The last day of the 2015-2016 season started at 5AM on a dry and windy marsh, with a few mates and yours truly out for the last day. I was doubtful right from the offset the moon & cloud had been good the night before and the geese could well have already lifted and gone.
Time ticked by anticipation was aroused as I could hear geese out on the roost and best of all pinks in what sounded to be reasonable numbers. Dawn came a few duck high down the channel as per usual, then three greys very low for the windy condition looked very promising, but went too far east and ended up out of range and anyway where they would be irretrievable given the flow of that tide.
About ready to give up when 80 pinks show up and they look on for a shot snaking up the front they turn over the shore perfect right where you want them but the euphoria turned to disappointment with the realisation they are too high and thats when I had come well prepared for such an eventuality with 2 oz of TSS (HW 18 to the uninitiated) and the .705 choke to reach the long ones.
We steadily gave up and all gathered together sat talking and drinking tea for a short wile and started packing up for off about 9AM.
with nothing to show for the effort.
Had resigned myself to the austere fact the season was over, and unlike most years I had indeed blanked the last day. But I guess there is no rest for the wicked, and my youngsters had decided other wise, they did not bother to get up for flight in the morning , but now were rearing to go.
So got ready and was out the door for the last flight of the season, went to a marsh about 14 miles away from the mornings venue, wind had dropped and it was starting to get cold , a good few widgeon about with a smattering of mallard teal and a few gadies, but they knew where they were going and offered us no opportunities whatsoever.
We had not really gone for duck had no decoys and just stood in the reeds waiting for the returning geese .
Then the eldest 15 fueld by youth full exuberance took a long shot on a passing bunch and resulted in equally spectacular retrieve by my old Labrador. An added bonus was it was shot with my browning gold ten and and a new recipie "to me" reload . but with a change of choke from the .705 I had in it in the morning.
Geese started returning quite early my eldest had a shot at a bunch of greys far out over the river hit one it plained out but was locked up stiff winged gliding and it looked to have gone down in the tides edge further up river.
A frantic thrash through the dense reeds initially resulted in a no result verdict from the kids, and the dogs looked quite bewildered too. Breaking out of the dense reed bed I was greeted by an empty shoreline confirming the youngsters findings.
Decided to take an easier route back to our chosen position, I noticed the gsp looked like he was about to go on point for a moment but proceded to step back in to the reed bed, and I followed and came across this chap having a crafty nap.
No sooner had I fastened him up up the game bag when, a small group of about a dozen greys showed up low and on the shore line I took a shot and drooped one stone dead on the edge of the tide with the other ten bore..
Back in position again. It all went very quiet, Ducks just vanished lapwings started moving low up the tide line it looked like game over to me.
But try as I might the kids were having none of this going home and calling it a season nonsense from me .
No they had decided in their infinite wisdom to Quote " lets stop out late on the moon" Well what could I say to three beaming smiles and " hissed yeses " .
So I resigned myself to a long night and we did what all good soldiers do I got on with it. Light started to go as few geese over the ripping tide safe out of range.
It got dark very dark, moon was obscured by cloud and apart from " something" with squeaky wings flying over us in the pitch black about 7pm not got a clue what it was" . it was pretty boring if I am honest.
But we stuck it out and all was well until about 10 pm, by this time the kids were starting to get bored and sure enough the bickering started straight after a few very loud whispers from the youngest. I immediately made the announcement "thatís it lets go" And before anyone moved a muscle --" PINKS" lots of pinks .
And above us and insight but tragically out of range a skein of a hundred or so flew directly over us, this went on for the next half hour at least a few small bunches then a bigger skein and the odd stragglers and singletons which fuelled us with the ever expectant possibility we may just call one of these loners in to range for a shot.
Sadly this was not to be and we left the marsh down but not completely out at 11.45 PM. Season is now over.