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).

22 November 2009.

Yet more pike.

Early this week I was helping to make a radio programme on pike fishing and tagging for the BBC. Typically, on the appointed morning for our recording the river was like a combination of drinking chocolate and custard. As I expected it turned out to be a real struggle to get a bite, let alone to catch a pike. After a long session I did eventually manage to catch a small fish (perhaps four pounds) so all was well that ended well.

The next couple of days were not too bad and the rain relented so that by Friday the river was beginning to come into fishable condition. I decided to have a couple of hours on the stretch I'd fished earlier, just to see how things might have changed. Sure enough the water had fallena few centimetres and was clearing nicely so I started off fishing for dace with maggots. It wasn't that easy to find the fish but afer a couple of moves I began to catch them every cast or so and some of them were decent fish. These days I soon get the urge to try and catch something bigger so, true to form, it wasn't long before I packed in and set up the pike tackle. I was using the usual circle hook with the barb flattened on a length of 15lb wire and a wine bottle cork for a float.

The first two spots I tried looked good but the fish appeared to be asleep, anyway I didn't get a sniff. Then as I walked downstream I came to an eddy, only a couple of metres across, which had a floating mass of cress and a dead slack area. It was the sort of place that shouted 'pike'. I swung the deadbait in, gave it a couple of twitches and away went the float. It's interesting how a twitch often seems to induce a bite. The pike was no monster but it put up a spirited battle and made a couple of runs against the clutch before I could get it in the net. Excellent!

I put on another deadbait and walked further downstream. Nothing doing at the next two spots then I came to the place where I'd caught the fish in murky water earlier in the week. I pushed the float up a bit to let the bait sink deeper and it had no sooner tightened the line than away went the float again. I slowly tightened and the fish powered away, no doubt hooking itself in the process. This was clearly a better pike and certainly much bigger than the 'radio star'. It turned out to be well hooked in the tip of its snout (unusual) and after a little while I netted it and then tried to get a picture using the time delay on my little camera. I still haven't fully got to grips with pressing the button, rushing to pick up my fish and then posing with it. The fish invariably decides to wriggle just as the shutter's about to fire. Anyway, I did get a picture of sorts and I looked at my watch to find that it was time for my tea. Nice session.

Nice dace.

I enjoy fishing for small stuff but eventually the urge to catch something bigger comes over me..


Dace are very attractive fish.  The pike think so too.

My first pike

No monster but a good start.  Note the sensory pits along the jaw.

A better one.

Not the best picture ever but a cracking fish in fine condition.