has been obliged to supply smaller 1˝lb fish. However JC is building an unenviable reputation for only catching the smallest rainbows in the reservoir. His e-mail reads as follows:

“So the Hobbs Parker fishing team arrived for their inaugural fishing match on Tuesday evening................ high stakes stuff!

We were very excited!
  The bailiff looked glum! "It`s tough out there"

We were very excited!

We whizzed to the bubbles full of enthusiasm............... and guess what............ loads of fish!

We rose them on pulled surface muddlers and a variety of dries........ muddlers were great fun with fish chasing and slashing, most coming short, but great fun to watch them.

My boat partner that had never fished before missed a few and is hopefully now completely cured of carp fishing!

As it got dark hovering above the boat were huge Rutland sized buzzers.... an inch at least.... on with the Shipmans and bingo.... we all rose and hooked and missed a few. Even Irish John and my son Tom who were thrashing the water to a foam in desperation managed to fool one or two and you could tell by the non stop laughing and cursing they were having lots of fun.

We fished until dark (very dark!) John said "will it get darker than this?" Tom said "it`s night time!" but the intensity of the rise got greater and greater with fish (trout) popping and splashing and sipping all around us.

We caught a few, we lost a few, we missed a lot!

Vic was in disbelief at the size of one of the fish I weighed in!


So who on earth are the Hobbs Parker Team? The Hobbs Parker Group can trace their origins all the way back to 1850. They are based in Ashford but also have an office in Tenterden. Although I understand they are a reputable firm covering a wide range of activities including estate Agents, Car Auctions, Property Consultants and Auctioneers, such activities are always viewed with suspicion by members of the general public. And rightly so given that JC is their leading car auctioneer and his colleague and pal, Elwyn Davies, can be found auctioning livestock at Ashford Market.

Elwyn Davis

Jon Chapman

For some inexplicable reason, Elwyn’s presence is not mentioned in Jon’s email, but I think Elwyn actually managed to catch one while Jon had three. A couple of Jon’s fish were 1˝lb while the third was only a pathetic 1lb. How does he find them? In fairness, the bailiff confirms that the fish had clearly been in the reservoir for some time and had obviously lost weight but was sleek and fit. Oh, and poor Irish John and Tom apparently failed to land anything. So not the greatest team and will probably need a few more seasons before they are likely to gain promotion to the Premiership. However, with what purports to be a first Division player at its helm these boys could well go far. But probably not in my lifetime!

It is hardly acceptable for you reporter to be rude about visitors when our Club members, despite all their local knowledge, are proving to be equally inept if not more so. When was the last time that a Club member recorded a limit? How many of them have blanked recently?

The water is stuffed full of trout and yet more fish will be arriving next week. But goodness knows why as numbers are irrelevant. Conditions are the key. But it is possible to have a really enjoyable time and still fail to catch anything. So do not refuse to fish just because people blank, after all you may not! I am constantly amazed at the number of anglers who make the effort to come all the way to the water, only to look in the returns book and promptly depart. There is more to fly fishing than a guaranteed bag full. However, if that is your prime purpose I will let you into a little secret.

ASDA are currently offering the perfect standard plate-sized rainbow on their fresh fish counter. These little beauties, each weigh exactly 270g (just under 10ozs). They will happily fillet for you at no extra cost. However, at Ł3 each or two for Ł5 they are hardly cheap and I can assure you that obtaining them does not involve a great deal of fun or excitement, as apparently enjoyed by the Hobbs Parker Team. Also, at Powdermill you do tend to meet a better class of person than at ASDA, unless of course you bump into some dodgy auctioneers out for an evening’s fun and excitement.


As promised and bang on schedule, the final cosmetic touches were made, on Friday, to the palatial new annex attached to the log store. All that is now required is to turn the mountain of scrap timber into kindling.


The increasingly hard ground proved to be a problem the other week when Alec Chisholm attempted to drive his wheelchair onto the new ramp. The result is a sloping extension to the ramp which is hinged to ensure that the whole structure is still east to carry.

Tuesday 5th August 2014


With another week of hot weather forecast, evenings are still the best time to come fishing (evenings in August start at 4pm). The other alternative is to start fishing at 6.30 am and pack up when it gets too hot at about 10.30 am. However, if you do decide to make an early start, try not to wake the bailiff by revving your motor, tooting your horn or banging on his door demanding advice as to where to fish. Just get on with it and he will eventually appear bleary eyed and irritable (he is never sociable until after the first mug of coffee). Some people say that he is just not sociable!

Apropos the continuing heatwave, I received an email today from ‘Salmon & Trout Sussex’ in which they forwarded an email from selectafly.com entitled “Beat the heat”.

Their advice is as follows:

“Hot, bright conditions on stillwaters often have the fish hunkered down in the deep, cooler water. One successful approach in this situation is buzzers, or an Apps Bloodworm type pattern fished at depth (perhaps up to 25 feet or more). These can be presented either on a floating line and a very long leader, or on a fast sinker such as the Airflo Di7. In either case the retrieve is slow. Don't forget the dry fly if there is any surface activity - and a sedge pattern can often save the day in the last hour of daylight.”

I actually do own an ‘Ultra Fast Sink’ line but the majority of our Club Members don’t. So, if the advice from Selectafly is to be heeded, it’s down to a very long leader! However, if members follow this advice, many of them will invariably end up in a hell of a tangle, be constantly unhooking the fly from the back of the dam or off to A&E to have a fly extracted from one or other earlobe. Or worse still, their boat partner’s earlobe.

In The Heat of the Day

A consistently high water temperature certainly is a serious problem but we know the fish are still feeding and not just skulking in the depths. How do we know this? Simply because we can see fish taking small creatures off the surface at some time during the day. However, persuading them to take your offering is not as easy as it should be. With more fish going in than are coming out it we cannot blame stocking levels for it being hard but at this time of year it never is that straightforward. What we could do with is some of the so-called ‘experts’ who deign to come and catch their limit during the Mayfly hatch to show us how to do it when conditions are not so easy. Maybe the likes of Andy Lush (proprietor of ‘The Friendly Fisherman’ in Tunbridge Wells) would like to ‘give it a go’. I can promise plenty of free publicity irrespective of success or failure!


Selectafly commented that “One thing is becoming clear both from discussion at the event itself and subsequently that it is becoming increasingly difficult for fishing tackle businesses to justify the cost of attending the Game Fair. If you have any thoughts on this and what you want from the event - be it discounts, new product launches, the opportunity to meet well known fishing faces, etc. etc. please do drop us a line - we'd love to hear your views.”

The costs of attending the Game Fair take some covering if your aim is to make a profit. Selectafly presumably wonder if it was worth it. It is not just the horrendous pitch cost but everything else associated with three days total expenses. If you are one of the big boys, like manufacturer ‘Hardy & Grey’ or luxury retailer ‘Farlow’s of Pall Mall’, your justification for being there is not just measured in show sales. However, we expressed our concern about this very topic in our assessment of the Fishing Village (Latest News: 26 July). As long as internet and mail order sellers continue to increase their share of the market, ‘traditional’ dealers will find it harder to bear the additional cost of attending these extravaganzas and still be expected to compete with the on-line discounters. What’s my solution? I don’t have one and, like the vast majority of you, will still check how cheaply I can get it on the Net and invariably buy it from there without any hesitation if the price is right. For those of you without internet access the larger internet retailers also bombard us with mail order magazines offering virtually everything at the same discounts, which no cost conscious angler seems to be able to refuse.


The long awaited Kindling Store is finally taking shape and should be completed this week. Despite the lack of suitable materials the shack is gradually evolving out of a pile of rubbish. All the timber, from various sources, was destined for land-fill but acquired for kindling.

However, the best of the prospective kindling is finding a second useful ‘life’ but it is ten times as hard to cobble together rubbish as it would be to use some decent materials. Even the nails are being removed from the rotten timber and being reused. So we end up with a building which has not cost a single penny, but would be an eyesore and an embarrassment if not cleverly hidden behind the magnificent edifice that passes for the Log Store.

Saturday 2nd August 2014


With so few anglers bothering to fish in the heat of the day and just as few prepared to tear themselves away from 'Coronation Street' or whatever takes their fancy on the box in the evening, there is very little to report. However, yesterday afternoon (Thursday), Steven Stern and his fishing partner rowed out for an evening's fishing when everyone else would have been thinking of going home. Although they caught trout, Steve was more excited by the shoal of Rudd.......

"Another frantic last hour had to use torches to get back. There's a large shoal of Rudd on the bubbles - first time I've seen it. Good sport.

Made a Victoria Sponge looked great but tasted bizarre - it's in the bin! Will try again next week."

Your intrepid reporter does not know how to react to this news. He is almost excited enough to actually consider going fishing at the thought of lots of Rudd, but distraught at the thought of cake being thrown away.

One of our RUDD caught by John Austin

The Powdermill rudd are superb and you will not find more beautiful rudd anywhere else in the country and with NO roach in our water they are not hybrids but the real thing!!!!! However, over the years, food has arguably been more important than fishing, so the news that the good doctor has discarded what may well have been a reasonably edible (if not perfect) cake is the ultimate sin and almost too upsetting to bear. So next week cannot come quickly enough.


On Wednesday Don Burt rowed in, to meet one of hi daughters for lunch, bemoaning the fact that Terry Beeching, an incompetent and generally useless angler had managed to catch two rainbows that morning while he, a very experienced and highly skilled angler had not had a touch (both were primarily using a Daiwl Bach). Your intrepid reporter has to agree that it is difficult to comprehend how ‘The Cuckoo’ managed to persuade two trout to look at his fly let alone end up in his boat.

Don Burt

Terry Beaching

However, your intrepid reporter is not afraid (which is why he is ‘intrepid’) to state that, like most HFF Club members, Don has proved to be equally, if not even more, useless and incompetent. Sadly, this is why many visitors who are not familiar with our water consistently out-fish members. And to make matters worse your reporter often feels more like he is looking after the inmates of a care home rather than enjoying the company of a group of experienced fly fishermen. What a pathetic bunch.


The weather forecasters are now suggesting that cooler weather could be on its way, with the odd shower. If this is the case, then fishing during the day should be more comfortable and hopefully more productive. The evenings are likely to continue to be good and certainly more fun than ‘Coronation Street’. Sadly, it’s never been the same since Reg Holdsworth and Curly Watts left.

Wednesday 30th July 2014


What an incredibly quiet start to the week with not a single angler fishing during the day on Monday. However one visitor and two Club members heeded our advice and did come fishing in the late afternoon and into the early evening, but the bailiff informs me that they all went home early and the fish only appeared, to sip the little black midges off the surface, after all three had left. So if you are going to fish in the evening, please stay until the sun has well and truly set and you have to grope your way back to the lodge. I suspect that our resident male Grebe tips them off when it’s ‘All Clear’.

‘The Wood Butcher’ and the ‘Captain’

‘The Wood Butcher’ and the ‘Captain’

Tuesday could well have turned out to be exactly the same but two idiots insisted on setting sail early this morning. The latter statement is not strictly true as ‘The Wood Butcher’ had no option, having been ‘press ganged’ by ‘Captain’ Chisholm. The ‘Captain’ proceeded to motor the wheelie boat aimlessly around the reservoir before eventually settling on the ‘bubbles’. By noon the handful of observers, including your intrepid reporter, had got bored and left with still no sign of a bag over the side. Hopefully someone will arrive this evening capable of catching something.


Unfortunately while idly chatting outside the lodge on Tuesday morning, your intrepid reporter was savagely attacked by what he suspects was a 'Snipe fly'. This nasty creature is a close relative of the Horse Fly. Subsequent research suggests that this Snipe Fly was either Rhagio scolopacea or Chrysopilus cristatus both of which have dark marks and shading on the wings and are not easy to tell apart. The adult flies are usually found between May and August, flying close to woodland or hedgerows. Quick as a flash, your intrepid reporter swatted the offending creature, but not before it had done its worst.

The 'Snipe Fly' - Possibly Either a Rhagio scolopacea or Chrysopilus cristatus

‘Uncle’ Ted Stevenson, who is our self-professed leading entomologist, warned the slightly alarmed reporter that it may not necessarily have been sucking blood but could have been laying its eggs under the skin. The flesh eating larvae would subsequently eat their way out. He also stressed that a bite could cause a serious rapid allergic reaction resulting in an agonising death if not dealt with immediately.

The ‘old boys’ were able to examine the fly at close quarters and the reporter took photos in case it needed to be accurately identified, if it became necessary to administer the appropriate serum. Some visitors and many Club members will be disappointed to learn that despite the pain, your intrepid reporter is still very much alive.

Editor’s Note:
Lest readers become alarmed and avoid coming to the reservoir - oh, you are already avoiding coming - please be reassured that we do not have any flies which lay eggs in humans. However, there is no guarantee that a bite by any one of the dangerous creatures lurking around the reservoir would not result in an allergic reaction and an agonising death, but we are fairly certain that should you wish to insure yourself against such an eventuality the premium would be surprisingly low. We can also assure you that since the Club was formed in 1935 no member or visitor has actually died at the reservoir. Or have they? Could this be another HFF cover-up for the conspiracy theorists!

Sunday 27th July 2014


Despite the continued heatwave, the odd angler still insists on risking sunstroke by fishing during the heat of the day. I am getting fed up of suggesting that you fish in the evening as the later you stay the better. Dr Stern recently wrote in the returns book that “during the last hour the reservoir came alive with fish everywhere” and he managed to catch three during the mayhem.

Now, I hope that this annotation does not set a precedent as the returns ledger is not intended as a ‘remarks book’. Maybe we should have a ‘Comments book’ of even a suggestion box. Your editorial team would be pleased to administer such a facility as we could then use these pages to reply to any comments and criticisms and tell you all what we really think. As usual it is likely to be rude and offensive which is what we pretend is just jolly banter.

No sooner had I written the above than I received an email from Martin Brignall reinforcing my advice - together with a photo of the gorgeous sunset.

Hi John,

Whilst fishing from a boat on Friday evening, (25th July), and the sun was beginning to set, the reservoir became alive with fish. I managed to take 3 fish on buzzers in a very short space of time, I think a 6 fish limit would have been very possible, but I felt enough sport had already been obtained.

I would encourage anyone to take a boat and fish whilst watching the sun go down, and have a good bit of sporting fun.

Martyn Brignall


Somehow Sue Goodhand (nee Partridge) remains undeterred by the theft of her revolting mermaid (as reported on 30th June) and has now ‘donated’ (some would say “dumped” or “off-loaded”) another of her jumble sale finds.

On this occasion it is a ‘Golf’ Clock purchased for the princely sum of Ł1. Despite most golf related items being very collectable we suspect that the jumble sale organisers could not believe their luck at finding a mug willing to pay good money for this particular monstrosity.

Sue & the Naff Golf Clock

Not being noted for his good taste, the Bailiff has suggested that he might take it home, presumably because his is obsessed with golf. If he thinks better of it, I suggest that we install it in the toilet in the hope that whoever stole the mermaid from that room also takes a fancy to the equally naff clock.

We do not wish to appear ungrateful and genuinely appreciate any little kindness but there is a limit to what we can be expected to be thankful for. For the second time in succession, Sue has stretched our gratitude beyond reasonable limits. What will we suffer next?

Saturday 26th July 2014


As Bibury Trout Farm was not far from where we were staying Barry ‘The Fishmonger’ Morgan and your intrepid reporter with his long-suffering wife in tow took the opportunity to visit and learn a bit about their operation. Bibury is a beautiful village on the edge of the Cotswolds which is host to thousands of tourists.

Kate Marriott showed us around the 15 acre Fish Farm which is bang in the centre of the village and has 40,000 paying visitors each year. The size and number of ponds means that they can hold large numbers of fish. They produce their own eggs and even supply them to other fish farms. We were very impressed with everything including the knowledgeable staff that we met while wandering around the farm. A real treat and a very interesting, enjoyable and informative visit!


I left the Fishing Village until my second day of our visit. Being impressed with virtually everything we had seen on the opening day and given all the hype about the re-vamped fishing, I was expecting great things. It therefore came as a bit of a disappointment, as my initial foray revealed nothing which got me really excited. I dread to think what it was like previously.

A couple of disillusioned regulars assured me that there appeared to be fewer stands and even fewer genuine bargains to be had. The latter is hardly surprising when internet selling and mail order is so fiercely competitive, leaving no room for any further genuine Show discounts. Plenty of rods on show, but the bigger discounts were mainly on last year’s models which were no cheaper than currently on offer on the Net. New exciting products were few and far between. Maybe I was expecting too much but......

Steve Munn

Fortunately, the demonstrations by the professional fly fishermen were generally very interesting and enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the demonstration by the very personable Stevie Munn of the elite Hardy Greys Pro Team and Partridge Hooks Pro Team. He hails from Co. Antrim in N.Ireland, and it was particularly pleasing to see his genuine enthusiasm when talking about the large Irish Lough run wild brown trout (called the Dollaghan) in his homeland.

Fortunately, the demonstrations were not the only productive time spent at the fishing as I was able to meet and have a long discussion with Colin Barker, one of only three Angling Trust Fisheries Management Advisors, regarding our cormorant problem. Although the three FMAs are employed by the Angling Trust the funding for them comes directly from anglers’ Rod Licence funds which are administered by the Environment Agency. So at long last we at Powdermill may get something for our ‘fishing tax’. Three advisors to cover the entire country is really spreading it thin and poor Colin has to cover the area of the country roughly on a line to the east of the M1.

Despite being very busy, Colin has already been in contact since the Show, providing available dates in his busy diary, and I am looking forward to him visiting us in the near future.

Another potentially useful organisation that I discovered at the Show is The Wild Trout Trust. Not having heard of them before, I was not sure what they do. Although my initial impression was that they were mainly preoccupied with rivers, I was pleased to find that they were genuinely interested in our concern at the rapid decline in our population of ‘native’ Brown Trout in the reservoir.

Wild Trout Trust

Although cormorant predation could well be a significant factor in their decline, the silting-up of their spawning grounds in the feeder streams must, in my view, also be an equally pressing problem. Hopefully, they can provide us with some help or advice and I look forward to making further contact.

At long last, I have found a viable British alternative to the French manufactured Aqua-Pęche (our green coloured boats). Although our three Aqua-Pęche boats are very popular with anglers and have required little maintenance so far, they are quite expensive to buy.

Heyland Marine were not situated in the Fishing Village but were in the main drag heading towards the shopping area. I was literally stopped in my tracks when I saw the ‘Sturdy Rowing 320’. I then nearly fainted when I saw the price – half the current cost of the Aqua-Pęche! I visited this exhibitor three times and crawled all over this boat, took loads of photos from every angle and interrogated the staff. Despite the very competitive price the ‘Sturdy’ range is well named and appears to be much more robust than its French rival. And it’s just one of a number of potentially useful boats that Heyland Marine offer which would be suitable for use on our reservoir. However, the ‘320’ would be my choice and has even got roller wheels on the back to make it easier for our ageing Bailiff to drag it ashore.

Another exciting discovery (sometimes it doesn’t take much to excite your intrepid reporter) is the availability of suitable aluminium oars, which we have struggled to obtain in the past. However, they also proudly showed me their beautiful wooden oars which are almost works of art and therefore far too good for the likes of our members and visitors. I had to refrain from asking the price of spare aluminium oars as, given the cost of their boats, I feared that the response would have me franticly reaching for my cheque book!

While having a restorative coffee in the Fishing Village, I thought that I recognised a chap on the next table. It turns out that he had fished Powdermill once this year and that was his first time at our water. I can only assume that it was his dashing good looks which had made such an impression that once seen never forgotten. Dave Honeywood who lives in Lewes had brought along his pal Kevin MacDonald who comes from Herstmonceux. Kevin was new to fly fishing and was in the market for his first fly rod. He ended up with a Greys GR30 rod together with a free reel.

Kevin MacDonald & Dave Honeywood

Although Kevin is not far away from Powdermill, Brick Farm is only down the road from Herstmonceux. It is a reasonable place for a beginner to practice casting and somewhere where you normally can easily catch fish. However, at this time of year it is closed due to the water temperature. I hope that both of them will come to fish with us in the near future. Although it’s a long way for Dave to come for an evening’s fishing, he should be assured of some good sport given the recent reports. Although it is difficult during these hot days, anglers are reporting that the fish suddenly appear everywhere as the evening progresses.

Being a Game Fair it was hardly surprising that there were some serious smokers on show in the Shopping Village. The most impressive smokers designed to permanently live in the garden cost around Ł1,000, complete with a free cover! These beautifully made ovens can be used to hot and cold smoke.

Quality Smoker

Another Quality Smoker

An Awful Smoker

So imagine my surprise (and horror) at coming across a smoker based on a four-drawer filing cabinet!!!! Having been externally painted in black it looked tidy. That was until I decided to open one of the drawers. The inside was as grubby as the one initially used by Alec Chisholm before it was dumped in the woods in order to ensure that we did not all die of food poisoning. How anyone can display such an abomination in front of their stall for all to examine beggars belief. Especially as they offer lessons in smoking meat or fish. If you are tempted to go to them (I dare not mention their name lest they sue me) I suggest that you give them a miss as we can show you how to prepare and smoke fish in an unhygienic manner if that’s what you want - and all free of charge. After all, everything about the ‘old boys’ at Powdermill is pretty unsavoury and unhygienic.


A week away from the reservoir yet nothing has changed on my return. Had time stood still? Not quite. Mowing and strimming has continued (the Bailiff’s favourite occupation). Some say “virtually his only occupation” or at least the only one he enjoys – especially when sitting on the mower. However, Mick ‘The Wood Butcher’ Wood has taken on the role of Green Keeper and is gradually hand mowing and improving the Putting Green. Yes, I did say Putting Green!

However, the most pleasing development in my absence was the delivery of a wooden ramp to enable Alec Chisholm to drive his scooter onto the wheelie boat, The ramp should ensure that he avoids getting bogged down in the mud, when the water level goes down. On hearing of Alec’s predicament, the ramp was built and provided, free of charge by Norman Keighron. We have mentioned Norman’s Fencing business before but he really is good and we can highly recommend him.

Keighron Fencing - www.keighronfencing.co.uk


The latest fish delivery arrived in the midday heat wave on Thursday. Despite the difference in temperature between the tanks and the warm reservoir, the fish did not seem to mind and happily swam away. Ignoring the blazing sunshine, Christian donned his waders and sweated his way up and down the dam. However, he kept his sunglasses on to ensure that he looked cool even if he wasn’t!

Wednesday 16th July 2014


On Tuesday, still flushed after his narrow victory last Sunday over his regular fishing partner, John Austin decided to make hay while the sun shines (and it really was shining and over 25°C). He forced his long suffering son to accompany him, in order to demonstrate his angling prowess while his luck was still ‘in’. Despite the intense brightness he managed to land three fish by lunchtime while his son also caught a couple. At this point they decided to call it a day before the blazing sun fried them to a crisp.

You would not necessarily expect to catch much in these conditions but even fellow Club member, Don Burt, fishing in the same general area had also caught three by lunchtime. Unlike the Austins, Don did not have the good sense to call it a day and carried on bobbing about in the middle of the reservoir, ignoring the risk of sunstroke. Hopefully, his efforts will have been further rewarded.

The Austins

The only other anglers to venture out in the morning were Mick ‘The Wood Butcher’ Wood and Alec Chisholm. The pair set off in the wheelie boat at around 10am but returned at around 2pm - fishless!! After a refreshing cup of coffee, the pair discussed the advisability of going out again for a couple more hours. Your reporter pleaded with them not to bother, as having witnessed their ‘Laurel & Hardy’ style antics he could see that they were wasting their time and were only succeeding in ruining our returns for the day. It is surprising how many prospective visitors come all the way to the reservoir and then refuse to fish if they see too many “Nil’s” in the book.

In my humble opinion if you want a guaranteed bag limit and need evidence that everyone else is hauling them out, then you should come in March and April when even Mick ‘The Wood Butcher’ Wood and Alec Chisholm are almost certain to be able to enter a limit bag in the returns book. However, at this time of year when things are not as easy in the heat of the day, I suggest that you consider coming for an evening (from 4pm until dark - Ł20 for four fish).

Woody & Alec

Alternatively, you could beat a path to Hawkhurst Fish Farm (not far from us) where I can positively guarantee that you will catch loads of fish. It only costs an adult a tenner for an entire day or for us OAP’s it’s only Ł6. This entitles you to fish the “Family Lakes” where you will catch loads and loads of carp. Oh! And don’t bother to take your fly rod, but if you need to hire equipment and buy bait, they will be only too happy to oblige. On a serious note, if you have children or grand children of a reasonable age you will be hard pushed to find a better introduction to fishing and I look forward to taking mine in due course.

But if you really want to enjoy a bit of FLY fishing, in a well stocked reservoir which has stunning scenery then it would be difficult to find a better venue than Powdermill. The fish are there in good numbers but there really are no guarantees so the rest is up to you.

Tuesday 15th July 2014


The cooler weather, slight breeze and only the odd shower resulted in a pretty good weekend for fly fishing and, for a change, the trout decided to play fair. Fish could be found all over the reservoir and I was pleased to see that most anglers caught fish. Floating lines are still favourite but some anglers are using intermediate lines and the odd angler has even claimed that they have found the fish in the depths on sinking line. Take your pick of what fly to use. The returns book provides a good indication of what has previously been successful but using what you feel confident with can often prove equally as successful. Lack of belief in what you are using often guarantees failure.


The grudge match which took place on Saturday between John Austin and Keith Blundell should have ended in a tie, but Blundell claims that he let Austin just sneak a 6 - 5 fish win. Keith insists that he had plenty of opportunities to catch his six fish limit but did not want to upset his boat partner, who can become bad tempered and irritable when regularly being soundly beaten. Keith is such a nice and accommodating chap that he could not bear to see John upset yet again so held back on the last fish. What a gentlemanly sport!


The only time that your intrepid reporter exposes his knobbly knees in public is on the rare occasions when he can be found around the pool on holiday. Even my loving wife does not rate my legs as being one of my best features.

So one has to ask the question why no one has told all the old and decrepit Club members how revolting they look in their shorts. The slightest suggestion of sunshine and out they all come, in a variety of baggy shorts displaying a wide selection of revolting legs. While they may have looked dashing, and many years ago some could even have looked slightly appealing to the female population, time and age have taken their toll and some things are best left covered. Indeed, some things should not even be left to the imagination.

In an effort to protect you from the worst excesses, we have often had to crop photos to avoid subjecting readers to any more suffering than is absolutely necessary. So the next time that you see a photo on our website of a legless angler you ill appreciate why!


In an effort to go all ‘arty’, the latest photo of Dr Steven Stern with a 3lb brown trout has been turned into an artistic monstrosity by your editorial team. With other fishing websites trying to go all trendy and stylish in order to appear chic and cool, we too wish to appeal to the trendy, stylish, chic and cool members of the angling fraternity. Sadly we have consistently failed and have to make do with people like you. When we stop and examine our latest effort to turn angling into a cultural experience we can see why.

This is the Arty Photo

This is the Normal Photo

Saturday 12th July 2014


Although the delivery of fish (last Tuesday) boosted stocks, half the fish caught this week have clearly been from previous stockings. Due to supplier problems, our recent supplies have contained smaller fish than we would normally receive, but we are hoping that this will be rectified in our next shipment. The unsettled weather is restricting any further rise in water temperature which is a relief as it’s currently peaking at 20°C.

