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 January 2010.

Ice and salt.

Hasn't it been cold? Even getting to a bit of water without risking the car or the legs has been a problem. My pal Paul has had a couple of afternoon/evening sessions on his local stretch of canal during the recent cold spell. He didn't break any records but he did catch one or two fish and I think he was well pleased to get a few considering the very low water temperatures. Here's his accounts -


Well a day late but I managed to get out after roach again. To keep things simple I went back to the same stretch as I fished on Sunday.

The good news is I did manage to catch some roach. Five to be precise, all small and none requiring a landing net. The photo's aren't as good as the chub from a few weeks ago but neither I nor the fish felt like messing about in the cold!

The swim is opposite where a ditch/stream drains in to the canal. The source of the feeder some 400 metres away is a natural chalk spring that feeds disused cress beds. As you know water like this will have a fairly constant temperature through the year. At the source you can literally see the water gurgling out of a little chalk cliff face.

The water is frozen upstream of where the ditch enters such is its influence.

Like Sunday I arrived just after 4 pm and finished just before 6 pm. Fish activity was a lot lower with only a few fish priming. I am only feeding at a very low level on the basis the food demand from the fish will be low, just enough to hopefully stimulate their appetite. The feed simply consists of liquidized bread, squeezed gently together but breaks up on impact with the water. Hook bait is bread on a size 12.

I am float fishing with a waggler, set over depth,with a black tip and Betalight glued in. I can see one or the other depending on if it is in shadow or reflection. The tackle ends up settling against the base of the nearside shelf.



- and a later email -


Got out again, same place and same time of day. Last few days haven't been as cold as earlier in the week and this was reflected in far more roach priming, things were looking good.

I was fishing by 4.10 pm and had a fish second cast, a small roach - the kind you measure in inches not weight. I had a further 3 or 4 roach in the 4" to 6" category and things then eased off. Then between 4.45 pm and just after 5 pm I had a run of 6 roach. These were a cut above those I had been catching, too big to swing to hand but too small to weigh. In the 6oz to 8oz range - nearer 6oz if I'm honest.

The next half hour was very quiet, not fish and no sign of activity. I took the hint and packed up and went home.



- and again -


I won't bore you with too many more e-mails cataloguing the capture of very modest roach!

Nipped out again, same time same place. Initially tried another swim but no result so moved back to my usual swim and instant result. Finished the session with 18 fish. All roach with the exception of a couple of roach bream hybrids - the first I've seen this winter.

It was milder - illustrated by the line not freezing to the rod.

The real challenge for me is to find the bigger roach, something about a pound in weight. I suspect I'm in the right area and I simply need to offer a bigger bait to avoid the tiddlers and suffer the blanks. Not sure I can be that dedicated!

I'll let you know if I catch that bigger fish otherwise I will leave you in peace! At least I know where all the prey fish are....



So, it is worth going out if you can find the right sort of place. Coarse fishing is probably not my strong point but I can usually catch something. Last week, while the snow was on the ground, Nigel gave me a ring to say that he was going grayling fishing. Now believe me it was a cold day and I'm sure that he didn't think he was going to catch a massive number of fish. I had one or two other things to do so it was quite late in the afternoon before I was able to join him on the bank. By this time my pal was on the verge of frostbite but he had managed to catch three small grayling. As it turned out that was just about it. We each had a couple of tentative bites after I arrived but basically there was nothing doing.

A few days after the grayling session the snow and ice thawed. My wife was desperate to get me out of the house so I decided to have half-an-hour at the river. Again I had grayling in mind but since it was a bit warmer I thought I'd get my hand in by catching one or two dace and roach. The river was a little coloured with snow melt but all in all it looked nice. I had a few maggots and I went to a spot that generally produces fish, whatever the conditions, at this time of the year. I fed in a few maggots and began to fish with a light leger. Not a sniff! For twenty minutes I touch legered but there was, as far as I could tell, not even a tweak from a minnow. Certainly the maggots on my hook were still wriggling and in mint condition each time I lifted them from the water. I tried one or two other likely spots but the results were identical - nothing! When I used to fish in North east England there was a saying that 'snow melt water' put the fish off. I was always a bit sceptical of the idea but on this occasion there was little doubt that the fish weren't biting. I never even got round to fishing a grayling spot. My personal hypothesis is that it is probably the vast amount of road salt entering the river and increasing the conductivity that was putting the fish off but it will be interesting to see what happens in a day or two if I try again.

Cool or what.

Paul fishes for roach as dusk falls.

Got one!

One of several roach that were caught in icy cold conditions.

Nigel after grayling.

still cold but he had a couple of fish.

Salty water.

A good deal warmer but the water is a bit coloured and probably very salty.

My bait before,

This is what it was like before it went on the hook.

- and after.

Still untouched by fishy lips after a long soak.