"Your intrepid H&C team isn’t afraid of early starts. Oh no. But combine a pre-dawn start with the car thermometer reading -4 (in London) and I was a bit scared.
A polo player I am not, but when I arrived at the Royal Ascot Polo Club (note, -6 by this point) for my Discover Polo course, I was relieved that there were others with much less horse experience than me.
Grasping the basics
The morning started in the tent at the club. Sadly no heating so the group crowded round a heat lamp for our first class. White haired grandfather figure Robert Burke, head coach at Ascot Park, barked out the basic rules. His teaching is more akin to a brisk army lecture than an informal Saturday morning course, but using his board and eight model horses, he demonstrated the basics of polo.
Occasional sudden questions were thrown at us; minor humiliation for anyone getting it wrong. I’d know. “No! Not the answer! You’re not an accountant I hope!”
So Robert explained the main principles of polo; basically, it's all about right of way. If you hit the ball and make off after it, no one is allowed to cut you up, but they can bump you off the line from the side. He didn’t talk much about scoring, clearly we weren’t expected to do much of that.
Once he was satisfied us bozos had a basic grasp of the rules, “It’s really very simple, just like driving, think of the line of the ball as a road,” we were allowed to move into the arena. Polo is not played on grass during the winter but instead in huge purpose-built arenas about eight times the size of a normal arena.
We stood on crates to practice our swing. I knew that being a leftie would prove challenging - polo does not allow you to hold the stick in the left hand for safety reasons – but I had underestimated the chasm between the brain giving the right hand directions, and the stick making contact with the ball. The brain says: Right, swing the stick down, and just hit that ball. Right arm: OK, played hockey, this can’t be that hard. Swing! Brain: Hmm, odd, nowhere near the ball. Arm, try again, etc Anyhow, you get the idea.
Try as I might stick and ball did not want to be friends. This was all the more obvious as balls sailed out across the arena from our line of static crates, while mine stayed in a forlorn huddle about six feet in front of us.
Neddy and me
Next it was time to get on the horses. The group was of very mixed ability, and included a lady who had never ridden before. She was taken off for some private tuition while the rest of us tried to work out where the buttons were on the polo ponies. Robert issued instructions: “Don’t pat the horse! It hasn’t done anything exceptional! Remember, the relationship here is master and slave, none of this partnership nonsense!” (And polo players wonder why the general horsie public doesn’t embrace them?).
Once we’d worked out how to point and shoot the ponies, we were allowed to pick up our sticks. Half an hour of stop start ensued during which we all discovered how much more difficult it was to hit the thing when on a moving, living, often opinionated animal rather than a crate. This was probably my favourite part of the day and Neddy and I cantered around gamely (nearly came out the front door every time Neddy did one of his special sliding stops. Do any polo ponies have shoulders?) while the ball stayed mostly rooted to its spot despite my best efforts.
During the instructional chukkas that followed, just as he predicted, Robert’s good advice (“think of the road”) was totally lost on us as the group of inept beginners chopped at and barged around the ball. Sadly I was given a new and much less enthusiastic Neddy for this part and we didn’t see eye to eye on how fast one should approach the ball. Looking back, I think New Neddy was simply trying to maximise my chance of hitting the ball. How embarrassing, condescended by a horse.
Polo seems to bring out exaggerated traits in people: The boys become overly brash, cantering fast, cutting each other up and going for the big shots (arena surface flying, ball usually staying put) and the girls trot slowly to the ball and fumble about trying to gently tap it away until the ponies grind to a halt over the ball and a fowl is called.
Get stick in
Our chukkas were great fun, and by the time the final whistle blew we were all exhausted and no longer cold. I wouldn't say that polo was demystified in the space of three hours, but the course certainly offers a good flavour of just how hard the game really is. It requires a mind boggling level of hand eye coordination, and the five minutes that we played made for sore legs, arms and shoulders.
For all my griping and lack of natural skill, I would definitely like to have another go though. Or perhaps I should say I'm hooked. Oh no, that's just the stick. Wow, a polo joke, I definitely didn't think I'd come this far."
If you want to find out more about the Discover Polo course, all the details are on the Ascot Park website.
“Right then! Another year has flown by, it’s a New Year and what a great opportunity to sit down, take stock and make a New Year’s resolution or two. No, I’m not talking about drinking, smoking or eating less - things are never that bad! Dog training is the angle that I’m coming from.
