Having shot my local marshes for numerous years, I have a good understanding of where the best chances lie, depending on the time of year and weather conditions. I decided to put this theory to the test and ventured out with my young dog, Goose, on a marsh that normally produces good early season tide flighting. I have been there in all kinds of conditions but it does seem to do well when all the conditions are typically wrong for fowling. Goose and I set off across the marsh travelling relatively light with a few decoys and some hide building materials.

Quick to make a start

I intended to make the most out of any potential situation. On approach to my decoy spot, I took the opportunity to dump my gear short of the gutter to give myself a chance to stalk in and bag a duck before the flight started. I sat Goose up and pushed into a position for a shot. As I snuck in, I was presented with a passing shot at teal. As I was making the most of the situations I upped the gun and “bang”, missed! Not a good start. But, unfazed, I saw a bunch of wigeon heading down the top of the gutter with some waders, I picked my bird and folded a super-fast wigeon with one shot. Bird down!

Quick set up for fowling

As you can imagine, a shot wakes the whole estuary up, so you then have to move relatively fast to get in position with the ambush set. I soon had the motherline in place to catch the eye of any ducks moving on the tide with the help of my trusty calls. All that was left to do was get into a good shooting position now the decoys were in place.

It wasn’t long until we got to add to the tally with a nice pair of wigeon heading up the gutter to investigate the decoys. Hoping for a right and left, I took aim and hit the first bird hard. Rather than making a difficult retrieve for Goose, I decided to put two shots into the first bird to ensure a clean kill and a quick retrieve.

With two wigeon in the bag, I settled in to see what would come up the channel next. Little did I know I was going to get a chance to bag a goldeneye. We have a good number on our marshes but they don’t often venture to areas where they can be shot. Well this tidy bunch was making their way up to me. Unfortunately, I hit the bird hard with the first shot but needed full use of the gun to bring the bird down cleanly, never the less I was happy with a bonus prize in the bag.