For those prepared to risk a soaking, the fishing has been reasonably good. Despite the unfavourable conditions fish have been particularly active during the evenings and can be seen rising in good numbers. Fishing the ‘bubbles’ from a boat is increasingly popular and, as a result, boat anglers are missing out on fish which appear in other locations. We could often see fish rising in the main body of the reservoir yet, despite this, the boat fishermen refused to leave the turbulent water along the air line. Anglers are currently using a wide variety of flies although the bailiff continues to consistently catch on dry fly only.


At last the photos arrive of the competition between Hastings Fly Fishers and Eastbourne Fly Dressers. Thanks to Keith Blundell for trusting Susan Brignall with his new camera. A good effort by Keith and Sue. After hours of cropping, enhancing and generally sorting out we are pleased to publish the best of the sorry collection.

Thanks to those Club members who blanked, Eastbourne Fly Dressers were the overall winners. However, all we propose to say is that a total of 33 fish were caught but Eastbourne caught more than Hastings. After a number of pleas from members fearing even more ridicule when others find out how pathetic they were, we have agreed to say no more about it. Hopefully we will field a half decent team next year. Fortunately, Eastbourne Fly Dressers were unable to take the Cup away as Tim Stacey had brought along the wrong trophy.

Sometimes I despair!!

All the photos from this years event are now available.
(No need to register to view on either site)

View in Dropbox.

View on our Facebook page.


For the second time running this month, John Austin has been out-fished by his regular fishing partner, Keith Blundell. Keith caught more fish than John during the competition with Eastbourne Fly Dressers. For many years Keith has fished in the shadow of the self professed angling master. How the mighty have fallen. They are due out together again, in a boat, today (12th July) and we are somewhat concerned that if Keith goes for the hat-trick he may find himself over the side!

Tuesday 8th July 2014


For those of you still interested in coming fishing you will be pleased to note that another delivery will be arriving at midday today (Tuesday 8 July), but unfortunately on this occasion your ever-present reporter will be elsewhere. I would not wish to deny you the pleasure of seeing the same old image of someone netting fish out of a tank or unceremoniously dumping them in the reservoir, so please make do with this photo.

Sue Brignall

Hooke Springs Delivery


On the subject of photos, I am patiently awaiting the arrival of photos of the competition between Hastings Flyfishers and Eastbourne Fly Dressers which took place last Saturday. Apparently Susan Brignall took some photos of the event with Keith Blundell's new Canon Camera. If Sue had kept possession of the photos I would have received them by now, but as they they are with Keith we will all have to be patient. Very patient! However, eventually he will find some convoluted means of getting them to your editorial team.

In the meantime, let me congratulate the participants on actually managing to catch some fish this year. A total of thirty-two fish were landed with lots more apparently lost. However, a number of the Hastings team failed to land anything, which was a major contributory factor to Eastbourne's victory this year. Yes, Eastbourne won, Hastings lost!!! Your editorial team were so 'gobsmacked' that they are refusing to print the details until photos of the debacle are available in order to be able to name and shame the pathetic individuals responsible for our ignominious defeat. So, in the meantime make do with a photo of our latest stand-in paparazzo.


Club member, Dave Nicholls, thinks that he is still a young adventurer, but is in fact just as old and decrepit as the rest of us. Unfortunately, he is also prone to doing the sort of thing that people half his age think twice before attempting. So the email (received at 7pm on Monday 7th July) detailing his latest escapade comes as no surprise to those who know him. We are therefore delighted to be able to publish an ‘on the spot’ account of his latest solo adventure on his bike (on this occasion his wife had the good sense not to accompany him), so that others can live his experiences from the safety and security of their armchairs.

Easy Rider eat your heart out!

Today was the first day of the bull-run in Pamplona. Being the 150th anniversary since it started I knew I had to be up at 5.30am to be in town for about 7am as the run started at 8am and there were to be tens of thousands flooding into the town.

So I woke at 2.30am and checked at 3am, 4am and in the end got up just before 5am. So much for sleeping in a room that cost 150€ for the night. And they had the cheek to charge me another 6.50€ to park the bike in the garage.

The night before, en route to Pamplona, I was pulled over by the Police and the Guardia Civil in a road block. Chatting to the police Officer, he had bags of mouth pieces for breathalysers in lots of 20, he told me he had already used 10 bags that day. Everyone is totally pissed. The red tomato juice I thought was on everyone’s clothes was in fact wine that they spray over everyone during the festival the day before.

I rode into town on my lonely stead, dawn hadn't even broken. Police were dealing with several total wrecks of cars. I'd sussed where to go the night before and was able to park my bike behind several industrial waste bins, thievery is rife in this part of Spain. My bags were still in the room as it was a 12 noon check out. Entering the old town it was like the aftermath of a festival, rubbish all over the narrow cobbled streets, drunks lying all and everywhere and the wreak of beer and wine seeping from the fabric of the buildings.

The runners and combatants were thronging into the main corridor where the bulls run through the town. I managed to find my way to a penned off area which was quite empty. I was able to sit astride one of the fences overlooking the run, my legs dangling into the corridor, the whole fence laced with the youth of Europe, I thought this was an Ok thing until 30 minutes before kick-off when I was moved by police as this was not only the front of the town hall but a holding pen for those that wished to leap out of harm’s way at a moment’s notice. I eventually ended up lying on the pavement looking through legs of people under the, lowest bar of the corral. It was like the United Nations with the youth of the world coming to serve their passage of right. The air was electric as was the singing of traditional songs of the runners. It was so jammed that police were refusing to let lads who had come from Australia to get in the corridor as it was like a Hillsborough crush. A man in front of me fainted and he went down amongst a sea of legs, medical teams having to drag him through the legs and under the barrier as they carried him away.

It really gave you a lump in your throat to be there, whatever the moral points of view there are on the subject.

I was nearly tempted until they played a video of the previous year’s run showing the speed and weight of the bulls and people being crushed. There are also rules for participants, one of them being you have to be mentally and physically fit, guess I failed on both points.

The horn went and the crowd began to run, thinning out in front of me, many of those who had stood in the holding area jumping over the barrier long before any bulls arrived on scene, what woozes, (says I with several balks over timber between me and the run.) It was quite electric. Two and a half seconds it was over. We all jumped the barrier and followed through. All I saw was four of the bulls; there are about 10 in all. I didn't realise they wore bells as they do in Switzerland, not that they have bull fighting in the fields of Switzerland. I think the nearest to a violent sport in the Alps is horn blowing across the valleys. It was still worth the trip for the buzz, I've just topped a thousand miles on the bike so far this trip.

Back to the run. I'd been on a corner and as I rounded it there was a commotion and an ambulance in a fenced off area, a full team was working on a guy, oxygen the lot. This was only three minutes after they had run through. I found out on the news that there were three crushes and a goring which this was. I don't know as there were too many cameras shooting away to get near the scene. The TV showed later, one of the bulls going down and sliding many feet through the crowds taking some down. Not a great last day of life for any animal. Each year, the day before, there is a nude lady made up as a bull who leads a demonstration to ban the run, 65% of Spain is against it, just blame Ernest Hemmingway.

I made my weary way back to my hotel, after having bought the.... (no, not the t-shirt)... the beret.

Back at the hotel I had some bread and cheese I'd had in my bag. I had about two days of my block of cheddar left, it's then on to goats cheese - what a come down. I carry bread, tomatoes, cucumber, and pickle at all times who knows when you'll eat on the road?

11am (I'd had my monies worth of the hotel, they didn't even supply breakfast at that price).

I left on a country road through old Spain and villages. It was still cold but just rode in my fleece. The roads were empty and some 30 miles later I came across the Monasteri di Leyre. I drove 2 miles up a narrow road and came across a monastery which started life 1,200 years ago. It was now housing Benedictine monks who live their life to chant. The girl in the information bureau must have taken a shine to an old soldier because she gave me the key to the church and told me to lock the door again when I was inside. I sat at the back of this enormous church while a whole altar of monks were chanting  for some 30 minutes, when they took time off and filed out for their lunch. A very peaceful 30 minutes. I was almost anywhere in time, well at least in the last 1,200 years.

By the time I came out the sun was blazing. I sat and had a cafe con leche and, I confess, a chocolate muffin. Apparently this is a speciality of the order of Benedictine monks.

No it isn't Dee I'm only pulling your leg again. The view (I'll show you later) looked over a long 30 mile valley I was to ride through later containing an aquamarine lake about 10 miles long.

I mounted my stead having kicked the tyres to make sure the pressures were right and rode off into the sunset. Well this was a little premature as I still had 9 hours to go until sunset.

The ride that afternoon was magic. The road parallels the southern half of the Pyrenees. I'm travelling West to East, hardly any traffic with long straight stretches a then miles of twisty bendies (a biker's dream). A wonderful afternoon of biking, looping through the bends and gathering speed as I come out of them.

I thought I'd take an early break today and enjoy the sun. Ahead of me rising up out of the plain was a hilltop town, ancient in looks even before I neared it. Not a hotel sign or anything. I left the highway and wound my way up through tortuous bends through the narrow streets and came across a square which had the afternoon sun just dropping into it through the surrounding rooftops. One young lady sitting having a coffee outside of an unadvertised One star hotel. She greeted me with an Hola. I went in and was transported into the times of Don Quixote. This town of Berdun is the epitome of a small Spanish town which time has passed by. It's now getting on for 7pm and one beer later. Oooh never have a beer in the middle of the day in the heat of the sun, I had to walk it off.

I have a family room 3 beds and en suite for 50 euros. When I arrived, the chef was cooking on an open range in the dining room, meat flying everywhere. Nearly time for my gin of the day. A great day's riding. Washing hanging out of the window and nearly dry, what more could a biker wish for?

The view from my bedroom window.

We can only hope that Dave eventually gets back safely, but in the meantime we look forward to his next email continuing the account of his latest adventure.

Monday 7th July 2014


I am constantly amazed at our hanging baskets. Despite there being only one plant per container, the lack of soil in each container and the lack of water (we are still metered despite the proximity of millions of gallons) the plants flourish and produce masses of flowers. This year, Chris Richards appeared with these plants which were surplus to his requirements. What a mistake! From now on, we will expect him to provide plants of the same quality each spring.

Having mentioned CJR (who likes to keep a low profile), I should mention that he actually fished one evening last week, but failed to hook a single fish despite their attempts to take his dry fly. So it was left to the bailiff to abandon his strimming of the grass along the dam, go and get his rod and show him how to actually catch a couple.

We had the second visit this year from a keen observer of dragonflies. Armed with his butterfly net and camera with monster lens (requiring a monopod) he skulked around looking for his prey. He offered to show me some of his photos but I politely refused, insisting that he send some of his photos, with a few words of explanation, for us all to enjoy. So far nothing! So, heaven help him when he turns up next time wanting to wander around if nothing is forthcoming. So the best that we can do is show you these butterflies. I have no idea what these dark coloured butterflies are called (could they be Doris and Walter?), but there are lots of them around the reservoir at present.

We were a little worried about our ‘Birder’ who has not been seen around for some time, but the Bailiff was relieved to report that he appeared at the crack of dawn one morning last week. Despite the early hour, he had his observations ruined by a “lady” with at least six dogs who were rampaging through the woods and charging into the reservoir. Apart from trespassing, having dogs out of control and frightening every living thing, she has very colourful language when politely confronted. Sadly, most dog walkers who trespass around the reservoir are equally abusive if approached. Please explain to any of your friends who may walk in the Woodland Trust land, that Southern Water still own 100 metres around the reservoir and that public access is not permitted.

A report of the competition, last Saturday, between Hastings Flyfishers and Eastbourne Fly Dressers will be published shortly. I am told that fish were being caught immediately, so look forward to arriving at the reservoir on Monday morning to get all the ‘news’.

We also have exciting investigations taking place along the dam which will also be the subject of regular updates during the next week. So make sure that you regularly check our Latest News.


Two minutes out of your busy life is all that is required. When did you last stop for a moment and take the time to just "stand and stare". Well just pause for a moment and read Phil's latest 'thought' entitled MAYFLIES. There is more to it than first meets the eye. So take that two minute break and go to VIEWS FROM THE STREET.

Sunday 6th July 2014


When Tim Stacey came fishing last week, he had with him a new bass bag made of rubber. The bass bag, together with a range of landing nets using this new rubber mesh, is made by Snowbee.

The fine, hexagonal mesh has a rubber coating, which prevents it from absorbing water, so not only does it prevent the net from smelling of fish, but it completely dries, with just one shake. The rubber coating also prevents hook barbs catching in the mesh, which can be so annoying when you net a fish. For those of you who catch & release but cannot unhook the fish without netting it, this mesh is particularly kind.

In my humble opinion this is a major step forward in net technology. Who among us has not put his net into his car on a hot day and found every cat in the neighbourhood looking for the dead fish.

If I ever bother to go fishing, I will be investing in a new lading net and a bass bag. Fortunately Snowbee make replacement nets in this material which will fit most existing landing nets. I note that other manufacturers are beginning to use this material and, for those of you who insist on the best, Hardy have an excellent ‘catch & release’ net which uses this rubberised mesh.


  Thomlinson’s Oak-framed Buildings,
Thomlinson’s Sawmill,
Slugwash Lane,
Wivelsfield Green,
RH17 7RQ

1st July 2014.

Dear Hastings Fly Fishers,

I am writing to thank you for a wonderful day’s sport which the competitors enjoyed in the annual “Lawyers v Carpenters” trout fishing competition which we sponsor. I agree with your comments posted on Saturday about dry flies continuing to be effective & exciting:- most of us fished with Mayflies and later on in the evening after the competition had finished those who stayed on were rewarded with good sport on dry sedges.

David Chivers QC (the normal-looking chap on the left) was rewarded with a bottle of champagne for his bag of five trout (all on Mayfly).

I would like to re-assure you that, contrary to one suggestion, the guy on the right had not been hit on the head by an oak beam.

In a blatant attempt at free publicity the next picture shows the sort of work we do when we are not fishing.

Kind regards,

Richard Thomlinson

Editor’s Note:
I have seen photos of a number of Richard Tomlinson’s buildings and they are amazing and in time to come will find themselves among tomorrows listed buildings.

Thomlinson's Timber-Framed Buildings - www.thomlinsonsoakframedbuildings.co.uk

However, not everyone can afford Richard’s masterpieces. So for those of you with limited means, together with low aspirations and standards, let me put myself forward as the potential antithesis of perfection.

The latest ‘Powdermill’ project is the construction of a kindling store. It is being made of old fencing and other scavenged bits, at a total cost of nothing! This potential eyesore is to be attached to the rear of the log store, so well out of sight. The photo below does not show just how bad the partly assembled roof is. It’s based on a very rotten wooden garage door frame which has been strengthened on the underside (ceiling) with shiplap from old fence panels. The other side (roof) will be lined with some flimsy rusty tin sheeting which was lying in the bailiff’s garden. The rest of the building is yet to be scavenged!!!!!

Let me assure you that it is not easy to make things out of rubbish and I have to thank Keighron Fencing for providing us with scrap fencing. Norman Keighron kindly ‘dumps’ some of his unwanted rubbish on the pretext of generously providing us with timber that we can chop up for kindling for our log burner. Norman, having very high standards, will be horrified to discover that your intrepid reporter is actually using his rubbish to build things!

On a serious note, all my neighbours garden fencing so far has been installed by Norman Keighron and I could not be more impressed. So if you are looking for a good, reliable and friendly local contractor, look no further.

Keighron Fencing - www.keighronfencing.co.uk

Monday 1st July 2014


On arriving at the reservoir late on Monday morning, I was pleased to see that the returns book showed that many of the fish caught over the weekend fell to dry mayfly. This reinforces our assertion that dry fly fishing is still well worth trying before resorting to other tactics.

On such a warm and sunny day many of the ‘old boys’ could not be bothered to actually expend much energy and sat around for most of the day, chatting rather than fishing. This proved to be a good choice as bank fishermen were certainly having a lean time and it was left to the boats to locate and land fish, mainly from around the ‘bubbles’. By the time that I departed, all the boats had bags over the side.

Some of the 'Boys'

Saturday 28th June 2014


Another wonderful day at the reservoir, which really does look a picture. Despite the perfect weather conditions only three Club members came to fish and for the second day running there was not a visitor to be seen. Despite the surprising lack of anglers I was not surprised to observe all three anglers catching fish (one from a boat and two from the bank). So why has everyone else not bothered?

The answer lies in our reputation as a superb mayfly water. When it’s over, visitors stop coming in any numbers. However, dry fly fishing will continue to be effective and exciting long after the mayfly have all been and gone. Dry flies continue to be effective right through until September when we finish off with the Crane fly (Daddy Longlegs). Of course you can be successful using a wide variety of sub-surface flies, but many visitors only want to use a floating fly if they come to us and assume that only mayfly will do!

As if to further emphasise that dry fly fishing can be just as productive at this time of year, this morning, the bailiff, who was helping Keith Blundell get his gear into a boat, saw a number of fish rising just off the jetty. Keith was messing about organising himself so the bailiff had a cast from the jetty and immediately hooked a trout on a dry fly. By the time that he set sail Keith had managed to scare the fish away and anyway was determined to set off for the ‘bubbles’. However, the shoal soon returned to continue feeding in the shallow water close to the jetty, but the bailiff having proved his point (to himself as no one else had yet arrived) wandered back to the lodge. When we later wandered down to the jetty to help Keith unload, imagine my surprise to see not a couple but a small cloud of mayfly dancing above the grassy area adjacent to the jetty. Having assumed and reported that the hatch was over, I have to apologise and admit that my statement was a little premature. However, in my humble opinion now is the time to try everything and anything that you have in your flybox which you feel could be what the fish will be interested in. Dry or wet. But if takes are hard to come by, don’t keep flogging on just because that’s what people caught on yesterday, try something different.

The bailiff continues to insist that dry flies are still just as likely to temp fish especially if fish can be observed taking ‘something’ off the surface. However, most anglers are using such flies as Buzzers, damsels, Daiwl Bach, muddlers and a whole variety of other sub-surface flies. Our latest ‘stockies’ are not too fussy and are reasonably prepared to have a go at most things that the angler is prepared to offer. However, the inhabitants who have been around for a little longer can be more discerning.

Friday 27th June 2014


Our delivery from Hooke Springs was unusually late arriving today. Christian had not taken into account the jams and subsequent delays resulting from the increasing popularity of the Goodwood Festival of Speed which began today. However, I am not sure how he could have avoided the heavy traffic.

Although an additional 1˝ hours had been added to today’s journey, the fish did not appear to have suffered as a result. With this delivery we are bursting at the seams with fish once more and can only hope that the weather conditions are conducive to good fishing.

This year, at the 4-day Festival of speed, Ford are exhibiting their new Mustang, which for the first time is going to be available in the UK as a right-hand drive. Now that’s what I call a car.


During the mayfly hatch this year, we were very disappointed to spot only one Hobby. Now that the hatch is over I assumed that we had seen the last of this spectacular bird for this year. So imagine my surprise when as we sat outside this morning, the bailiff drew our attention to a lone Hobby performing aerobatics over our heads. Given the many sources state that damsels are the favoured prey of a Hobby, one should not really be surprised as the common blue coloured dragonfly are very much in evidence at the moment.

Thursday 26th June 2014


The sun comes out and the fishermen disappear! The lovely weather on Wednesday morning should have been tempting, even though it was a little breezy. Yet in the morning there was only one Club member in a boat and two on the bank. Where are all the visiting anglers? Hopefully the evening will be pleasant and a few more fishermen will come.

At this time of year, evening fishing sessions should be a much more popular than they are. Unless you poor sods are all glued to your TV screens watching the football, now is the time to have an evening’s fishing as sunset is at around 9.30pm. With a 4pm start, you can have an easy five hours fishing with four fish for a meagre Ł20. And by hiring a boat for a tenner, you can have the almost guaranteed exclusive use of our 56 acre reservoir all to yourself.

As if to prove my point, on Tuesday evening, the bailiff decided to wander along the dam to chat to Club member Mick Coleman, who was the only person fishing. Vic decided to take along his rod and although there were not many signs of fish rising he succeeded in catching his six fish. One was even taken on the dry mayfly pattern that he has been selling this year. Mick took all his on buzzers.

With another delivery of rainbows arriving tomorrow (Thursday at noon) we should increase the chances for even the real duffers to be able to get takes, at what can sometimes be a difficult time of year.

Wednesday 25th June 2014


The returns book seems to show that the fishing has not been easy during the last couple of days, possibly due in part to the latest very hot weather and no breeze Regular visitors, and even Club members, have kept away for fear of getting sunstroke, especially when out in a boat. So it has mainly been left to a handful of visitors who tend to come to enjoy the whole Powdermill experience, rather than those who just take our beautiful water for granted and are desperate to catch their limit at any cost. Thank goodness that we are due another delivery of fish on Thursday, as the current residents are reportedly stuffed full of various creatures and can hardly find room for your fly. This could well be another reason why the past couple of days have not been easy.

Mick looking vacant while Alec in the background gets a lecture from Peter Kirman

Talking of desperate men, Alec Chisholm and Mick ‘The Wood Butcher’ Wood somehow managed six between them the other day, while floating around aimlessly in the wheelie boat. Alec had four and Mick managed two. Most came from the area along the ‘bubbles’. Moored on one of the buoys in the middle of the aerator line, they were casting into calmer water and then retrieving back towards the boat. Mick will be quick to insist that he was much too busy pandering to the incessant demands put on him by Alec to concentrate on his fishing. However, he also insists that one of the fish Alec claims to have caught actually threw the hook as it got to the net and Alec thought that he had lost it. However Mick just managed to sweep it into the net before the unlucky fish could make good its escape. So, technically, Mick claims that it was three each! Now, if we are going to really get ‘technical’, we have to question the acceptability of such an action, but then I did refer to them as desperate men!


A couple of you have written to castigate me for apparently begrudging you the use of our toilet roll. Let me assure you that as far as I am concerned you are more than welcome to the little luxuries that we provide free of charge. Our Continental cousins are constantly amazed that there is no little old lady sat outside the loo door issuing sheets and charging a fee for entry. I would be all in favour of adopting this practice and can think of a few people who I would like to give the job to!

Toilet related matters at Powdermill are in danger of becoming a personal obsession. One of my ambitions is to see a half decent loo which I would be happy to enter. However, I am sufficiently horrified at the speed at which the cesspit fills and the extortionate cost of waste removal that I will probably always continue to pop outside to water the plant life. After all, we have no shortage of trees and bushes a safe distance away from the reservoir all offering significantly more pleasant surroundings!


Any sport or pastime can have its risks and I think that time spent reminding anglers of the perils of messing about by or on the water is well worthwhile. My main concern is primarily for the safety of the unsteady old fogies that frequent the reservoir, most of whom are Club members.

Reg Kent (who often gets a mention in our ‘Latest News’) spends a great deal of time as a volunteer driver of old biddies who live in the Tenterden area. I commend him for his philanthropic work among the really decrepit, but who looks after decrepit old Reg? Although normally Reg is more than capable of looking after himself, the other week his descent onto one of the platforms on the dam nearly lead to a serious accident.

Somehow, on stepping down onto the platform it apparently moved and Reg was thrown off. The bailiff, sitting outside the lodge (puffing on a roll-up) leapt up and rushed to his assistance. Reg admits that he was amazed at the speed at which Vic responded and was even more amazed when the bailiff went into Florence Nightingale mode and administered a sticking plaster. A couple of days after the incident, I was able to view first-hand the minor damage to Reg’s left knee.

Imagine my surprise and horror when Reg arrived the other day with his knee swathed in bandages. If I wasn’t such a trusting fellow I would suspect that a “No Win No Fee” case was on the horizon. However, I think that in order to make it worth his while he should discard the bandages and go for the big money by developing gangrene and having the leg chopped off completely. This well benefit the entire Tenterden community as the old biddies would then no longer have to suffer his dodgy driving.

Just remember. You do not have to be old and decrepit to have an unforeseen accident... but it helps. So please take care.

Monday 23rd June 2014


Hello John,

I had a very interesting day at Powdermill on Wednesday which I think may be of interest to you and the lads.

Wednesday last was heavily overcast with a light breeze which seemed an ideal fishing day after the recent hot weather. I took a boat and was surprised to see so few fish moving, indeed the fishing was quite hard despite the good conditions and the lake being well stocked. Other anglers seemed to be struggling as well and with the mayfly now coming to an end, things did not look promising.

By lunchtime I had only taken one fish on a olive buzzer, so after a cup of tea and a bit of contemplation I decided it was time to put out the washing. The washing line technique is well understood and well used on most of our major stillwaters and I am sure many of your members will be familiar with it, but after speaking to a couple of lads when I finished fishing it seems some are not.

The washing line basically consists of a floating line, a long leader with two droppers, the point fly will usually be a buoyant one (often a booby not allowed at Powdermill) with two nymphs or buzzers on the droppers. The idea is the point fly holds the nymphs or buzzers up in the water, which can be deadly when fish are up in the water feeding in the surface film. Other lines with various sink rates can be used to create a sweep effect with the nymphs but by far the most popular is a floating line.

On Wednesday the set up I used was as follows, to the floating line I attached a 18ft leader, 10ft of 10lb bs to the first dropper, 4ft of 7lb bs to the middle dropper with a further 4ft of 7lb bs to the point, all in fluorocarbon. On the point I attached a heavily hackled brown sedge imitation size 10, on the middle dropper I put an olive buzzer size 14 and on the top dropper I had a black buzzer with holographic red cheeks size 14 again.

Cast across the wind and allowing the drift to create a curve in the line the fly’s fish round very naturally and takes can be unfishable and sometimes quite savage. Takes will of course also come to the dry fly adding more excitement to this method. At the end of the drift round the flies can be retrieved with a slow figure of eight which can also induce a take. Various nymphs and buzzers also spider patterns can be used with this method, Diawl Bach’s can also be deadly. It is important to use a buoyant well greased fly on the point with lightweight flies on the droppers to reduce the chance of the dry fly being pulled under. Dries tied with deer hair are very useful.

I ended the day on Wednesday with some very good fish to this method and now with the mayfly coming to an end, but with the fish still looking up when conditions are right, I suggest we could do worse than getting our washing on the line.

Hope this may be useful to some of your lads (older members too maybe).

Guy Bowden

So what does your intrepid reporter make of all this?

Although Guy is a perfectly fine fellow, he clearly has yet to renounce all of the evils associated with fishermen who frequent other waters. Hence the reference to the Booby, which should never be mentioned let alone carried in his fly box.

Guy’s email is a result of his genuine surprise that not all Hastings Flyfishers appear to have heard of the ‘Washing Line’ method. This certainly does not surprise me, but not for the reasons that you might expect!

The so-called ‘Washing Line’ method has been well documented in the fly fishing magazines for some years now, but most of our members are too mean to pay the exorbitant cover prices. This is just as well as any mention of Washing Lines invariably involves Boobies which are enough to send most traditionally minded members into a fit of apoplexy.

Fishing A Washing Line, Is This Fly Fishing?

