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).

05 October 2009.

Forced fishing.

My wife is an archaeologist and quite often she has to go some distance to dig up the past. Normally she goes in her car and I have my own little old ford in which I can go fishing. However, last week I lent my car to my eldest son for a few days and Lilian had to go to a dig so it was either take her and pick her up again or, perish the thought, no fishing. I opted for the former.

I decided to try one or two stretches of river in North Dorset that I barely knew or hadn't fished at all. As usual when I'm exploring I put on the chest waders and took the spinning rod armed with a Rapala. Even if I don't catch much I cover a fair bit of ground (= water) when I'm spinning and if there's much about I often see it. The first stretch that I tried was slow, deep and dirty and to be honest didn't look very promising but I'd walked a good kilometre in the warm sun to get there so I thought I'd better have a go. It lived up to it's unpromising appearence and it was only after half-an-hour that I managed even a bite which proved to be a tiny pike.

I drove downstream to another stretch which was so low and weeded up that plugging was tricky, to say the least. There was one shallow fast stretch which was reasonably clear and my first cast resulted in a big chub chasing after the lure from under a tree on the opposite bank but that was it. Another half-hour of tramping down nettles and scrambling down steep banks produced no more bites.

By now it was time for a late lunch so I dropped into a pub for a lemonade and a sandwich before trying my third bit of river. Although it was further downstream than the other stretches the water was much clearer, it was also shallower and more lively so I was quite hopeful. At first I stood on a little culvert and dropped the plug into a strongly flowing stretch. As I retrieved there was a strong pull (?big trout?) which I missed. It wouldn't come again but it was a start. A few casts across a shallow riffle resulted in another missed bite, this time another chub I think. I waded into the shallow water and cast downstream. First chuck produced a very nicely marked trout - excellent! I paddled along noting a big shoal of small grayling for future reference. Must take the fly rod and give them a try next time. I cast the Rapala up under some overhanging trees and it was savaged by a modest chub. Better and better! By now I was paddling up a beautiful little carrier overhung by trees and a curtain of Virginia creeper, it was just like fairyland. Not easy fishing, in fact it was hard to swing the rod at all in the confined space but I managed a few flicks and landed another trout. I looked at my watch. Time had flown and it was time to go and pick up the digger. All in all a very interesting day and plenty of food for thought and opportunities to try in the future.

Tiny jack.

This fish, not much bigger than my lure, was all I managed to winkle out from deep, slow flowing, dirty water.


Trout are suckers for plugs.  In this case I cast downstream and wound it back up against the flow.


Not a big fish but it savaged the plug, this time  wound downstream.


Not the easiest spot to fish with spinning gear but I had another trout just upstream of the fallen tree that my rod is resting on.