The teal deal
Sporting Gun|October 2021
Tom Sykes relives a memorable flight chasing this fast and agile duck on the foreshore
Tom Sykes

I often find myself pondering over my tide table, satellite maps, drone footage, and the weather forecast to plan expeditions onto the foreshore throughout the season. I am always looking for those little pockets where I can set an ambush in the hope of catching a duck or two off guard. The early season can be a little hit and miss, but as we roll into October the opportunities can often become more fruitful.

So, with a dull, breezy overcast day forecast and a late morning tide predicted, I thought to head out in search of resident mallard or any early migratory wigeon.

Leisurely start

Late morning tides are leisurely compared with the early morning ones associated with most wildfowling. My alarm was set for a respectable 7 am, as opposed to the typical 3.30 am to 4 am needed for a first-light ambush. I pottered around the house gathering decoys and another essential kit before heading off. I donned my gear, saddled the decoy bag on my back, and set off with Goose to my chosen spot.

After a gentle march along the sea wall and a last dart across the marsh top, we reached the empty gutter with ample time to set up. I picked the location because there is a large sandbar to walk on when setting the decoys and the banking sticks out like a small peninsula into the large creek that creates a natural funnel with ample cover.

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