The most likely explanation for Guy’s assumption that his audience had never heard of this method is one that most of you regular readers of our Latest News will be well aware of. We keep complaining that many of our ageing Club members wear hearing aids but are too mean to replace their worn out batteries. So it is more than likely that Guy’s explanation of his fishing method really did fall on deaf ears and the inane grins and blank stares of his audience fooled Guy into thinking that they did not know about this method rather than simply not fully hearing what was being said.

But I was more horrified by his mentioning eighteen foot leaders! Who in our club can afford to use so much expensive line in one go? How are our ageing and unsteady members expected to handle such a length of leader when casting from the dam, without the added expense of employing someone to constantly extricate their flies from the bank behind. If that is not bad enough it transpires that you apparently need two spools of differing breaking strains of line, requiring a massive initial investment. Mind you, if a few more of our Club members upped their lines to 10lb and 7lb breaking strains they might not keep getting smashed up by yet another double-figure “monster” and actually land the 2lb rainbow!


It doesn’t matter how many times you publicise Club events, someone will still complain that nobody told them. So.........

Eastbourne Fly Dressers Guild
Saturday 5th July 2014

HFFC Competition & BBQ
Friday 15th August 2014


Bill ‘The Carer’ Payne has taken his patient Terry ‘The Cuckoo’ Beeching to fish Leighton Reservoir in Yorkshire. Barry ‘The Fishmonger’ Morgan has already been up there for some time. As a result, all has been peaceful and calm at Powdermill.

Just to remind us of what we are missing, Bill has sent photos of the other boys. Unfortunately, we think that it won’t be long before they are all back to resume their disruptive behaviour. So not such good news after all!

Barry ‘The Fishmonger’ Morgan

Terry ‘The Cuckoo’ Beeching

Sunday 22nd June 2014


It is not often that a new (to us) boat joins the motley fleet which spends most of its time languishing around the jetty. But this week we are pleased to introduce you to what is destined to become “Powdermill 12”. The original No 12 was positively lethal and no one shed a tear when, a few years ago, it was sold off.

The new addition is a ten-footer, but differs from our other boats of this length as she is broader in the beam than our slim-line one-man craft. Somewhat quaint and very distinctive, she could become a popular addition if she handles well. In the past few years she lived North of Sevenoaks and often travelled down to Hythe and onto the Royal Military canal, where her previous owners did a bit of ‘messing about’ and a bit of coarse fishing.

The New Boat

Catherine Barnes

Another much loved but not so old lady made a rare appearance last Friday. Catherine Barnes, our favourite professional Photographer made a rare but welcome appearance. Minus any photographic equipment she had to make do with listening to the ‘old boys’ while looking longingly out of the window to see what she was missing without a camera.

Visit  www.cbarnesphotography.co.uk  to see Catherine's amazing work.


Overall it’s fishing pretty well for this time of year. Although emerging Mayfly are all but over, dry flies are still worth trying as other fly-life is in evidence. However, sub-surface flies are also popular with such consistent performers as the ever popular Daiwl Bach one of the leading choices.

Many boat anglers are now finding excitement (and fish) in among the ‘bubbles’ but anchoring just off the ‘bubbles’ and working the fly in the moving but less turbulent water is also eliciting some very vicious takes and some truly epic battles as the rainbows use every benefit that the moving water offers to give the lucky angler a real run for his money!

The 'Bubbles'

Do not just make for the turbulent water as fish are being found throughout most parts of the reservoir and at various depths. Although most anglers still prefer to work with a floating line some are now finding success using intermediate /slow-sink lines with various sub-surface flies (like the damsel we photographed that had attached itself to KB the other day).

A five pound rainbow was the biggest caught last week. This particular specimen had been in the water for some time and its full finnage and superb athletic condition (having long lost its hatchery ‘pot belly’) resulted in quite a battle before it was finally landed.

Saturday 21st June 2014


Bernie Meaden regularly submits fishing related stories and anecdotes which we have been delighted to publish as part of our "Latest News". His writings have proved very popular with our regular readers so we have decided to provide a dedicated page where you will be able to peruse all his occasional reminiscences. The latest article is a departure from his past submissions and takes the form of a brief daily outline 'diary' of his recent P&O cruise to northern waters.

Find the link the "Meaden's Memories" at the bottom of the menu on the left.

Friday 20th June 2014


The highlight of the Hastings Fly Fishers Club KENT V SUSSEX bank fishing competition was undoubtedly the surgery performed by various inept individuals on the unfortunate Keith Blundell. This ‘attack’ on him by a size 10 green damsel-type monstrosity did not even occur while he was fishing, but was while he was in the toilet.

Visiting Anglers

Anyone sad enough to be prepared to sit through Keith’s lengthy, detailed and somewhat gory account can be assured that they will be doing the rest of us a favour. Keith will be only too pleased to bore you to death.

While on the subject of toilets! Who has stolen the cheap and nasty mermaid figurine that was dumped on us by Sue, the bailiff’s little sister. This awful ornament was so nasty that we had no option but to relegate it to the window sill in what passes for a toilet in the lodge. Now, I can understand why some of our less wealthy anglers might be tempted to steal the occasional toilet roll (and sadly they do), but the mermaid was so naff that it is inconceivable that anyone would actually want it. There was a rumour that its disappearance was part of an elaborate joke and that we were about to receive a ransom note. Fortunately, one has not arrived. So for the unfortunate individual who is in possession of it - PLEASE KEEP IT, but leave our toilet rolls alone!


Or is it Kent V Sussex? Suffice it to say that the Sussex team were ******* (appalling, pathetic, incompetent, just pick your own superlative). Jack Russell, fishing for Kent, caught more weight of fish than the entire Sussex Team put together and he arrived late, having been to collect his new dog. Need we say more!

Our regular photographer, based in Sussex, was lucky to be away and was replaced on the day by Elaine, the bailiff’s girlfriend, with her camera phone. It just so happens that Elaine appears to have a good eye for composition (but obviously not a good eye for men!). Only a little digital tweaking was required to produce some good ‘shots’. Unfortunately, her lack of expertise at sending images from her phone is the reason for the delay in the photos finally appearing here. However, now that she has worked out how to do it, your editorial team are dreading being bombarded with a “woman’s eye view”.

All the photos from this years event are now available.
(No need to register to view on either site)

View in Dropbox.

View on our Facebook page.

Friday 13th June 2014


Wonderfully warm weather and glorious evenings are encouraging more fly life to appear. The bailiff reports that the water was alive with franticly feeding fish on Tuesday evening as a result of a large mayfly hatch. So my concerns that fishing with a mayfly could be at an end by now has proved unfounded. However it is not just the mayfly that are in evidence and this is a perfect time to ‘match the hatch’. It is surprising how many different creatures, especially little black flying insects, are around at this time of year. Whatever you decide to try, there is no doubt that dry fly patterns are still THE choice if you want to make the most of what Powdermill has to offer.

The aerator is now switched on but regularly decides to switch itself of! On Wednesday morning the bailiff took a disproportionate amount of pleasure in phoning out tame Southern Water Electrical Engineer at 6am to inform him of the latest hiccup. On this occasion the every intelligent Belgian-made pump had become so concerned at the amount of ‘pressure’ and, not wishing to blow itself up, had taken the decision to give up without a fight. However, at present, the pump’s operational state does not appear to be having any effect on the fishing.

So what of last Saturday’s Kent V Sussex competition? When we have finally sifted through all the stories and excuses, the truth will be told.

Friday 6th June 2014


The weather forecast for the next few days is very promising. However, anyone requiring a boat for Saturday 7 June will be out of luck as they are all allocated. The dam will also be crowded on Saturday afternoon as we have 16 Club members competing in the annual grudge match - Sussex V Kent. Your intrepid reporter has always made a point of ensuring that he is away, as he cannot face the prospect of photographing their pathetic efforts and then having to write implausible excuses for their lack of success. Especially as everyone else fishing that day will invariable be hauling them out.

It is an unfortunate coincidence that, this Saturday, two groups of boat anglers have booked and a Club competition also happens to have been organised. The good news is that apart from Saturday 7th June, at any other time, there are plenty of boats available and acres of room on the bank. Given that mayfly are still in evidence and could well be for some time yet, you still have plenty of opportunities to enjoy some excellent dry fly fishing at a beautiful and un-crowded water.


The resident squirrels have become so brave that I was able to play “hide and seek” with this cheeky chappie on Monday. Armed with only a 50mm lens I had to get very close, but as I moved around to get him in shot, so our latest diner moved behind the column of nuts inside the outer mesh and peeped round at me. I was about to unhook the feeder and carry it into the clubhouse on the assumption that the squirrel was unable to escape when he casually climbed out. Instead of beating a hasty retreat he just sat on the arm supporting the feeder and made a growling noise, presumably to indicate his displeasure at being disturbed.

Thursday 5th June 2014


Yet another fish delivery arrived at midday on Tuesday. Due to supply problems, the average weight of these fish was slightly down on the norm. They only weighed around 1ľlb rather than the usual 2lb that we prefer to stock.

The bailiff was amused to spot one significantly smaller fish, which had obviously slipped through the grading process. Sods law will ensure that this lone ‘tiddler’ is destined to be the only fish caught by some bad tempered visitor who, having paid his hard-earned Ł30, will not be happy and will accuse us of ripping off our paying guests. On the other hand it could be caught by a Club member and that will serve them right!


A very bewildered BT engineer arrived on Tuesday morning. He was not sure who had called him or why he was there. We had to explain all about the telephone problems that we had experienced and that we subsequently established that it was all as a result of a lightening-strike on the Bailiff’s cottage. However, we suspect that this visit was not anything to do with us and he may have been responding to Southern Water. Their sophisticated air pump system is sufficiently intelligent to be able to contact someone in SW if it is not feeling well. Hang on a minute! This theory does not make sense as if the air pump’s external communication facilities were also rendered inoperative by the lightening strike how did it manage to inform anyone?

While on the subject of the air pump, for some inexplicable reason, SW decided to switch on the air this week. Despite the turbulence along the length of the airline the water clarity remains superb throughout the reservoir. Despite its incredible power the pump, which is located in the green shed in the corner of the car park, is extremely quiet and is certainly not intrusive. The ‘bubbles’ do not appear to be having any impact on the fishing. A couple of boats tried to fish the ‘bubbles’ on Tuesday but had no success. The water temperature is not high enough to attract the fish into the turbulent oxygen rich water as the rest of the reservoir is still cool and is not lacking in oxygen. Also there is plenty of insect life right around the reservoir to ensure that the fish are well spread.


On Monday, a trip to the reservoir with David, the Webmaster, resulted in a vast collection of new ‘library’ photographs being taken. Accompanying us was our seven year old apprentice photographer who took some interesting shots.

A Peaceful Jetty

Another Brave Squirrel

Inspecting the 'Ramp'

The Reed Bed by the Clubhouse

Geese on the Lookout

Old Boats

Sunday 1st June 2014


Sadly, I owe BT an apology as it transpires that they cannot be blamed for our recent phone problems. Fortunately these have finally been resolved and you can once again communicate with the lodge. In order to book a boat or just phone to reassure yourself that mayfly are still in evidence and to demand some form of guarantee that you will catch fish.

So what was the cause of all the apparent insurmountable problems? It transpired that the Bailiff's cottage had been struck by lightening. Somehow it managed to destroy his telephone, the Clubhouse phone and the greatest disaster of all - the bailiff's Sky box.

Fortunately, the vast majority of Club members, being too mean to dispose of something that originally cost them good money, were only too willing to offer the desolate bailiff the old model that they had sorted away ready for such an occasion as this. Your intrepid reporter actually has two models wrapped up in black bin bags somewhere at the back of his garage. Unfortunately, he was too late to be able to offload one as, just as the Bailiff was regailing him with the sorry tale, who should come along the path but Barry ‘The Fishmonger’ Morgan carrying one in its original box. Now, if pressed I have to grudgingly admit that an old outdated sky box really isn’t worth anything, but one in its original mint box complete with all the inserts.... Wow!!!!!!

Great Spotted Woodpecker Collecting Peanuts for the Family


After a week’s absence, your reporter returned to find that nothing has changed and hatching mayfly are still in evidence daily. As a result the vast majority of fish are still being caught on dries. Last year the mayfly were still in evidence at the beginning of July, so you could have another few weeks before you have to put your mayfly away for another year. However, there are plenty more opportunities to fish with a dry as other creatures will invariably take over. One such under-rated insect is the Crane fly (Daddy Long Legs) that can also appear in large numbers. The field below the dam is packed with ant colonies and when the millions of flying ants all decide to take off but end up crash landing on the reservoir, the water literally boils with feeding fish. So carry on with the mayfly, but keep an eye out for other opportunities to try a dry.

However, this morning (Saturday) I sat chatting to the fishmonger while he caught two fish in quick succession. But not on dries. These fish were taking emerging mayflies just below the surface. Yet a few yards away, Alec Chisholm was catching his on a dry mayfly riding high in the water. In between them sat ‘The Wood Butcher’, who was not so fortunate and had failed to get a touch by the time I became bored with the conversation and departed.

The Fishmonger - Lively Sport on a 5-Weight Rod

The Fishmonger - with Two in One Net!

The Fishmonger - with Yet Another Fine Rainbow

The Wood Butcher - heaving his 7-Weight Tree-Trunk

A quick glance in the returns book confirms that the vast majority of fish are being taken on a dry mayfly (around 80%), with the supporting cast consisting of mayfly nymph, buzzer, hopper, Diawl Bach and even the odd damsel. For those of you too mean to invest in the superb mayfly pattern currently being marketed by the Bailiff, you can always try a Grey Wolf which seems to be having a measure of success. Size also can matter and more often than not, smaller is better! The Bailiff has always maintained this.

So how’s it fishing? Well, in the last four days six incompetent or possibly just unlucky anglers failed to land a fish. Maybe they should consider going elsewhere as they spoil our rod averages. However, fifty-seven anglers had varying degrees of success, so proving that you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings and still catch fish. As if to reinforce this, we have just received this email :-

Dear John

We fished your reservoir today and just to say that the serenity and beauty of its location, and the quality of the fishing, has left a lasting impression with both of us. We'll certainly return soon. Another reason for this email is to apologise for forgetting to complete our catch returns, so I thought perhaps if I give this to you now, the information may eventually find itself into your book...

Rob Joyce,
5 Rainbows, all around the 2lb mark and all caught on (dry) mayfly.

Graham McIntyre,
3 Rainbows, all around 2lb and also all caught on (dry) mayfly.

Kind regards,

I suspect that the real reason Rob wrote was to humiliate his pal, Graham, by publicly announcing that he out-fished him by five to three. We are not impressed - what happened to number six, Rob?

Monday 26th May 2014


Despite the caller appearing to hear the telephone ring, people have been unable to get a reply or leave a message on the phone in the fishing lodge. BT have been notified of the problem which also affects the Bailiff's cottage. Please continue to try, but as a last resort you can email and we will endeavour to pass on your message.

Telephone: (01424) 870498

Email: mail@hastingsflyfishers.co.uk

Sunday 25th May 2014


The weather for most of Saturday morning was pleasant but the torrential showers in the afternoon must have been enough to drive the hardiest soul from the water. As usual, your intrepid reporter was nowhere to be seen as he prefers to enjoy himself at weekends, which keeps him well away from the reservoir and, more importantly, ensures that he has a break from having to be polite to those of you who have nothing better to do, or who cannot escape to enjoy a bit of fishing during the week.

Sunday's weather is supposed to be better, but who knows? And as for the Bank Holiday Monday - it's anyone's guess!

So, given that your reporter has no first-hand news, your editorial team are pleased to publish the latest e-mail from our favourite 'super sleuth' Bernie Meaden:

Excalibur - Part Three

The Saga Continues

Friday 23rd May 2014.

I arrived at the fishery bright and early (for me anyway) and duly entered the clubhouse to pay my respects to the venerable members of the last of the summer wine club. Much to my surprise the only ones present were the honourable bailiff Vic 'dryflies' Partridge and John our website master, photographer, Gardner and cake taster. After the usual pleasantries and insults Vic wandered casually out of the room, I presumed it was for his nicotine fix, but no, eureka!! He reappeared carrying my lost rod. Wonder of wonders it had been dredged up by the anchor of one of our visiting anglers very close to where it vanished beneath the water. Apart from the obvious grime it looked fine considering it had lived on the bottom for just over four weeks. Sadly I had just spent all of my paper round money on a new reel.

Now then, was this meant to be, was it part of some mysterious happening? I don't think so, I think Lady Nimue got the hump when she discovered the rod I had so selflessly offered up as a gift in place of the one had failed to be returned in 2008 was in fact a modestly priced Greys and not the mega expensive Sage that started this all off. If anyone fancies chucking a Ł500.00 Sage rod into the water near the East arm cut out maybe she will be satisfied, otherwise hang on to your tackle and don't look down!

Tight lines,


Editor’s Note:
I have always thought that the King Arthur’s Lady of the Lake was “Viviane” and did not appreciate that she had a variety of names in literature. Serves me right for being such a philistine!


Phil Streeter has recently gone to Bulgaria to carry on his good work there among the poor, needy and downtrodden. But before departing he has left us with some more points to ponder. In his latest article he mentions such imponderables as "What fly should I use?" "How long should my leader be?" "Where should I tie the dropper?”. However, his catches have noticeably improved this year and he no longer regularly goes home empty handed, so maybe we should be now asking him these questions.

Click on “VIEWS FROM THE STREET” which can be found at the very bottom of the left hand column on any of our web pages.

Saturday 24th May 2014


Mayfly continue to appear every day. Anglers are catching fish from both bank and boat. Everyone appears to be enjoying themselves and visitors are very appreciative of what we have to offer. What a wonderful time to be at Powdermill.

Happy Days - Keith Blundell Departs with a Bag Full


I cannot keep banging on about the weather but, despite today’s gloomy forecast (Friday), we did not have a drop of rain and it was generally sunny and warm, if a little breezy at times. A couple of anglers cancelled their boat booking on the basis of ITV’s “This Morning” program. More fool them! So for goodness sake ignore the charlatans who make a good living pretending that their weather predictions have some basis in fact and make up your own mind.


The bailiff and the reporter spent most of Friday morning cutting and raking the remainder of the channel through the reed-bed. They got to within a few feet of the end of the reed-bed before it became too deep to wade further, but they are confident that the Wheelie boat will now be able to negotiate the channel and can be moved permanently to its new home.

Unfortunately, your lazy reporter has grudgingly been forced to agree to accompany Alec Chisholm on the Wheelie boat’s first outing this season. However, this will enable him to provide you with an accurate blow by blow account of the trials and tribulations of having to pander to Chisholm’s constant demands, complaints and criticisms, while still attempting to do a bit of fishing. Now, before you think that this is being somewhat unkind, let me assure you that Alec is our version of “Madge” in the television comedy “Benidorm”. If you have seen this program you will understand.


No, we are not referring to the popular variety of tomato but the amount of ‘gardening’ taking place. Sue and Martin Brignall arrived with the flowers to decorate the boat ‘planter’. For the past two years they have potted up the geraniums at the end of the summer, over-wintered and then replanted them. Sue set to work while Martin went off to do a brief bit of fishing from the dam. He caught nothing which serves him right.

Your reporter continues to dig holes all over the place and bury Daffodil, Crocus and Allium bulbs which will hopefully produce a fine show next spring.

The bailiff’s flower baskets are flourishing and already beginning to fill-out. The grass is looking well manicured, as the bailiff only too pleased to sit on the mower and drive around but, in fairness, is also happy to go ‘strimming’. The entire reservoir is an absolute picture!


Bernie Meaden had a pleasant surprise when he arrived to fish this morning, but we will leave him to tell the tale, which we hope to publish shortly.

Bernie's Nice Surprise

Friday 23rd May 2014


Yet another fish delivery arrived today (Thursday). This consignment came from Bibury Trout farm. This will take stocks to a record high; ready for what we believe will be an outstanding weekend for mayfly. Your reporter and the bailiff, having got a soaking last time, stepped back and allowed Club member Brian McCarter to hold the tube while the fish were ‘shot’ into the reservoir. Brian will probably think twice before opting to help again!

The weather over the Bank Holiday weekend is supposed to be warm and generally sunny, with only the occasional shower and a benign southerly breeze. In my humble opinion these should be ideal conditions. However, the weathermen would be best employed in some other profession, if today’s predictions were anything to go by. Thunder and lightning!!! I don’t remember that being mentioned this morning.

Brian Getting Wet


At this time of year the world and his wife really do beat a path to our quiet backwater. And if just to confirm this, another two lady anglers fished today. They were part of a small group from Eastbourne & District Flyfishers’ Club. Two of the men had taken a boat, but the remainder fished from the dam. The ‘boaters’ did well but the group on the dam had struggled in the morning. One of the ladies (Mary) was the only one on the dam to have landed a fish by the time that the group on the dam opted to adjourn for lunch. In the afternoon the fish decided to cooperate and the two ladies really got going and started to completely out-fish the men. Mary had landed five fish and hooked, played and lost plenty more by the time that I left. Unfortunately Mary was not using dries and was retrieving at an incredibly rapid rate. Fortunately our super-fit fish were just about able to swim fast enough to catch up.

Mary from Eastbourne Flyfishers

With visitors outnumbering the usual boring Club members, your intrepid reporter was able to spurn his usual victims and annoy an entirely different collection of anglers. The innocent visitor is also more likely to happily allow their photograph to be taken without appreciating that it may be accompanied by some rude comment. It really is interesting to meet such a variety of fly fishing enthusiasts.

One can only assume that Andy Lush (Proprietor of the “Friendly Fisherman” in Tunbridge Wells) and his regular fishing partner, James ‘The Doc’ Gardner, must have genuinely enjoyed their visit last week as they were back again on Wednesday and continued where they left off. It’s easy when you know what you are doing! However, they carry so much gear that it is often difficult to ensure that nothing is overlooked. On this occasion they forgot their drogue. As they like to ‘drift’ this was a near disaster, but the bailiff was able to lend them a tatty old bit of rubbish which had been gathering dust in his storeroom. It obviously worked!

Eastbourne Flyfishers at Lunch

The 'Doc' With Another Fine Rainbow

Other anglers had varying degrees of success but with three full consignments in the last seven days to supplement the large number of reasonably well established residents, the fish per acre has never been as so good and they really are well spread throughout the entire water.


For those of you who enjoy being surrounded with plenty of wildlife to further enhance your visit, there really is no better time of year.

Watch where the Terns are working as they will invariably be taking emerging mayfly and this could be a good indication on where you might want to try. Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings can always be seen in the reed bed. Coots with young and Mallards escorting double figure families around the reservoir are a delight to see. Mandarin Ducks are super mothers and really do organise and control the youngsters.

At this time of year our beloved cormorants are not in evidence as they are busy nesting back on the coastal cliffs and if they are tempted to come would not appreciate the number of boats on the reservoir.

In our continuing battle to outwit Squirrel Nutkin and friends, we have been given an ornate metal multi-feeder stand on which to hang our bird feeders. It will be interesting to see what our rodents cope with it. On Wednesday, your intrepid reporter was delighted to succeed in obtaining a close-up of the notorious Squirrel Nutkin.

Fishing Among The Dasies

Squirrel Nutkin

With the recent warm sunshine, there are plenty of opportunities to photograph grass snakes lazing on the ‘basking’ platform and log adjacent to the reed-bed. Harry and Mavis, out most infamous pair, quietly made their departure as your reporter tried to get too close for comfort. Despite visitors claiming that they have seen adders, we can assure you that there are no adders around the reservoir and that what they have seen is one of our innocuous grass snakes.

In their video on Powdermill, the Sussex Angling Website reporter stated that we have edible frogs at the reservoir. No we don’t. But you are welcome to try one as we have no shortage of these noisy amphibians. However, be advised that none of our French visiting anglers have ever been tempted, and judging by their extended midday picnics they are prepared to eat anything and everything! A bit like the ‘old boys’ in the clubhouse.

At the other end of the scale is the increasingly rare Cinnabar Moth which your reporter spotted on the dam on Wednesday afternoon. Like many of the commoner moths, the Cinnabar has undergone a long-term decline in recent decades (83% over 35 years, based on Rothamsted trap data) and at the UK level is now regarded as a vulnerable species.

Sadly, unless there is a dramatic change, this has been a disappointing year for sightings of the amazing Hobby. The past couple of years have been so good, with up to five being seen at the same time, that this year the sighting of a lone Hobby on a handful of days recently is a bit of a let-down. Hopefully there is still time for things to change.

Cinnabar Moth

Grass Snakes

I love the daisies which increase each year along the dam. Unfortunately the grass-maintenance contractors strimmed the rear of the dam at the wrong time this year and ruined the flowers. The bailiff is having to strim the front of the dam because the incompetent fishermen on the dam keep getting caught up on them. The net result is that there are not as many flowers available for your reporter to pick. Yes, your reporter really does love them and likes to regularly take a bunch home.

While on the subject of flowers, your reporter’s growing obsession with digging holes all over the place and planting bulbs (mainly daffodils) will hopefully pay dividends next spring. That is as long as Squirrel Nutkin and his friends, the many mice and moles and other woodland residents do not get them first. Even the wild boar will dig them up. However, that depends on there being pigs left locally, as the indiscriminate ‘guns’ continue to kill them all and we see fewer signs around the reservoir of these elusive animals.

Tuesday 20th May 2014


The fishing must have been good over the weekend if the returns book is anything to go by. Apparently there was a massive mayfly hatch on Sunday evening, but bemused anglers found that during the mayhem it was virtually impossible to get a take because the fish were simply spoilt for choice. There were no obvious signs of mayfly on Monday morning but fish were still being caught on dries as well as mayfly nymphs. The fishing continues to be good with boat anglers reporting that fish can be found feeding close to the bushes. It was particularly pleasing to see a visiting angler, who having made the effort to walk all the way round to the middle cut-out, caught two fish early on before other rods were seen to bend.

A contingent of four Parisian fishermen also appeared on Monday. This was their second visit in as many days, lead by an ex-pat who regularly returns to visit his mother. It was particularly pleasing to see that his three companions were all young and even more so when you realise how far the Frenchmen have come to enjoy our beautiful water. I particularly liked the authentic Gallic look of these three fishing fanatics. Apparently, they are not averse to undertaking trips to far flung places in pursuit of their sport. Their next trip will take them to Lapland in pursuit of Grayling.


As if there were not already enough fish in the water, another delivery arrived today. On this occasion it came from Hooke Springs and was brought by Christian. Regular frequenters of the dam are very aware that when the dam slope gets wet it is very easy to slide down it. So when carrying fish down the slope one should always make sure that you avoid stepping where you have previously made it wet. Christian learned this lesson the hard way by sliding down into the water but just managed to avert total disaster and only got one foot wet before managing to regain his footing.


The hot and sunny weather has served to dry out the newly constructed slope leading down to the proposed new wheelie boat anchorage. So it was the ideal time for Alec Chisholm to test out the gradient on his mobility scooter. No problem. Now all we have to do is turn it into a proper path, and ensure that it has no more than an eighteen degree gradient.

Saturday 17th May 2014


The wonderful weather continues, with every boat booked for Saturday but plenty of boats still available for Sunday. It is almost unheard of to run out of boats during the week but it is still prudent to book to avoid any risk of disappointment or to ensure that you get the boat you prefer.

Opinion seems divided on the long term weather prospects for next week. However, while it may cool down and even become cloudier, it is unlikely to upset the mayfly activity and anglers should continue to enjoy some excellent sport.


