Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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SEA FISHING

For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).

20 December 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE

Christmas is almost with us and I must start this page with an apology. The correspondence resulting from my website is now so large that there is no way that I can send a message to everyone. It would be possible to use a huge block address on an email but I thought it was probably better to put this page on the blog. The pictures on this page are just to show that there's more to a year's fishing than catching fish (although that's the main thing of course). Please regard this as my personal best wishes for the coming year and - if you have time - drop me a line to tell me how 2007 was for you.

Apart from Lilian’s short hospital stay in February this year has not been a bad one for us. The family are all fit and well. Lilian has almost finished writing up her mammoth archaeology project and I’ve done a fair bit of fishing (It’s never enough!). We had holidays in Grenada, Tobago, Malta (twice) and Costa Rica (I know it’s a lot but you only live once). Starting here at home, we’ve been in our new house for over a year and everything is gradually shaping up to what we want. The house is more or less decorated (phew!!!) and the garden is slowly taking shape. The soil is a mixture of flint, sand and clay. There seem to be plenty of worms for bait but it can be an absolute bugger to dig. Often a pickaxe is better than a spade or fork.

We began the year with a short trip to Grenada. The island is close to Tobago, which I know well, but the fishing seemed nowhere near as good. Some of the poor results might have been due to lack of local knowledge but the general deficiency of baitfish and feeding birds suggests that there was not too much about. Nevertheless we managed to catch lots of small jacks and palometa, grouper, wrasse and grunts – so no lack of action really – just nothing of any size.

Steve Boyt 'takes the strain' on a nice pike.

In January I went pike fishing with Steve Boyt who was fairly new to the tactics. We had a good day with Steve catching not only pike but a fine perch too.

February produced some more decent pike (it’s always a good time of the year for piking) and my pal Ben Lagden joined me on a few good sessions. March saw the annual transition from freshwater to salt and – lo and behold! – there were some bass taking lures even in what I always regard as the ‘middle of winter’. I suppose with the ‘traditional off season contracting to three months it might not be long until it’s worth spinning in saltwater for the whole year. By April the carp were feeding on the top and I was beginning to be spoilt for choice.

Springtime on the river bank.

In May we went to Tobago with Steve Pitts and his wife Lyn. We had some excellent fishing with barracuda, bonefish, snook and tarpon among the highlights. It was very dry and we saw a number of bush fires while we were there. We also experienced the odd tropical downpour but it was wonderful to be able to wade about for hours in just a pair of shorts and a tee shirt.

Orchids by the lake.

By mid-Summer the mackerel and pollack were about in Purbeck and it meant lots of early starts (03.00hr) to get the best of it. It was also the start of my ‘mackerel livebait’ campaign. This year did not prove to be as successful as last with no double figure bass but I had to give it a good try and at least we were able to confirm that the livebaits take bigger fish than the artificials. It was August before I had a fish on my livebait and in the same month one or two good bass took mackerel fillets and heads freelined over the ledges.

Summer thyme on the cliff top.

Our trip to Malta in August found it incredibly hot and I even contrived to catch a decent bass from the rocks (probably my ‘fish of the year’ considering where I was). In September this was followed by a short stay on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. What a place! Richard even managed to catch a couple of roosterfish. We’d set off hoping just to see one of these amazing creatures but when he caught one it exceeded all our expectations. I can only imagine what a big one would be like. In general the fishing was prolific and diverse but many of the fish were smallish apart from one monster barracuda that I lost after a bit of a tussle. If (and when) we go again I shall have a better idea how to tackle it.

Stemless thistle by the coast.

Here at home by October a real mix of chub, carp, perch, pike, bass, garfish, mackerel, squid, pollack and wrasse were available from various waters and I guess that I didn’t make the most of the fishing because of trying a bit of everything. Bass were being caught at least up the end of November but as I write the wind and rain is putting a bit of a damper on my activities.

Dawn breaks! Another of the great pleasures of being an angler.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing most of my family over the Christmas break and to some quality fishing in the New Year.

All the best to everyone for the coming year and thanks for every email. It really cheers me up to hear from you and my fishing is enhanced beyond belief by the discussions that I have with you all.

All the best,

Mike

The end of another good year's fishing.

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