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).

11 July 2008

Baja 3

When you go on a fishing holiday you always learn a lot. One of the first and most important lessons is never to rely on one set of gear if you can avoid it. Steve and I always take a couple of spinning rods each and usually a fly rod as well. We also have fixed spool reels for each spinning rod and a fly reel. Since we each have a suit case with our gear in it this allows for one set of kit being lost by the airline (touch wood it's never happened yet). On our trip to Mexico Steve had a new rod which he was told would 'cast the heaviest poppers'. It proved not to be the case and not long after we'd started fishing the butt section smashed on the cast - just as well he wasn't into a big fish at the time!!!! This is not the first time that someone has broken a rod on one of our adventures.

Now I'm not noted for my sartorial appearance so I don't suppose that any of you will be surprised to see my clad in shorts, sandals and (where were the fashion police?) socks. In this case there was method in my madness. Firstly the socks stopped the gritty sand from rasping all the skin off my feet and secondly, the waters of Baja are notable for the number of jellyfish sculling around in them. Among the jellies were substantial numbers of Portuguese Men o' War which can give you a nasty sting. The socks pulled up my calves allowed me to paddle in the margins of the sea without the risk of badly stung ankles.

The beach near our first house had a strip of shallow water in the margin then quite a deep gulley running along the shoreline. One day, while fishing for roosters, I noticed the flashes of some big silver fish in the deeper water. On pointing these out to a local fly angling guide he said that they were pompano, a species that eats molluscs, crabs and other animals with hard shells. In fact he then managed to hook one on a sort of shrimp fly (no mean effort considering the stiff cross wind), handed the rod to his nearest client and almost cried as the said client 'hung on' and watched the fish (a good one) break away. Anyway, a day or two later Steve and I noticed these fish again and bemoaned the lack of suitable bait. We tried to dig up a ghost crab but it needs more experience than we possess because after the first scoop the hole disappears and you no longer know where to dig. A bit later Steve was talking to an American visitor and mentioned our frustrated attempts to get hold of a crab. The bloke then pointed to a plastic bucket sunk in the beach which contained loads of grapsid crabs. Apparently it's a well know trick in The States to bury a plastic bucket to it's rim, bait it with an old fish, leave it overnight and pick up the haul of crabs the following morning. Easy when you know how eh!

About half-a-mile along the beach from our house was a small, shallow lagoon. One day, after struggling to get a bite from the shore I took my fly rod to the lagoon and had a cast. first chuck two small fish followed my little Redgill in towards the margin of the pool. Encouraged I had another go and before long I was catching small stripey fish which looked (to me) like snappers. They were coloured a bit like perch, had a mouth full of teeth plus little pointy canine teeth and they went mad for my fly. In half-an-hour I landed a dozen or so fish up to nearly a pound in weight but I don't think that they grew much bigger - an interesting interlude from flogging the beach.

On our way back from Mexico we had a day's stopover in Los Angeles. Steve filled in the time with a trip to Santa Monica - lots of 'beautiful people' on roller blades etc. The 'fishing pier' on the sea front was tailor made for anglers with bait boards along the rail and all mod cons. Talking to a local angler, as you do, Steve asked what the fishing was like and the bloke said that he'd recently caught a 'halibut' (some sort of flatty) a popular eating fish. The man then bemoaned the deterioration in sport over the years. In essence he said that ten years ago he could catch twenty or thirty 'keeper halibut' in a session but in the past two years he hadn't managed to get one. Clearly the decline in fishing is not restricted to UK waters.

More on the Mexican fishing next time.

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

Oh!!!!!.

So much for a rod that would cast any weight of popper.

Crab bait.

At last something useful to do with a lizardfish.

Pompano, bonefish, permit baits.

What a clever trick!

Stinger!

A small Portuguese Man o' War.  There were loads of these washed up in the shallows.

Armour.

Who cares about fashion if it saves your ankles from stingers

Freshwater snapper?

These little devils went mad for my fly.

Santa Monica fishing pier.

Our Local Authorities could learn a thing or two but the fishing can still be crap.