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 several 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. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. 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).

Contrasting pike days.

Since it was the end of the coarse fishing season on rivers last weekend I had a couple of stabs at catching a final pike. In fact, unusually for me, I went on two successive days. The first time I was joined by my grandon Ben and it was a total flop. We wobbled good sized sardines (which looked superb) and had a dabble with big, soft-plastic lures. Neither of us had a sniff. We didn't even see a pike. My pal Nigel was also fishing but he opted to try for grayling. He was slightly more fortunate than us in that he had two bites. The first was a decent grayling that came unstuck and the second turned out to be an, out of season, seatrout of about three pounds. All in all a poor afternoon.

On the following day I was joined by my pal Steve Pitts. Steve hadn't been fishing since he returned from his trip to Tobago so he was pretty keen to catch. I told him of the previous day's disappointment but he was undaunted although we had no choice but to fish the same stretch as on the previous day. Steve had purchased a large lead-headed shad - silvery with a violet back - which he thought looked fairly smolty. I had one, rather stinky, sardine left from the previous day so I put it on a debarbed circle hook and wobbled it about under a cork.

The first two pools appeared to be fishless but in the third one, a narrow bankside slack, Steve had a take which failed to ingest his plastic shad. It was a lovely warm sunny day so we were fairly confident that the fish would take again. Steve stood back and let me dangle the sardine in the spot where he had seen the pike. Sure enough, after a couple of minutes, my bait was grabbed by a decent fish. I waited for a few seconds and then allowed the line to tighten. The pike was on! I played it round the pool for a while before leading it onto the sloppy mud at the edge to be unhooked. As I reached down to pick it up the pike wagged its tail and liberally coated itself, me, my jacket and my glasses with black, watery ooze. Steve, standing back with the video camera, was amused.

Over the rest of the afternoon we both fished soft plastic baits (the pike had removed my old pilchard). Altogether we had four more bites and landed three more pike, none as big as the first. Steve's shad was very effective and I had a fish from a shallow slack in the middle of fast flowing riffles, on my unweighted Super Sandra. The real question is why was it so much better than the previous afternoon? Sorry Ben!!!!

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you!' get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to -

Young Ben.

Persisting like a veteran on a very poor afternoon.


Fifteen or sixteen pounds of pike that didn't mind eating a less than fresh sardine.

Get down!

One of Steve's pike that had greedily engulfed seven or eight inches of shad.


Steve prepares to extract the hook.  It's a decent sized bait for such a modest fish.