Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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SEA FISHING

26 April 2002

Why no mullet (or bass)?

For a change I spent an evening trout fishing recently. I used a light spinning rod, six pound braid and a floating, shallow diving jointed plug. The stream I fished is devoid of pike so I was able to fish without a wire trace. The method is simple. Flick the plug onto the water, let it drift downstream and then retrieve as slowly as possible. Trout, of all sizes, will attack a 9cm plug but on the evening in question the big fish seemed to be otherwise occupied.

All in all I landed two (both returned) and lost several others but none of the fish were of any great size. Even if I had wanted to fly fish for them (which I didn't), under the overhanging vegetation (grass, bushes, trees, etc.) of which there is plenty, it would have been difficult to say the least.

The trout fishing was very enjoyable but I was itching to get back to the coast. The following day I bought a pint of white maggots and, that evening, I took the fly rod and the spinning rod down to the beach for my first mullet recce. of the season. I was on the beach about an hour before high tide and I couldn't believe my luck when I saw the quantity of maggoty weed. Several hundred metres of shoreline was heavily littered with kelp. Most of the weed was fresh but behind and beneath it was a band of stinking, slimy maggot ridden magic. The small waves were already lapping at the fresh weed and maggots were drifting aff onto the surface. I decided to spin for half-an-hour while I waited for surface feeding fish to appear. After twenty minutes I hooked and landed a small bass but I had no more bites and no fish turned up.

The following evening I was joined by my friend Adrian Pinder for a second attempt. It was a bit rougher and even more maggots were being washed out to form a broad band along the margin of the sea. Again we plugged for an hour or more. This time Adran landed a schoolie but again there was no sign of surface feeders. Unbelievable! We were forced to conclude that the water must still be too cold to encourage maggot feeders. That was last night. Today, as I write, the wind has got up. I think that there will be so much weed in the water that spinning will be all but impossible tonight. I shall have one more trip tomorrow to see whether the fish have discovered the huge store of food but, failing that, I shall have to wait for the next set of springs. Even after fifty years fishing is a constant source of surprises and things to think about.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com

A small trout.

Plugs are the only lures that fish really well against the flow.

Another small trout.

Again well hooked on a Rapala which looks too big for it.

Plenty of kelp cast ashore

Note the paler weed just behind the fresh kelp.  The old weed contains the maggots.

Mullet (and bass) grub

Most of the foam consists of Coelopa maggots but where are the fish?

A schoolie on a J11

Even though there were a few small fish about, nothing was feeding at the surface.