82-year-old Harry Hammond, a former water company employee, has been fishing at the Reservoir since it was first opened in 1957, and has continued to do so weekly since retiring 22 years ago.
Over the many years he has spent enjoying fishing at Hanningfield, Harry, who lives in Harold Hill, has developed firm friendships with both his fellow anglers and the staff at the fishing lodge. In recognition of his popularity and years of custom he has now been presented with his very own buoy on the water, simply named ‘Harry’s Buoy’.
Jim Norquay, Senior Ranger at Hanningfield Reservoir, who presented Harry with his buoy, said: “Harry is a one-of-a-kind character and always brightens the day whenever he makes his weekly visit during the fishing season. He’s always here rain or shine, and we always say that nobody knows the Reservoir quite like he does!”
“His passion for fishing here at Hanningfield is unparalleled, and it’s great to be able to do something in recognition of the years he has spent out on the water and the fondness we all feel for him here.”
After a session out on the water Harry was surprised to be joined by his wife Margaret and son Robert for the presentation of his very own buoy.
Explaining what has kept him coming back to Hanningfield for so many years, Harry said: “I just love fishing, there’s nothing like it when you’ve got that fly out there and you get the surge of a take.”
Harry fondly remembers the largest trout he ever caught at Hanningfield, which was a whopping 19lb, although the largest fish ever caught there was in 1998, weighing 24 lb 1oz (10.9 kg).
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Hanningfield Reservoir, which was officially opened in September 1957. Operated by Essex & Suffolk Water, it provides drinking water to over 317,000 homes reaching a population of over 793,000 people. A historic landmark in the Essex countryside, the Reservoir is also home to a visitor centre and nature reserve operated by Essex Wildlife Trust.
Hanningfield Reservoir can be reached just off of the A130 at the Rettendon turnpike where visitors can enjoy a meal or drink at the Café on the Water in South Hanningfield. Anglers can hire a boat or fish from the banks between March and November and can book in advance on 01268 712180.
Around 14,000 anglers visited Hanningfield last year, and with 38 boats available for use there is plenty of space to come and give it a try. The fishing lodge even offers lessons for novice anglers and under 18s can fish for free when a parent or guardian buys a day permit. Hanningfield Reservoir is open for fishing this year until 30 November, and will reopen again in March 2018.