There are few rivers in the UK that even begin to match roach and bream sport available on the River Don at Denaby.
Factor in cheap day tickets on the bank, or a yearbook that costs just £20, and we’re talking an absolute bargain.So how come the place is deserted?
Last week I spent a few hours on the ‘old’ river catching bream, skimmers, hybrids and roach on the pole. I used barely a cupful of expander pellets. Downstream, Rotherham and District UAF bailiff Dave Walker was catching roach galore on stick floated maggots over hemp. Amazingly we were the only anglers there. “I had the whole place to myself yesterday,” said a dismayed Dave. “There wasn’t another soul here. What do anglers want?”
Sadly there has been a generational change. Anglers migrated to commercial fisheries when cormorants decimated our rivers but a lot of renegade culling has taken place in the past decade and a reasonable balance appears to have been restored. Yes, we see cormorants regularly, but not so many that entire fish populations are wiped out. Unfortunately the anglers have been slow to return. They now employ a different skill set to catch carp, carp and more carp. Perhaps they’re lost forever.
What isn’t helping this fishery, directly opposite the site of the ill-fated Earth Centre, is that the land across which access to the river is gained has been used as a playground by idiotic boy racers in 4X4 off-road vehicles. The ruts are more than knee deep in places and cover the entire site, right up to the edge of the riverbank.
Dave has tried valiantly to fill the worst holes and create safe driving routes to the numerous fishing platforms he’s built but it’s a never ending and thankless task. Each time there’s a spell of wet weather the off-roaders turn out in force, ripping up the paths and making access to the river all-but impossible. He’s frustrated and fighting a losing battle. It’s such a shame because Denaby is an angling paradise that is being lost to a selfish idiot fringe who are hell bent on nothing less than reckless destruction.
Google ‘4X4 vandals’ and see what comes up. You’ll find examples where golf courses and football fields have been ploughed up, ancient monuments and nature reserves. It’s a scandal that no-one seems able to do much about.