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 four 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. 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 so if you are new to fly fishing or spinning these are the ones for you).

09 June 2008.

More than just catching fish?

Just a lame excuse for failure! That's more or less what I've often said about the phrase - often repeated in books and magazines - to the effect that fishing is 'about more than just catching fish'. Of course it's true that anglers see more of the countryside (indeed the waterside) than the vast majority of the population. Angling authors such as Chris Yates, John Bailey and the late Bernard Venables have made graphic descriptions of the angler's surroundings almost an art form. Now I'm not such a Philistine that I'm unable to see the interest in anything other than fish on the bank and as a career biologist I probably appreciate my surroundings as much as most people.

Anyway, this is my lame excuse for this week's freshwater webpage. I had an hour or so carp fishing and as I was parking the car I couldn't fail to see the splashes of bright purple in the scrubby heathland around the lake. Common spotted orchids (I think) were everywhere and they made it even more of a pleasure to be there. I opened the boot to grab my rod, bag and net and as I did so I noticed a splash of delicate pink only inches from the rear tyre of the car. Closer inspection revealed it to be a bee orchid and when I looked around there were dozens of them growing through the hard packed gravelly soil - beautiful! Anyone would have been impressed.

The sun was shining brightly and when I got to the lake there were lots of damselflies and dragonflies skimming over the water, irridescent green ones, blue ones, black and yellow striped ones, black and green striped ones, fantastic! It felt good to be alive and fishing. I walked round the margin looking for surface activity and noticed the reeds shaking as carp rooted about or shouldered their way through them. Here and there a fish was basking at the surface, it's rubbery orange lips gently opening and closing as it breathed in the rather murky water.

I baited up with a lump of crust, cast out to a likely spot and waited. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, reel in, bait up and try another spot. It must have been almost an hour before a fish loomed up and sucked the bread from the hook - the line barely twitched. I baited up again and lobbed the bait to the same place. This time it was only minutes before a fish came, snaffled the bait and hooked itself. I picked up the rod and the carp crashed about for a while before I had it under control. I netted the fish, unhooked it as it lay in the net and rolled it back over the rim into the water. What a hobby! Non-anglers don't know what they're missing.


These bright purple jobs were everywhere in the short grass.

Bee orchid.

what an incredible flower..


I think these are broad bodied chasers.  The picture doesn't do justice to the blue bodies of the males.

Basking carp.

just because you can see them doesn't mean that they will take a bait.

--but this one did.

If I never caught fish it really would be a sad state of affairs.