As gundog trainers and shooting folk, it is inevitable that by the time we get to January that your dog is a little less obedient than he was at the start of the season. The excitement of a day’s shooting means that our dogs get very excited and more often than not they become less responsive. Disobedience to the whistle, steadiness to shot, recall, delivery to hand and swapping birds are some of the most common behaviours that will need some attention.
Start correcting now
Don’t wait until the end of the season to start correcting these
unwanted behaviours. Why not use those last few days of the Christmas holidays to get out there and do some work with the dog. Lots of the problems that crop up in the shooting field can be sorted out back home in training using dummies or cold game, but others only show when you’re out shooting. Unwanted dog behaviours can often be prevented and there are things we can do that will actually prevent these happening.
So our dog training for 2011 is going to need a little planning and some careful thought. How about you make that New Year’s resolution one that improves our skills as a trainer/handler?
Top tips: The New Year’s list
Set aside quality time to train the dog, daily sessions, weekly training classes, and meet up with fellow dog trainers regularly and make sure the people that give you advice know what they’re talking about.
Remember it’s not the dog’s fault. Your dog never wakes up in the morning thinking, “Right, that’s it. I’m really fed up, he’s going to get it. Today I’m going to be really difficult.” Those thoughts are unique to you and the rest of us humans.
Study, enquire, take advice, listen to the good stuff. How do I know if it’s good advice? Easy, watch your coach at work with their own dogs, how good are they, do they really know their stuff?
Now for the tricky bit, if I had a pound for every time I have seen a dog handler with a dog training problem ask for advice and then answer, “Yeah I don’t do it like that, I do blah, blah, blah.” Yes, yes, yes, you idiot that’s why you now have a dog that’s not doing what you want it to do. For goodness sake, when given advice from someone who really does know what they’re talking about, wash your ears out and LISTEN.
Howard’s New Year’s resolution
Thoroughly read the list I have written and apply it to most of my day to day life!
To any of you that are kind enough to read my stuff, have the most fantastic 2011 and please enjoy ENJOY your dogs.”
Can you help Millione raise a million for Christmas?
Christmas eve: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
This award-winning version of the Imperial Stout style comes from Manhattan and is only available from October through to March. At 10% ABV Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout displays a cavern of chocolate aromas with strapping coffee notes and fruity flavours like the best Belgian or French dark chocolates. A spiky bitterness, quickly coupled by off-dry ripe malts, sends concentrated chocolate and coffee flavours across the full-bodied palate. The beer is a great partner for puddings: chocolate desserts, cheesecakes, fruit tarts and ice-creams. If you don’t have a sweet tooth then try with the contrasting flavour of Stilton.
Christmas day: Millioné Rosé
It’s finally Christmas – the one day we can eat, drink and feel merry without any guilt. Embrace the season of goodwill and sip this good-looking lightly sparkling rosé wine as you knock back the choccies. Millione from Italy tastes as good as it looks and it does good, too. For every bottle sold one pound goes towards building schools in Sierra Leone.
Make me a millionaire
Even if you are stocked up for Christmas and can’t face the trudge to the supermarket then visit Laithwaites and stock up for New Year. The aim is to sell a million bottles on Millione and raise a million pounds.
That only leaves me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
Rimmer showing his delight at being in front of an audience
“I’m writing this blog quite stressed out! Annabel is clamouring to leave – we have to walk over to the farm and pick up the turkey with the sledge. There’s so much snow here still that that’s the easiest way. We’ll stick the turkey on the sledge and pull it back. Fun for the children, but frankly I’d rather be using the car!
Olympia seems like a long time ago now. The kur went well and Rimmer went out and enjoyed himself. I did miss the first two time change, but despite minor panic, I carried on and pretended I hadn’t wanted the first one and still managed to fit them in, luckily. We got the ones on the centre line which was great.
I must say, having a 9pm is not the easiest thing in the world with two kids, that was pretty testing. But Rimmer enjoyed it, and at his age that’s really important.
He was incredibly hot in the warm up though, I literally couldn't touch him with my right spur. He kept warning me ‘if you touch me, I’m off!’ so I had to decide whether to just sit quietly or to insist that he let me ride him.
Overall we had a great and extrememly hectic time. Annabell loved every second of it apart from the War Horse demo – she thought that was terrifying and she was screaming so much I had to take her out.
We all stayed down in London on the Wednesday night and kept an eye on the weather forecast. In the morning we drove the four hours home, arriving just in time for another colossal dump of snow.
Best laid plans
I had planned to hit the ground running and had entered My Hyde for competitions on the Saturday and the Sunday, but everything was cancelled due to the snow.
