Two days on the Don with Andy……the ramblings of a traditional angler.


The day didn’t start well .. The rain began to hammer on my conservatory roof and I had just burst my fried egg.
The thought of a hard egg yolk made me a tad grumpy. I’d arranged to see Pennine lad on the River Don .. I was hoping for a perch .. A big one.

He was hoping for something or anything as nothing has graced his net in our previous fishing.
The rain came steadily and I thought at least he has a 4×4 should I need a pull.
The river looked in fine fettle, coloured but steady. A charm of goldfinches had graced my way to the river and after a little steady manoeuvring I got going in my peg.
Out went a lobworm under a tree opposite while I stret pegged another lobby under the near side. The rain did eventually give way and brightened very slightly. It was enough to make the dark dingy days stuck in an office easier and being outside was something to look forward to. Around now we have just under eight hours of daylight and the older I get the less tolerant I am of not getting enough of it !
The legerstrike nodded to the left and I bent into something .. I hoped it was a 3 pound perch or even a small barbel just like the previous week.. Alas a sprite chevin of 2.5 pounds .. It was a start ..
PL had gone further down river .. I re-baited and cast out. The float was still out .. I sent out some chopped worms and maggots .. It was a good 9/10 feet under the float and so fishy but nothing nothing dipped..
I looked up to see the Black Death approaching from down river heaven knows  how much more successful they will be than me today.
Then as always in fishing nature surprises you.. As my eyes fell back on the water a rather large common carp broke the surface and flopped over like a whale .. .. like seeing a mirage or a ghost and it’s a one off nature experience. I ask, what are the chances of seeing that again ?
As the afternoon  faded PL came and fished at the side of me. I told him about the chub and was surprised as he’d had nothing. I know Dave Burr asked the same question, but why is it that after catching early on does the swim always fail to produce. Its something that I’ve become used to.. but its seems that it is one of the consistencies of river fishing in winter.
I made a pot of tea and we stood back and refreshed ourselves. Old Yates has got it right, there is nothing like  freshly boiled water with tea.
Another few casts failed and as the light faded near four o’clock we left till another day.
Sunday morning and a strange thing happened, As I opened my eyes and my bedroom curtains seemed a different colour. I had a lie in and it was about a half past seven. I got up to find a strange orange glow in my east window.  I walked downstairs and slipped the kettle on and went outside to let the hens out. Standing in my garden I could feel sunshine on my face for the first time in weeks, it felt good.
Tea is so right first thing on a morning like that and after I had my fill walked out to a few gardening chores.
By mid morning I lifted a fresh egg and was determined not to from suffer yesterdays grumpiness.
With bacon, egg, and mushroom on a breadcake it saw me fill up before heading back to the River Don, this time I would fish above the bridge. It was bright but the sky was not full of sunshine and with no breeze it just felt better than yesterday. I found a suitable tree and fished above it and with a legerstrike I flicked out a lobworm with one of my last two small green thamesley swimfeeders full of choppy and maggots.
 Within a few minutes the tip nodded to the right and I felt a solid thump thump.. a perch .. no a chevin of 3 pounds.
Another chuck saw another bite and another chevin around a pound. I think some winter anglers call them ‘lifesavers’ , I can see why.
My eyes lifted to see a rather special sight for these parts, a buzzard circled over me. I froze in my seat hoping it wouldn’t see me and come closer, the rooks though had a different idea and began to chase it, but watching them tease the beast was another special sight.
My swim felt right but I was yet suffer another thirty minutes  duff luck when I snagged and pulling gently saw me not part with the hook length but the whole rig.
My last ever Thamesley… the short stubby one’s about two and a half inches long before they changed and went all wrong.
I made up another rig with a feeling of trepidation and out went another worm with feeder full of choppy.
A few missed bites and nibbles followed before the inevitable happened, another snag and yes the whole bloody lot went. Six pounds mainline to a four pound bottom.
I found in my basket something else to use and out it went .. the jagging dance of a perch bite saw a small but lovely fin perfect fish only missing about two pounds in weight.
I hadn’t realised but I was being watched, eyes were looking at me piercing yellow and black eyes. I looked up in the tree to my right and saw the ghost of a sparrowhawk, with a flap of its wings it winged itself across the river and up into the tree opposite, by the time I’d blinked it had gone forever.
By now almost a quarter to four the light was fading fast and a trio of cock pheasant began to call as they went up to roost. I pulled the rod but it was fast again. Well yes you can guess.
You can read more about Andy’s adventures at