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).

Small bass - big mullet.

This is a tale of three fishing sessions. Usually I go fishing a couple of times each week but when it looks promising I sometimes follow up a session by going on the next tide. This week was one of those. I keep forgetting that we're still in April so any decent fish is a bonus. Anyway - my little story!

My pal Dave Baker rang. he was coming down for a fishing trip and asked if I fancied joining him the following morning for a spot of spinning. We met, in the car park, at quarter to five and set off along the shore. The sea was flat calm and there was no wind at all - easy fishing. We plugged away for a while with nothing to show for our efforts. Eventually we decided to go for our breakfast. On the way back to the car we began to see surface feeding mullet. Neither of us had a fly rod so all we could do was chuck a plug near them in hope of finding the odd bass - nothing!

On my drive home I decided to go back that evening armed with my fly gear and a few maggots. This time there was a stiff longshore breeze blowing and to cut a long story short, no sign of any mullet. One other bloke was fly fishing and spinning but between us all we managed were the two smallest bass that I've seen this year - pitiful! I didn't even wave the fly rod about.

The following day Ben rang. It turned out that he was going away on business and the only time he could fish was that evening. I told him of my disastrous results the previous day and with conditions, if anything, worse I was not optimistic. When we got to the shore my fears were confirmed, stiff breeze, rough sea, not good. We got back into the car and drove to a sheltered bay, ever hopeful. There were three kayaks out on the sea trolling lures but we could see no signs of action.

After plugging for ten minutes and pitching maggoty weed into the sea nothing was happening. Ben, ever observant, said "Look at the gulls along there!" Sure enough a large flock of blackheaded gulls were on the water in the far corner of the bay. We picked up our gear and trudged along the where the birds were active. It was solid mullet, many of them large, skimming maggots off the surface. Some of the fish were right in the water's edge. We set up the fly rods and baited with maggots. It was not easy fishing. A bit of a breeze, a lop in the edge and lots of weed in the water. After a few minutes of cursing and cleaning weed off the line I cast along the beach - no more than a couple of metres out, raised the rod and I was into a fish. Eureka!

I'd forgotten just how hard it is to control a big mullet on fly tackle. Time after time it ran out to sea and time after time I inched it back towards the beach. Ben happened to have his video camera with him and took a few shots of me following the fish along the beach. Eventually I managed to slide my catch ashore and we took a couple of pictures before returning it to the water. We turned back to the sea to find that our shoal of mullet had moved out to feed on a maggot slick about fifteen metres off. They were in the midst of a horrible choppy, weedy slick. On every cast the fly line became draped with slimy weed like a string of flags - frustrating? I'll say it was. Ben briefly contacted another mullet and we flogged on until it began to get dark but it was hopeless. All in all an interesting reintroduction to the joys of fly fishing for mullet.

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

The little bass.

It was actually satisfying to land something on an evening when it was 'slow' to say the least.

Closer.

The old J11F Rapala is as effective as ever even though it doesn't cast as well as some of the modern plugs.

Mullet attractor.

A little piece of foam superglued to the hook shank keeps the maggots in the surface film where the big mullet feed.

Beauty.

A fine fish of four pounds plus.

Beast.

Ben was kind enough to take a picture of me with the fish before I returned it to the sea.  It was hooked just where the waves are turning over in the edge.