Despite our efforts to restrict the activities of the squirrels around our bird feeders, we are continually being outwitted by these unpopular but clever creatures. Two of our four bird feeders are designed to be squirrel proof, but only one actually does the job. On a number of occasions we have observed a squirrel hanging upside down inside the outer 'squirrel-proof' mesh, happily stuffing its face on our peanuts. This crafty creature never lets you get close and I was lucky to get a somewhat hazy long-shot before he was off. Our regular visiting woodpecker is not so adept at by-passing this feeder's outer defences, but is even more amusing as we watch his frantic acrobatic efforts to get at the nuts.

Although the first Hobby was spotted on Friday 9th May, one week later and we have only seen one bird on any one day. Somehow they seem to know when the mayflies start to appear in large numbers and this is yet another indication that we have yet to reach maximum mayfly activity. So the best is definitely yet to come. It's worth coming to Powdermill just to see the Hobby hunting down its favourite meal. It catches the unfortunate mayfly while on-the-wing, grabbing it in its claws and stuffing in into its beak while still in full acrobatic flight. Amazing!

Some people have insisted that geese do not swim underwater and are too buoyant to be able to completely immerse themselves. So we are only too pleased to publish the photographic proof.

Friday 16th May 2014


More fish were delivered on Thursday. This will ensure that there were plenty of fish to coincide with the glorious weather expected and the impending increase in the numbers of mayflies making an appearance.

This consignment of superb rainbows came from Bibury Trout Farm which is situated near Burford in the Cotswolds. Despite their four to five hour journey, they always arrive in superb condition.

Trying The Chute

Access to the water is such that the only place that we can get the fish into the water is off the dam. Because of the long distance between the top of the dam and the water fish have always had to be netted out of tankers and walked down the bank. Ian, our regular Bibury delivery driver has never been keen on this arrangement. So on this occasion he tried out a tube which proved to be surprisingly successful. A few modifications and we should have the perfect system next time. Ian was particularly pleased that your intrepid reporter got very wet when attending the tube and was equally delighted when the bailiff took over so photos could be taken. Two damp customers in one hit! He went home a dry and happy man.

Thursday 15th May 2014


A reasonable number of boat and bank anglers were out today enjoying the reasonably pleasant and warm spring sunshine with not a rain cloud in sight.

The wind blowing onto the dam was a bit of a problem for those bank fishing. To avoid the wind, Norman Harle went round to the first cut-out which faces the dam, where it was completely sheltered from any breeze, and caught his limit, but sadly not on dries.

The Lunchtime Crowd

Most other anglers were concentrating on using mayfly patterns although there were not a great number of flies in evidence, but the fish were not deterred by this. I was informed that the French men were “knocking out fish” anchored in the bay at the far end facing the dam. The lunchtime picnic crowd had fared reasonably well in the morning and were therefore did not object to being harassed by your photographer. They were certainly in good spirits and appeared pretty optimistic that they were going to successfully wrap things up the afternoon.

With the weather forecasters predicting wall to wall sunshine for the next five days and the major mayfly hatches still awaited, everything is set fair for some very pleasant, enjoyable and exciting days at the reservoir.


Your intrepid reporter is rarely seen without a camera, but when ‘messy’ tasks are involved he sometimes leaves it in the Clubhouse. Occasionally, in an effort to turn the tables on him and get their own back, Club members have been known to ‘borrow’ his camera in an effort to obtain embarrassing photos of him for a change.

Flushed with his recent success at managing to snap your reporter and the bailiff filling in potholes, Reg Kent has been at it again.

Bulb Planting

Your editorial team are constantly being amazed at the diverse skills demonstrated by your intrepid reporter, so they were certainly not surprised to see photos of his latest ‘project’. Reg only had to step outside the lodge entrance to photograph you reporter on his knees planting bulbs in the grass adjacent to the path.

Any unwanted flower bulbs of any kind will be gratefully received to further enhance the area behind the lodge which we hope to eventually turn into a floral delight as you turn the corner.


Another joker, but this time not a Club member. Visitors have to pay good money to fish here, so many often feel that they have to take things seriously. However, we do have our share of visiting nut cases!

The Mystery Man

Tuesday 13th May 2014


A glance at the returns book on Monday morning appeared to reinforce the above saying. The weekend had been awful and if it was not pouring down it was howling a gale. Often both! Yet a surprising number of anglers turned up and every angler on Saturday and Sunday caught fish and many had their limit. Too many successes to single anyone out, but great to see so many visitors prepared to pay good money to fish despite the weather and be rewarded with plenty of fish. Well done everyone.


The latest Sussex Angling Newsletter (May 2014) includes the video that they made of Powdermill in late May 2013. During the filming, your intrepid reporter who was intent on disrupting the filming wandered over, pudding in hand. Before he realised what was occurring he found himself being interrogated by the film maker, much to the amusement of the ‘old boys’ sat outside the lodge stuffing their share of the Doctor’s latest culinary masterpiece.

Now, it’s bad enough having to suffer interminable repeats on all our TV channels without having to endure the same misery on the Web! And does your intrepid reporter really sound like a bumbling idiot?

Visit here to view the video: www.sussexanglingtv.co.uk/game/4580561795


On Monday morning, the latest boat to undertake a complete refit returned to the reservoir and, after a couple of additional minor adjustments, will be returned to the water. There are only a couple of days each year when boat availability is a problem and we are fast approaching that time, so we are relieved to have them all operational again.

The Latest Refurbished Boat


My latest missive has been mentioned before and I am sure only applies to a very small minority. However, I feel that it is sufficiently important to reiterate our concern over mixing alcohol with boating, as in our view it’s equally as dangerous as drink driving.

There is nothing wrong with a fisherman having a refreshing cold bottle or can of beer or even a convivial bottle of wine shared during lunch. What we are concerned about is the spirits which are apparently being consumed on the water. The ‘empties’ often left in our waste receptacles are evidence of this. The photo of empty bottles of Gin and whisky appeared in a bin one day last week. Although I was not aware of there being any booze related problems last week, how did these anglers propose to get home?

There is no specific Club rule to say that you cannot consume alcohol while floating around the reservoir and I would not want to see one imposed. Drink driving is no longer socially acceptable and neither should it be where boats are concerned. You really should not need to swig quantities of the hard stuff to enjoy a bit of fishing. I believe that the recent drowning at Darwell was drink related, so be sensible chaps.


People have begun to express concern and even complain at my apparent obsession with hearing aids. So let me assure you that that my hearing is perfect and it is not a subconscious anxiety regarding my own infirmities. The only reason that I shout at certain individuals such as Piltcher, Harl, and Kent is because they refuse to regularly replace the batteries in their..... Oops, there I go again!

Geoff Piltcher

Norman Harle

Reg Kent

Friday 9th May 2014


Dear Hastings Fly Fishers,

Just a quick note to say thank you for a lovely day at your “hidden gem” of a water yesterday Wednesday May the 7th.

Conditions were not kind, with a blustery south westerly seemingly changing its angle of attack with each cast, accompanying rapidly varying air temperatures.

Diawl Bach time, not a day for the dry Mayfly!

How wrong can you be.

After working my trusted team of D.B.s for an hour or so, swinging them on the wind in their usual “killer” arc, it just did not feel right.

Reasoning that it would be infinitely more pleasurable to be fishless working a dry Mayfly across the fitful ripple, off with the droppered fluorocarbon, & on with the 3x (7lb) copolymer carrying one of Vic’s old green & brown Mayflies.

The result, after 4 more hours of the most pleasurable struggle that I’ve had in ages, fish risen 11, trout landed 3.

I’m sure a more accomplished dry fly angler, blessed with more powers of concentration than I possess, would have landed more, but who cares?

Sitting on your dam, chatting to your members & guests, recharging the batteries in your wonderful clubhouse, who could ask for more out of a fishing day.

Thank you again,

Ian Colclough

Weybridge Guns & Tackle

Editor’s Note:
I was pleased to see Ian again yesterday afternoon and was equally pleased that he decided to actually go fishing this time. I was even more delighted to hear that he ended up catching fish – and all on mayfly. After all, this is what Powdermill is all about at this time of year.

However, it’s yet another ‘professional’ referring to the use of 3x when switching to a dry fly! Better hot foot it down to one of the local tackle shops to get some. But hang on! Before I purchase this vitally essential and magical line, don’t I have to find time to actually go fishing?


For once the weathermen got it right on Thursday. Miserable!

Yet first thing in the morning there were two boats out on the water. It was not surprising to find that one contained Colin Fagg who is never deterred by anything. However, I was amazed to be told that the other boat contained Terry ‘The Cuckoo’ Beaching and Bill Payne his ‘Carer’ (Photo). Now Terry can be somewhat foolhardy but Bill is the epitome of common sense. So why on earth were they out there? I never bothered to ask as by the time that the dishevelled pair made an early return we were more concerned to ensure that they avoided pneumonia. The bailiff even lit the wood burner. Amazingly, before they abandoned their trip, Bill had somehow managed to catch a fish on a dry mayfly.

By 2.00pm, Colin Fagg had also returned. The difference was that he always appears impervious to the weather conditions and as a result had caught his usual six fish limit. Five on a hair’s ear and one on a dry mayfly. The man is dogged and determined and we can only continue to admire his tenacity.

Despite the distinctly unfavourable conditions, a few mayfly were still making an appearance. Your not-so-intrepid reporter remained firmly in his chair in the lodge and refused to venture out to do his planned jobs.

Thursday 8th May 2014


Your reporter arrived early on Wednesday to find only one vehicle in the car park and one boat out on the water. The two anglers had left home very early, having travelled from France via Le Shuttle. From the jetty I could see trout regularly rising within casting distance of their boat, but could not see what the fish were after. However, after a few photos I left them to it, not having seen any prospective ‘takes’. However, it is very unlikely that they will go home empty handed as, being very good fishermen, they are invariably successful. Our regular French guests are always welcome as it is a real pleasure to see how much they appreciate and enjoy what we have to offer, having nothing comparable within travelling distance on their side of La Manche.

So where was everybody else? A few stragglers arrived later but most prospective anglers had been put off by the gloomy weather forecast which proved to be completely wrong as usual. Forecasters are equally pessimistic for the remainder of the week, right through to Sunday, so there will be plenty of space for the few anglers prepared to ignore the incompetent weathermen and make up their own minds!

Despite the reasonably fine day, I was not until about 11.30 that a small group of mayfly could be seen dancing in their favourite spot by the grey shed near the car park, so definitely a slow day as far as mayfly mating was concerned.


Your misinformed reporter has always understood that Reginald Kent was President of Cranbrook Angling Club. It transpires that although he was a member of that Club for many years he is no longer anything to do with them. Reg is actually The President of Tenterden Angling and Preservation Association which I understand was founded somewhere around 1929. Reg was not quite a founder member as he was not born until 1934.

Hang on a moment! His birthday is on 8th May which makes him 80 years old on Thursday. So where will he be celebrating? The highlight of his day is a visit to hospital in the morning for various tests. He has waited so long that he dared not ask for a change of appointment. However, he is dining at “The Chequers on the Green” in High Halden in the evening. Now, given that they offer a very large Skate Wing, pan fried or oven baked, I would have to recommend this for his main, but their steaks are also highly rated. And for goodness sake Reg, put a new battery in your hearing aid for the evening or you will not be able to conduct a sensible conversation over the dinner table.

Reg Kent & Keith Blundell

Anyway, congratulations Reg on reaching another milestone and still having all your marbles! And your recent ability to catch the odd trout has amazed everyone and proves that no matter how old and decrepit one gets, you can still have fun at Powdermill.

The latest photo of Reg with Keith Blundell was taken this morning, as they sat outside the lodge enjoying the mid morning sunshine. Both men hail from the lovely little town of Tenterden, just over the border in Kent.


No, not that sort of holy, but simply holey! The potholes in the drive leading to the car park have reached gargantuan proportions in the past few months. At some point we will be faced with embarking on some major resurfacing work. However, as a few bags of fast setting concrete, designed for securing fence posts, just happened to come into our possession, it seemed a good opportunity to try to temporarily repair the largest, and least avoidable, of the craters in the road. The hole surprisingly swallowed up all the bags of cement that we had, but if it looks like significantly delaying the inevitable it may be worth doing the same with some of the other holes. In the meantime, go carefully as you enter the site and drive up to the car park.

Wednesday 7th May 2014


As it warmed up on Tuesday, lots of mayfly could be observed bobbing up and down as they performed their dance routine around the lodge and down by the grey hut adjacent to the car park. Most anglers are concentrating on dry mayflies, but occasionally success comes with either using an emerger or a spent mayfly depending on what’s going on. So be aware and keep your eyes open. Sometimes a buzzer or Daiwl Bach tempts a fish, but at this time one really wants to have the excitement and pleasure of fishing and catching on a dry mayfly, floating high on the water.


In the wake of Andy Lush and James Gardner, yet another celebrated local angler arrived today (Tuesday). It was none other than Brian Harris, on his third visit so far this year, but the first since the mayfly have appeared. He arrived early this morning together with a few friends including a lady angler. Yes, a real female, and one who was actually going out to fish from a boat! She even tackled up without any assistance and clearly knew exactly what she was doing. Now this is a true rarity on our water and a real delight. No, I am not being chauvinistic or sycophantic and I assure you that it genuinely gives me great pleasure to be able to publish a photo of the attractive young lady but, unfortunately, Brian insisted on being included in the picture.

Brian Harris & Boat Partner

Tackling Up


Our endeavours to create a new mooring and better access to the wheelie boat, plus a hard standing for on-site boat maintenance took a major step forward at the end of last week. Your reporter was delighted to return after a few days away to find that they had somehow managed to do a good job without him. Grateful thanks goes to Scott who arranged delivery of the digger and was the skilful operator for the day. The next stage will involve more laborious methods, with the remainder of the channel, to open water, being cut by hand using just an old fashioned scythe. Hopefully, no ropes or knots will be required for this stage of the proceedings. So, this time, the incompetent bailiff will be unable to be responsible for your intrepid reporter getting another soaking.

Hard Standing

The Channel


If we get more than ten cars in the car park it looks busy. Fifteen cars and the car park is jammed! Most vehicles contain one angler so although parking can be a problem, there is always plenty of space on the water or along the banks. Recently we have observed potential anglers arriving and promptly leaving on finding the car park full of cars. If they bothered to get out and have a look they would realise how few boats are out and how sparsely populated the banks are. We only run out of boats on a couple of occasions during the mayfly rush and never at any other time. There is always room along the bank. So if you are one of the idiots who have made the effort to come all the way to our remote 56 acre water, yet promptly turn around and leave at the sight of a few cars, please make the effort to get out and take a closer look next time.

Sunday 4th May 2014


by Andy Lush

Mayflies and Powdermill go together like “toast and jam”, but the sweet taste lasts longer when you sample what Powdermill has to offer.

I recently visited the reservoir for my first visit there this season and was transfixed by its beauty. Spring is my favourite season and this year we are being blessed with a gradual warming period giving ample opportunity to fish floating lines with nymphs or dries, just how I like it.

Andy Playing a Fiesty Rainbow

The Friendly Fisherman (He's the one on the right)

As usual my fishing buddy was James Gardner, the Doc, we tackled up in anticipation, with the overcast conditions there was only one choice for me it had to be dries but would there any Mayflies hatching? While James set up a team of small Daiwl Bach nymphs with a lightly weighted point fly, this creates enough angle in his leader to ensure that each fly is searching a different level.

My team of dries was a bit of a fudge, as I was not seeing any hatching Mayflies but with cloud cover and the occasional sippy rise to encourage me, it had to be dries. Top dropper was a Claret Shipman's Buzzer, middle dropper a Black CDC Hopper, just in case there were any Hawthorne and point fly was a size 14 Parachute Greenwell's.

First drift saw James hook into a fish on his top dropper, showing the fish were shallow. As our drift neared an end my Greenwell's was picked off by a marauding Rainbow on the fringe of the overhanging bushes. Within the hour I started to hear splashy rises which indicated to me that Mayfly were hatching somewhere nearby and what's more they were being feasted upon.

A quick change of dries was in order if I was going to exploit this opportunity, off came the "A team" and on went the Mayflies. I upped the diameter of my leader to 3X to stop leader twist and also reduced its length to 10' to aid quick turnover, my team was now just 2 flies a Grey Wulff and a Mosely May.

Caught on Bob Holland Special - Hatching Mayfly

James Gardner

The action was "fast and furious", so James quickly switched to dries, my first take was one that with last in my memory all year if not a lifetime. The trout shot out of the water like a 'Polaris' missile taking my Mayfly as it exploded through the surface, two feet in the air, both James and I watched in amazement.

James also had a "Kodak" moment, he alerted me to watch his fly, underneath it maybe 2' down I saw a Trout slowly emerge from the depths, the water so clear that we both were able to marvel as it staked his Mayfly and engulfed it as it rolled through the surface! After that we managed to catch in other areas around the lake but to be fair the rest of the day is a bit of a blur and over far too soon.

What a brilliant day, we must do that again, soon.

Tight Lines,

Andy Lush

The Friendly Fisherman

I knew that a wise businessman could not resist the chance of a bit of free advertising in exchange for scribbling a few platitudes about his recent exploits at Powdermill. However, I was rather hoping that Andy’s account would not be quite as gushing. People will suspect that we paid him.

As I read through the article everything was fine until I got to ‘leader twist’. No doubt someone will explain the concept as I do not appear to have heard of it or noticed this problem before. Still, from now on it’s bound to be a bit of a worry, but I am sure that ‘The Friendly Fisherman’ will have plenty of 3X leader in stock when I next visit.

Given the obvious angling expertise of Andy and James, it is hardly surprising that they had what I would describe as an ‘easy’ day. Most lesser mortals can expect a tougher time at Powdermill, but sometimes the hard won and least expected successes are often the best.

With his business commitments and wide range of fishing opportunities it is hardly surprising that we do not see Andy as often as we would like. But hopefully he will find time to enjoy another dry fly session at our beautiful water before it’s all over for another year. Hopefully, the rest of you are not so hard pressed and can find plenty of time to enjoy our mayfly hatch.

Thursday 1st May 2014


It was early Wednesday morning and the morning mist was making the reservoir appear somewhat eerie an ominous as your reporter arrived. Only one car in the car park! Where was everyone? Who was your reporter going to annoy?

I need not have worried. As I strolled up to the lodge, who should be sat outside but none other than the infamous Reginald Kent, President of Cranbrook Angling, resident celebrity at The Tackle and Gun in Tenterden and all-round useless fisherman. But I am told that he can be a jolly good fellow and good company if only he’d put new batteries in his hearing aid so that he can have a normal conversation!

Anyway, it transpired that he had actually come to fish. My heart sank as the chances of him catching are always pretty remote. So I was facing the prospect of having to report ‘failures to catch’ just as the mayfly hatch was really getting going.

Oh ye, of little faith! Later that morning, Reg strolled back from his position on the dam to have a coffee and informed your gobsmacked reporter that not only had fish been rising within his casting range (so very close in) but that he had landed three. He had also been smashed up by the usual monster and missed loads of other takes! Fortunately he later reverted to form and had not had another fish by the time that your reporter left. Fortunately, other later arrivals had.

Come rain or shine, from now on you should be using a dry mayfly and only resort to such things as a buzzer or Daiwl Bach when nothing is being taken off the surface. After all, even Reg can do it!


Sadly a cursory inspection of the outer shell of the fishing lodge revealed a number of minor structural problems which will need to be addressed. These are primarily a resulting from old age followed by a certain amount of neglect. The old girl was first used as a workman’s hut in the late 1930’s when the construction of Darwell reservoir began. Later it was removed to Powdermill and erected in its present position with most of its floor bearers directly placed onto the soil. No wonder she’s showing her age!

Rotten Window

In order to get some fresh air into the stuffy and sometimes smelly booking-in and weighing room, the one window capable of being opened needed to be ‘mended’. No chance! It was in such a rotten state that it just started to fall to pieces. It’s now securely screwed in – never to be opened again in its present state. Anyone know a good carpenter to make a couple of new window frames?

In the meantime, the fishing is good (but it’s raining early this morning (Thursday), mayfly are in evidence daily, and anglers are catching fish. But your reporter is disappearing for a few days so you will have to refrain from relying on his unbiased advice, make up your own mind and (for goodness sake!) COME FISHING!!!!!!

Wednesday 30th April 2014


Tuesday started quietly with only Steven Stern and his boat partner out on the reservoir in the early morning mist. No sooner had your reporter arrived than Steven was into a fish. As the morning progressed more anglers arrived and it was good to see half a dozen boats spread around the reservoir rather than congregating in one hotspot. I was clear from the outset that it was going to be a good day for fishing with plenty of early signs of fish rising. As the glorious day progressed more and more mayflies appeared and groups could be seen ‘dancing’ in all the usual places away from the water. Mayflies continued to emerge in small numbers throughout the day which ensured that fish continued to rise to take them.

Andy Lush and Boat Partner out on the Reservoir

Most anglers chose to fish a dry mayfly although some used the odd subsurface fly such as the popular Daiwl Bach. For the first time this season, Mick Wood (The Wood Butcher) caught all his six fish on a dry mayfly fishing from the dam and was so unbelievably successful that he was also the first bank angler to catch his limit. Dave Coles was the first boat angler to row in with his limit, but your busy reporter cannot remember if the first man to return was from the bank or boat brigade! Even Barry Morgan (The Fishmonger) managed to break his recent bad run.

Dr Stern's first fish of the day

Norman Harle about to lose this one!

Andy Lush and Boat Partner

About eight visitors made the effort to fish today, including Andy Lush, the proprietor of The Friendly Fisherman in Tunbridge Wells. On his website there are accounts of the various fishing venues in our area. Andy describes a day’s fishing at Powdermill, way back in 2009. The article begins as follows:-

“If you go down in the woods in May your sure of a big surprise because hidden there is the most beautiful trout fishery I know Powdermill Reservoir.

Every year anglers flock to Powdermill in May in the hope of being there when the Mayfly are hatching and the trout are up, well this year after several near misses I was there to witness the spectacle and enjoy the best Mayfly fishing I’ve experienced.”

Although one can argue that little changes from one year to the next, I think that it’s about time someone wrote an update. So what about it Andy?

I can only hope that the number of mayflies currently in evidence continues at this level for some time, as I feel that it makes for excellent dry fly fishing. As the numbers of mayfly increase it can be really spectacular but not necessarily as easy. With millions of flies everywhere, it can become a bit of a lottery as things get chaotic. However for the next few weeks we will not be moaning about the lack of excitement. So pick your day, book your boat and enjoy!


While all this excellent sport was taking place, the ‘workers’ were equally busy on Tuesday. Finishing touches to the two boats languishing on the grass in front of the lodge meant that they could finally be returned to the water. More new lightweight oars were assembled (sounds easy but is actually a nightmare) in anticipation of the usual abuse which inevitably results in the odd breakage. Lightweight metal oars will eventually replace all the ageing heavy wooden oars still favoured by some rowers.

Mary helping with reed clearance

Chest waders were then donned and the bailiff and your intrepid reporter waded into the reed bed in front of the lodge to clear the channel which had been marked out earlier in the year. Mechanical equipment will soon arrive to complete the job and it was vital to mark the perimeter of the block work. In future we hope to moor the wheelie boat here and will be constructing a suitable sloping path down to the hard standing. We also anticipate that the hard standing will provide a reasonably sheltered and dry area for boat maintenance.

Mary, the reporter’s new four-legged friend (who is surprisingly averse to actually putting a foot in the water) kept an eye on proceedings while the bailiff, wielding the grim reapers original scythe, attacked the reeds and your reporter raked out the results and located and marked out the edges of the block work.

Ready and Waiting

An exciting project, which is part of an overall plan to make access easier for ‘disabled’ anglers. However, one can only hope that our ageing members will also consider using it as a convenient, safe and comfortable alternative to a rowing boat. Unfortunately, most of our ‘macho’ members seem to think that it is beneath them, or an admission of defeat, to be seen in the wheelie boat. Your reporter, despite being fitter than ever, has no such hang-ups and is only too happy to sail around in luxury with so much room and a proper chair. The only downside is the company one has to keep!

Tuesday 29th April 2014


The weather forecasters predict an unsettled week with some potentially heavy showers. Did we have a single drop today? Of course not, but we did have plenty of wall to wall sunshine. So only a handful of determined club members ventured out this morning but I understand that the odd visitor did arrive this afternoon.

The anglers in the know reckon that Wednesday is going to be the best day of the week. I suspect that their guess is as good as any. However, irrespective of which day you decide to visit, with so few anglers fishing at the moment, you can decide on the day and still be guaranteed a boat even though we only have twelve. This limited number means that boat anglers have lots of room on our 56 acre reservoir and there is plenty of scope for discovering your own isolated mayfly hatch.

Shades of Green

Talking of finding your own mayfly hatch, it was only last Thursday that I found myself advising two young anglers who had never been before on where they should start fishing. A short while later I noticed that their boat was in completely the wrong location despite my clear instructions. As it was possible to get close enough on foot to speak to them, I wandered along to explain that they were in very shallow water in an unproductive area and redirect them to where they should be fishing, only a few yards away. However, they explained that they had seen fish rising in this spot and had already caught a fish. As far as I am aware, not a single fish had been caught from this small area this season, so it just goes to show that the fish will go where the food source happens to be and not necessarily where we expect them to be. So keep your eyes open for rising fish or mayfly on the water.

Mayflies continue to appear each day in small numbers which currently ensures that the angler’s pathetic imitation is more likely to be taken. For those of you that are not sure what pattern to use, don't forget that the bailiff has a proven dry mayfly pattern for sale.

A glance at the returns book will give you the impression that, although most anglers are not necessarily invariably catching their limit, it is all too easy at present to catch fish. So, just to show that life is never quite that simple, I am publishing the following extract of an email from Phil Streeter received earlier today :-

Dear John....... A catastrophic two hours on Sunday evening. Everything spiralled into chaos. Fishing from the far grassy bank became an unfolding saga of constant mis-casts and line tangles. Finally after nil response, I trotted across to the dam where I succeeded in hooking my finger! The barb sank viciously in leaving me contemplating A & E at the Conquest Hospital. But no, valiant soul that I am, I worked at removing it. Eventually, home surgery was successful with surprisingly little pain. If our good friend Izaak Walton materialised, he would surely title me "The Incomplete Angler."

And I bet that the Reverend never even uttered a single oath! If only he would stop name-dropping. This time it’s poor old Izaak. I was somewhat amused to read the opening sentence of the review of “The Compleat Angler” in the Independent newspaper published only last February:-

"The Compleat Angler has something in common with Lady Chatterley’s Lover: while many know the title, few have actually read it." - The Independent Review

Having admitted only the other day to never having bothered to read Lady Chatterley I can now also admit to never having read Walton's famous offering. It's always comforting to know that in some respects I am part of the vast silent majority. After all, some Club members complain that they have a job to shut me up!

Just received another missive from Phil Streeter :-
"If you are looking for material, just to let you know that while I put a hook through my finger on Sunday evening, David Nicholls put one through his thumb in the morning! It was a day for hookers!"

Please be assured that 'hookers' are not the first thing that springs to mind when referring to our decrepit and impecunious Club members. However, it seems like a strong case for barbless hooks for the over sixties.