To add to my delight at the not being able to compete, the boiler conked out on Saturday so we had no heating or hot water, and overnight it was -10 outside! To add insult to injury we had a burst water main on the Sunday, so no water at all. Maybe we should have stayed in London.
It took two days to get the water back on, but thankfully we are all up and running (haha) now.
After this second bout of show, we’ve lost the arena again. Yesterday Annabel was out there riding round on Jessie her Shetland while I was digging and scraping round the edges. I’m sure most riders had better prep for Olympia than we did!
We’re so limited with the weather over Christmas here now. Simon’s parents were going to come up and stay with us, but they didn’t fancy getting stuck on the M1 (at at ninety-something who can blame them?).
So Christmas looks like it’s going to consist of desperately trying to get the horses working somehow – Clyde (My Hyde) is just being lunged at the moment and I walk Rimmer under saddle as it’s safer than letting him loose on the lunge. We do a lot of piaffe in hand. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. It must be five or six weeks of this stupid snow now, I’ve never known it this bad. Suppose it’s our own silly fault for living in the Peak District.
So these next few weeks will be quiet-ish. Simon will make the dinner on Christmas day, I’ll try and entertain the children and the horses will have the day off. Rimmer will go out in his paddock – he has to have a smaller area to stop him getting up a head of steam and hooliganing about like a fruitloop.
Mr Hyde is now out at Medium and I hope to qualify him for the advanced medium regionals in the new year when he will be rising six. His Medium regionals are in February which I’m sure will come around fast. Other than that, I’ll carry on doing the local pony club stuff, helping the kids with their ponies.
I’ve just looked out of the window and I can see that it’s started snowing again. Joy. It was very pretty but now I’d like it to go away. Must go and get the turkey before it’s too icy for even the sledge!
The Italian word 'dolcetto' means 'little sweet one,' but the name probably first referenced the Piedmont hills where the vines were cultivated rather than the grapes’ sugar levels. Australia is home to the oldest current plantings of Dolcetto with vines dating back to the 1860s.
Keep it in the family
Brown Brothers is a wine business based in Milawa, Victoria, Australia. Founded in 1889 by John Francis Brown (and today held and run by his family on the original land), Brown Brothers produces wine from a selection of grape varieties and into a range of styles.
Interesting and pretty
The Dolcetto & Syrah is an interesting and pretty blend; an intense rosé with clean aromas of black and red berries, spicy suggestions and a little liquorice. The fruity palate is balanced by the frizzante mouth feel, which gives the wine a lively finish.
Best served chilled, this wine would be super for anyone serving Christmas turkey with spiced sage and thyme stuffing or with lashings of cranberry sauce. For something lighter if you’re full after the festivities, match to Greek salad or antipasti. I know a delicious dish with Cœur de Lion La Buche goat’s cheese and beetroot (let me know if you would like the recipe) otherwise enjoy with cheddar from the cheeseboard.
“I am writing this after having been at SPOTY last night. What a brilliant night and so pleased that AP won as I was beginning to wonder if an equestrian ever would again.
Why no WEG coverage?
They showed no coverage of our eventing team winning team gold or individual silvers for Laura and William. It really is wrong and you can’t help thinking we could win everything and still not ever feature on the roll of honour there, as horses are just not considered in the same light.
It is just wrong; it would be so wonderful to think if we do something spectacular we could win it, but realistically we never will. I do think William should get recognition for dominating the eventing leader board for so many years and he must sit there watching and hoping for recognition and rightly so. Well, let’s hope that this is the start of equestrian winners and please everybody if there is a chance the next few years get behind them and let’s make it happen again! Anyway, enough of a moan as it was the most superb evening. We had seats next to the Beckhams, behind Amy Williams and AP McCoy so we really were front row! I even feature in the Sun photographed with the Beckhams - how about that?!
The evening makes you feel so amazed at how amazing some people are and how much hard work goes into their daily lives. We forget how the athletes have so many injuries for example, and that AP has broken nearly every bone in his body. It inspires you and I hope I get to go for the next few years as it’s also a very humbling experience combined with fantastic opportunity for us to find out how other athletes work, train, etc. There is also a free bar after which helps the evening along! To have these opportunities to go to is for me just brilliant and mustn’t be passed up, so it always amazes me when people don’t bother to go. I’ll take their place next time!
