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).

Down to the sea again!

My sea fishing has been pretty restricted recently, but according to reports from my pals I haven't missed too much. I've had a few fish (seatrout, perch and a salmon) from the rivers but to be honest it isn't quite the same, and I've been keen to dangle a line in the salt water. Anyway, the past week, it seems, has been a sprat/bass/mackerel bonanza and for various reasons I couldn't go, so I missed out on the action. Along many of the stretches of shoreline, either side of Portland, the predators have been driving shoals of sprats up onto the beaches. I heard reliable reports of ten to twenty bass caught on lures in an hour or two's spinning. The fish were generally been stuffed with the little bait fish, but the sprat-fest doesn't last for ever, and when Bill rang me the other day to ask if I fancied trying a spell on the shore it seemed that only a few schoolies were being caught.

At this time of the year, as the days quickly shorten, the chances of hitting that special combination of access, tide, weather, change of light and maggot-ridden weed-middens, which is ideal for catching bass and/or mullet on lures and flies, quickly diminishes. Anyway, last Sunday everything looked good, so Bill, Nigel and me decided that we'd have a dabble from the rocks. We met up in the car park on a sunny, late afternoon and set off on the long trudge to the spot that we'd chosen to fish. There was a light, breeze and a bit of a chop on the water. Waves of perhaps half-a-metre in height were breaking on the rocks as we arrived at our selected spot. Sure enough there were good piles of maggot-ridden weed on the boulders, but they were still well clear of the waves. The flooding, spring-tide had another hour or so to come so we were optimistic. Bill and Nigel opted to try spinning from the weed banks while they waited for the anticipated arrival of the fish and I made my way further along the shore, casting and retrieving an 11cm, floating, jointed Rapala.

Apart from a couple of sharp plucks on my plug (?small bass) as it reached the breaking waves in the edge, I had nothing. After perhaps half-an-hour I returned to my pals to find that, encouraged by liberal quantities of weed and maggots that the lads had hurled into the water, the mullet had turned up in force. By now Nigel had started fly fishing with a tiny, Delta eel (neither of us had brought any maggots) but, like me, my pals had no joy spinning. I picked up the fly rod and began to cast a Delta to the maggot-guzzling mullet. It seemed futile, but after a while Nigel hooked a fish and played it for long enough to allow Bill to take a picture before it escaped.

By now we were all a bit frustrated. Bill wandered off to spin where I had had my tentative bass bites, Nigel continued flogging and I switched to a small bass streamer with a bit of tinsel and white floss on the hook. Almost at once I was into a good mullet which put up a characteristically spirited struggle. After a several strong runs and a good five minutes of give and take with a well bent fly rod I managed to slide the fish into a gap in the weed piles and pick it up. Bill, who had typically stopped fishing to help me, took a couple of pictures before I slipped the fish back into the breaking waves. We all continued fishing and it wasn't long before I was in again. This fish was less lively but much larger and than the first one that I'd caught. It wallowed close to the beach but refused to come into the edge. It was possibly five minutes before I managed even to get a glimpse of the broad back of another thicklip. Several more minutes of arm-aching pressure failed to bring the mullet to hand, and eventually the strain of trying to beach it was just too much for the six pound nylon. The fish escaped. I knew that I didn't have another streamer fly and in any case the fish had thinned out so I left the others fishing and set off back, to try spinning one or two 'bassy' spots as I returned to the car.

In the next fifteen minutes I managed one missed tug on the J11 and then a beautiful, but very small, golden-bronze, ballan wrasse. When My pals caught up we exchanged information. Bill had only managed a couple of bites on his softbaits. Nigel had lost a second mullet on the fly and landed a tiny bass, while spinning a little paddle tailed soft plastic. All in all not a very productive trip but fantastic to be fishing again. I guess there's still time for several more trips and, hopefully, a few decent fish before the year's end.

Bill's annual picture of the three of us - raring to go.

Nigel's into a mullet on the fly.

The mullet I landed on the fly - not a bad fish.

Bill took a picture before the fish was returned.

My small but bonny ballan - not much bigger than the lure.



Written with Alan Vaughan. NEW PRINT OF THE ORIGINAL: IN PAPERBACK. Copies available from all good book shops RRP 14:99 - "Waterstones"


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Written with David Rigden. Copies from "The Medlar Press"


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

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