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).

25 December 2009.

Pike for young Ben.

My grandson Ben came over to stay for a couple of days this week so of course we went fishing. He used to wear grannie's wellies but now they don't fit and it seems that his feet have inflated to size 8s (the same as me) so he borrowed mine. Ben was wearing a nice, new, red coat and didn't want to get it dirty so he borrowed an old plastic one of mine to go on top. Grandma's gloves and a hat brought (as a present for Ben) from the Himalayas by his big brother finished off the anti-cold ensemble.

We caught four baits in short order and set off across the icy fields to the river. I took my spinning rod with a big spoon on the end of the line but I really wanted to watch Ben at work - he has certainly got the hang of piking now. The first bait was grabbed ten seconds after it hit the water. Ben gave it a couple of seconds before tightening up - not long enough - and the pike, obviously not hooked, pulled a bit and then let go. Ben dropped the bait in again, gave it a bit of a twitch and it was taken for a second time with exactly the same results. This time the bait was gone so we put on a new one. When the fish took for the third time he waited a bit longer after the take and this time hooked the fish firmly. It wasn't a monster but it put up a fair tussle before he slid it into the edge, unhooked it, had his picture taken and popped it back. In fact Ben is well aware that big pike tend to engulf the bait so it's best not to wait too long before setting the hook, even with circle hooks - this results in the odd failure with smaller fish but they'll generally have another go if you want. I've taught him to err on the side of safety for the pike and risk dropping the odd small fish.

We moved on to another nice looking spot (it's easier to find them now the River's back in its banks) and this time it was all of one minute before the cork shot under as another pike took the bait. This was a bigger fish, beautifully hooked round the maxilla, and it took a while before he could slide it into the shallow margin and slip the hook out for the obligatory picture. We guessed its weight at about eleven pounds, certainly double figures. He slid it back in and it rocketed away.

We trudged on downstream through the sloppy mud with its crust of ice. The third pool looked fantastic but for all of five minutes there was no sign of a fish. I tried to show Ben how to work the bait round to cover the slack water but he was all for lobbing it quickly into 'another spot'. Eventually the float made its way to the far end of the slack and suddenly it had gone. Ben reeled in to tighten the line and his third pike of the afternoon surged away, again as it turned out well hooked in the scissors. This was the smallest of the three fish but it was also the liveliest and did a lot of splashing about before we could slide it into the edge. Now we were down to our last deadbait and as the sun was sinking it was getting colder. We made our way back upstream and on the way Ben lent me his rod to try a pool that we'd ignored on the way down. Right in the margin the bait was grabbed by a jack which I failed to hook. We decided that it wasn't worth the effort of trying to get a second take and left it in peace. All in all a good pre-Christmas afternoon. Four baits, four different pike. Oh, and I never even used the spoon!

Ben on ice!

Clad in my old boots and jacket.

Got one!

His first pike moves off as the line tightens.


No monster and a bit grubby with river bank mud but an excellent start.


Ben's second pike of the session powers away - fantastic!

Nice fish!

This was the biggest of our short session and in fine condition.

- and another!

Three in three tries - not bad!

- and another!

Off it goes!  Ben carefully returns his final fish.