Friday 25th April 2014


Another delivery, this time from Hooke Springs. This latest consignment arrives just after we announced that the first fish had been caught on an imitation dry mayfly pattern. As we stated, Martyn Brignall was actually casting to rising fish that were clearly taking mayfly off the surface.

Martyn Brignall

Our New Man from Hooke Springs

Phil Streeter

Although mayfly were in evidence in small numbers on Tuesday and Wednesday, your reporter did not see any on Thursday. However, weather on Thursday turned out to be very pleasant and we were enjoying the sunshine as we carried out some last minute maintenance on a couple of boats. We were working on them in front of the lodge and looking across the reservoir, we could see plenty of fish rising well out of reach of any bank angler. The majority of the anglers fishing from the dam were therefore having a hard time and only Martyn Brignall was bucking the trend. What was he doing differently was a mystery to his fellow anglers, but when you’re in the groove anything is possible and there is not necessarily always a logical explanation.

Surprisingly few visitors turned up on Thursday, despite the fine weather, light breeze and the announcement that mayfly were beginning to emerge. From now on it should be the ideal time to fish a dry as once the mayflies appear in their thousands it becomes much harder, as the fish have too much choice. However, with the gloomy weather forecast for Friday and Saturday and goodness knows what next week, the immediate prospects are uncertain to say the least. So make up your own mind when you choose to come.

Mick Wood Landing His Third Rainbow on Wednesday Morning

The really good news is that the bailiff has a stock of a particularly effective and beautifully tied mayfly pattern, which has been made in France especially for use at Powdermill. So if you want a proven mayfly pattern for our water just ask Vic, the bailiff, who will be only too happy to sell you some at a very reasonable price.

Another article for the deep thinking angler has been received and published by your bemused editorial team in our new “Views from the Street” page. From our feedback, Phil Streeter’s page is much appreciated by our more discerning readers, as it is intended to make you think. Those of us who prefer not to have to think deeply tend to take the p*ss out of it. Hang on, that’s one of the least offensive words that were the subject of the “Lady Chatterley” trial. What are we on about? You had better read “Views from the Street”.

Thursday 24th April 2014


by Bernard Meaden

Some of you may recall that about twelve months ago I wrote a short account of my strange 'Excalibur' moment in 2008. For the unfortunate few who missed this riveting piece of literary nonsense a short resume follows.

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, 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.

Now let's fast forward to 22nd April 2014. A fine sunny day dawned and Powdermill beckoned, after arrival and the usual pleasantries with the last of the summer wine crew in the clubhouse I set out in my little boat and headed for the East arm, this is where it all gets very strange. I dropped my anchor in very close proximity to the spot that all those years previously had led to the Excalibur experience. I poured myself a coffee before casting my line onto the water, having done so I very foolishly put the rod down and reached for the cup, yup, you've guessed it, bang! a massive take and over went the rod, I sat mesmerised as the rod slowly disappeared like a submarine periscope.

Lady Nimue has finally got her Excalibur back ( alright a copy) and Sir Bedivere has been honoured.

Feeling suitably stupid and crestfallen I made my way back to the clubhouse to own up to our bailiff who kindly lent me a reel, I had a spare rod but no reel. Back I went to the same spot in the East arm and about an hour later returned to the clubhouse with my six fish!!

I am currently trying to get a paper round to pay for a replacement rod and reel. If you see me at the reservoir please feel free to take the Mickey as I probably deserve it.

Bernie Meaden

How many times do we have to caution anglers about leaving their flies in the water while not retaining a firm grip on their rod? Therefore, much as we love Bernie, your reporter has no sympathy for him. My concern is entirely directed at the poor unfortunate fish which could well have swallowed the unattended fly before tearing off, only to suffer a lingering and miserable death. Your reporter has the perfect solution. He only uses reels which when combined with the rod's cork handle ensures that the butt end floats. One can then enjoy the incredibly exciting sport of “Trout Chasing” as the fish rampages around the reservoir. If you are sufficiently popular to have a boat partner you can press them into franticly rowing the boat while you desperately shout out directions. Fortunately for your reporter, he has only managed to experience this heart-stopping and very stressful activity on one occasion as the trauma of chasing a couple of hundred pounds worth of equipment around the reservoir could easily bring on another heart attack.

Tuesday 22nd April 2014


Hi John,

I had a very enjoyable morning, Easter Monday, fishing buzzers, whilst fishing I noticed mayfly hatching off. After catching 5 fish I could not resist temptation, fish were starting to rise, so I put on a dry mayfly and the picture shows the result!

Martyn Brignall
Sent from my iPad

A couple of our more knowledgeable Club members claimed to have seen the odd mayfly last week but most people thought that they must have been mistaken, especially as there were plenty of alder’s in evidence at the time. However, your reporter is very aware that despite the mayfly’s two year life cycle, the mild winter may well have a significant influence on when they start to hatch this year. Not wishing to be responsible for spreading possible misinformation your reporter refused to publicise the claims.

So it did not come as a complete surprise when, on Bank Holiday Monday, Club member Martyn Brignall not only spotted mayfly, but actually saw fish rising to them and, on tying on a dry mayfly, went on to catch his last fish on it. Unfortunately, this took him to his limit so he was then obliged to stop fishing.

Although we are not suggesting that the hatch is now well underway it would seem that from now on, if conditions are favourable, we can expect to see mayfly.

Consequently, for those of you who for some inexplicable reason only visit Powdermill during the mayfly hatch, now is the time to make plans and arrange to hot-foot it to the most beautiful water in the South East.

Saturday 19th April 2014


Another shipment of high quality rainbows arrived on Thursday, which will ensure that we continue to maintain our planned high stocking levels. The quality of fishing has been excellent and we expect more of the same over the Easter weekend. So we can only hope that a few paying visitors make an effort to join us over Easter and for the few weeks left before the crowds arrive for the mayfly hatch.

On Wednesday the wind dropped and it was not so chilly which made a stroll along the dam a surprisingly pleasant experience. With the usual handful of Club members hauling out fish, your reporter was fortunate that the one and only visitor on the dam (Mr D.J. Scott) hooked his second trout just as your reporter and his 'friend', Mary, were passing. So we have a new face to show you, which really does make a nice change from the same old collection of Club regulars. Incidentally, Mr Scott ended up with four fish, all taken on a buzzer.

D.J. Scott Fishing at Powdermill Reservoir

D.J. Scott

Mary Studying The Fish Delivery

As your reporter returned along the dam, he was forced to positively ignored Normal Harle (yes, he was here yet again) as he too connected with a fish. After all, how many different photos of Norman catching fish can the average angler stomach! So it is hardly surprising that your reporter was relieved to be able to make his escape; but only back to his never ending list of jobs.

By midday on Thursday, Dr Stern and his boat companion were the first to return with six fish each. However, the West bank was producing nothing and even fishing on the dam was a bit hit and miss, with arguably the most competent anglers struggling while the not-so-long casters were catching. You can draw your own conclusions, but when the new stocking finally arrived the turkey shoot began, so your reporter decided that he had seen enough.

Monday 15th April 2014


A cursory glance at the returns book on Monday morning confirmed that it had been another excellent weekend for anglers at the reservoir. With the prospect of yet more fine and settled weather we can anticipate plenty more good fishing to come.

The northerly breeze kept temperatures down on Monday, but everyone had caught fish by the time that your busy reporter left. That is, apart from one lost soul who never really looked like connecting with a fish, but did manage to hook the odd tree branch. However, there is no need to feel sorry for him as he still claimed to have thoroughly enjoyed himself.

View from the East Bank

Having had enough of sawing and chopping, your hard working reporter took a stroll along the dam with his latest trusty companion in attendance. The pair eventually wandered as far as the furthest of the three cut-outs. It was surprisingly chilly along the dam, but where it was relatively sheltered it was very pleasant.

The anglers on the dam were struggling to cast into the wind, but fortunately they found that the fish were taking quite close in. Whether the trout were following the fly or were not far out in the first instance was not entirely clear. Often the fish were hitting the fly just before lift-off.

Ron Woodruff just happened to hook a fish as your reporter and his latest 'friend' were passing. The 'friends' name is Mary and she is the most delightful, well behaved, obedient and loving lady, which is more than you can say for most females! At one point, your intrepid reporter was caring for Norman Harle’s dog as well. The two dogs got on so well that your reporter is considering running a crčche for fly fishermen’s pets. Yes, Norman was making his almost daily appearance and infuriated the others on the dam by immediately plonking himself down on the first available platform and proceeding to catch his first fish on only his second cast. Nothing changes!

Thursday 10th April 2014


Had it not been such a busy day for your reporter at the reservoir he could have enjoyed a super day. A light southerly breeze was perfect for the boys on the dam and, with the warm sunshine, boat fishing was a comfortable experience for a change.

Steve Stern, our retired GP, had set sail at the crack of dawn with a guest, so was still wrapped up as if in the depths of winter when your reporter arrived, just in time to photograph him catching his second fish of the day. Needless to say he caught his limit. His guest managed three, really enjoyed himself, and is now said to be ‘hooked’.

Dr. Steven Stern

Alan from Hooke Springs

Your reporter was also ‘hooked’ when sampling the doctor’s latest offering - moist flapjacks filled with currants soaked in Whisky. Very alcoholic, extremely rich but incredibly tasty. However, even the three greedy diners dared only eat one each before immediately stashing the remaining flapjacks in a safe place, fearful that other avaricious gannets might arrive and stumble upon the good doctor’s latest culinary masterpiece.

We were delighted to see two youngsters arrive to fish with their grandfathers today. Both grandfathers are Club members and each opted to take their youngster in a boat. I will find out tomorrow how Ron Dove and his grandson fared, but John Keeling returned mid afternoon. His grandson had caught three rainbows with the largest weighting in at 2lb 6ozs. Granddad only managed one, but will obviously claim that he was concentrating on other things – like having to stop fishing to net someone else’s fish!

John Keeling and his Grandson

John Keeling's Grandson

Despite the continued good fishing, yet more rainbows arrived today with another large fish delivery by Alan, our regular Hooke Springs delivery driver. Sadly this may be Alan’s last visit as he is moving on to other employment. Your reporter had the added pleasure of observing these fish at close quarters, accompanied by his latest ‘best friend’. Some readers may recognise Norman Harle’s lovely dog. Your reporter was loath to return his extremely obedient and placid new friend to its owner, who was otherwise occupied, busily hauling out yet another limit to take his tally to over 50 already this season.

For those of you who need to know what catches - Damsels, Daiwl Bach and Buzzers still tend to be the favoured choices. Only three other visitors fished today and two had returned with six fish each mostly caught on damsels. The other visitor was still on the water by the time your reporter left.

A Good Companion

A Good Companion

So, no matter what flies you use, from bank or boat, you should really make an effort to come while the fishing is so good and the weather so lovely. Did we mention how beautiful the surroundings are at this time of year? Absolutely stunning!

And talking of stunning. A young fisherman arrived late this afternoon accompanied by a young lass (with a lovely name). Both were intending to fish from the dam. It will be interesting to find out how our lady angler fared. Hopefully both she and the grandsons will be returning as it is such a delightful change from being surrounded by crotchety, decrepit old men and the feeling of being in a Care Home!

Wednesday 9th April 2014


Norman Harle, fishing half way along the dam on Tuesday morning, landed a fine fully finned rainbow of 6lb 1oz. It fell to a Daiwl Bach with a bit of red on it. This fish had perfect finnage and a good shape with no excess fat and was probably one of the larger fish delivered mid-February. Not big enough to be the largest of the season so far, but a very fine fish nevertheless. The next fish that Norman caught was an over wintered rainbow, long, sleek and with an oversized tail-fin. This trout was only just over 1˝lb but was a hard fighting fish.

Norman Harle and his 6lb 1oz Rainbow Trout

As is usual for Norman, it was a case of rush in, catch and rush off. He had spent the best part of the morning, with your reporter and ‘The Fishmonger’, acquiring timber for the wood burner and did not start fishing until late morning. An hour or so later, having caught his two fish, he was off again.

Norman’s frenzied fishing expeditions are not restricted to Powdermill, but he also makes regular appearances at Bewl Water. Last week, a day’s fishing at Bewl resulted in Norman catching just one fish, but it was a fine specimen of 3lb plus, which he managed to sell on the way home. Now that’s what we call a real fishmonger!

Tuesday 8th April 2014


After a miserable and very wet Monday, the forecast for the next ten days is very positive. There may be a mid morning shower on Tuesday but it’s apparently plain sailing thereafter. No guarantees, but the Met Office and the other equally unreliable sources appear confident.

The largest fish landed so far this season was caught by a visiting angler at the weekend. I am pleased to report that it was caught at the very far end of the West Arm. As usual, no one bothered to take photos, but when you have seen one happy angler posing with his catch it’s pretty mundane, unless the picture happens to be of you! More news on this catch shortly.

I have been begging boat anglers to try the West Arm rather than just paddle ten yards off the jetty. So far this season both boat and bank anglers, all seem to make a bee-line for where others have caught fish and help foster the view that all the fish are crammed into a small specific area. The few boats that have recently ventured right down the far end of the West Arm have all caught fish and have reported significant buzzer activity among the emerging plant life in the shallower water.

My reason for wanting to encourage boat anglers to cover all parts of the reservoir is not simply that I want anglers to find fish in all parts of the water. The one thing that our visiting cormorants cannot tolerate is anglers. The relative peace of the West Arm has been their exclusive domain, but one boat is all it takes to disrupt their activities and scare them off. And bear in mind that the cormorants are there for a reason. If it was quiet but fishless they would not be down there!

So with continued weekly fish deliveries and the apparent settled weather, the next couple of weeks could well be an ideal time to escape the hustle and bustle of Easter and enjoy a day’s fly fishing. Especially if you take a boat and go down the West Arm.

Thursday 3rd April 2014


Subtitled “Another Monster”.

Your hard working reporter was having a break from chopping wood all morning. Reg Kent, on sensing that our illustrious Doctor had earlier arrived with a scrumptious Rhubarb cake and a tub of cream, had left his comfy chair at Tackle & Gun in Tenterden High Street and hot footed it to the reservoir. As Reg gazed out of the window, while stuffing his face with cake washed down with coffee, his attention was drawn to what appeared to be an epic battle taking place along the dam.

Keith Blundell was playing a fish which was half way across the reservoir and putting up one heck of a fight. After watching for some considerable time, and with Keith still not in control of this monster, the Bailiff and the reporter decided that they had better go and take a closer look at this titanic struggle. After all, the reporter was short of any current snaps of Keith catching fish after last Saturday’s debacle.

There was no need to rush along the dam as the conflict appeared to have reached stale mate, but eventually the monster began to grudgingly give ground (not the most appropriate expression). As it got closer and finally came to the surface it became clear that the unfortunate fish was only around 2lb but had been foul hooked along its back.

The vast majority of us have foul-hooked a trout at one time or another and we all know how powerful a fish can fight when unrestricted and able to use its full strength. However, this particular fish put up an exceptional fight despite being weighed down by what the bailiff would describe as a black monstrosity attached to its back. Keith didn’t care. He was happy to put another fine rainbow into his bass bag, no matter how it was caught.

At the other extreme, The Wood Butcher fished all morning, apparently missed eight positive takes and went home empty handed while everyone around him continued to catch fish. ‘Woody’ is currently the main supplier of fish to Alec Chisholm who enjoys messing about smoking fillets and pâté making. Your reporter is therefore extremely unhappy as he had been anticipating getting his share of the spoils this week.

The Answer is that your hard working reporter should now dust off his fishing tackle, tie on an Orange Fritz and catch his own, as he evidently cannot rely on his useless colleagues. Anyway, it’s about time he stopped toiling selflessly on behalf of the unappreciative Club members and start enjoying himself.


This photo arrived anonymously via email at the Hastings Fly Fishers Club editorial offices showing your intrepid reporter carrying out major repairs in the lodge. Anyone know the fastest route to A&E? Never mind your fingers, watch your hands!


Club member Tony Tubb made his first visit of the season today. Tony is a former professional footballer who played for Hastings United, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Bexhill Town when the team won the league championship in 1957. He went on to become a favourite correspondent of the local Observer newspaper for many years and had a weekly personal column.

Which Way To A&E?

Tony Tubb

Tuesday 1st April 2014


A number of people have already commented on Phil Streeter’s new column. Some are delighted that we are going up-market, but are incensed that we have buried it at the very bottom of the index. The Editorial Team’s response to this complaint is simply that if you are incapable of navigating your way to it, you are not sufficiently intelligent to understand it and are better off sticking to the banal drivel which normally makes up our “Latest News” page.

A few others, mainly Secondary-Modern School failures, never even attempted to find it, on reading the word “Reverend” in our introduction and assuming that it was something to do with God. I can just hear Phil saying “Isn’t everything?”.

However, we are pleased to say that the vast majority gave it their best shot and, hopefully, are all the better for having made the effort.

Unfortunately, there was one snag. Most readers were bemused by all the name-dropping. It would seem that none of the ‘notables’ quoted in Phil’s article had ever been referred to in “The News of the World”, or any other tabloid for that matter. Indeed, your editorial Team are not sure when any of them would have last been mentioned in any newspaper, TV or even on Radio 4.

Therefore, in an effort to provide you with a little enlightenment, your highly educated Editorial Team have added their own inimitable potted assessment of the six ‘notables’ mentioned by Phil. So if you really want to know what a useless lot they really were - just click on “Views from the Street” at the bottom of the menu on any page and read our candid and honest assessments which follow Phil’s article. It’s under the heading “ALL YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW AND MORE!”.


Your intrepid reporter, the only person at Powdermill prepared to take responsibility for his actions, is always quick to admit fault on the very rare occasions when he is wrong or fails to live up to his incredibly high standards.

Having complained in the past about members of his Editorial Team overstepping their allotted powers, he is naturally incensed at their latest wheeze. Namely, the defamatory defacing of his handsome image that accompanied his honest and open admission of a very, very rare mistake.

Sunday 30th March 2014


It is not very often that your intrepid reporter does something really stupid, but when he does, he does it in style! Having a ‘dip’ the other week does not count, as that was entirely the result of the Bailiff’s incompetence.

On Saturday morning he decided to make a rare weekend appearance at the reservoir to take a few photos of ‘different’ anglers from those that regularly appear during the week. He also intended to take advantage of the free coffee and cake being offered to visitors at the exhibition of paintings taking place that morning at Sedlescombe.

He arrived mid-morning to find that the fishing was superb with lots of fish being caught from both boat and bank. He started with some great shots of Keith Blundell catching a number of fine rainbows from the dam, with ‘The Wood Butcher’ having to wield the landing net on each occasion. This was the excuse used by ‘The Wood Butcher’ for not managing to catch any fish for himself. So far, the same old faces!

Then a series of ‘studies’ of Keith’s pal (a visitor who had better remain nameless), trying and failing to unravel a horrendous tangle. Lots of potential insults here!

This was followed by the first action photo of the season of Geff Pilcher. Earlier, a few photos of Geff tackling up in the car park had to be abandoned due to boredom. He emerged onto the dam almost an hour later. Negotiations are now in hand to produce a full length feature film on his next visit, filmed exclusively on-location in the car park.

The Intrepid Reporter - Unknowingly Photographed - How Dare They!

Then some really pleasing shots of visitor, John Chapman, performing what your reporter would describe as reverse casting. He had already caught fish, as evidenced by his garish red bass bag in the water. He obviously operates on the principle that if you are good enough to catch fish, make sure that everyone, no matter how far away, can see that you have. Having seen his name in the returns book in previous years, I would have thought that he would appreciate that at this time of year everyone catches fish. That is apart from ‘The Wood Butcher’ who was landing yet another fish for Keith and Keith’s pal, who was still wrestling with his knitting!

Some potentially super panoramic shots of the reservoir, many with boats in the foreground, were finally followed by more candid photographs of visiting anglers tackling up in the car park. A potentially great collection, all in perfect bright daylight conditions for a change!

Back to Sedlescombe, where photos were taken of many of the paintings on display. Incidentally, the work produced by the ‘students’ were genuinely impressive.

That evening , in order to download the photos onto the computer and carry out whatever photo editing was required, he opened the flap on the camera to remove the SD card containing the pictures,....... you’ve guessed it.... the SD card slot was empty!

The moral of this story for photographers? First, check your gear and even then, despite your ‘expertise’, look occasionally at what your camera’s computer is constantly trying to tell you.

The good news is that it will only ever happen once!

Saturday 29th March 2014


Friday, another good day for fishing and catching fish. Everyone is now expecting to come and catch their limit and are disappointed if they don’t. The water is now very clear and run-off is no longer causing problems. Fish seem to be still sticking to the margins rather than the middle, deep water. Most anglers are fishing with floating lines, although some still prefer an intermediate. Leven with a floating line, leaders do not need to be excessively long as most fish are being taken quite high in the water. A wide variety of flies are still proving to be effective. Only one boat went out today (Friday), but the bank was fairly busy.

We have to apologise to Don Burt who we reported as having only caught one fish on Thursday. When we had departed we did not expect him to go berserk and land another three fish in reasonably quick succession.


Some members of Hastings Fly Fishers Club are so wealthy and have so much spare time that they afford to also be members of Littlestone Warren Golf Club (formerly Romney Warren). However, before you become too impressed I should point out that there are two courses at New Romney. Littlestone Golf Club is the prestigious parent club and their members play on its superb course. Littlestone Warren is owned by Littlestone and is the cheaper, lower status option, frequented by the poor and needy or just simply miserly.

So it is hardly surprising that all the local geriatric riff-raff end up on this course. It is therefore only fitting that the highlight of their playing season culminates in the Veterans Autumn Pairs Betterball competition for which an elaborately decorated tin bowl is fought over by a collection of ‘bandits’ with very suspect handicaps.

Vic Partridge and Jack Russell - Veterans Autumn Pairs Betterball Trophy

The latest winners of this trophy are Jack Russell and Vic Partridge. The HFF editorial team photographer was forced to photograph the proud pair as no LWGC member had been willing to do so, both men having been accused of maintaining suspiciously high handicaps.

After the photo-shoot on Friday, Jack went fishing and landed four fish, lost a few and played and eventually lost what he described as a 4lb+ rainbow. However, one of the fish that he caught was a super long, slim over-wintered rainbow with a very large, perfectly formed tail fin. Jack, not noted for being ‘contented’, departed at midday without the usual series of complaints. Happy days!

Friday 28th March 2014


Not for everyone! All anglers are catching fish and most are still managing to get their limit. However, a glance in the returns book will appear to show this to be untrue. On Wednesday, poor Bill ‘The Carer’ Payne recorded zero in the book. However, he only had one cast before he and his wife decided that it was too cold, so he really should have crossed his name out rather than spoil the statistics.

Dr Stern set this season’s fastest limit by landing his six fish in under an hour on Thursday afternoon. He was fishing from a boat moored in the current hotspot. He was so confused by his good fortune that he went home leaving his rods and landing net behind. So we are now expecting another of his cakes as a reward for keeping them safe.

The Carer

Don Burt

The Doc

The Cuckoo

At the other end of the scale, Don Burt arrived late Thursday morning but struggled for most of the day and only managed one rainbow, despite being surrounded by other anglers happily catching fish. To add insult to injury, one of his fellow bank anglers, who obtained his limit, was none other than Terry ‘The Cuckoo’ Beaching (minus his ‘Carer’). Don is currently having a lean time and has yet to really get going. Why? We have no idea, but his time will come!

The weather forecast for the next few days is expected to be very pleasant. As the fishing is now also very good with limits being expected but by no means guaranteed, this is an ideal time to come and fish with confidence. We can assure you of plenty of excitement, lots of takes and misses, with the only real uncertainty being how many fish you will actually manage to land. And we are still waiting for someone to weigh-in one of the big ones.


Just a reminder to those of you who have a passing interest in learning to paint or even obtaining a painting for that empty bit of wall-space that needs filling. An Art Exhibition with a difference will be taking place at:

The Chapel’, Chapel Hill, Sedlescombe on Saturday 29th March, 10am to 4pm.

Keith Collins runs water colour painting courses in Hastings, Northiam and Bexhill. I understand that in addition to some of his own paintings, a display of paintings produced by his students will also be on display at this exhibition.

So if you are in the vicinity, I suggest that you pop along as entry is FREE. Rumour has it that they are so keen to get people to come along that they are prepared to ply you with free tea and biscuits.

Visit www.landscapesinwatercolour.co.uk to see more of Keith Collins work, future exhibitions and workshops.

Keith Collins - Professional Artist Tutor and Demonstrator

Thursday 27th March 2014


From its inception in 1932, Hastings Flyfishers Club has always been blessed with its fair share of eccentrics and interesting individuals. We are still happily carrying out research on the first fifty Club members and, in the very near future, a few stories relating to these men and women will become the subject of another webpage.

In the meantime, we are introducing another new website page. We liken our current ‘Latest News’ page to the sort of drivel that was once produced by The News of the World, but without the phone hacking or topless ladies. So to try to attract the more intellectual and better educated fly fishermen we have persuaded the Reverend Philip E. Streeter to write an occasional article for us. Not only can he be described as a ‘thinker’ but also a published author and poet, a guitarist and balladeer but, most importantly, the British Director of the charity ‘Door of Hope’.

Reverend Philip E. Streeter

He would not profess to be a great fly fisher and would be embarrassed if we were to suggest that he is anything other than an ordinary man with his share of the usual faults and failings. However, he is possibly the nearest thing to a saint that the Club can muster, but rest assured that this will in no way inhibit your editorial team from taking advantage of his good nature and insult him at every possible opportunity.

So have a look at our new web page ‘Views From The Street’ at the bottom of the menu bar on the left.


Anyone who can honestly claim to understand Phil’s inaugural article will be entitled to claim a trio of quality hand-made Fritz flies on their next visit to the reservoir. So do not delay, click on ‘Views From The Street’.

Wednesday 26th March 2014


The weather is its usual fickle self but the latest forecast is optimistic, especially for the weekend. So far this week every angler has caught fish. All boats have had bag limits while bank anglers did not have it quite so easy. Peter Ralph and Ron Woodruff could only manage three fish each while fishing at the far end of the dam on Monday morning.

Peter Ralph

Ron Woodruff

Hooke Springs Delivery

However, at midday on Tuesday another fish delivery arrived, this time from Hooke Springs. Among this consignment were a few more very large rainbows. None of the monsters from the initial stocking have been landed so, with these new additions, the chances of some lucky angler landing a very big fish in the near future have increased considerably.


No sooner had I mentioned the fly rod that shot into the water followed by its owner, than yet another angler almost lost his in a similar fashion. However, on this occasion, it was Paul Strivens. Yes, it’s that man again who, this season, insists on hogging the limelight. Every time we reassure you that you will not have to endure more stories of his antics, he goes and does something else in a desperate effort to seek further publicity. Fortunately for him, the butt end of his expensive Enigma rod floated. Brian McCarter who was on the next platform came to the rescue. With the fish still attached to the floating line and refusing to escape into the deep, Brian cast over the rod and line and was eventually able to recover the gear with the fish still attached. What next, Paul?

