Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle


Information Page


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).

Hot stuff in New Zealand.

My pal Alan in New Zealand is a very keen sea angler with an excellent knowledge of fishing with flies and lures. He posts a website:-

activeanglingnz which is packed with interesting information on the fishing down under, it is highly entertaining and always well worth a look.

We’ve just had an exchange of e-mails about a couple of his recent fishing trips and it shows that the good old-style basic lures are equally as effective for predatory fish on the opposite side of the world as they are here in Dorset. Alan’s first email started:-

Hi Mike,

Went out yesterday morning at high tide. Overcast with concrete grey skies and the ever present threat of heavy rain. There was a strong wind gusting 25 kilometres per hour from the west that was pushing the pregnant clouds ever nearer. The thin dark line on the horizon spelled trouble. I’d noticed in a session about six weeks ago that the kingfish herded baitfish against a sandbar in the last 30 minutes before high tide. They then crossed the bar and waited in a deep, narrow channel between two sandbars for the baitfish further up the estuary to make their way to them. The perfect ambush point. They had about an hour to create mayhem before the water got too shallow for them. Very cunning.

I didn’t see or touch anything in the run up to high tide but there was the odd surface disturbance to signify that bigger predators were probably active and on patrol.

I made my way to the ambush point once the tide turned and out of the corner of my eye I saw a fish chasing bait on the shallow spit; too small for a kingfish but not a bad kahawai. I figured that they were holding in front of the spit in water about hip deep nailing unsuspecting baitfish from below as they crossed the sandbar.

I cast my old black-over-white Toby lure to the far side of the channel and retrieved it steadily using the current to make the lure transcribe an arc to the near shore. As the lure reached a point directly below me it got absolutely slaughtered. This happened 10 times in an hour and I landed 4 kahawai, all about 14” long. If I tried to play them in the channel they inevitably got off by jumping about, but if I used side to draw them over the bar into the slack water then it was much easier. Great session! I only stopped because I got drenched by torrential rain. Should have worn my chest waders... Will send an image of the fish separately.

I replied saying that it must have been wonderful sport and suggested that it may have been worth trying one of the kahawai as livebait for a kingfish. He wrote again:-

Hi Mike,

90 minutes of mayhem this morning at the “Honey Hole”. Landed well over 20 kahawai; biggest specimens in the 3-4lb bracket, smaller fish around 0.5 - 1lb. Two distinct size classes I think.

The black-over-white metal lure again proved irresistible. The lure pictured has now landed over 120 fish. I have replaced the swivel, split rings and treble twice already. Smoked kahawai for dinner....

...and again:-

Hi Mike,

I took Stuart and his two daughters with me to the kahawai “Honey Hole today”. His youngest daughter (6) hooked and landed a stonking kahawai of about 4lb. They were ecstatic. She winched it in and it was going ballistic, jumping repeatedly in the shallows. Exciting and heart in mouth at the same time.

Glad I went out for another go - 4lb trevally. It ran me into the rock oysters. Unlucky fish. Epic fight.

When I hooked the trevally it initially ran down current so I had to follow it. Luckily I managed to get past Stuart and the girls without any issues. The dirty bastard then did a U turn and headed up current at warp speed. I retraced my steps but this time both girls hooked my line. Stuart freed the lures quickly but when I got past them I realised the trevally had zig-zagged through a rock oyster strewn channel and the line was macraméd around the oysters. Managed to free it from three separate racks and to my surprise the trevally was still attached when the line pinged free.

Beached the fish quickly after that and the trace was heavily cut and sandpapered. Really unlucky fish. Very lucky angler. Forecast storm is nearly upon us. Let’s hope it is short and sweet so I can fish again on Sunday.

Hi Alan,

I do like catching trevally (jacks) as you know. Wonderful stuff. You’ll enjoy your trip to Italy all the more having filled your boots with decent fish.

Bill and I were going to go this evening but heavy rain and high winds mean that it’s likely to be the weekend before we get out.

Small kahawai on the first trip. Toby still attached.

A better one.

The old but successful Toby.

Nice trevally! Same lure.



"Fishing for Ghosts - Successful Mullet Angling"

written with David Rigden IT'S AVAILABLE FROM - "The Medlar Press"


“The Second Wave”

Written with Steve Pitts this is a SEQUEL TO THE BESTSELLER "Operation Sea Angler" IT'S AVAILABLE ON PAPER OR FOR YOUR KINDLE FROM - "Veals Mail Order" and from Amazon "Amazon"

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 -