Tuesday, 19 March 2019

It's a record breaker



It's a record breaker

Greetings!

It is hard sometimes not to become jaded by records. We are assailed on every side by the biggest or the best in one form or another. A certain degree of superlative fatigue sets in; that's as true for angling as for many spheres of life.


Simon Ellis with his 4lb 8oz new British record grayling



I think long ago most of us dismissed the freshwater records for most pond raised fish as, well, artificial. Now I take my hat off to those who have the dedication and skill to nurture these leviathans but are they really records in the spirit of record taking? I tend to think not. Then there is the thorny question of river caught fish. When does a stocked fish stop being stocked transmogrifying into a wild fish? One week? One month? One season? I truly don't know.

The growing of record fish had become so much of an arms race that the British Record Fish Committee closed the lists for all five of what they term 'cultivated game fish' in 2015. You could argue that that is a bit of a shame but on the other hand it does mean that any new native fish record has to be something truly stupendous.

The bars you have to raise date back nearly a century; the Atlantic salmon record was caught in 1922. At 64lb you do wonder if that will be ever broken as with the 28lb Sea trout from 1998. It is classified as a River Test capture but to my mind Calshot Spit is essentially the English Channel. As for the 31lb Brown trout from Loch Awe in 2002, well the mind boggles quite frankly. It even tops the 'cultivated' monster of 28lbs from Dever Springs. Which leaves us with Paul Mildren's 4lb 4oz grayling from the River Frome in Dorset in 2009 which beat the previous record by an ounce, also from the Frome sixteen years earlier. If you want a British game record a grayling would looks to me to be your best bet. As it turns out that just happens to be true.

Simon with John Bailey who is doing a passable imitation of the worlds happiest leprechaun
I am not great pursuer of records but I do get a little excited by the grayling record. This is probably more to do with proximity than ability. I regularly fish the Frome where the record fish were caught and have come within 15% of the record. That does make me sound a little obsessive but think about getting within fifteen percent of Miss Ballantine's fish - that would be a 55lb salmon. Do the maths on the other records to sort might see where I am going? And the Frome is historically the big grayling Valhalla, the original stock imported by the Victorians from the Derbyshire Dove to thrive in this food rich river; most chalkstreams were stocked with grayling at some point or another, only the Hampshire Avon having a true 'native' population.

Where is all this leading? Well, to a new British record that was caught by Simon Ellis at Ilsington on the River Frome on February 19th. And it wasn't just a nudge over the record. It was in the words of John Bailey writing the tale of the capture up for the Anglers Mail 'smashed'. At 4lbs 8oz it's a monster. The biggest grayling ever recorded. John actually has to take some of the credit as he was guiding a small group that day, putting Simon on the particular pool choosing a weighted pink nymph below a strike indicator. Yes, this is not just a record grayling but a record grayling caught on the fly.

So, well done to everyone involved. It's a distinctive fish with that damaged dorsal fin so if it comes out again there will be no problem identifying it. That said we are not sure how old it is. The literature on the length of a grayling's life is vague. Five years seems to be a norm with eight possible. Does anyone know? Anyway John and Simon will be putting in their application to the British Record Fish Committee. It is a thorough process that takes some time but however long it takes I suspect Simon and John will still be glowing with well-deserved pride.

As for the fish well, after some tender care he (or maybe she) swam off back into the deep. I might just be in the front of the queue when the new grayling season opens .....






Summer beauty

It is entirely serendipitous but no sooner did I write about the River Meon last time around but then this east Hampshire stream appeared on the front cover of the April edition
of Trout & Salmon magazine.

The article on our very own Exton Manor Farm beat was written by Chris McCully and beautifully photographed by Richard Faulks when they visited in June of last year. 

As you can see it is the very epitome of an English chalkstream summer.

I'm very grateful to Trout & Salmon for allowing us to reproduce the photographs here. 

Roll on the new season ....





PS We didn't supply Chris's lunch. He is in the most excellent Shoe Inn a 3 minute amble from the fishing (sometimes a 10 minute stagger back) with its own river garden. One of Hampshire's best country pubs. Check it out.

Let it rain, let it rain ..... not necessarily

Fair to say it has been a confusing winter with records broken for dry, wet, hot and cold ..... and that's even before we hark back to the summer heatwave. So, if you haven't been in sight of a chalkstream since last season you might be in slight trepidation as to what to expect.