Apart from Christmas socialising, we have been working incredibly hard. We have 15 in and everything is in work except Jasper (who is now happier as he has started walking) and as the forest has thawed out we would be hacking them all. I have even been mucking out which is unheard of except at Christmas now! Very good exercise though, as good as the gym I think if you have a few to do… I have therefore backed off the gym sessions as I was fairly exhausted after over doing it and sadly was too poorly to go to the World Class Equine Pathway day with Harry and Red but hopefully there will be more opportunities for training.
They are going so well so it was disappointing that I couldn’t ‘show them off’, but there will be plenty of opportunity at events. I competed in an affiliated dressage competition last Saturday here and Harry scored 75 % and 73% for his novice tests and won both classes, Red is making huge progress and scored 67% and came third and fourth. I would like to compete elsewhere after my holiday – for which, I cannot wait! Just after Christmas two weeks in hot sun as long as the plane can take off! - but it’s not practical at the moment to plan anything as the snow is keen to keep coming back. As I’m writing this, it is snowing really hard again. I am surprised at how bad it is, I was warned Kent get more and we certainly do!
Jumping with Joao
I have had more jumping lessons with Joao too; he has me working on angles to fences and lines of combinations. The result is that they are jumping much better already and with more purpose and definitely quicker and more carefully. Should be exciting times next year.
We had a 4* gift day too. Holly Gee came all the way from Wales for the day and I hope by the diary she wrote after shows that she had a great time! Holly would watch me ride and school them while I explained what I was doing and why and demonstrated specific exercises for different horses.
It would be easy to show so many things that it gets too confusing, but Holly was very receptive and her lesson with Imp really showed that as we put into place some of the things I’d previously showed her. Holly also hacked in our beautiful forest, I can’t ever describe how picturesque it is but she was very impressed!
Well I am still looking for a working pupil (I am able to take a horse too, something I’m not sure I have previously said) so please keep applications coming in! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s hope it doesn’t snow too much. My friends were very jealous of my indoor schools as everyone is desperate to get back on again. It seems hard to imagine not being able to work them now. The next time I write this could be after Christmas or even after my holiday so Happy Christmas everybody and New Year!
Holly Gee’s diary
”As an 18th birthday present, my parents had organised a bespoke experience with Sharon Hunt. I was ecstatic. There was no way even the 3.30am start from Wales could faze me. As soon as we arrived we were made to feel incredibly welcome by Sharon and her two grooms and I felt immediately at ease even though I was a little star struck at first!
It soon became obvious that the day was going to be jam-packed with action and learning. After being introduced to all the horses we started on the riding,
I was given the ride of Brian (Opposition Express) first thing and I was given a tour of the grounds around the yard with Sharon. We were chatting the whole way round, both about horses and The X Factor! Brian was such a sweetheart and was a lovely horse to ride.
When we got back and we had untacked, brushed off and rugged up, Sharon had to exercise Nelson, and asked whether I’d like to go and watch. I jumped at the chance. While riding, Sharon explained exactly what she was doing with her riding, what aids she was using and how she was encouraging him to stretch and take the contact. In that half hour watching Sharon ride, I learnt a great deal which will certainly help me when I ride my own horse.
As soon as we got back it was onto the next horse, Romeo (Romeo Z).Sharon took me on a lovely ride through the surrounding forest looking out over the lake. We enjoyed the company of Toby (one of Sharon’s dogs) on our hack, but sadly, Tara scampered back to the yard after being a tad startled when we had a bit of a spook at some passing cyclists, but Toby was completely unfazed and trotted off to the front. There was never an awkward moment at all and we chatted about everything and anything.
When we got back we untacked and I was asked to go out with Rebecca to take Red out while Sharon rode another in the school. We took the horses round the forest again but this time on a longer hack. Once again, we kept on chatting throughout the whole ride, I learnt what was expected of her when she works, all the ins and outs, pros and cons of working on a competition yard. This was also really informative and made me realise that being a successful event rider isn’t just glamour; it’s also the hard work behind the scenes.
Sharon then had to ride Bambi, possibly one of the prettiest horses I have ever seen! I went and watched Sharon ride her too. We did a similar thing to when I was watching her ride Nelson, but Bambi was a completely different horse to ride, so what Sharon was telling me differed and I learnt so much more!
By this time, we were all getting a little hungry so we stopped for lunch, which was supplied by the Pony Club who were having a small show jumping competition in the arena next door. I had the chance to talk to the people and watch some rounds. I have to say everyone there was so nice and friendly, considering I was a complete stranger!