Paul Strivens

Brian McCarter

Saturday 22nd March 2014


On strolling into the lodge at 10am on Thursday morning, your reporter was confronted with our esteemed retired Medical Practitioner, Steve Stern, already casually weighing in his six fish. He had been the only angler fishing from a boat that morning and caught all his fish just off the reed bed adjacent to the lodge. Noted for his culinary expertise and excessive use of ‘added ingredients’, he had brought in yet another cake. On this occasion it turned out to be Lemon Drizzle, with enough lemon and peel to make your eyes water! The bailiff and the reporter did their level best to consume as much of it as possible, in a valiant attempt to save any other unfortunate recipients having to force some down.

The action was a little slower on the dam but the handful of anglers all caught fish. On such a fine morning it is surprising that so few anglers made the effort to come, as the weekend and beyond is forecast to be miserable once again.


Who is that angler fishing nearest the lodge in the photograph of “the boys’ on the dam” taken at midday on Thursday? Some of you will probably be surprised to see that it is none other than Norman Harle. Yes, that’s right, the very chap that has already managed to fish at Powdermill on 14 days this month and whom I had advised to rest-up before his planned invasion of Bewl on Friday.

The Boys on the Dam

The fishing on Friday morning was excellent and although it became colder and windier in the afternoon, every single angler went home with fish...... except for Norman. He arrived late, just after the fish disappeared and, having nothing, decided to call it a day just before they reappeared. Now, far be it from me to gloat, but why don’t people listen to my advice? Could it be because it’s normally rubbish!


The delivery on Thursday arrived on the back of a lorry rather than the usual 4x4 truck and trailer. But Ian, our regular Bibury delivery driver, gunned it up the steep hill leading to the far end of the dam. He even managed to back it onto the dam itself, as the top of the dam has dried considerably.

The average size of fish in this consignment was over 2lb and they really looked in superb condition and beautifully marked. With all the large, regular deliveries, more fish going in each week than are coming out. With an overall improvement in weather conditions and water clarity, the fishing just keeps getting better and better.


Four visitors arrived this morning (Friday) and all caught fish alongside our handful of members. Everyone had left by 2.30pm. A father and son arrived mid-afternoon and opted to go out in a boat. The lad took control of the oars and, as I photographed them leaving the jetty, I was impressed with his rowing technique. The conditions were still not too bad, but it was getting colder and I was concerned that they may have left it a bit too late in the day. As I departed soon after, I will have to wait until next week to see if they were successful. Whatever the outcome of their endeavours, this week’s fishing has been excellent and I hope to be able to report more of the same next week.

A Visitor by the Willow on the West Bank

Father & Son

Thursday 20th March 2014


There is now no point in going on about the fishing any longer to persuade you to join us. It’s now as good as it gets and the odd person who fails to catch fish has only themselves to blame. Even Reg Kent had another five on Sunday and should have had his six, but he got a little tired and nodded off in the warm afternoon sunshine. There have been plenty of bag limits this week from both boat and bank. However, it can be colder than it would appear and I have to keep reminding shivering anglers who retreat to the lodge for a warm, that it is the middle of March and when the sun disappears it gets chilly.

This week, following its recent performance in the hands of Paul Strivens, the Diawl Bach has been a very popular and successful fly. Today, Norman Harle, on his thirteenth visit (not unlucky for him) knocked out five rainbows by 10.30am, but as it got colder, struggled for some time to catch the last fish. Your reporter has politely suggested that he rest on Thursday before trying to set a new record for Bewl on Friday. So if you are going to Bewl’s opening day, watch out for this man. When it comes to fishing, he’s insatiable!


Fly fishing began at Powdermill in the 1930s, so it’s hardly surprising that, over the eighty years, the occasional angler has received a dunking. The Directors have never objected to us reporting the occasional illegal bather, especially if they are naked ladies. There have been a few but sadly I have never been present. However, any suggestion that we might be tempted to report that an incompetent or simply unfortunate angler may have got slightly wet and the Directors become paranoid as they think that it would frighten away prospective visitors and give us a bad name.

I doubt if there is angling water, especially one with boats, that has not had its share of unplanned soakings. The occasional misfortune serves as a salutary lesson to us all and a good reason to insist that any sane angler should ensure that they wear some life saving device when taking to the water or wading. If you cannot swim, maybe you should follow the example of ‘The Fishmonger’ who wears his life preserver even when on terra firma.

So what is the point of raising the issue of people getting a soaking at this time? Read on.

Last week we promised to reveal the farcical antics of what some have termed “Fred Karno’s Army”. Despite the bailiff’s desperate efforts to divert attention from his obvious incompetence, the time has now come to reveal the true series of events, without necessarily having to explain exactly what we are doing or intending. After all, it’s good to maintain some air of mystery in order to foster rumour and speculation - the lifeblood of any Club.

Suffice it to say that, on the morning in question, your intrepid reporter, being five foot something, donned a pair of Police-issue chest waders intended to fit a giant approaching six foot six inches. Not very elegant! He then set forth for the second day running into the snake infested reed bed below the lodge. Trampling a path through the reeds until, inches from the top of his waders, he awaited the appearance of the wheelie boat, captained by the bailiff and crewed by ‘The Fishmonger’.

All that the ‘sailors’ had to do was to negotiate the short distance from the open water to where the reporter was waiting to guide them in. The wheelie boat had only to pass through the deeper section where the reeds were sparse before reaching your reporter. The ‘sailors’ tried to use the oars to ‘punt’ themselves through the reeds. How difficult could it be? After a great deal of moaning, the pair abandoned the attempt and headed back to the jetty, having panicked when they got stuck on entering the reeds. Angry commands to come back, interspersed with expletives accusing them of being useless wimps and insisting that he could pull the pathetic pair to shore, finally persuaded them to grudgingly return to where the reporter was angrily waving his spade.

The photos of the spectacular event can also be found by Clicking Here

Having thrown the anchor rope with its large float in the general direction of your hero, the bailiff proceeded to secure the rope across the boat and tie it off in the centre. Despite standing so deep in the water, your brave reporter began, with great effort, to slowly haul the hapless pair through the reeds.

At this point, I should remind you that, at the tender age of fifteen, the bailiff joined the Royal Navy where he was trained in all things that a mariner should know. However, just to put things into perspective, you should bear in mind that, although he did see some ‘action’ (which mostly seems to have occurred in the dodgier ports-of-call) and his main claim to Naval fame was achieved on the beautiful islands of the Seychelles, where he managed to shoot himself through the foot with a barbed harpoon and had to be flown to the nearest mainland, at great public expense. I’m not kidding!

It transpires that the incompetent ex-mariner/bailiff is actually incapable of tying a decent knot. At a crucial point in proceedings, halfway through the reeds, and at maximum strain, your unfortunate reporter suddenly did a magnificent backward headlong dive as the knot gave-way. Flying backwards onto the remaining sharp stubble and, with his oversized waders rapidly filling with water, your hapless reporter floundered about desperately trying to get back on his feet. Your reporter now knows what it is like to be a Fakir lying on a bed of nails.

Once the useless Fakirs in the boat recovered from their initial panic and realised that your reporter was not actually going to drown, they simply fell about laughing and kept calling to Keith Blundell, who had got hold of the reporter’s camera, to make sure that he got photos. Had your intrepid reporter been wielding the camera, he would have rushed into the water to ensure that he got ‘the shot of the season’. As it transpires, the best that Keith could achieve was a picture of the two idiots in the boat with your intrepid reporter nowhere to be seen having disappeared under water.

At this point you would expect your hero to stagger back to shore, leaving the wheelie boat and pair of idiots marooned in the middle of the reeds. But he is made of sterner stuff. Ignoring his uncomfortable state and with added strength generated by his rage and fuelled by a constant series of expletives directed at the useless imbeciles in the boat, he continued to haul them to shore, single handed.

Back on shore he was forced to divest himself of his clothes but, being a gentleman, he had to keep his trousers on as there were ladies on the dam. The wetness was not unbearable as it was warm and sunny but the black sludge was a bit smelly.

Your pathetic bailiff will desperately try to claim that it was all done on purpose and that he carefully tied a slip-knot in order to engineer the incident. B*ll*ks!!!!


Still on the subject of idiots and water, not so long ago an angler, fishing halfway along the dam, left his rod unattended as he poured a coffee from his flask. Suddenly the rod shot into the reservoir, quickly followed by the angler. Fortunately, the angler managed to grab hold of it before it got too far out and was eventually helped back on to dry land by fellow anglers sitting on staging either side of him. Had he gone in any further, the result could have had a very different outcome as it transpired that he could not swim.

The distance from the middle of the dam to the nearest lifebuoy would tax an Olympic sprinter let alone one of our geriatric anglers. I am therefore pleased to announce that there is now a lifebelt attached to the railings, by the steps down to the dam. Although some people might describe it as a bright and garish eyesore amid a serene scene of green, it may save a life. But let’s hope it is never needed.


Ian Colclough has been the proprietor of Weybridge Guns & Tackle, situated in the little village of Oatlands, since 1970. Having run this successful business with his wife for 44 years there is little that he does not know, yet his enthusiasm for country pursuits appears to be undiminished. We are occasionally privileged to welcome him to our little backwater. But by the time that he arrived today, having other things to do on the way, it had become quite chilly. So he opted not to fish but chat for a while. A very interesting and knowledgeable man and we look forward to his next visit: www.weybridgegunsandtackle.co.uk

Wednesday 19th March 2014


A couple of our regular visitors from the French seaside town of Le Touquet arrived today for their first fly fishing expedition of the season. Leaving home at 5am (6am UK time) and going via the tunnel they were already out on the water by the time that I arrived. Did they catch fish? Of course they did, they invariably do, but being French they always have their priorities right. So, as usual, come midday, in they rowed to partake of lunch.


After Norman Harle caught the largest fish of last season on opening day we were relieved to hear that although he hooked another monster this morning, it was lightly hooked and eventually managed to escape. We don’t want the same names appearing on the Darwell Cup two years running. Eighteen days into the new season and Norman has managed to fish on twelve of them, so the odds of him connecting with a big one at some point was pretty good. Thank goodness Bewl ‘s season starts on Friday, as he will be there on their opening day. You have got to admire his tenacity and staying power.


Now, I always thought that Romney Marsh was a tranquil backwater steeped in tradition, inhabited by stolid country folk with not a ‘trendy’ among them. Since he joined the Club, I have referred to young Brignall as Martin. It turns out that his doting parents, apparently did not wear smocks and were not even the inspiration for “The darling buds of May”, but were pre-war trendies, who for some inexplicable reason, decided to spell his name with a “Y”. Unfortunately the parents of his wife, Susan, never thought to swap her middle ‘S’ for an equally pretentious ‘Z’.

Martyn fished from the dam this morning while Sue, who often accompanies him, spent most of the time in the warmth of the lodge as the wind had a bit of a chill to it. On Monday, they had arrived after the fish had ‘switched off’ so, on Tuesday, they made sure that they got to the reservoir early enough to take advantage of the excellent morning’s fishing. To add to the pleasure of the day, on arriving home in the afternoon, they found that they had the first twins of the year. Lambing is scheduled to start on Thursday, but Sue informs me that it is not unusual for multiple births to come early.


I have already had a number of irate anglers complaining the our photo of Paul Strivens was a little contrived, as no one has the right to appear so ecstatic. After all, it’s only a fish! So not wishing to give prospective visiting anglers the impression that they will be meeting a happy and friendly bunch of fellow fishermen, your editorial team are only too pleased to publish a slightly toned-down shot of the ‘happy-chappy’, especially as it’s likely to be the last time we mention him this year.

Paul Strivens - Thats Better

Tuesday 18th March 2014


No sooner do we run down poor Paul Strivens as a result of his recent lack of form, than he strikes back by landing the largest rainbow so far. Although only just over half the size of others recently stocked, Paul was more than pleased to land this fish on Monday morning. He followed this with another three, before having to depart at midday. All four fell to a Daiwl Bach.

Paul Strivens - Happy or What

During the past five days the fishing has been excellent. This morning (Monday) every angler caught fish. However, in the afternoon, it clouded over and the breeze got noticeably cooler and the fish just switched off. So that was it for the rest of the day. The water clarity continues to improve and is no longer an issue. Water is still going over the outflow, but only just, so the entire reservoir appears to be settling down nicely.

Most Club members are now exclusively using floating lines as the majority of fish are being taken higher in the water. Fish can now be regularly seen rising. Although bank anglers are still consistently catching, there are indications that the new introductions have spread throughout the reservoir and I expect boat anglers to have a distinct advantage from now on. With continued weekly deliveries we are still putting more in than are coming out. So, as long as the weather behaves, the immediate prospects are excellent.

Having completed our planned tasks by late morning, the bailiff and your reporter wandered along the dam to see how the bank fishermen were doing. On passing the raft placed for the benefit of our frogs and snakes we spotted no fewer than three grass snakes all curled up together enjoying the warm sunshine. Unfortunately, I was not armed with a long lens but did my best!.

Grass Snakes

I was pleased to be told that the lonely male Great Crested Grebe, who has been swimming around aimlessly for the past few days, has finally found his mate. His euphoric and spectacular performance, on greeting her yesterday morning, was observed at close quarters by Terry ‘the cuckoo’ Beeching and his regular ‘carer’ Bill Payne who, at the time, were anchored near the main reed bed. No strangers to these kinds of avian antics, they were nonetheless impressed with the bird’s obvious delight at the reunion with his mate and his spectacular greeting. Did they have a camera to hand? Of course not.

Despite arriving late, messing about most of the morning and leaving early, the cuckoo and his carer somehow managed to find time in between to catch a few fish. Well, at least Bill did. He had three fish before the cuckoo even had a touch. So the ‘carer’ was obliged to motor around the reservoir in search of fish stupid enough to be taken in by the cuckoo’s pathetic attempts to fool them. Eventually he managed to find two such fish.

The Cuckoo & his Carer

Sunday 16th March 2014


Not having visited the reservoir over the weekend or been in contact with anyone who has, I can only assume that the good quality fishing has continued. There certainly is no reason to think otherwise. Hopefully some of you may have made the effort to enjoy a few hours fishing in the pleasant sunshine. If not, I hope that you will join us at some point during next week, when the forecasters assure us that the good, settled weather will continue. Oh yes, and even more fish will be arriving.


The wildlife around the reservoir continues to emerge as the sun goes on shining and their world warms up. Next to the raft used by frogs and snakes is our carefully placed ‘basking’ log, half hidden on the edge of the reeds. It looks like just another bit of driftwood stuck in the reeds. Most anglers and even nature watchers resolutely march past this feature on the way to more obvious goals.

On Friday the Bailiff spotted a grass snake curled up on the log enjoying the midday sun. A couple of frogs sat contentedly on the raft next to the log and all three simply ignored each other. As I took a couple of photos, the shy, harmless snake quietly slipped away into the reeds.

At the same time, mother Coot was busy building her nest near the edge of the reed bed within feet of the ‘basking’ log. A little too close to the bank in my view as, if the water level falls, the nest will be left high and dry and an easy target for a wide variety of predators.

Saturday 15th March 2014


The promised report on the farcical activities of Fred Karno's army has had to be postponed. A number of different versions of Thursday’s fiasco have already started circulating among Club members and it is only fair that we let them run their course before the true version is revealed. So we have decided to delay the official, accurate version in favour of the important announcements below.

Sailing with Fred Karno


Well, for most people! At long last both members and visitors are now consistently catching fish. This week, all our visitors and all but two Club members who fished on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday caught fish. When I left at midday on Friday, only the unfortunate Paul Strivens had failed to catch in the morning and had to leave empty handed in the early afternoon. Unfortunate - because his first two outings were highly successful, when all others were failing miserably. We all assumed that Paul was all set to have a spectacular start to the season. Since then conditions have improved significantly, yet now that everyone else has started consistently catching, Paul is almost single-handedly letting the side down by reverted to his usual abysmal performance. This is a salutary reminder of how fickle fishing can be as the bemused angler is not knowingly doing anything ‘wrong’.

A Joint Effort

We do not believe that you can, or should, be able to guarantee to catch fish each and every time that you visit. But, sadly, some day-ticket fishermen insist on catching their limit or they feel cheated. These anglers are easily dissuaded from joining us if we cannot provide them with statistics showing amazing results. This is one of the reasons why your intrepid reporter is consistently being discouraged from casting a line as, even if he does catch the odd fish they are likely to be taken on some highly disapproved monstrosity. He is particularly noted for tying and using the infamous “Orange Fritz” lure. This abomination consists of an orange fritz body, brown marabou tail on a size 10 long shank hook with or without a single or double, gold or silver head. He has a vast collection of this pattern with a variety of body and tail colours. The sort of angler that would use something like this is apparently not the type that the ‘purists’ would wish to encourage. Maybe he would welcome at Bewl where anything goes!

So now that the fish have really ‘switched on’ what are they taking? I have no idea what they are actually eating, but I can tell you what anglers said that they caught them on this week:


Next week your reporter will make an effort to add the Orange Fritz to the list - just to annoy the ‘purists’.


So far this season, we have been highly delighted with the quality of fish that our suppliers have provided. The recent problems with flooding at both locations do not appear to have affected the quality or condition of the fish that they are providing. With the addition of today’s delivery, we expect the fishing this weekend to get even better. To add to our euphoria, the water is still visibly clearing and, with the lack of any further rainfall, we expect this to continue. Thing are looking very positive for a change. So before everything changes, I suggest that if you have yet to fish, now is the time. Your intrepid reporter will certainly be out in a boat next week to give you a first-hand report, or maybe he will be too busy re-organising Fred Karno’s army.


His mother-in-law arrives home from the shopping to find her son-in-law Paddy in a steaming rage and hurriedly packing his suitcase.

"What happened Paddy?" she asks anxiously. "What happened!!

"I'll tell you what happened. I sent an email to me wife telling her I was coming home early from my fishing trip. I get home... and guess what I found: Yes, your daughter, my wife Jean, naked with Joe Murphy in our marital bed! This is unforgivable, the end of our marriage. I am leaving forever!"

"Ah now, calm down, calm down Paddy!" says his mother-in-law. "There is something very odd going on here. Jean would never do such a thing! There must be a simple explanation. I'll go speak to her immediately and find out what happened."

Moments later, the mother-in-law comes back with a big smile... "Paddy, I told you there must be a simple explanation ...  ...she never got your email!"

Friday 14th March 2014


The latest news, which should have appeared this morning, has been delayed as our editorial team are unable to agree on the Headline to use. However, we can assure you that Thursday's antics at the reservoir are the most embarrassing so far this season. And for those of you only interested in actually fishing, we are pleased to inform you that we have more potential record breakers in our fish delivery arriving later today. So plenty to report before what should prove to be a fabulous weekend for fishing. Hope you can join us.

Embarrassed - They Will Be!

Thursday 13th March 2014


Most Club members are aware of Barry ‘The Fishmonger’ Morgan’s many excesses which continue to result in a great deal of profligate and wanton expenditure. So everyone will be pleased to hear that after a number of failures, setbacks and loads of money, he has finally purchased a horse worthy of appearing on a race track rather than in a can of Pedigree Chum.

I am delighted to be able to announce that, much to everyone’s surprise, particularly its owner, this latest horse actually won a race. We are unable to name the nag in case speculative betting forces down the odds on its next outing. Did the owner have a bet on it? Not likely! Even at odds of 10-1 with only six runners, Barry did not want to throw away even more money. With the horse now due to spend its summer holidays ‘up north’ we will all have a long wait before we have the opportunity to miss out on another good investment with some dodgy bookmaker.

Barry's Nag - Over The Last Fence

The Group Photo

The Proud Owner

In The Winner's Enclosure


Not to mention the remainder of the ensemble! Peter Ralph turns back the clock to when he was a young, modern-day Beau Brummell character, an arbiter of men’s fashion and a gay (not that kind of gay) man about town. Can’t remember what he called his type of hat, but it’s apparently not only stylish but hard wearing and the most expensive quality headwear money can buy. I will continue to make do with my counterfeit Australian style leather hat, as sadly your intrepid reporter’s expense account does not stretch to the real thing, as worn by Keith Blundell and the good Doctor. What next? Well, it won’t be long before Reg Kent abandons his camouflage gear in favour of his summer shorts.

Wednesday 12th March 2014


The chilly NE wind has kept most anglers away today and only one boat and three bank fishermen braved the cold. However, we were delighted to welcome our one visitor, who was none other than Brian Braun. He has fished for the Sussex Police fly fishing team for many years, and has been a regular visitor to Powdermill. When I began fly fishing at Powdermill he was one of my original boat partners, so I know that Brian is no stranger to lurid and ‘unsporting’ flies that catch fish. I was therefore reassured to see him attach what looked like a large dark-coloured minkie on the point. Goodness knows what will be on the dropper(s). However, I can almost guarantee that, when I examine the returns book tomorrow, I will find that he has caught fish. A more determined fly fisherman I have yet to meet and a very competitive boat companion.

Brian Braun being bored by Woody


It pains me to have to report that the largest fish so far has fallen to Mick ‘The Wood Butcher’ Wood. Somehow he managed to tempt one of the smaller ‘large’ rainbows to take his Montana at the far end of the dam, near the overflow. At only 3˝lb it should be easily beaten before the end of the month, but the larger rainbows have a reputation for being difficult to locate and still harder to land, even if they are well hooked. Normally, half the big fish that we put in are never caught, but each year stories abound of the one that got away. Indeed, it’s often better to hook, play and lose the ‘monster’ than to catch it, as weighing scales can often disappoint! So Mick could still end up with the biggest fish of the month, but don’t hold your breath.

Dr Steve Stern failed to catch his limit on Friday and had to make do with only five lovely rainbows. He starts early, invariably before you reporter arrives, and is still out there long after your reporter has left. He prefers to go out in a boat so it is not always easy to get a close-up action photograph, let alone a photo of him with his catch.

Last weekend, Reg Kent struck back at his critics by defying all the odds and landing two fish while at the same time some other regularly successful anglers failed miserably. So who suggested that pigs don’t fly? Some of us never doubted your ability to catch fish!!! Well done old chap!


On Monday, as the archaeologists continued their daily excavation in the glorious sunshine, behind them the resident wildlife were taking full advantage of the warm stone blocks that had been exposed to the unseasonal tropical weather.

Beautiful Slow Worm

Mini Lizard

The frogs were hopping about and making a great deal of noise as they called to each other to come and see these interlopers. Then a large, handsome and friendly slow worm made an appearance. Barry ‘The Fishmonger’ Morgan is terrified of our resident grass snakes, but was brave enough to briefly hold this creature. Although it’s a lizard it is snake-like, so it’s a great step forward for the man that abhors serpents. Shortly after this distraction, the Bailiff found a tiny lizard that was also enjoying the sunshine. Unlike the multitude of lizards that live among the rocks along the dam, this fellow was not scared of us and happily posed on a spade for photographs. The Bailiff has already seen frogspawn in a pond in the woods.

So has spring arrived? Not if Tuesday’s weather is anything to go by. Fortunately, the rest of the week is supposed to be better.


We promised to show you a photo of the Bailiff after having his summer haircut, in case you do not recognise him when you next visit. We therefore do not apologise for showing this gruesome picture. Sadly, that’s how he looks! Nevertheless, he is a very happy man as the Environment Agency now charges him only Ł18 for his annual rod licence, so the reduction more than paid for this year’s haircut. Remember all annual fishing licences expire on 31st March each year - so get a new one in good time, as someone from the Environment Agency may actually bother to come and check this year!

Saturday 8th March 2014


Since the start of the season, anglers arriving to fish may well have seen and heard a great deal of activity taking place below the railings overlooking the reed bed in front of the lodge. Clanking of spades against stone and the squeaking of a barrow wheel continues to disturb the peace and tranquillity, as yet more 'spoil' is removed from what appears to be a major archaeological excavation.

Last year the bailiff attempted to control the brambles and trees which had taken over the area but with the prospect of having to fight a constant battle more drastic action was required.

Excavation began in earnest last week. The stone blocks that are being unearthed were laid over 80 years ago and for many years they have been hidden under a layer of dense vegetation. With the discovery of the extent of the block-work hidden underneath the rubbish, thoughts turned to how we could benefit from our discovery. This is not simply a tidying-up exercise but is the start of a major strategic plan which should have a significant impact on how we operate.

'Snowy' admiring the view with 'The Fishmonger'

Sheltered between the reeds and the rear retaining wall, it is a superb sun trap. A number of suggestions have already been made as to how this area should be used. One suggestion, that did not find favour with the bailiff, was that a few tables and chairs could be placed in this area, each with a sunshade sporting some trendy logo. Members and visitors could relax while the bailiff circulated around, taking orders for Martini's, G&T's or even a scrumptious cream tea. Another idea, equally unpopular, is that we take advantage of the sun trap and relative seclusion to have nude sunbathing. With the total absence of female Club members, I cannot see (and would not wish to see) Club members taking advantage of this type of facility. For example, it is bad enough having to see Reginald Kent in his shorts during the summer, displaying his knobbly knees. One certainly does not want to see more!

I can assure concerned conservationists that this is not some mindless, wanton destruction of another natural habitat. So what is the master plan? Watch this space!


What about the fishing? The water is still coloured, but it the fish are still able to see the fly. On Wednesday morning the fishing was reasonably good but after the delivery in the early afternoon, for some inexplicable reason, only one fish surrendered.

However, on Thursday morning, plenty of fish were being caught, and although too busy to pay close attention, I do know that John Noble, Brian McCarter and Normal Harle, fishing along the dam, had all caught at least two fish each by the time that I departed at midday. Paul Strivens was also fishing along the dam but, having caught fish on his first two visits, was not having any success on this occasion.

The only visitor to appear today was a gentleman who had apparently once fished here many years ago. Having recently moved into the area, he is looking around at potential fishing locations and, having chatted with us for some time, decided to have an afternoon ticket. Hopefully, I will find out that he was successful when I look in the returns book tomorrow morning. The wonderful fishing that we can offer him, combined with the stunning surroundings must make us odds-on favourites for his custom.

Just like our bailiff, he also needs a summer haircut and assured us that this was in the offing. Unlike the bailiff (rumour has it that he now has to tint his hair), his hair is pure white and even wilder. Henceforth he will be known to your editorial team as ‘Snowy’. Hopefully, he will find someone to provide him with an estimate. ‘CHAPS’ men’s hairdressers in Battle High Street only charge Ł6.50 for pensioners all day on a Tuesday and Thursday. After all, one scruffy scarecrow wandering around the reservoir is bad enough. Two would lower the tone!

The really exciting news of the day is that, having finally saved up enough money, our beloved bailiff was off that very afternoon to have his annual haircut. So, another reason to watch this space for some more revealing photos! Will try to get a candid shot on Friday, when he is not looking, or you may not recognise him when you next visit.

Thursday 6th March 2014


What a wonderful day. Beautiful, warm sunshine that put a smile on everyone’s faces. For the first time this year we had the pleasure of hearing some of our resident frogs croaking and I was able to snap a couple that were sunbathing on their specially provided staging by the reed bed. Although not yet warm enough for the lizards that live among the rocks along the dam or the harmless grass snakes that will slide quietly away when you approach, there was plenty of wildlife in evidence as a result of the glorious weather. The wildest sun worshipers turned out to be Mr & Mrs Keeling who were so taken by the unseasonably warm weather that they decided to have a picnic!