Well, the truth is rather dull - despite all the huge monthly variations we are in a highly average annual cycle. The Environment Agency (EA) measure rainfall against what they call the Long Term Average (LTA) that being the average annual rainfall in the years 1961-1990. The southern chalkstreams straddle the two of the regions, the south east and south west that the EA compile data for. So, averaging those two out the LTA for the past three months stands at 90%, last six months 94.5% and the last year 97%.

Translated into what you'll actually see most chalkstreams are currently at Normal flow rates or slightly better. The only ones that could do with a bit more rain are those in Berkshire and Norfolk, plus the limestone rivers of Derbyshire but nothing critical.

So when you do venture out I think, all in all, you'll find them looking good.


The Quiz

More questions to hopefully entertain and enlighten. As ever it is just for fun with the answers at the bottom of the Newsletter.


1)     Today is the Ides of March. What is the meaning if the word ides?

2)     March 15th 1952 is recorded as the wettest day in history. How many inches of rain fell on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean over the 24 hour period? Clue: the UK annual average is 33 inches.

3)     Who died on this day in 44 BC?



Have a good weekend.


Best wishes,
Simon Signature 
Founder & Managing Director



Answers:

1)     In the ancient Roman calendar a day falling roughly in the middle of each month
2)     73 inches
3)     Julius Caesar


Friday, 1 March 2019

Better news than you might think

Better news than you might think

Greetings!

A couple of years ago I had the temerity to question the 'spin' put on the publication of research document that was the result of a survey on the upper part of the gorgeous River Itchen. It had revealed a disastrous decline in the shrimp population, a vital food source for trout and something of an indicator species.

River Itchen
I was as upset as anyone to read this news but one of our most revered campaigning organisations took it upon itself to issue a press release that extrapolated this local disaster into a nationwide Armageddon for the chalkstreams. It was clearly tosh. A great headline grabber that all the national media ran with. But all the same, a complete and utter misrepresentation of the facts.

And I said so both in print and to any poor sod who would listen. All manners of hell was rained down upon me. I became whatever the chalkstream equivalent of a climate change denier might be. Emails were sent. Letters arrived. Someone was dispatched to take me out to lunch to give me 'the talk'. One owner even withdrew his water from the Fishing Breaks portfolio. In the end we all gently moved on. Then last week the Catchment Invertebrate Fingerprinting Study of the River Meon dropped through my letterbox.

I know it is not the most catchy title but please don't switch your brain off just yet; it's really just a study into the health of this small East Hampshire river and contains better news than you might at first suppose. There are essentially six measures to determine how a river is doing: sediment, low flows, phosphates, organic pollution, pesticides and bug life.

Gammarus hanging out
Sediment is the mineral and organic material washed into the river from all manners of sources, both natural and man-made. It sounds bad but it is essential to the life of the chalkstream - Mayfly nymphs for instance burrow into the silt. However, too much, particularly at the wrong time of year can stifle weed growth, suffocate eggs and clog the gills of fish. Fortunately the Meon has been monitored for nearly two decades so we know where we stand on sediment - since 2002 it has decreased and the conditions for fly life have improved.

A chalkstream derives 80% of its flow from the aquifers, the springs recharged by rain that falls over the winter months. Hoarding that invisible reservoir is the key to avoiding difficulties in dry years. So river restoration helps by holding back the flows, abstraction licences have greater scrutiny and the sympathetic management of the wetland catchment does its bit. Result? Since 2002 the pressure from low flows has decreased.

Like sediment the instant reaction to the word phosphorous is one of panic; it must be bad. Actually it is an essential component to all human, animal and plant life. However, there is a tipping point when too much phosphorous encourages the dense growth of plant life in the river which in turn dies, then decomposes sucking oxygen then life out of the water. Just about everyone is responsible for phosphorus - industry, farming, water companies and us through domestic sewage but despite that multiplicity of sources there had been no change in phosphorus pressure since 2002.

I don't think I need to explain in too much detail what animal and human organic pollution might be; its effects are fairly similar to that of phosphorus plus the physical ability to smother the river bed. There have been great strides in both sewage processing and farming activities; I'm sure you have fished rivers that are now fenced off from cattle. The upshot is, that despite a big increase in the population of the Meon valley over the period of the data gathering there has been no significant change of biological conditions being altered by organic pollution.

