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).

The plan comes together.

I've stuck to my plan and continued the bait fishing on the first of the flood. I went the other day and tried another spot. It was a flat bottomed, shallow, wrack covered gully where I've occasionally caught fish on lures in the past. This time I simply lobbed a mackerel fillet (7"long and perhaps 4" wide at the thick end) a couple of metres out. My big circle hook was, as usual, nicked through the thin end of the bait. I did not have long to wait - probably fifteen or twenty minutes) before I felt the tell-tale pluck which preceded a steaming run. On closing the bale arm the fish pulled the tip of my little four piece spinning rod round and was on. It proved to be a nice specimen of over five pounds beautifully hooked in the scissors so I unhooked and released it after a couple of pictures. Excellent!

A couple of days later I had reports from my pals Rob and Bill who'd each had a spinning session from the rocks. Rob landed a fish of over two pounds and Bill missed a bite but it sounded as though things had been pretty quiet. Anyway, I decided to try the same stretch the following morning. I checked the tide table and found that it would be low water at about 05:30 by which time it would already be light. However, it meant that to fish the incoming tide I didn't have to get up quite so soon.

I was down on the shore by about half-past-five and to my surprise found myself alone (there are usually anglers there even at the crack of dawn these days). I found myself a comfortable flat rock to sit on before baiting up with the usual mackerel fillet and swinging it a couple of metres out into the calm shallow water. It was pretty clear so even from my low perch I could occasionally glimpse the silver triangle of bait glinting as it lay on the flat bare rocky shelf. I placed the rod on a big boulder and opened the bale arm. Then I reckon three quarters of an hour had passed as I sat there holding the line between finger and thumb. It was a neap tide so the water had only risen perhaps five centimetres since I started.

As usual when the first pluck came I could hardly believe it. I waited and after a few seconds the braid began to stream off the spool. Faster and faster it went so I picked up the rod and gently closed the bale. There was a heavy pull, the rod bent round and then straightened again. The bass had dropped my bait. I muttered the usual incantation that accompanies missed fish and reeled in to find that the bait had folded back on the hook. It wasn't obscuring the hook point completely but it may have been enough to prevent the hook penetrating my bass.

The bait seemed OK so I rehooked it carefully and lobbed it out to the same spot as before reasoning that even if my fish didn't return it might be a good spot for another one to have a go. This time it was only fifteen minutes before the line began to run out. My heart felt as though it was in my mouth as I watched the coils race off the spool. I had to take the plunge and close the bale arm so I did. This time there was no mistake and a heavy fish thrashed the water to foam as it tore off against a tight clutch. Fantastic! This was clearly a good bass and it fought like stink making several long runs as I clambered up onto my boulder-seat to get a better angle to play the fish. A couple of times the fish threatened to wrap the line round a barnacle covered boulder but eventually I was able to slide it ashore. It measured 79cm on my steel tape and weighed 5.6kg (about twelve-and-a-quarter-pounds) - my best one this year so far. Sadly the story has no happy ending. The bass had (unusually) swallowed the circle hook and was not happy. I unhooked it using my pliers and tried to revive it but it was obviously doomed so I took it home for dinner. What a fish! At least it had lived a long life.

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

First fish.

This is the smaller one I caught from the shallow weedy gulley.

Another selfie.

I am getting better at this.

More like it.

I wonder how big the one I missed was?

Me too.

It's nice to try and get into the picture.