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).

12 November 2008.

Muddy piking.

I don't mind cows but they do make a mess. When Richard was staying last weekend we decided that we would try and catch a pike. It had rained earlier in the week but the weather was bright and sunny, the river was in nice nick and we were raring to go. We scrambled over the gate into the first field and squelch!!! we were into the mud. Both of us were wearing chesties so there was no problem about keeping dry but the cows had churned everything to a sort of heavy paste. We sank in, often above our knees, and when you have a bag on your back and both hands full of tackle pulling your feet out of the mire is not easy. The mud sucks the boots off your feet and there is a strong tendency to fall forward onto your face. Several times we had to stop, put down the gear on the dryest bit we could find and use both hands to pull a foot free, dragging the other one after it.

After ploughing our way to the first swim it was a pleasure to stand on a bit of firm grassy bank. I had a spoon on and Richard was using a dace for bait. Within a couple of minutes of starting Richard's bait was grabbed by a small fish that shot out from the bank under his feet. After he'd played it for a short while it came unstuck. The pike was too small for us to bother trying again so we squelched on down to the next swim. Nothing doing there so off we went again. On the way I saw a small slack about a metre wide and flicked the spoon past it. As I retrieved a second pike, perhaps it weighed a couple of kilos, swirled out and knocked it. I shouted for Richard to come back and try for it but he was already well on the way to our next swim. It was quite tiring wading through the gunge and as we dumped the gear at our third spot we heaved a sigh of relief for five minutes rest. Richard's float-fished bait covered the water well but, despite it looking very pikey, once again there was nothing doing.

We moved on another 500m and began to fish again. Five minutes after starting Rich's float had disappeared. I'll swear that we never took our eyes off it but neither of us saw it go. He tightened a little and could feel the weight of a fish. A few seconds later and it was on, surging away into the main current. It was about 2kg No monster but satisfying and encouraging.

Back upstream we went to another likely spot. This time I was jigging my spoon vertically alongside some metal pilings when it seemd to jam. For a second I thought I'd hooked the bottom but 'the bottom' moved a couple of metres to the right before releasing my lure. I shouted for Rich and he dropped his bait into the spot. It was only a few seconds before the float zipped under and he hooked and played a nice double which fought like stink before being landed and released. A good session!

It's on!

Richard into the first fish of the afternoon - it came unstuck.


Richard plays his second pike.

Got it!

No monster but a beautiful pike.

My cast off.

Richard's second pike (found by me) makes one of it's many bids for freedom.

Still going.

Pike are often sluggish but this one was just a real battler.

Back it goes.

Another beauty slipped back to bite another day.