I did rather anticipate that the pesticide measures might tell a different story to the above four but apparently not; the pressure on the river has either (surprisingly) decreased or remained stable within the Meon catchment since 2002. However, there is a caution that the nature and use of pesticides, primarily in agriculture but also gardens, golf courses, sports pitches, roads and railways, is prone to rapid change or has long-term effects of which we are not aware.

Finally there is the bug life, ultimately the mother lode for us fly fishers. The historic Environment Agency data from invertebrate monitoring of the River Meon 2002-2015 concludes that 'environmental pressures have deceased or remained unchanged .... resulting in improved conditions for those invertebrate communities.' The much talked about Gammarus that caused all the furore on the River Itchen are generally in rude health on the Meon.

So, what to conclude from all this? Should we all being doing high fives? Some might say that a comparison back to a time as recent as 2002 is no comparison at all. I'm not sure that would be a true assertion. Chalkstreams have been my business since 1990 and my refuge since 1973. I don't recall a golden age, one better than this, in all that time. The fact is that the Fingerprinting Study proves beyond doubt that we are not locked in the inexorable downward spiral that some might have you believe.

The six indicators show, even on the most glass-half-empty reading, that we have at worst reached a point of equilibrium. However, we should not be complacent. The dangers are still there. Bad things are happening. Pollutants and practices that have no place in our precious countryside still need to be eradicated. None of us should pause in our efforts to lobby, pressurise and reform where we can. Support those organisations that can help. Do our little bit by adapting our lifestyle to protect the things we wish to preserve.
Summer on the River Meon
But just occasionally it is worth lifting your eyes from the fray. Gaze upon the wondrousness of the chalkstreams and salute the fact that, in one of the most densely populated parts of the planet, they survive at all. And so let's just pause to take stock and to thank those, many of whom are long dead, for being the guardians of what we have today. They appreciated and preserved with cool heads. We should do the same.



Not so new broom

After 32 years working on the Shaftesbury Estate in Dorset, which includes the source and first three miles of the River Allen, Stewart Hand has taken early retirement. Weirdly this is great news for this lovely piece of river because Stewart, still an ox-strong sixty, has swapped his multiplicity of Estate jobs to return to his original passion - river keeping.

I think we can hold our hands up to say that in the past few years the river hasn't been the way we'd like it. 

The demands on Stewart's time were such that he couldn't do the river justice and it suffered. But now Stewart has, with the help and agreement of Lord Shaftesbury, taken over the fishing as his own project. Being realistic it is a three year plan. Essentially the fishing divides into two sections spread over four beats.

At the top, where the river emerges from the ground, is the Village Water. It is long (more than a mile) but very narrow and very wild; you can read about my fishing adventure last year here. Beyond sorting out the access and stiles don't expect any change this year; this is marked down for work in years two and three.

Below the Village Water the river disappears from view for half a mile as it flows through the private grounds of Shaftesbury House. At one point it does truly disappear from view, flowing through a tunnel under this Elizabethan stately home. The tunnel hasn't always been a great success; until the recent renovations the best furniture on the ground floor stood on four inch oak blocks in anticipation of the worst. The river then flows into the lake which is famous as the venue for an episode of Passion for Angling, the one where Bob James and Chris Yates deployed a dummy to fool the prize carp.
Emerging from the lake there are now three beats collectively known as the Home Beats; Upper Brockington, Lower Brockington and Bowerswaine. Stewart has nearly completed his work on Lower Brockington (pictured) and will now fan his way out onto the other two. 

For the first time there will be a fishing hut at Wimborne St Giles, located at the top of Lower Brockington to be shared by the Home beat fishers. In a world where we are too often assailed by planes, trains and automobiles it is a delightfully peaceful spot to relax and make a cup of tea.

For those of you who don't know this part of the Allen it is the very definition of crystal clear. It is not deep but best waded; I wear thigh waders or wet wade accepting I'll have to crab around a few deep spots. Other than that it is mostly small, wild fish plus some stockies. There is a Mayfly hatch, largely late May to mid-June that Stewart describes as steady rather than spectacular.

The season opens May 1st. Prices start at £50/Rod. The Home beats takes one to four Rods. The Village beat one or two. More details here ......





