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Donkin on Fishing

Richard Donkin  

I have fished for most of my life, starting as a boy, catching pollock, codling and whiting from the pier at Whitby, then moving to coarse fishing as a teenager. In my late teens I began reservoir-fishing for trout and shortly afterwards I was invited on my first salmon fishing trip.

Looking back to that first visit to the Kinnaird beat of the River Tay I cannot believe what hopeless tackle I had – a tatty old fixed spool reel and a very bendy spinning rod. Still, casting from the bank, I caught my first salmon that, at 23 lbs, remains the biggest I have caught to date.

For many years, however, I have concentrated on fly-fishing. My favourite salmon river today is the River Dee which I visit twice a year.

Closer to home are the chalk streams. There can be few better ways to experience the English countryside than to be standing besides a sparkling Hampshire chalk stream watching crystal clear waters flowing over a creamy-white gravely bed interspersed with clumps of trailing green ranunculus. Here and there you can see the sandy forms of resting trout, passed occasionally by silvery shoals of grayling. These fish don’t give themselves up easily which makes it all the more satisfying when they do.

My monthly fishing column in the Financial Times has led me down some previously neglected avenues – trying out the techniques of bass fishing with the fly, heading out for sea trout in the night and fishing for perch and roach with my youngest son.

This fishing section is a work in progress. It can never finish. There is always one more river, one more fish, one more story. That’s just as it should be.

Some features are listed thematically, some by species and some by country – see the left-hand navigation bar. The fishing blog contains links to some of my favourite fishing sites and other useful places.

©2006 Richard Donkin - all rights reserved