Our Resident Frogs - Sunbathing Today

The Keelings - First Picnic


To add even more joy, Ian from Bibury Fish Farm arrived with their first delivery of the season. Their fish are particularly pretty with very prominent dark spots and, as usual, arrived in superb condition. Some of the ‘old boys’ particularly look forward to seeing Ian as they all share a mutual interest in horse and greyhound racing.

Unfortunately, only Club members enjoyed fishing in the warm sunshine. Visiting anglers missed out on a much improved morning’s fishing. Although the water is still coloured there is evidence that it is slowly clearing and despite the restricted visibility anglers are enjoying some good fishing which will continue to improve.


I was particularly pleased to see Reg Kent embark on his first outing so early in the season. Despite the pleasant weather you never expect Reg to set the world on fire with his fishing exploits. True to form Reg messed around most of the morning and despite ending up fishing next to Norman Harle he still failed to get a touch, while Norman knocked out three fish before lunch.

Reg Kent
Not Catching As Usual

Still Not Catching While Sitting Next To
Normal Harl Who Has Already Had Three

Reg is an all-rounder and long standing coarse angler. He is famed for being a permanent resident at the ‘Tackle & Gun’ in Tenterden where he has his own chair. With this pedigree, Reg should be a master of his art, but if he were we probably would not be so fond of the old duffer.

The doctor was on the water for the first time yesterday and the Reverend began his campaign this morning. There are still quite a few other characters yet to make an appearance, including a number of notorious regular visiting day ticket anglers, so we can look forward to plenty of interesting antics, with the usual accounts of successes and failures to report in the next few months.

The Seniors
Ted Stevenson & Reg Kent - Resting!!!!!

Martin Brignall - Ready To Set Out.
Reg Kent - Still Resting

In the next few days, visitors to the reservoir may well be greeted by the unusual sight of some of the more able and active of the ‘old boys’ engaged on their latest insane project. Photos are scheduled to appear here in the next few days, so if you cannot come to see the work first hand make a point of regularly visiting our website to see what we are up to.

By the way, no one has yet landed one of the monsters that were released before the season began. Could you be the first angler to net one of these super rainbows?


Last Monday the postman arrived outside the bailiff's cottage while the four geese were lounging on the grass between the entrance and exit roads. As he emerged from his red van to take the mail to the cottage, the male charged , neck outstretched, followed closely by mum and the two youngsters. I have never seen a person get back into a vehicle so fast. As I approached to reassure him and retrieve the mail, he drove into the car park, swung around and shot off with the geese in hot pursuit.

So, this morning, it was with a certain amount of amused anticipation that we observed the same van and postman arriving. However, this time he drove carefully past the cottage and into the carpark where he refused to get out of the van, but simply handed the mail to the bailiff through the slightly open window before driving off at high speed.

The geese do not appear to have taken such violent exception to anyone else. However, mum has laid two eggs today so dad has obviously become more protective and the sight of some stranger entering their home was clearly more than he could stand. Hopefully, with egg laying now in full swing, we can look forward to delighting in more violent sham attacks on terrified visitors.

Our Cowardly Postman

Monday 3rd March 2014


Paul Strivens, fishing about half way along the dam, was the first person to land a rainbow on Saturday morning. Shortly after catching his second trout, Paul came into the lodge for a warm before going out again. Looking out of the window from the cosy lodge, the scene looked idyllic. However, despite the sunshine and lack of rain, it apparently was pretty cold in the NE wind. Paul was not the first casualty of the cold as earlier Bob Sanger had staggered in with frozen hands.

Paul Strivens - In From The Cold

Bob Sanger - Thawing By The Wood Burner

Keith & John - More Gear Than a Carp Fisherman

Keith Blundell and his regular boat partner John Austin, having rejoined the Club after a year’s absence, set off to fish the usual early season boat hot-spots. Keith finally tempted the first fish to be caught from a boat. At the time they were anchored past the willow tree, a little way out from the bushes on the West bank. Although the Israeli army has never bombarded this particular West bank, the poor fish would not have been able to tell the difference as Keith hurled his giant lures at them. It is therefore hardly surprising that one of the poor inhabitants of the water finally decided to surrender.

By midday the residents of the lodge had scoffed most of the cakes that Sue Brignall had baked so the non-fishers decided to depart.

Despite the chill, we are assured by the Met Office that Tuesday (Tomorrow) and Wednesday look very good, and by Friday, the weather will have improved significantly and temperatures will be have risen to make being outside almost a pleasure. So maybe even your intrepid reporter may be prepared to venture out to photograph the participants or even to do a spot of fly fishing. Surely not!

Now that the season is in full swing, don’t forget to make a point of keeping up with our Latest News.

Good To See The Car Park Full

Saturday 1st March 2014


By the time that you read this the new season will be well under-way.

On Friday, we were so busy in between the showers with last minute jobs that we had no time to stand back and admire any of our handiwork. This is just as well, as "Make do and mend" should be our motto rather than "In the pursuit of excellence". During the heavier showers, the bailiff attempted to teach your confused reporter how to tie an Eye Splice. The bailiff is not the most patient tutor and the reporter is not the most able student. A recipe for disaster!

An early start in the morning means that an early night is called for. So our promised scandalous stories will have to wait until a later date.

The latest Weather Forecast from the Met Office for Saturday now looks very promising, so I can only hope that some of you will make the effort to come fishing. Hopefully, someone may even bring some real milk, which will be a real treat after weeks of making do with powdered creamer. If no one turns up, we can console ourselves by sitting by the cosy fire, scoffing the remains of Barry's chocolate birthday cake and toasting the four remaining crumpets.

Friday 28th February 2014


As you will have seen from yesterday’s photos, we have gone to the unprecedented trouble of power washing the entire path in order to ensure that our decrepit members and visitors do not have the opportunity to sue us when they attempt to fabricate an injury resulting from a fall. You would think that this would be good enough. However, the Club’s Directors, being genuinely concerned for the welfare of their geriatric compatriots, have gone to the trouble of carrying out an inch by inch assessment of the path and organised major repairs and even some crazy paving ‘levelling’.

In the past, the angler’s ability to negotiate their way along the path was a good test of their ability to cope with maintaining their balance on the dam or being able to get in and out of a boat. As a result of our efforts to make things safer, this will no longer be a valid test. Your intrepid reporter sincerely hopes that more geriatrics will now venture down to the jetty, where he will be spending even more time loitering around, camera at the ready, in the hope of snapping the odd bather!

To be serious for a moment, people do occasionally get wet! Despite it being Southern Water’s responsibility for the supply and maintenance of some of the life buoys we have carried out a comprehensive inspection of all life saving equipment and have carried out any necessary refurbishment. It is also up to you to look after yourself. Please do not be embarrassed to wear life preservers and, if you do not have one, we have buoyancy aids and life jackets which you can borrow completely free of charge. Your safety is of prime importance to us. Your safety is also more important than how macho you think you look without some form of life preserver. Please help us maintain our unblemished safety record.


Last season not all the ‘big’ fish that went into the water reappeared in a lucky angler’s net. So it is with some trepidation that we awaited the delivery of some of this season’s ‘monsters’. All I am prepared to say is that the largest of the fish delivered today should better last year’s biggest rainbow. Last year the largest fish was caught on opening day, but as the season progressed experienced anglers kept reporting hooking ‘monsters’ which they were unable to control. If these big fish take a long time to be caught and lose their excess fat and become lean and powerful unstoppable powerhouses, we can expect lots more reports of “the one that got away”.

I have made a point of not photographing this shipment in order to maintain a certain level of uncertainty. After all, if you want to know exactly what you can catch and even know the name of each individual monster I suggest that you join the army of carp fishermen who are on first name terms with each and every inhabitant of their favourite water. So, I have great pleasure in including a photo of Alan, from Hooke Springs, having a welcome cuppa after unloading the most exciting delivery so far - with a promise of yet more to come.


Every Christmas your intrepid reporter buys himself a Christmas present. Not surprisingly, of all the presents that he receives, this is always the best and he is never disappointed. As a result, it has become a bit of a family joke.

It just so happens, that Barry ‘The Fishmonger’ Morgan has the same basic philosophy. The difference being that when present buying he tends to be much more extravagant than your impecunious reporter. It transpires that it was his birthday on Wednesday, so it gives me great pleasure to take and publish the first photograph of his latest birthday present to himself. Yet another 160mph boy racer! How old is he? Too old to continue to try and outrun the cops!

On the subject of motors, you will see that our Bailiff now has two Freelanders. The old one has now been relegated to the main car park, where it will sit quietly rotting, while his latest extravagance is being used to plough unsightly furrows beside the entrance road alongside the cottage. A plough and tractor could not do a better job! Anybody got some spare seed potatoes?


Tomorrow’s latest news will feature a very exciting planned ‘silent floating survey’ which could prove to be of great interest to a wider audience than just trout fishermen. Don’t miss it!

Readers have complained that our latest news is becoming too factual and boring and that your reporter is becoming less intrepid. Being loath to tell the truth about fellow anglers, being too polite and trying to ingratiate ourselves to all and sundry is not what your editorial team wish to be accused of! So with a new season comes a return to a more uncompromising approach to our news. It is therefore with great pleasure that we return to our roots and we can assure you that this weekend’s exclusive expose of a notorious regular inhabitant of Eastwell Parade will be as controversial as ever. Sadly, names may have to be changed to protect the innocent.

Thursday 27th February 2014


More fish will be arriving from Hooke Springs on Thursday, including some very big specimens. On this occasion we are expecting Alan, our usual delivery driver, to bring them. He has yet to experience a major delay en-route, despite it being a 200 mile journey. His good fortune is sure to run out eventually, so do not be surprised if read of some unmitigated disaster when you next log-in to our website. After all, it’s been going too well so far this week!


After an inspection of the dam on Wednesday morning, it was decided not to power wash the plant life on the slope as the growth actually made it less slippery. However, the path leading to the lodge and down to the jetty had become very slippery over the winter so this became the focus of attention.

Wash and Brush Up

The boats that we plan to have available for opening day were also receiving a final clean this morning, prior to them taking to the water on Thursday.


For the past few days we have had the pleasure of the company of a pair of Canada Geese. For some inexplicable reason we do not often see these on the reservoir. A few years ago, we did have a pair nest here. Unfortunately, they were not successful as the reservoir was not full at the time and as mother sat on her eggs the water level rose and swamped the nest. If this pair stay, and with the water level at its maximum, this pair may be luckier and we could have the pleasure of observing another feathered family grow up over the summer.

Wednesday 26th February 2014


Despite the problems that Robert Smith, the manager at Hooke Springs, has had to contend with as a result of flooding, the fish that arrived today (Tuesday) are a real credit to his skill and expertise. The fish arrived in superb condition despite the longer than usual journey due to traffic delays.

Torrential rain this morning had us all a bit worried. Would we get today’s fish delivery up the steep track at the far end of the dam. There was certainly no possibility of using our normal route through the car park. When he finally arrived, Robert emptied a significant amount of water from each tank to lighten the load, before ploughing up the track.

This delivery included fish to 3lb. The delivery on Thursday will be more of the same plus a handful of much larger fish.

With the Met Office now forecasting wall-to-wall sunshine for Wednesday (what not even a shower!) we are proposing to do as much as much as we can in preparation for Saturday’s opening before yet another unpredicted deluge engulfs the reservoir. Sorry to be so pessimistic, but this way we will not be disappointed and may even be pleasantly surprised!

Now, you may notice the superb quality and composition of the photographs accompanying this report, which some may say are far superior to those that we usually bore you with. You may also notice a little chubby chap (how dare you call him fat!) who you would normally expect to be behind the camera. Would you believe that in his excitement this morning your intrepid reporter forgot to bring a camera. Fortunately, Colin ‘The birder’ emerged from the woods just as the delivery arrived and did the honours. OK, so your editorial team had to do a little editing and cropping, but nobody’s perfect! What ungrateful sods we are! I wouldn’t blame Colin if he made us take our own photos on Thursday. Yes, he will be there again, lured by the promise of some real monsters.

You too can have the opportunity of seeing one of these monsters and may even be the angler to land one on opening day. After all, Norman Harle caught the largest fish of last season on opening day. Will someone repeat Norman’s success?

Monday 24th February 2014


With a couple more minor repairs to the jetty scheduled for Monday, we should then be able to launch a few of the boats ready for the opening of the new season on Saturday. With the occasional shower forecast for next Saturday but fine on Sunday, the weekend weather does not sound too bad. But maybe we had better wait until nearer the time before we take notice of what the forecasters are predicting.


As Saturday was a glorious sunny day with powder blue skies, I persuaded my companions to go for a walk around Arlington Reservoir. Having never been there before and knowing that fly fishing had started on 1st February, I was curious to see how they were doing. The reservoir is much as everyone had described, but not quite the totally featureless concrete bowl that I had been lead to believe.

The path around the reservoir varied from a tarmac road on top of the dam, some very short sections of gravel path and quite a bit of almost impassable mud track. There were only three bank anglers on what was the best day so far this month. Boats are not available to take out until March so maybe it gets busier then. Just over double the size of Powdermill and with virtually no features, it is not my idea of an attractive venue. And they charge to park the car! On the plus side, there is a great choice of tea rooms just down the road in Alfrinston. Will I venture to the reservoir again? Probably not!

Saturday 22nd February 2014


With the improved weather of the last couple of days, we have been able to tackle some of the more essential work that we need to complete in time for opening day on Saturday 1st March. Despite the misery which both our fish suppliers are still experiencing, they have confirmed that the postponed deliveries are all scheduled for next week. So we are going to have a very busy few days before we can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief.

Let’s hope that the weather continues to be kind and that members and visitors enjoy a pleasant start to the 2014 season.


Colin the ‘Birder’ strolled in this morning and announced that he had just seen a male Goosander on the reservoir. So, it’s yet another bird that can dive and catch fish. However, it is less likely to damage our large rainbows than the dastardly cormorants that definitely do eat them. However, a goosander could easily manage a small brown. Fortunately this chap is very unlikely to hang around as we will only be a stop-off and he will be on his way to who knows where!

A Goosander Catching Fish

Colin the ‘Birder’

Colin was much more excited by another recent sighting. Earlier in the week he had seen a red kite, which is a real rarity in these parts. Fortunately he was able to assure us that it had been nowhere near the reservoir, so we do not have to worry about hordes of twitchers descending upon us.

Because of all the soft ground around the reservoir we are able to see just how many deer are roaming around at night. Their hoof prints can be found all over the place.

The rabbit population seems to have declined. This is particularly noticeable around the reservoir entrance and bailiff’s cottage, where there are normally lots of bunnies. However, when one of our regular rabbiters recently came with his ferret, he got a total of fifteen from the field below the dam.

The placid nature of the bailiff’s four geese has always concerned me as I loved the original bad tempered and extremely aggressive gander. This lot seem to like everyone, especially anyone with sandwiches. So, this morning, it was with great pleasure that I witnessed father gander chase after the postman’s red van, neck outstretched in a very irate manner. Anyone in a red car had therefore better watch out in future!


For those budding artistes who fancy becoming painters, help is at hand. An art exhibition with a difference will be taking place at the end of March in Sedlescombe. As far as I can tell, it is a display of paintings produced mainly by people with very limited talent, who have been taught how to ‘cheat’ in order to produce a very acceptable final result.

Keith Collins, a very talented artist, runs water colour painting courses in Hastings and Bexhill. A display of paintings produced by his students will be on display at ‘The Chapel’, Chapel Hill, Sedlescombe on Saturday 29th March between 10am and 4pm. It’s worth dropping in just for the free tea and biscuits.

The bailiff’s younger sister, Sue, is one of Keith Collins’ apostles and a couple examples of her efforts have been deemed of sufficient merit to hang in the lodge. One is a view of the jetty (my favourite) and the other is of the bailiff’s cottage in the snow. She insists that she has no talent whatsoever but has simply been taught how to ‘fabricate’ a half decent painting using ‘unsporting’ techniques.

As a complete dummy when it comes to drawing, painting or any other similar activity, your intrepid reporter is fascinated to find out if the other students, who Sue insists are mostly as incompetent as she claims to be, can produce work as good as Sue’s. If so, I could well be very tempted to see if this artist chap can teach me to ‘cheat’.

Thursday 20th February 2014


The Bailiff does not enjoy sanding down tired old wooden oars, so he likes to make as much mess as possible! But will anyone notice the difference?

From These.....

.....To These

A Carpenters Mess


Having complained about the standard of dart throwing in the past, it is pleasing to see that there has been a slight improvement. This is primarily due to the amount of practice that some participants have had as a result of the inclement weather. This week, Don Burt required 82 to beat the bailiff, which he casually achieved with a two-dart finish of treble fourteen, double top. This event is so unlikely to occur again that it had to be recorded for posterity. This achievement was momentous on a number of counts. Firstly, he managed to calculate what he needed to finish. This is amazing as he was never any good at ‘sums’ when at school - they had not heard of ‘maths’ in those days. Secondly, he somehow managed to get the darts to stick into the board and even in the right places (arguably more by luck than skill), and lastly he actually beat the somewhat bemused bailiff.


Unlike our cormorants, Barry 'The Fishmonger’ Morgan has been very noticeable by his absence in recent weeks. As a result, record keeping has been somewhat lax. Sorry, I mean non-existent. With the impending start of the new season, his more frequent presence will result in......?

Wednesday 19th February 2014


One sunny day last summer, the 'old boys' were sat outside scoffing the remnants of one of Dr Stern's delicious 'pudding type cakes', drowned in cream. The good doctor sees nothing wrong with plying the old boys with the high cholesterol and extremely fattening results of his culinary endeavours. Anyway, as the boys sat watching the antics of our visitors from Sussex Angling, your intrepid reporter decided that he would wander onto the dam to disrupt the filming which had been going on for an interminable amount of time. Off he wandered, complete with pudding, determined to annoy the enthusiastic film-maker. Before he could think of suitable insults, he found himself being interviewed and filmed at the same time, while trying to finish his 'pud'. Sounding sensible in such circumstances proved impossible. All he managed to achieve was to look and sound like a pompous twit. 'Nuff said!

Tuesday 18th February 2014


The other week, on one of the very rare occasions when it was possible to work outside, the old boys caught a whiff of the cesspit. It was overflowing. Possibly something to do with the amount of coffee being consumed and being too wet to wander out behind a tree! No problem. Just phone the disposal firm and job done! But it was not always thus.

Recently I came across an item in the minutes of the Directors meeting held on 25 November 1956 which simply read as follows:

“A complaint that the urinal bucket at Great Saunders was kept in a unsatisfactory condition - the secretary was instructed to inform Battle that this should be disinfected weekly.”

At the time we had two lady members. How did they manage?


Thank goodness for the slight improvement in the weather. I can almost see a light at the end of the tunnel, but let’s not start being too positive. Just to remind those of you old enough to remember the local flooding in 1968, Bernie Meaden sent me a few photos from the interesting book, "The Kent Weather Book" by Bob Ogley, Ian Currie and Mark Davison. It is brim full of pictures of extreme weather in Kent/Sussex dating back to 1877. One photo from 1969 shows Tonbridge High Street where every shop was flooded.

Saturday 15th February 2014


Before you all think that this weather is how it will be forever more and that we are all doomed, unless future generations develop webbed feet, have a look at a few photos from 2011. In that year we had a drought which was universally blamed on global warming, as is the current constant deluge. It may well be the case that extremes of weather will become more common, but my Uncle Albert (long gone and not a real uncle) always reckoned that “what goes around comes around”. So please do not think that what we are experiencing now will be the norm. We could well find that we have below average rainfall come the summer. However, I can safely predict that there will not be a hosepipe ban.

Those of us of a certain age have lived through the most phenomenal and rapid life changes, so let’s not be fazed by the recent changes in our weather patterns. Unless you are unfortunate enough to have homes or businesses at risk, stop being wimps, look forward to better weather and get on with preparing your equipment, in anticipation of some decent fly fishing in the very near future.

And before you write to castigate me for appearing to be callous and inconsiderate, maybe you would like to help me with my personal battle against the floods. It’s a good two foot deep under my dining room!!!

Friday 14th February 2014


After an awful start to the week, Thursday afternoon has turned out to be sunny and really pleasant. But the weather forecast is horrendous. Despite the continued misery, we promise to be ready and fully stocked for our opening day on 1st March. With two weeks before we reopen, there is still plenty of time for the weather, racing across the Atlantic from the USA, to improve dramatically. When it’s not raining and blowing a gale the reservoir currently looks really beautiful and having already had the pleasure of inspecting the water from a boat, I am really looking forward to setting sail on the first fine day in March.


Most of our members do not come from the immediate Hastings area and our visitors tend to come from even further afield. However, I do not apologise for mentioning a sad event, totally unrelated to fishing, which has recently taken place in Hastings.

The ‘Legends’ Guitar shop in Bohemia Road has gone! From the day that the shop opened, Elvis Presley complete with guitar would appear, rain or shine, on the pavement outside the shop. He always cheered me up when I drove along this run-down shopping street. Last year, some ****** stole his guitar. After a while, a somewhat pathetic replacement guitar appeared, but it was clearly the beginning of the end. Last week, the shop was empty. Sadly, Elvis has left the building. Another victim of the recession?

Incidentally, The Outdoorsman which also used to be in Bohemia Road was sold and the business moved to Rye. Although also of no interest to fishermen some of the shooting fraternity would occasionally use it.

So what is left of interest to our readers who may find themselves driving down Bohemia Road? Nothing!

Thursday 13th February 2014


It is hardly surprising that there is very little that we can physically do at the reservoir to prepare for the start of the new season. While we are lounging about indoors wondering what we can do, both our suppliers are busy outside fighting the floods. This week, we would normally have commenced stocking in order to ensure that the fish have had time to spread throughout the reservoir before fishing commences. However, our planned initial fish delivery has been postponed by the supplier, but all deliveries scheduled to arrive in February are still expected before 1st March.

My concern is that we will only be able to deposit them in one location and if they have all only been in the reservoir for a very short while, there is a danger that they could be congregated in that one area. It then can be a bit like shooting fish in a barrel.

Now, where does that phrase come from? Wikipedia has the only sensible explanation:

“Before the days of refrigeration, fish were packed and stored alive in large barrels. The barrels were packed to the rim full of fish. Any shot that entered the barrel would hit at least one of them. Thus nothing can be easier than shooting fish in a barrel.”

But why would anyone shoot at a barrel of fish? As I write this drivel, there is a tremendous storm outside complete with thunder and lightning. Any lack of fish could well turn out to be the least of our worries as, if the awful weather continues, no one in their right mind would want to come fishing. That is unless the fish are all congregated in one area and the fish mongers can make a quick killing and depart before the next deluge! A quick killing? Now, what’s the origin of that?


In 1934 the then Bailiff, Frank Battle, was instructed by the Club Directors to make a number of Floating Octopus Anchors. He was allocated Ł1 per anchor for materials. Quite a bit of money in those days, as he only earned Ł2 for a 7-day week. I have no idea what these anchors would look like or what they were made of, let alone how they worked. ‘Octopus’ would imply that each anchor had a number of arms, but how does one explain the ‘floating’ part? Can anyone enlighten us?

Wednesday 12th February 2014


The Club’s first Chairman, Colonel C F Langham, was a prominent solicitor practicing in Hastings. Since 1779 successive generations of the Langham family had been local solicitors, so it was hardly surprising that he joined the family firm, Langham Douglas & Co. In his time they practiced in Palace Chambers.

In 1947, the business was acquired by Young, Coles & Langdon which still exists today. These days their practice is based at Langham House, Albert Road, in the centre of Hastings. I was delighted to be offered a photo of C F Langham from one of the current solicitors, Christopher Langdon. Unfortunately, on going to collect the picture, I was unable to find anywhere to park. So my wife had to rush in, while I sat behind the wheel, ready to spring into action at the first sight of one of Hastings’ over-zealous Traffic Wardens. I hope at some future time to have the opportunity to speak to Christopher Langdon as I believe that he can cast some light on the man behind the stern facade portrayed by C F Langham.


Does anyone know where your intrepid reporter can get his hands on a copy of Captain C R Langham’s paperback. It contains a photographic portrait of the 5th Batallion, The Royal Sussex Regiment.

Tuesday 11th February 2014


Powdermill reservoir was formed in the Great Saunders Estate by the construction between 1929 and 1932 of an earth embankment at the site of the original Powdermill dam under the powers of the Hastings Corporation Act, 1928.

The reservoir extends over an area of 21 hectares and has a claimed capacity of 856Ml with a maximum depth of 10m at the dam end. The catchment area (455 hectares) serving the reservoir is largely enclosed by the A229 (Sedlescombe - Hawkhurst road) B2089 (John’s Cross - Rye road and Reservoir Lane (formerly called Powdermill Lane). Approximately 65% of the catchment area is woodland. Water can also be pumped from the River Rother.

Raw water entering the reservoir is moderately soft and marginally acid. Minerals and salts are present but not in considerable quantities. The water is of an excellent organic quality.

Research has shown that the water does stratify both thermally and chemically during the summer in the deeper zones where the water column may only be 6m deep. The club’s occasional tests using a simple thermometer on a reel of electrical cable confirms that the experts are correct in this finding and our temperature readings correspond to theirs. Quality values measured in August 1975 are a good example of what to expect in summer:

Temperature: 14.3 - 20.5°C      Dissolved Oxygen: 30 - 118% Saturation      Manganese: 0.07 - 9.40 mg/l

Although the reservoir is somewhat less rich in nutrient content than most others in the South-East (notably phosphate) it is nevertheless eutrophic (ie. Having waters rich in mineral and organic nutrients that promote a proliferation of plant life). However, algae levels are normally low and not a problem.

The reservoir supplies Brede Treatment Works and is nearly always overflowing at some point each year and has only once been drawn down to a volume less than 10% capacity.

The average annual draw-off has been reasonably consistent since construction at about 1,456 Ml per annum (370 mga) although individual years vary considerably and are to a large extent dependent on the draw-off from Darwell Reservoir and from a borehole which are also treated at Brede treatment works.

Are you still with us and awake? Well let us try to put things into everyday language.

You need to pour about 110 two-gallon buckets of water to fill a container measuring one cubic metre. A Megalitre (Ml) is 1000 cubic metres. So a Megalitre sized container would require 110,000 buckets. As the reservoir holds 856Ml we would need 94,160,000 buckets of water to fill it. So by the time that we spilt a bit and used some for the tea and coffee to sustain us in our task, we need to allow for 100 million buckets containing a total of 200 million gallons.

Now, if you have a dripping garden tap, you will be amazed to know that it will take 20 million drops to fill our container measuring one cubic metre. If the tap drips at a rate of one drop per 5 seconds, how long will your dripping tap take to waste the amount of water contained in Powdermill Reservoir?

Answers on a postcard only addressed to Mary Stacey. But do not expect an early reply. We have just discovered that Mary is currently holidaying in Morocco (without Tim as usual) which is why none of you have had any acknowledgement of receipt of your 2014 membership fee, let alone received your 2014 membership card. However, if your cheque has already been cashed, please inform Hastings Constabulary fraud department. You had also better inform Tim that Mary may not be planning to return!