The Quiz

More questions to hopefully entertain and enlighten. As ever it is just for fun with the answers at the bottom of the Newsletter.

1)    What is a lacet?

2)    In what country is today (March 1st) National Beer Day?

3)    Which country is hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup?


Have a good weekend.


Best wishes,
Simon Signature 
Founder & Managing Director



Answers:

1)    A tie placed around the neck of a hunting cormorant to prevent it swallowing the catch.
2)    Iceland. Beer was prohibited by law until 1989.

3)    Japan.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Fifty inch brown trout

Renée Wilson
 

I am sorry to bring the sad news that Renée Wilson, widow of Dermot Wilson, died last month aged 88 years.

Renee with Fergus at the unveiling of the plaque in July 2018
She was in many respects the unseen hand behind the fly fishing enterprise she and Dermot began here at Nether Wallop Mill. It was, after all, her sharp eye that saw the advert in the property pages of the Daily Telegraph one Saturday when Dermot was away fishing (inevitably!) in Ireland that led to them buying The Mill.

And Renée did indeed have a sharp eye for detail and words. She was in her own right a talented copywriter, having met Dermot when they were both working for the advertising colossus J. Walter Thompson. I saw that first hand when we were writing the text for Dermot's blue plaque - summarising the life of a great man in a handful of words is harder than you might suppose.

I am proud to have known Renée. She was always incredibly supportive but it makes me sad that the final chapter of their story is now closed. She is survived by their only child, Fergus.


Pruning and pumping

The quiet of Wallop Brook has been somewhat disturbed of late; a giant tracked tree cutter and the diesel throb of a massive pump have been the sounds of the week.

Nobody is entirely sure how old the willows that grow along the Brook are. There are plenty of sepia photos dating back to the 19th century that show them. It is said the tree limbs provided the blanks from which the bats of cricketer W G Grace were crafted 130 years ago. But their long life, evidenced by the thick girth of the trunk, is entirely due to the care of man for Salix fragilis has a particular way of living its life.

We tend to call these trees by their more common name of crack willows, so named for the whiplash report when one of the tall branches snaps off and falls to the ground. Left to its own devices all the branches would eventually snap off in similar fashion, clearing the ground around the trunk of competing vegetation from the centre of which a new tree would grow to repeat the whole process every 7-15 years. However, regular pollarding to harvest the wood for all manner of uses changes the nature of how the tree grows.

Today there is not the same demand for willow but to prevent the trees reverting to type we continue by cutting the crown every decade. In the past it was done with ladders and chainsaws a process that would take two men two weeks. But the giant nippers on the end of a hydraulic arm completed the task in less than a day, piling the branches up in neat stacks which, once they have dried, will be chipped for use in the bio-mass boiler of the neighbouring farm.

The purpose of the pump on the other hand is a slightly less illustrious. We have here at The Mill what is known as an 'in-line' lake. That is to say the diverted brook flows in at one end and out the other. In many respects that is wonderful - constantly replenished chalkstream water that keeps a clear, cool lake that the fish love regardless of the season or prevailing weather. However, all rivers, even chalkstreams carry silt, which falls to the bed of the lake as the water passes through. Over a period of many years sections of our lake that began life with a depth of five foot have reduced to one. However, the pump with its six inch pipe and sucking head, which is kinder and more efficient than dredging, has removed the decades of build-up.

Today we are back to some sort of normality; you can actually hear the burble of the brook. The willows look a little shorn but come the spring green shoots will sprout. As for the lake, the trout who found much to like in the swirling disturbance of the pump, are rooting around in the newly exposed gravel bottom.
A fifty inch brown trout
 
As regular readers of this Newsletter will know I am not a great one for featuring pictures of trophy fish captures but occasionally one comes along that simply cannot be ignored. 

I think you will agree that this Mongolian brown trout, at fifty inches, is worth gawping at. As you ponder it is worth remembering that this is no Mongol native - the original brown trout were stock fish from Europe, possibly even from the UK.


If you'd like to watch the video about fishing in Mongolia click here


New on the River Test

It is not often you have the opportunity to take up the offer of one of the most iconic beats on the River Test but I'm delighted to say it has come my way.

