Subaru owns a boat and engine and I own the trailer so without each other we have a few problems when it comes to wildfowling in Poole Harbour.
As there is no land access for fowlers to Poole Harbour, the only method open to fowling in the harbour is from a boat.
We have tried on many occasions to find out the best places to fowl, the best pattern for decoys, moon phase, tide, morning or evening flight.
When I ask for advice from the experienced fowlers I know, all I get are rye smiles and the same comments “we’ve all had to learn, so will you”, and learn we have. After every trip I have written up all of the useful information that I can think of, weather, tide, position, flight and any thing else that I can think of. I now have a pattern of past fowling trips from where next year I will be able to future successful fowling trips. I have been out in all weathers at all times, with the tide without the tide, with decoys without decoys, and despite over twenty trips, I have managed to shot only one teal in this my first season.
On one occasion later this season I was sat at the stern of the boat during morning flight, the noise in Poole Harbour is amazing as the birds begin their day. I had just missed a group of teal that had passed the decoys well within range and was feeling a little sorry for myself when I spied a pair of mallard coming in directly over my head. Following them with my eyes I mentally prepared myself, I slid the guns safety off as they closed in, “wait for it, wait for it”, I told myself, plan the shot, “now”. As I mover the gun up Subaru called “NO”. Guiltily I lowered my gun as BANG, BANG, I turned to Subaru “Sorry my mistake” The rat had poached my birds, and to make matters worse my first chance at a right left wild mallard were clean missed by Subaru.
Another very memorable fowling trip happened one morning, it was very cold and windy as we launched the boat into Poole Harbour it became obvious that the short trip across the harbour was going to be quite rough. The boat was rising about three foot on each and every wave. So as to stay dry, I had tucked my coat into my waders, while I held the boat steady for Subaru to climb in. Once the engine was started, I was given the nod I jumped in, as soon as I was in we were off, no time to get comfortable. We had gone about one hundred metres when Splash, I was hit full force in the back by a wave. Splash another, I’m sure that you know the feeling that your welly is letting water and your feet are getting wet. I had that exact same feeling, only it was my backside that felt wet, “psychological”, I told my self, then it was the back of my thighs, Oh ****. I began struggling with my waders, pulling them down to my waist. I still had my coat tucked in, I untucked it, and pulled my waders back up, by now my feet felt like they were in water. The wind was so fierce that communication was impossible, even in our small boat. As we arrived at our spot on the marsh, I excused myself from pegging the boat in place as I had more pressing matters to attend to. I wriggled out of my waders, wellingtons are hard enough to remove when they are full of water, but waders are just something else. Successfully I raised them in the air and drained about a gallon of Poole Harbour from them. After ringing out my sock and removing my clothes and I redressed in the dry ones that I have carried on each trip. I prepared for another unsuccessful fowling trip in Poole Harbour. Another valuable lesson learnt.