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).

16 February 2009.

Pike at last!

Hasn't the weather been awful? After fishing for most of my life I'm certainly not a 'fair weather fisherman' but since I came back from Tobago I seem to have been thwarted at every attempt. In early February I was supposed to be going, with my pal David Baker, to fish a reservoir for pike (it would have been a first for us both) but on the appointed day I would not have been able to get out of my street for snow and ice, let alone drive for two hours to the appointed meeting place.

"Never mind!" I thought, "As soon as it warms up I'll be able to go to the river." Then the rains came. We had a flood of biblical proportions and for a week I couldn't see the river and fishing in it was out of the question. Eventually 'cabin fever' got the better of me and I decided to give it a go. I still had the herrings that I'd purchased for my aborted reservoir session so I thawed a couple out and set off in my chesties across the flooded fields.

I was using my normal dead-baiting rig - a 4/0 circle hook on a knottable wire trace and a split wine cork about a metre up from the hook. The herring was progged through both lips and a quick test showed that it fished beautifully. The bait was just heavy enough to drag the cork under and by sink and draw tactics it was possible to make the whole lot 'swim' away from me. However, I soon realised that there was a problem. Although the water was now clear it was still over the banks and hardly anywhere looked 'pikey'. Most of the best pools and slacks were now turbulent and boiling with the force of water.

After trying a couple of narrow slowish runs under the bank I decided that my best (?only) bet was to fish the end of a ditch. I trogged along until I found a channel that is normally all but dry. Sure enough it was bank high with water but absolutely still. I cast the herring to the end of the ditch and slowly inched it back into the still water. Within minutes I had a bite and after feeling the weight of the fish and playing it for a couple of minutes - it let go! I was gutted but at least I'd found a fishable spot. I tried again and it was probably twenty minutes before there was another swirl and away went the cork. This time I made no mistake and before long a fish of about eight pounds was in shallow water and ready to be unhooked. It felt like a real success on an unpromising sort of day.

Got one!

The fishable ditch - a real bonus on a day when everywhere else was turbulent.


The pike doesn't want to be landed and crashes about as I try to bring it closer..


With my herring still in its mouth at last I have the pike under control.

Ready to unhook.

There was plenty of water in the ditchside meadow to slide my fish ashore and unhook it without even picking it up.