Broadlands House is a famous stately home, the residence of the Mountbatten family where the lawn slopes down to the river. It is no bad view to have and it is where Prince Charles and Lady Diana spent their honeymoon night and the first three days of married life. They were following in the footsteps of his parents who did something similar when the then Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip in 1947.

The Tanyard and House beats are perfect for a small group with plenty of river to spread over, open banks and extensive sections which are ideal for wading. There will be a new fishing hut in time for the start of the season but The Cromwell Arms is just 100 yards walk. It offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus has comfortable bedrooms. Alternatively The Three Tuns (150 yards) is the welcoming pub the locals head to.

The fishing is reserved for the exclusive use of parties of four. The daily rate includes both beats and a fishing guide who will provide tackle, flies and assistance as required. More details and dates here.

St. Valentine
The Quiz

More questions to hopefully entertain and enlighten. As ever it is just for fun with the answers at the bottom of the Newsletter.

1) Which notoriously brutal leader founded the Mongol Empire in the 13th century?

2) Which trees are also known as sallows and osiers?

3) What was the nationality of Saint Valentine?


Have a good weekend.

Best wishes,
Simon Signature    
Founder & Managing Director







Answers:


1)     Genghis Khan
2)     Willows
3)     Roman

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Mink. Enemy of the people?


Mink. Enemy of the people?

Greetings!

When I was writing 
Otters' Tale I ended up doing a fair amount of research into mink. They do, after all, share the same life space as otters albeit as blow-ins to our isles dating back to a period between the First and Second World Wars when they arrived to populate fur farms.

Tasmanian tiger
Mink have a reputation for being vicious. I not sure how entirely true this is - I'd rather go head-to-head with a mink than an otter any day of the week. But that aside they are curious and resourceful guys; there was truly never any chance of them remaining within the confines of the farms. Wild populations were soon established and like any good interloper they found their niche in the natural hierarchy. As luck would have it, at least for them, the otter population was in decline so they filled the vacuum. At the time some blamed mink for the disappearance of the otter but as we now know this was caused by organophosphates.

There was a small hope that when fur farming was finally abolished in the UK in the 2000's that mink, without recruitment from farm escapees, would go into terminal decline. However, after over half a century they were firmly established across most of the mainland. Like otters mink have few predators but they seem to be smarter when it comes to roads; traffic is the biggest single killer of otters but I truly don't ever recall seeing roadkill mink. In fact the only threat to mink are otters; when otters move in mink move out. The resurgence of the otters has made life a bit tougher for mink but they remain a pest, efficient predators of water voles, fish, water fowl and just about anything else that moves and makes for a tasty snack. In return they add very little to the natural order of life by the river. They are takers not givers. With all that in mind a proposal has surfaced for the total eradication of mink in the British Isles.

This is, make no mistake, impressively ambitious. The only comparable exercise I can find is the eradication of the Thylacine or the Tasmanian tiger from that island in the late 1800's. The province of Alberta, Canada had managed to eradicate the brown rat with a programme that has run since the 1950's and various islands in New Zealand, the Galapagos, Alaska and Scotland have been similarly (or almost) successful. The Russian and Chinese have attempted to eliminate tigers but simply succeeded in reducing numbers which is much the same story as for the northern European efforts against wolves.

I have to congratulate the group behind MinkFreeGB; they have the idea but they also seem genuinely interested in exploring the pros and cons before firing the starting gun. They pose four very valid questions: Is it feasible? Is it affordable? Is it justifiable? Is it socially acceptable?

The answers to the first two questions sort of run together. One of the great issues with mink eradication is that it is time consuming and labour intensive. Mink traps are 'live', that is to say you bait the trap and capture the mink alive, so the traps must be checked daily. However, there are now smart traps that alert you by text when triggered. Likewise the emergence of eDNA testing quickly tells you if you have mink in your neighbourhood, water analysis revealing their presence anything up to 21 days later. If this sounds all a bit CSI it is simpler than you might suppose. PondNet distributed thousands of kits to volunteers in 2015 for a nationwide survey into the Great Crested Newt. This sort of rigour is required because it is easy to capture the first 95% of the mink in any given area. It is that last 5% that takes the time and effort. There is no doubt that any eradication programme will be expensive, but technology might make it both feasible and affordable.