Time was getting on and yard duties had to be done, as well as many other things, so it was quickly back to the riding. Sharon asked me whether I’d like a lesson on Imp (Impulsive) which I would never turn down! I could be here for hours writing down every movement I rode and every aid I gave but I feel it would get rather tedious to read. Sharon was fantastic, such a brilliant teacher and I learnt so much. It made such a difference riding an experienced horse and knowing what he felt like to ride. It was so educational.
Sadly, that marked the end of my day. I can’t thank Sharon and everyone else who was involved enough, it has been a dream come true and has most certainly helped me choose my future career!”
“In the final countdown to Christmas, try these drinks for festive spirit.
December 21: Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Shiraz 2007
As Robert Mondavi understood it, the course to a more affable existence came via the enjoyment of wine, food and art. Mondavi held the belief that Napa Valley should be the geographic core to create wines for every table of the world; from first-class restaurants to spreads laid out for the family.
The Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi range is a selection of classic wines that echo the assortment of California’s winegrowing areas.
This full and forward Shiraz 2007 is fired up with fruit: strong aromas of silky blackberries, enough of a burst of black pepper and satisfying spice.
The mouth filling flavours match well with an array of foods. Some Shiraz enthusiasts will be more than happy to sip this with traditional turkey and trimmings. Others serving a Christmas alternative, such as goose or roast rare beef, will also be delighted. Veggie-fans might try with a robust ratatouille, party animals with cheese, biscuits and fruit chutneys from the buffet table. If you’re rustling up something simple for a crowd (think pizza slices or steak fajitas) then this bottle is sure to be a people pleaser.
December 22: Talisker 10 Year Old
If you’re still seeking a last minute gift for your partner / brother / father then consider the Talisker RNLI Pack for whisky lovers from a supermarket near you. Each limited edition bottle of Talisker 10-Year-Old sold will raise £1 for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution charity. The bottle of single malt is packaged in a fine-looking box depicting the storm-lashed Isle of Skye coastline.
The giftbox aims to raise over £50,000 for the RNLI, which has saved over 139,000 lives at sea since 1824.
Talisker 10-year-old is an award winning whisky with prevailing peat-smoke aromas. Just a suggestion of seawater saltiness and with a citrus appeal, this single malt is a grand match to salmon or scallop dishes, even sushi if that whets your whistle.”
Get great discounts from French Bubbles with H&C. Find out how by visiting our Offers page.
Written by Jane Garcia, Owner/ Proprietor, Epona Equestrian Centre.
"On Sunday, we just finished our first winter clinic programme with Rafael Soto, Olympic dressage silver medallist.
On Friday, the first day of the clinic it dawned cool and clear, and by the time Rafael stepped out of his car with a cheery smile the sun was out and the morning was pleasantly warm.
First to go was Stephanie, a riding instructor from California. The first part of the week had been spent with Caty, our chief instructor, preparing for the two day clinic with Rafeal, which gave riders time to get to know their mounts and acquaint themselves with the movements that Rafael would ask them to perform - two hour plus sessions per day along with three lungeing sessions in the week with Vivi.
Stephanie was riding Habanero, a six-year-old, bay PRE stallion, and had already fallen in love with his sweet nature and willingness. The class went beautifully as Rafael put her through her paces, which ended with a little piaffe and Spanish walk.
Next, Theresa rode into the school on Seneca, one of our schoolmasters. Based in Connecticut, but with her horse and trainer in Wellington, Florida, Theresa is an amateur competitor. Her horse is a GP trained warmblood imported from Germany, but as she, herself, is just starting to show at third level (her trainer is about to start competing the horse at Prix St George level), she has never ridden him in piaffe or passage. It was a great thrill for her to be able to experience these movements with Seneca, however the thing that she felt she got most out of the clinic was learning to ride horses with the more sensitive, lighter and tactful touch required with the Andalusians in classical dressage.
Fifteen year-old Aydan and her trainer Bre, come from Texas. Bre is a very knowledgeable rider who rode the GP trained PRE stallion, Manué. Bre Absolutely adores Manué, who is for sale, and also the other horse she rode, the Lusitano, Vagabundo, who was actually broken and brought on exclusively by Vivi. She made a comment which saddened us and stuck with us, which was that, even though she and Aydan both loved Iberian horses, she would never consider buying one for either of them to compete, for the sole reason that, at this time, where they come from, the dressage judges are totally biased towards the Dutch Warmbloods and anyone who wants to get anywhere in Open competition, really has to buy that breed. Hopefully with the great results of the Spanish team in the recent WEG, that might change!
