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).

Start the season.

I have to say that I don't really see the point of close seasons. On my local rivers there are trout and salmon as well as coarse fish so, in theory at any rate, you can fish for something through the entire year. Abolishing the close season on ponds and lakes doesn't seem to have caused many problems. If I wanted to disturb nesting birds or trample vegetation I'd walk a dog rather than go fishing. Fish in the act of spawning are unlikely to take baits anyway so there are few real excuses for a lay off. All that is by way of saying that I've just been for my first coarse fishing session of the year on a local river. I might squeeze another fishing trip in before I'm away for three weeks, then there will be a webless month 'til I get back.

In fact, for various domestic reasons, I couldn't go until mid-day, it was hot and sunny (rather uncomfortable in my fishing gear) and by the time I arrived at the river a few of the best 'swims' were already occupied by old blokes like me who were mostly trying to tempt the big chub which were quite conspicuous in the low, clear water. Since I was doing a recce I'd opted to spin and cover as much ground as possible. To give myself a chance of most predatory species the lure was a small, floating, unjointed Rapala. On my 20lb braid it cast very well and, because there was a stiff breeze blowing which billowed the line into a curve, once or twice I had to yank it out of grasses on the far bank.

The lure only fished at a maximum of about a couple of feet down and by keeping the rod up it was possible to fish just under the surface if need be. I started off in a deep pool and, not surprisingly in view of the shallow diver, didn't get a bite. I walked on and had a few casts at groups of big chub basking in calm water - no interest! After about ten minutes I came to a gravel shallow with some weed growth and a few bushes along the opposite bank. First cast I saw a couple of small, stripey shapes following the lure and next cast I hooked a small perch. I took a picture (thinking it might be all I would catch) and returned it. Next chuck I hooked a bit better fish which turned out to be a small (12oz) chub. Again I took a picture and returned to my fishing. Two more casts and just downstream of a bush I hooked a bigger chub (probably twice the size) which slipped from my grasp, yanking the tail treble of the lure into the fleshy part of my left hand. 'Silly old so and so!' or words to that effect. It needed the pliers to extract the hook which was well in past the barb. I sucked it clean, cursed a bit and continued to fish.

Nothing else was forthcoming so I walked on to a deep run downstream of a bridge. A long chuck (wind behind me) into the flow and after a few turns of the handle 'wallop!' I was into something much livelier. The way that the fish twisted and wriggled told me that it was likely to be a trout and so it proved. It was a beautiful fish of about three pounds nicely hooked in the maxilla. I took a few pictures before returning the trout which swam off apparently none the worse for being caught. Excellent! No more bites although a couple more, smaller, trout followed the lure without taking. I returned to the deep pool where I'd started and changed the plug for a medium sized Sandra with a lead head that I'd used when I was in the USA. The lure had been bitten in half by a bluefish and repaired with the help of superglue so it was a bit the worse for wear. On my third cast it was taken by a pike just under the rod tip. I played the fish in and took a few pictures before it shook off the hook. I moved down to the tail of the pool but apart from a follow from two perch, one of them a good size (1lb plus), I had no more action. Still, four species in a couple of hours fishing was a good start. Next time I must try a session when the conditions are a bit more favourable (early or late in the day). Incidentally, I did disturb a good barbel while I was wading about so that might be worth a try some time soon.

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 -

First fish of the season.

In fact I forgot to say that I had a couple more titchy perch.

First chub.

Not a big fish but, pleasingly, my second species..

Bigger chub.

This is the one that had its revenge by hooking me in the palm of the hand.


What a beautiful fish.  I can't say it fought hard but it was certainly lively.

Me and trout.

I tried to get a picture of me with the fish but I should have moved out of the shade of the bridge to reduce the contrast.

Fourth species.

The pike took my soft plastic armed with a lead head.  My plug just wasn't getting down deep enough.