Mink capturing a fish
My gut feeling that the weakest part of the MinkFreeGB argument revolves around the justifiable question, what harm do mink really do? Yes, they do kill things, water voles in particular, but they are not solely responsible for the precipitous decline in the water vole population since the 1980's; habitat loss, urban sprawl and pollution are important factors. Would removing mink see a nationwide recovery of Ratty? This needs to be proved beyond question, as do any of the other negatives attributed to mink in relation to native wildlife.

Finally, would a mink cull be socially acceptable? It is easy to assume yes, but with the continuing furore surrounding badgers nothing is certain. In my view I'm pretty sure the theory of common good will win out with most who consider this issue - a few should die for many to survive. However, there are plenty of animal absolutists who take a very different view: all animals have a right to life regardless of the harm they may or may not do. It is going to take some deft PR.

Maybe we'll have to take a leaf out of the RSPB playbook who have won the case for eradicating mice from Gough Island, one of the most isolated places on the planet out in the South Atlantic 1,750 miles from the nearest mainland, a breeding colony for many rare seabirds including the Tristan albatross. Here the non-native mice predate on the chick populations, eating through the body wall near the rump of the bird while they are still alive. It can take up to four days for the chicks to die. The time delay video makes for unpleasant viewing as a 30 gram mouse slowly eats to death a 1 kilogram albatross.

If you would like to register your view on mink eradication use this link to complete the short survey or email minkfreegb@gmail.com



Not so good old Yellow Pages

Last week Yellow Pages celebrated, if that is the correct word, the final distribution of their directory to homes in Brighton. After 53 years it is all over.

Naturally enough this was reason enough to resurrect the J.R. Hartley television advert that ran in in 1983. I groaned. It was a phenomenally successful campaign, an ad that is regularly featured in the top ten adverts of all time. In the unlikely event that you haven't seen it the pitch goes something like this; an elderly man spends a fruitless day visiting bookshops seeking a copy of Fly Fishing by J. R. Hartley. Back at home he slumps exhausted in his armchair where his daughter presents him with a phone and a copy of Yellow Pages. Soon he has located a copy of the book and when asked for his name so it may be kept for him he replies, "My name? Oh, yes, it's J. R. Hartley."

Such was the impact of the advert many assumed the fictional J.R. Hartley really existed and the actor Norman Lumsden became something of a fishing celebrity despite having never held a rod. However, that was not the end of it. In 1991 author Michael Russell wrote and published Fly Fishing: Memories of Angling Days under the pen-name of J.R. Hartley. It was a best seller, racking up sales of 187,000 that Christmas alone. There was then a sequel which did equally well and just to round off Hartley's sporting credentials Golfing by J. Hartley was published. Such was the power of this unlikely brand that when Lumsden died in 2001 at 95 years of age Yellow Pages ran the advert again.

J.R. Hartley - Classic Yellow Pages advert
J.R. Hartley - Classic Yellow Pages advert
Why did I groan? Well, to update Henry II's beseeching cry "Will no one rid me of this turbulent advert!" It is fun. And it is an immaculately crafted 52 seconds of film work. But the elderly, tweed clad Hartley did little to update the image of fly fishing. In fact, as does much of the best marketing, it drew on stereotypes to make a point and reinforced the mistaken perception of our sport. Hopefully now we can lay both the image and the advert to rest for ever.

If you really must watch it again here is the link.





Coarse season consultation

If you are not overwhelmed by the number of consultations coming your way here is the official link for the Environment Agency survey which I wrote about in the previous Newsletter.

I would not embark on the survey without a strong glass of something at your side; it is a survey compiled by bureaucrats with academics in mind. It is full of what I believe lawyers call leading questions. But such is the way of a world where we have to jump through the hoops of others in the hope that our voices will be heard.




The Quiz

More questions to hopefully entertain and enlighten. Two bonus questions this week! As ever it is just for fun with the answers at the bottom of the Newsletter.

  1. What is the name and purpose of the implement pictured?
  2. How many mink are required to make a full length coat?
  3. Who wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner?
  4. In golf how many under par for a single hole is an albatross?
  5. And a condor?

Have a good weekend.

Best wishes,
Simon Signature 
Founder & Managing Director







Answers:

  1. A cleave which is used for capturing eels.
  2. Around 60
  3. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  4. 3 shots
  5. 4 shots. The last recorded condor was in 2007 over a 510 yard par 5 in Australia.