Our veteran rider of the week, Beth, is in her sixties. She is a dynamic pleasure rider and grandmother who has been coming to Epona for three years and has tried all of our programmes, though the Rafael Soto clinics are her firm favourite. In all, this was her seventh visit to us. She owns a Dutch warmblood in New York, but has found another soulmate, on the the other side of the Atlantic, in Bailarin. She tells us that she puts into practice all that she learns here with her own horse and that he has much improved, according to her trainer and friends in the US.
Last, but not least, was Janine, a Dutch/Indonesian lady resident in Switzerland, who, being a elementary rider, was assigned the only mare, our schoolmistress, Traviata. T is also a PRE, and is patient and forgiving, but at the same time knows her job really well. When Rafael would ask Janine to do a movement that she felt was above her possibilities, like canter leg-yield to the centre line, counter canter then flying change to change the rein, Janine would start to protest, but his answer is always the same, “She can do it, and I will tell you how to explain to her what you want”. And then….it works!!!
All in all the clinic was a great success and at this date, three of the riders have already booked up for another clinic in early 2011, so they must have been happy!
This week is SICAB, the huge Andalusian horse event, so we have not had too much time to rest up. The area is full of PRE lovers and exhibitions. FANTASTIC!"
"Sometimes a little tradition is perfect for Christmas drinks too...
December 20: Chimay Blue
The 2010 vintage of Chimay Blue tastes and smells like liquid Christmas pudding, and at 9% ABV, this Belgian Trappist beer certainly packs a playful punch.
The Cistercian Trappist monks of Chimay have been developing Trappist beers and cheeses since 1862 and Chimay Blue was first launched in 1948 as a Christmas beer (and is now available all year round). It is the strongest beer in the range (the others being Chimay Red and Chimay Triple) with a slightly floral nose and rich caramelised flavours.
Choose a chalice-shaped vessel for your Chimay (an 18cl 'Gourmet'glass) in order to experience the tangs and tastes of this historic brew."
“The continued cold snap as really put paid to any recent activity I was hoping for, my last four matches have all been called off and a couple of attempts to film some more of The Obsessed Angler have also fallen by the wayside. Only rivers can offer the chance to wet a line at the moment apart from the odd corner of a lake or pond if you are lucky but unless you can reach the waters by foot or a very short drive it is too risky to attempt a full and proper angling session without putting yourself and others at risk with a long journey.
Safety in numbers!
You don’t need me to tell you that being near water and slippery ice is very dangerous and fishing on your own in these conditions is not advised safety in numbers as they say. There has been very little action at Bury Hill Fishery with some days not an angler in sight despite the Old Lake offering some fishing, thanks to the aeration pump system that manages to keep at least a dozen pegs fishable in the coldest of days. A few pike have been caught to those braving the conditions but very little else is feeding when the water temperatures are registering around 0.5 degrees C. The smaller lakes Bonds and Milton have been out of action for at least three weeks or more and it is hoped that the weather relents over the festive holiday season so anglers can come and visit the fishery to try out some of their new Christmas presents. The fishery can be quite busy at this time of the season so it is of concern that if the ice cold conditions continue then some good business will be lost with anglers preferring to stay at home. Apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day the fishery will be open for business weather permitting and looking at the long range forecast is looks like the snow and ice will turn to rain so fingers crossed the temperatures will rise enough for this to happen and free up the lakes.
Pike will always feed in extreme conditions
So with the water temperatures very low and the ice melt keeping temperatures that way for a couple more weeks to come, what are the chances of catching a fish and what can you do to tempt a bite. Well the good news is if you are a predator angler then you will know that pike will feed in very cold temperatures although the zander fishing can be very slow when this cold at the best of times. But what about carp, well when the temperatures fall below 4 degrees C then the action is almost non-existence as their feeding habits shut right down. This table below is a good guideline to how fish react feeding wise to water temperatures.
This simple guide of best times to fish I am sure will make a big difference when planning your next session.
1. Water temperatures above 6 degrees C with settled weather.
2. Water has been around 4 degrees C for four or five days.
3. Late afternoon when the sun has warmed up shallower parts of a lake.
4. When water temperatures start to rise after long spells of cold weather.
5. When the wind direction swings in to a southerly bringing milder weather.
This fish feeding temperature guide is worth noting as well.
6-7 degrees C Fish feed moderately well offering good prospects
4-5 degrees C Fish still aware and feed intermittently expect the odd fish or two
2-3 degrees C Fish become dormant you will struggle