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).

Sea fish from the sea.

I went to the coast fishing with my pal Bill at the weekend. It was the first decent spring tide of the series and we thought we might have a chance of a bass, I also took along my fly rod in hopes of surface feeding mullet. We had a fairly long hike to get to the spot where we thought there might be fish and on the way we passed another pal, Dave Little, who was already spinning. After a quick chat we pressed on to our goal. When we got there the wind was rather stronger than we'd hoped and the sea was full of bitty, fresh, weed making spinning almost impossible along most of the beach. For half-an-hour or so we gave it a try with weedless lures and although I had a few pecks from small wrasse (unable to manage my monster lure) it became clear that our chances of a bass were pretty slim and fly fishing was out of the question.

At this point we opted to walk back and try to find a more fishable stretch. It wasn't until we got back to where Dave was still fishing that it even looked possible. He was flogging away with a weedless eel type lure weighted with a sliding lead and he said that apart from one tap he'd had nothing.Not encouraging. However it looked worth a try despite the very strong cross wind so we decided to join him for a while. The three of us spread out across the rocky ledge so as to avoid hooking each other as the lures swung round in the wind. Dave, being first there, was in the known 'hot spot' but in the past fish have turned up more or less everywhere so we were hopeful. Bill clipped on an expensive plug which has served him well recently, while I started off with a big Yo Zuri slider. Lightweight lures would have been virtually impossible to cast in the howling force 6.

Five or ten minutes after we started to fish Dave called out that he was in and before long he was beaching a nice bass of perhaps three pounds - Bill did the honours with the camera. We continued fishing and before long Dave was in again and the whole scenario was repeated. Wonderful stuff! Bill shifted his position a little, changed his lure to a weedless SlugGill with a cone weight similar to the thing that Dave had on and first cast he was into a bass - no monster but a satisfying fish. This time I took a couple of pictures and after the fish was returned we bashed on. Over the next half hour Dave had his third and his fourth nice bass of the session. Excellent stuff but I was now beginning to think "You are going to be the only one who doesn't catch today Mike!" You know the feeling. Dave had offered me one of his successful lures but in my pig headed way I'd refused. I'm not a great one for chopping and changing lures but my faith in the big surface slider was now beginning to ebb away. Perhaps it was moving too quickly in the difficult conditions? I went back to my bag for a breather and rooted in the lure box. How about trying a Toby? They cast well. Could I modify the heavy Toby to make it a bit more eel like? The only thing I could find that might fit the bill was a big streamer fly that I'd won in the raffle at the BASS AGM two years ago. On it went and I returned to the sea.

My new device certainly cast well although the wind was now so strong that it was skating across the surface after it touched down in the sea. I fished on hopefully while I watched Dave land yet another bass on his eel. Suddenly my lure stopped dead. My first thought was - "There goes my Toby!" I thought that it had caught up on a rock in the shallow water then the rod nodded and line began to scream out. A fish!!!! I eased off a little on the so called fighting drag on my Stradic in case the hook hold was not secure but there was no need to worry and five minutes later I was walking my big, fat six-and-a-half pounder ashore as Bill took a few pictures. All in all a wonderful afternoon - even if Dave's catch of six bass did outfish us.

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

Bill in the surf.

He was only in waist high waders and got a bit wet.

Got one!

Bill's bass - at this point I'd have been glad of one like that.

Dave fishing.

We took lots of 'hits' from the roaring surf.

He's in.

Every fish fought well in the strong cross current and surging waves.

Pick it up.

No need for nets when you can simply slide the fish ashore.

Well done.

Another nice fat bass for Dave.

At last!

Phew - it was really good to feel something on the end after watching my pals catching bass.

Relief!

At this point I was confident that my fish wouldn't get away.

Fat bass.

Bill and I both overestimated its weight.  The Toby/Fly combination is clearly visible.

Smile please.

Do I look smug?  I felt it.

Returned.

Back she goes, no worse for the experience.