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).

'Long time - not much fishing.'

Owing to a slight medical problem I haven't done much fishing for a month or two - hence the lack of web pages. Since returning from Portugal in the back end of September I've been a bit restricted in my coastal rock-hopping activities. Even trips to the local rivers and lakes have been brief and few and far between. However, I'm gradually trying to get back into the swing of things and I have had one lure fishing session and a couple of bait fishing efforts (which are much easier for me). Here's a summary of results from me and one or two of my pals.

In mid-October Bill offered me a lift to the coast for a spot of spinning. When we arrived we found that conditions were OK, with a fair amount of colour in the water and lots of fresh weed piles in all the usual places. We flogged away biteless for a while and I was slightly losing heart when suddenly the rod whanged over as a fish took my 19cm Evo-Redgill. The bass (3.5 to 4.0lb in weight?) was hooked in shallow water over an area of flat rocks and (unusually) immediately after it was beached, it came unstuck . I was reluctant to get a soaking trying to retrieve it, and Bill didn't make it across in time with his camera, so I watched as it wriggled back into the waves and swam away - no pictures. Easy fishing and encouraging for me to hook something.

A couple of days later Bill went on his own and managed a 55cm (4lb) bass - well deserved considering the fact that there were thunder storms in the offing at the crack of dawn. At one stage he had problems seeing to drive in the deluge. However, he is made of stern stuff and set off along the shore. Things were slow for a few hours but he persisted and as the tide dropped he hooked and landed a nice 55cm fish.

My next trip was an early morning attempt at bait fishing with my pal Martyn. We started just after five a.m. free-lining with mackerel and pilchard baits on large circle hooks. Conditions looked reasonable and there wasn't much wind to interfere with the loose line but we found that the sea-bed was thickly draped in loose kelp., wrack and every other sort of seaweed - the prevailing swell made it virtually impossible to fish so after a couple of weeded casts we packed in and went home.

Bill went spinning again at the end of the month arriving at low tide to find lots of crap in the water. He headed on looking for less weedy areas. He said that the only lure that would cast in the fierce onshore wind was a 32g savage gear pencil, everything else just plopped into the sea 10m out, if that. Nevertheless, he did manage to catch one fish of 51cm and saw a few good sized, untemptable bass in the edge when he returned to the weedy stretch.

A couple of weeks later I ventured down on my own, early morning, to try again with my free-lined mackerel fillet (I'm a glutton for punishment). This time the water was nicely coloured. There were enough kelp fronds to be a nuisance, but it was easily fishable. I even managed three or four casts with the same bait. There was a strong double knock on the third cast but did not develop (I am pretty sure that it wasn't a bass!). Slightly disappointing. I met Bill’s car coming in the opposite direction on my way back and had a quick chat about the prospects. I heard later that he'd blanked, but further on than my spot had seen hundreds if not thousands of mullet. As he said, "Some were jumping but most were lined up just hanging in the waves".

Towards the end of November Bill went again for a spinning session. He fished from about 06:00 to 10:00 in very rough conditions (2m waves in places) with the wind in his face, risking the loss of another seeker, which casts well but sinks quickly. Despite the rough conditions he later switched to his new "Guffer Slayer" lure with a tiny 5g weight and hooked what he thought was a 3 or 4 lb fish. In his words - "The bass didn't put up much resistance but when it was in close it really really didn't want to see dry land." Eventually I beached it. His best fish this year at 71cm and about 8.5lb with a really big head and shoulders and in mint condition. He hooked another bass a bit later which came off then landed a wrasse - (his comment was "yuck!") He went home a happy chap!

Bills stonking lure-caught bass.

By the 25th of November I was desperate to go fishing. Lilian must have seen how keen I was because (uniquely) she said that she would come with me, sit in the car and read a book. We arrived at the coast at about 16:15hr, I baited up the 8/0 circle hook with a big mackerel fillet, said my goodbye and walked a short distance to the sea. It was about half-an-hour after low water - just right. There was a stiff SW wind and a 0.5m swell but not enough to cause problems with the braid. The edge of the sea was decorated with a 2m wide band of loose kelp. I flicked the fillet 3-4m beyond the weed into shallow, coloured water. My first bite came after 3-4minute wait, ran steadily for a few metres, then stopped, so tightened and it moved off hooking itself. After a short struggle I lifted its head, slid it over the kelp fronds and picked it up. This proved to be a fish of about four pounds - my first for months - I was chuffed. I took a couple of pictures, unhooked and released it

I would, at this point, generally have packed in and left but I had a second (much smaller) fillet of mackerel in the bag, so I thought I'd have another go. I cast again the the spot where I'd had the fish but immediately hooked a small piece of kelp. I reeled in and removed the weed before plonking the bait a little to the right of where the first bait had gone. Almost at once another bite. I assumed that this one would have engulfed the small fillet in one go, so I closed the bale and tightened the line after a few seconds. This one fought really hard and took a fair bit of line against a tight clutch, so I knew it was a better fish. I was pleased again to see it slide over the wet kelp after a bit of a struggle. Once more I took a photograph (not a very good one as I had a problem with the camera) and returned it. Fork lengths and fat fish suggested this one was a-little-over-nine pounds. Whoopee! About time. No bait left so I packed in. Lilian was surprised to see me back at the car so soon (16:35). Two nice fish in twenty minutes - magic!

Lots of kelp in the edge but no problem fishing.

My smaller bass taken on the large fillet of mackerel.

Close up of the four-ish pounder nicely hooked.

My best fish of the year on a fairly small mackerel fillet..



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"


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


Copies can now be ordered (printed on demand) from Steve Pitts at £34.00, inc. Royal Mail Insured UK Mainland Postage.

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

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