Monday 10th February 2014


Over 30 years ago, Southern Water commissioned a study on the feasibility of raising the water level at Powdermill Reservoir which resulted in a report being published in 1977. The Consulting Engineers (Rofe, Kennard & Lapworth) took it upon themselves to include a paragraph on “Recreation”. It read as follows:

“Future recreational use of the reservoir could comprise extended fishing facilities and some sailing. If both activities were allowed it would be desirable to demarcate separate areas for each, perhaps allowing fishing in and about the reservoir arms while allocating the central body of the water to sailing. The facilities allowed should take account of limited parking space likely to be available and of access via the narrow country lanes to the dam. A notable increased volume of traffic using these lanes may necessitate road widening measures.”

Fortunately, with the Club’s long lease on the water, we can guarantee that the extension of facilities to include any other water-related activity at Powdermill will never happen, at least not in my lifetime.

However, each to his own. So for those of you who want to sail why not join our friends at Bewl Water, where we understand there really is room for both, not to mention wind surfing and a variety of other activities for all the family.

However, if all you want is to fly fish in the most beautiful surrounding imaginable, you can all be reassured that the peace and tranquillity of the reservoir will not be destroyed by hordes of people partaking in a wide variety of pastimes. That is, apart from trespassing dog walkers throwing sticks into the water for Fido to retrieve, but that’s another moan for another time!

Before anyone accuses your intrepid reporter of being his usual cynical self in mentioning Bewl Water, let me state categorically that I genuinely want fly fishing at Bewl to flourish and, for that to happen, I firmly believe that the entire operation needs to be successful and make money. After all, it’s a commercial enterprise not a charity. So I make no apology for advertising their Spring extravaganza for all the family to enjoy.

Sunday 9th February 2014


For the past three days a lone electrician has been working to connect up the new air pump which arrived some time ago. On Thursday he was having to work while standing in three inches of water. The metal shed stands on a concrete base. It would seem that the silicone sealer around the base of the shed is not watertight. The photo was taken on Friday morning by which time the flood had subsided. I am looking forward to the test, not because I think that it will not work, but because I want to see how powerful it is and what effect any silting up of the air-pipe during the past year will have on the initial start-up. If it does not work, Southern Water could put it on display as a piece of art as I consider that it is a really beautiful piece of Belgian engineering.

Friday 7th February 2014


Not so many years ago Norman Harle, a regular fly fisherman at Bewl Water, caught a giant 14lb 10ozs Brown Trout from the reservoir in 2003 which still stands as the largest taken since the construction of Bewl reservoir was completed in 1975.

Nowadays, although still a member of the Club at Bewl water and an occasional visitor to that water, he now concentrates most of his fly fishing at Powdermill Reservoir where he is also a club member. Last year on the opening day of the season at Powdermill, and ten years after catching his record Bewl Brown, he caught what turned out to be the largest rainbow to be taken from our water in 2013. He will therefore get his name added to the prodigious Darwell Cup alongside some notable Club members from the past.

Norman is a great believer in the philosophy that you go fishing to catch fish and certainly does not mind using whatever method or fly is required to catch his fish, provided that it’s legal. So while others stick to so-called ‘proper’ methods (which usually requires the exclusive use of a floating line), Norman will ring the changes.

Norman Harle Not Cremating Muffins

We have pleasure in publishing two of the front covers from 2003 issues of the Bewl Angle magazine both showing pictures of Norman with his monster. But to put things into perspective, your intrepid reporter feels obliged to publish his latest photo of the old boy, ten years on, sat in the scruffy lodge surrounded by the usual clutter, having just finished cremating the muffins that he had brought to feed the rest of the old boys huddled around the fire. How the mighty have fallen.

Norman Harle was not cremating muffins. They were in fact crumpets, but were sufficiently burnt to be indistinguishable. Your reporter apologises for the error, but really couldn't tell the difference and still managed to happily scoff a couple. Piggy!

Wednesday 5th February 2014


With the continued daily rainstorms, it is impossible to do a great deal of outside work. However, the Bailiff has been busy carrying out the routine annual maintenance on the seating and other removable wooden boat parts. The varnished items are then being moved next to the wood burner to aid the drying process. Despite these efforts, if this awful weather continues, we will not be needing many boats at the start of the new season on 1st March.

Alec, Mick, Vic, Keith and Don

Peter and The Alsatian

In spite of the appalling weather our proposed stocking schedule has not changed and we are expecting our first delivery on 18th of this month. In order to get the delivery vehicles up to the dam, we will be taking them along the track leading to the tower at the far end of the dam. It is never an easy task to offload the fish from a vehicle on the dam so it is even more difficult to do so at the far end.

Mick with Peter's Alsatian

Don, Alec and Terry

In the meantime the ‘old boys’ still pile into the cosy lodge in order to save on the heating bills at home. This morning was more busy than normal and there was a distinct lack of seating, as the rumour had spread that both toasted muffins and tasty home-made cake were on the menu today.


Hastings Flyfishers Club is a relatively new organisation compared with the majority of local sea and coarse angling clubs. The Club was formed in 1932, so we are now only in our eighty-second year. Fortunately, this means that some of our early records are still available and this year we will be introducing a new section on our website covering the early history of the Club. This will feature some interesting and enlightening stories from the very early days together with some background on the equally fascinating early members.

There are so many interesting stories surrounding the early days of the Club, which started with a ‘hole in the ground’ filled with water. Most people would assume that the insect and plant life developed naturally as the reservoir matured. Not so! You would find it hard to believe the money and ingenious methods that they used to establish a wide assortment of ‘creatures’ and plants. In 1935 they introduced ‘flyboards’ but from the outset they introduced live food and continued to do so each year, well into the 1950s. For example, in 1940 they purchased 48,000 live shrimps, 24,000 snails and 8,000 fly larvae.

Then there was the leasing of the duck shooting rights which became a significant and embarrassing problem when the Club introduced floating ‘islands’. You can also look forward to reading the saga of the Swan massacre and the subsequent high powered police investigation. Did you know that we had a fire in the Clubhouse in 1939? Neither did I.

Our first Chairman, Lieutenant Colonel Frederick G Langham CMG, VD (1862 – 1946), was a particularly interesting character who merits a brief history in his own right. We will tell the poignant story of the heroic death of his son in 1917 while serving in the 5th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment that his father had commanded, and the devastating effect that it had on his doting father.

Lt. Colonel F. Langham (front centre) with men from the Orderly Room in 1915  (© Paul Reed)

There is even the tale of the contrived dismissal, in 1940, of the bailiff, F. Forrester. He had the misfortune to follow in the footsteps of Frank Battle who was called up for Naval service in 1940. Battle appears to have been a paragon of virtue and able to do everything and anything. You only have to examine the old and now decaying lockers in the weighing room which he ‘knocked together’ in his spare time to see his attention to detail. Would the Club ever see his like again? Well, yes they did, because he was too good to lose and was back immediately after he was demobbed.

In Club records the war was never directly referred to, only the reference to the provision of black-out curtains for the lodge at a cost of 20/- and the directive that the lights should be kept very dim.

It transpires that all the recent fuss about ‘any method fishing’ at Bewl Water is nothing new. As early as 1951, HFF had experimented with spinning on a small section of the east bank at Powdermill which continued for several years.

So prepare yourselves for some ripping yarns and accounts of dastardly deeds involving some of the colourful characters who have helped create the most beautiful reservoir in the South East.

Tuesday 4th February 2014


It appears that people who have recently featured in our Latest News have suddenly become shy of the fabulous publicity and notoriety that a mention of them on the website attracts. Even our Webmaster, who is quite content to publish photos of other poor individuals without their permission, has always steadfastly shunned any publicity and even family photographs of him are rare.

Thank goodness that the dead cannot be as shy and retiring. Or can they?

We are endeavouring to bring you stories of the Club’s beginnings and the colourful characters that were responsible for its foundation, all of whom are sadly long gone. In this age of Information Technology, with a little effort, it is surprising what can be found about these individuals. But associated photographic images from the 1930s really are as rare as hen’s teeth. Unfortunately (it’s that word again) the Club did not have some idiot wandering around the reservoir taking photos of ‘the great and the good’ in order to immortalise them for the benefit of future generations.

The only photographs we can find of our first Chairman, Colonel F C Langham, are copyright. We have approached the owners and hope to be able to include images of him to compliment our ‘fishing’ stories.

It is not often that your intrepid reporter drops his cynical, sarcastic and positively rude attitude when reporting on the antics of Club members, past or present, but the more one reads about our first Chairman the more you realise that, in his own little world, he was rather special and deserves the lasting gratitude of everyone who has come, or are still to visit, and enjoy what Powdermill has to offer. So let us hope that you are fortunate enough to view one of the few photos of our principal founder.


Although Colonel F C Langham played a major role in the creation of the Club, there were many other equally important characters. The first board of Directors consisted of two solicitors (one of which was F C Langham), two medical practitioners, a retired Major, a stockbroker and a man described as a “Laundry Proprietor”.

Now, before you conjure up an image of someone with red arms, having constantly had them in hot soapy water, I should point out that this probably just meant that he owned some vast local laundry. Our cursory research has already found that he had a half share in a large printing company in London and bought out his partner in the 1930s to become the sole proprietor. I suspect that he had as many ‘pies’ as he had fingers. A jolly good man of business to have as a director!

The prospective membership was an equally fascinating collection. A plethora of Solicitors and Stockbrokers, a Barrister, some medical men, a couple of gentlemen farmers, a couple of schoolmasters, Army, Navy and RAF officers. Nine applicants were simply described as “Gentlemen”. Somehow among their number an Estate agent and two women managed to apply. Maybe it’s not so surprising that there is no subsequent evidence that the Estate Agent was ever allowed to fish let alone become a member! Those really were the good old days.

So what of the two ladies? One was simply described as “Wife” while the other was listed as “Wife of Capt. F S Dunn”. The husbands were notable by their absence from the list of applicants. Both ladies were accepted and became shareholders. Hopefully, we shall read more about them in due course.

We hope that you are looking forward to reading about our early history. We certainly are looking forward to bringing it to you. In the meantime there will always be plenty of modern ‘trivia’ for you to read in our ‘Latest News’.

Sunday 2nd February 2014


See: Monday 13th January 2014 - A NEW YEAR AND WE ARE STILL HERE

It seems a long time ago that we reported how unfortunately we have two Super Sleuths among our number and as a result our wretched reporter had been subjected to the full force of a no-holds-barred email based interrogation by our retired senior Metropolitan Police Officer, who has clearly not lost any of his Sweeney-type cross-examination techniques.

Unbeknown to us, it transpires that both law enforcers served in the ‘Met’. One of these men has only just made the effort to catch up with our latest news. I find this extremely disappointing. After all, how can we expect gossip and rumour to spread throughout the membership if the very few individuals who are capable (I’m not sure that this is the right word) of using a computer do not bother to regularly access our website just because its our closed season.

Anyway, let me make it crystal clear that it was the other man who bombarded me with an email and not the one that I did not realise had also patrolled the ‘Smoke’. Let me also state the word “unfortunately” refers to the fact that your reporter was subjected to an interrogation by a professional expert, and not that we are unlucky to have two ex-upholders of the law, although some of our more ‘iffy’ members may not agree. Now, if they were ex-Inland Revenue officers most members really would have cause to be worried.

It occurs to your editorial team that we also made the mistake of using both the word “fraud” and “the Met” in the same report. Fortunately there is no evidence that anyone has made a connection or formed any association between the two words. Phew!

As a result of my honest and open explanations during my original interrogation, it was decided that not only would no further action would be taken but that no fraudulent activity had actually taken place by any of the Directors. This was despite the number of exotic holidays that one of the Directors continues to take. Just wait until you hear where he is off to next! Sadly, we are still waiting for photos from his recent escapades. Now, when we say “sadly”....

Having promised not to mention the name of the officer who we were not previously referring to, or publish any of the many unflattering photos I have of him to accompany this report, I remain true to my word. However, I never undertook not to publish a picture of his dog!

Ok, so it’s a quiet news day!

Saturday 1st February 2014

by Bernie Meaden

Enton Lakes in Witley, Surrey are sadly no longer a trout fishing club. The venue consists of two man-made lakes. The larger or upper lake is around two thirds the length and roughly the same width as the west arm at Powdermill, the lower lake is slightly smaller. The lakes are separated by a grass dam with the lower lake being at about the level of the grassland behind the dam at Powdermill, got the picture?

The club was formed in the early 1900's and functioned as such until its demise around 2005. I was a fairly regular visitor. In 2003 I paid a visit with my 8 year old grandson James, a regular fishing buddy). It was a pleasant early spring morning although the ground underfoot was very wet. We fished the upper lake from the dam without a great deal of success and decided to try our luck on the lower lake. There are steps leading between the two but thinking I was clever I attempted to descend via the grass bank, Big mistake!! the grass was very wet and carrying my rods and fishing bag I slipped and went head over heels to the bottom, I looked up and saw a little white face peering down at me, "come down the steps and be careful" I called to James (why didn't I do the same) James arrived at my side and asked if I was okay, I told him I was and that instinct had made me protect my rods which happily were unscathed. James just looked at me and said "Is it okay to laugh now?" we both had a jolly good laugh.

Sadly this will have to be the last tale involving my expeditions with James as he is now a 19 year old and has discovered the female species, this unfortunately seems to take precedence over fly fishing.

If only we were nineteen again!!!.

Mill Pond at Enton Mill, Witley, Surrey

Friday 31st January 2014

by Bernie Meaden

Prior to relocating to New Romney in 2005 I had spent my whole life in Bromley having been born there just prior to England's most recent armed conflict with Germany (not my fault).

My twin Grandsons Callum and James were in the habit of spending most weekends with my wife and I. James the younger of the twins was, as I have already mentioned in a previous tale, the keener of the two as far as fly fishing was concerned and would happily accompany me whenever the opportunity arose. He had by this time (aged around 8 years) mastered the art of casting a ten foot rod a reasonable distance. There is a small fishery in Hayes which consists of a manmade lake of around 2 acres and stocked with rainbow trout. It was ideal water for someone as small as James and gave him the chance (and me!) to catch and play a few fish.

by Bernie Meaden

One crisp early autumn morning in around 2003 the boys were staying with us and James decided he wanted to go fishing. There was a very cold NE wind blowing and as the fishery is very open I knew it would be pretty chilly. Suitably attired in warm clothing and hot drinks we set off with the usual sense of anticipation that accompanies these outings. Arriving at the water my worst fears were confirmed, we were the only fishermen brave (or stupid) enough take on the conditions.

I set up the rods and we began to fish. After about an hour we were still fishless. I had noticed that fish were showing further round the lake and just out of casting range, fortunately the ground is pretty level for around ten feet and not very deep so without giving the matter proper thought and wearing stout wellies I stepped in and cast towards the rising fish. Horror of horrors it was at this point I realised James had followed me in and with his legs being about half the length of mine his little green wellies had very quickly filled with ice cold water. 'James' I cried 'get back on the bank' another stupid mistake as I realised to late the bottom was soft mud, the poor lad tried to step back but his feet were stuck in the mud causing him to promptly sit down with a horrible splash. I threw my rod down and turned round to find him lying full length on his back with just his head and shoulders above water. I managed to grab him up and pull him from the water. I now had a very wet and shivering small boy, two rods and a fishing bag to carry as I sploshed my way back to the car ( my wellies were also full by now). On arrival I sat James on the floor under the heater, started the engine and headed for home which was only about five minutes or so away.

The story ends with James sitting in a nice warm bath with a bright red face and a large mug a hot tomato soup (tragically I have mislaid the photo) and asking me if we could go back when he had warmed up a bit!!!

Thursday 30th January 2014


On scrutinising my emails on Wednesday morning, imagine my surprise and horror to find that I had received a Subscribers Newsletter email from Hastings Fly Fishers!

So, why the horrified surprise? Well, I never wrote it!!

I must therefore apologise for the ‘Spam’.

It appears that our highly skilled ‘Webmaster’ has now taken it upon himself not just to build, organise and manage the website as well as publishing the news, but now wants to take over the Editorial role. It’s only another very short step to writing HIS version of the ‘news’.

I therefore have no choice but to point out that I have tried to ensure that the Webmaster never goes anywhere near the reservoir, let alone meet any of the anglers, in case he grows fond of the old duffers and starts refusing to print the truth about them. In addition, given that he never corrects any of my typos, misspellings or grammatical errors, I can only assume that he does not actually read the Editor’s literary masterpieces or is simply another of the casualties of our education system.

Consequently, I must insist that the existing status quo be reinstated and that the young upstart stick to what he does best.

Talking of Spam, did you realise that it was first introduced in 1937, five years after the forming of the Hastings Fly Fishers Club, by George A. Hormel & Company based in Austin, Texas and still trades today under the name of...... oh for goodness sake, shut up!!!!


Despite the Christmas and New Year festivities being well and truly over and when most people are embarking on diets, our retired medical expert and enthusiastic amateur chef and gourmand is still busy discovering interesting recipes and then adding his own unique twist.

On this occasion he has forwarded the following:

Trout with Orange-Saffron Sauce & Spring Greens From Hunter • Angler • Gardner • Cook

"Made this tonight but jazzed it up a bit with a couple of flash fried scallops, a handful of clams and mussels steamed till open per portion. I used pre-steamed broccoli and green beans for the greens. I also used white wine instead of the water for the Greens and Fish. Twas lovely and it deserves a wider audience."
Our Retired Medical Expert

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Wednesday 29th January 2014


One of the things that my Welsh wife still misses, after over 35 years living in the South East of England, is the wonderful rivers that she took for granted as a child growing up in the shadow of the Brecon Beacons along the river Tawe in the Swansea Valley.

Fourty years ago when salmon in the Tawe were very rare, I remember local pubs offering salmon on their menus at certain times of the year but it was not politic to ask from whence it came!

The Tawe has always been full of wild trout, but with improved water quality in the lower reaches, the number of sea trout and salmon has continued to increase each year, however fishing for them is still strictly controlled.

It was therefore a real pleasure to discover this early photograph of a relative of my wife, posing with a super salmon taken on rod and line from the river Tawe somewhere between Abercrave and Pen-y-cae.

Tuesday 28th January 2014


I was first introduced to fly fishing by friends who were primarily lure fishermen. I immediately started tying flies, even before I knew what I was doing, so it was hardly surprising that I started to tie simple gaudy flies which had no resemblance to any creature, real or mythological. (I can almost hear the Bailiff mumbling that I still do not know what I'm doing).

My first fly, an "Orange Fritz", was instantly successful and has remained one of my favourite lures, to the frustration of the Bailiff and his disciples, who insist that any artificial fly should be immediately recognisable as an accurate representation of the real thing.

Due to my continued use of the infamous Orange Fritz it has become synonymous with crude practice and bad taste. However, this fly can be used in so many different ways, on any type of line, and I insist that it takes just as much skill to maximise its effectiveness as any other offering.

Not being scared of controversy, or even death threats, I even have the temerity to suggest that any fool can cast out a Mayfly imitation, purchased from their favourite internet supplier (which is why our local angling shops are struggling - but that's another controversy), cast it out, and just sit there waiting for a 'take'. The skill here appears to be in managing to remain sufficiently awake to strike just after the fish has rejected the fly!

So it was a delight to be asked by one of our regular visitors, Henry Smith, to show him how to tie my infamous Orange Fritz.

Henry, who lives down the road in Sedlescombe village, specialises in doing everything associated with gardens and, having a large lorry, can remove significant amounts of garden waste, or anything else for that matter. So, a useful person to know!

Having previously used a couple of my Fritz flies, he clearly has the common sense to appreciate their effectiveness. Henry's his own man, so I feel confident that he will ignore the derision which will be directed towards him by the purists. Good on you Henry!

Monday 27th January 2014


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 5th July 2014

HFFC Competition & BBQ
Friday 15th August 2014

Friday 24th January 2014


Recent research highlights the benefits of eating trout alongside other fish high in essential fatty acids. It appears that these are likely to slow the brain's ageing process and enhance problem-solving, concentration and memory. So that's the secret of my success!


In our haste to publish the 'Latest News' we never have time to read, edit or review what is written. Your editorial team cringe, if later on, we have cause to look at the fruits of our labours as there are inevitably 'typos', grammatical errors and plain jumbled wording.

Fortunately, we have gradually come to realise that the majority of our readers clearly never paid any attention during English lessons as their carefully crafted emails (normally complaining about something) leave a great deal to be desired.

It is therefore always a pleasure to be able to publish the occasional contributions from fellow Club members who all clearly did pay attention during lessons. It is also fortunate that, unlike your reporter, they have gone on to have interesting experiences and fascinating stories to tell.

I am therefore delighted to be preparing to print, in the next few days, another fishing anecdote from our 'super sleuth', Bernie Meaden. So make sure that you return soon, as we also have a number of exciting announcements to make before the new season starts on 1st March.

Thursday 23rd January 2014


Having last been at the reservoir ten days ago, it was as if time had stood still in my absence. With less rain forecast this week we may be able to get something useful done for a change. However, it was so cold this morning that the 'old boys' opted to remain huddled around the wood burner.

Unfortunately, having already used up the logs cut in 2012 we are now starting on last year's harvest, which is far to new to burn well and generates significantly less heat. A lesson we would do well to remember this year! Any volunteers to chop logs?

While sorting out the storeroom last week, the Bailiff managed to put his foot through the floor. In the absence of your reporter, who would have carried out an excellent repair, Mick Wood, the self-professed 'wood butcher', carried out a surprisingly equally neat and effective repair.

Flushed with success, he turned into a plumber this morning and set about sealing a leaking downpipe, having recently carried out a less than perfect repair on the guttering leading to the downpipe. He had delved into his extensive store of 'acquired' materials and found a couple of rolls of Denso tape to tackle the leak. Now, I had never heard or seen this product before and was sufficiently impressed to cadge a bit to see if it will stop the leak in my gutter, which has so far defied any modern mastic designed specifically for such a task.

Denso tape is primarily intended for protecting pipes, cables etc from corrosion and is apparently used by British Gas to seal underground joints against moisture.

Denso Petrolatum tape was first introduced to the UK by a company called Paul Winn & Co in 1929, so has been around for 84 years. Now, I am sure that the vast majority of you will be wondering how I have survived for over 60 years without having come across Denso tape.

At only Ł5.99 for a 50mm wide, 10 metre roll, it would appear to be a real bargain especially as one roll is likely to outlast me. On the other hand, I could just continue to blackmail Woodie into 'lending' me his, as I know where he got his from!

Wednesday 22nd January 2014


The other morning, Colin our 'bird man' came wandering in to report on his observations. Only nine cormorants were spotted, all down the far western arm. But of more concern, he had seen a duck in difficulty, apparently caught up in fishing line at the edge of the bushes along the northern bank opposite the dead tree where the cormorants sit, high up in the branches. The poor creature was franticly trying to take off but could not free itself.

Having collected a vast amount of discarded line along the dam, we are very aware of the likelihood of the potential risks to wildlife. Fishing close to the bushes around the edges invariably results in a hook-up on the odd occasion, but I still refuse to accept that the line cannot be retrieved. After all, there is normally at least one valuable fly on the line, the loss of which would seriously upset our tight fisted members and visitors.

So the wheelie boat was launched and the Bailiff and your intrepid reporter set sail with Colin showing the way. Armed with his trusty camera, your reporter was anticipating some exciting and unique shots of the 'Three men in a boat' attempting to rescue the unfortunate and ungrateful bird. Having taken no net or other device in our haste to got going, I had great hope that one of the other rescuers would end up in the water.

On this particular morning the weather was perfect and the reservoir looked beautiful. I have never seen so many waterfowl swimming land flying around and Colin was able to identify them for me.

Despite a thorough search of the area where the duck was seen, there was no sign of it and no trace of any discarded nylon. One can only assume that the duck managed to free itself without our assistance.

So once again your reporter failed to get the scoop and photographs which could have established his reputation as one of the great angling reporters. Instead he remains one of the most boring people, forced to publish inconsequential stories just to have something to say. Life is a constant disappointment!

Tuesday 21st January 2014


We have finally managed to get all our boats onto dry land. With the reservoir at its maximum height we were not faced with having to haul them up very far. Many had a significant amount of water in their hollow hulls which made them very heavy and difficult to manoeuvre. However, once drained we were able to carry them onto the grass. Normally they would be placed on the grass in front of the lodge, but the ground is so wet that they are better left on the grass adjacent to the jetty. The awful weather has significantly disrupted our maintenance schedule and those boats requiring some major work will have to be taken away to be worked on in the dry.


Here we are in the middle of January and the unfortunate Bailiff is being forced to carry out a ruthless spring clean of our storeroom. The impending arrival of new additional racking, to facilitate the tidy storage of the assorted items piled into the Bailiff's "Aladdin's cave", resulted in some frenzied activity which ended with a van load of rubbish being taken away. I wonder how long it will be before the Bailiff reminds us that we threw away the very item that could have done the job! The photograph does not show the rubbish, but simply some of what had to be temporarily removed just in order to be able to stand in the room.

Monday 20th January 2014


When the ground is so wet and the conifer trees are so tall and exposed, you do not need a strong wind to cause havoc. It was therefore hardly surprising that two of the giant firs at the entrance to the reservoir have fallen. The ground beneath them was so wet that the shallow roots were unable to hold the weight. Although the exit road had to be temporarily closed it has already been cleared. However, there are other firs that are still at risk including a very large one which is leaning slightly and may not make it through the winter. Fortunately, these trees are not on the land that we actually rent or we could have been facing some unexpected and costly bills.

Monday 13th January 2014


Read The Follow Up Story: Sunday 2nd February 2014 - MORE POLICE INVESTIGATIONS

Having forewarned you that we were taking an extended break over the holiday period, we were genuinely surprised at how rumour and speculation, not to mention even a touch of hysteria, rapidly escalated at the apparent disappearance of our website. This combined with no letters being received by members demanding that payment for the forthcoming 2014 season, further fuelled speculation that something untoward had overtaken the Club. Its closure and/or bankruptcy immediately became favourite subjects for speculation.

However, it was not long before the fingers began to point at the possibility of fraud. Unfortunately, we have two ex Officers of the Law among our number. It was therefore not long before your wretched reporter was being subjected to the full force of a no-holds-barred email based interrogation by our retired senior Metropolitan Police Officer, who has clearly not lost any of his Sweeney-type cross-examination techniques.

Having only recently reported in ‘Latest News’ (on 4th December) that one of the company’s directors had sent a message to his impecunious disciples, from a deserted tropical beach on the exotic island of Mauritius, it was hardly surprising that this was the focus of the questioning. It was not long before your, by now, quivering wreck of a reporter broke down and was forced to admit that he had also recently blundered into a, champagne fuelled, lavish and wild birthday bash, put on to celebrate an important birthday for the very same director. This was bad enough, but then your battered and bruised reporter finally was forced to further admit that the same person was at that very moment on yet another “jolly”. This time, in order to recover from his Festive holiday excesses, he was enjoying Lapland’s luxurious Ice Hotel. It was hardly surprising that the rumour machine immediately assumed that he must have run off with the petty cash and the rest of the Management Board were in on it.

The final piece of the jigsaw finally fell into place when the unfortunate club members finally received their letters, early in the New Year, demanding payment of an increased membership fee. As most members are somewhat decrepit and suffer from imaginary losses of memory, it would appear that not a single one of them could recall voting for an annual rise in line with inflation, rather than have less frequent but bigger increases. Talk about short memories!

Imagine the consternation when our hard-done-by members further discover that there are -


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