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).

Tropical fish.

On my recent trip to Brazil Richard and I spent most of our limited fishing time exploring the peaty freshwater lagoons, which were extensive in the region where we stayed. Every morning we would trudge to the water as it grew light. At the start we had no idea what, if anything, to expect. As usual we began by spinning with artificial lures and on the first morning it almost looked as though we'd cracked it. The lagoons were only accessible from a few stretches of bank where a road ran alongside. They were shallow and solid with rushes and lilies except for the odd gap and, because of the weed problem I opted to start with a Texas rigged soft plastic bait. It was perfect and I cast into even the most densely weeded spots without problems - good start! It was even better when after ten minutes spinning I had a strike as the lure trailed across the surface - I missed it. On the following session I tried a Rapala J11 cast into the few gaps that existed. At one point the plug fouled and skated back across the surface at which point it was hit by a fish - again not hooked. I immediately switched to a Skitterpop and again induced a surface strike which I missed. Back to the J11 and I managed to hook and land two small fish on it in a short length of time, both were trahira sometimes known as tiger tetras. These fish look like giant gobies fitted with the teeth of a pike - awesome! Anyway that was it for lures not another touch in the following two weeks - don't ask me why.

We soon twigged that lures were not going to be the answer to catching fish in the lagoons so we decided to try livebaits. The ones most readily available were small silver tetras, just like the Beunos Aires tetras that you can buy in an aquarium shop. We caught the fish in improvised minnow (=tetra) traps knocked up from plstic bottles and we kept them in a 'bucket' consisting of half a two litre bottle. Once we'd sussed how to catch baits they were suspended on a small hook under a little cork and lowered into gaps in the weeds. Results were immediate - if the fish were feeding, which wasn't always the case. We caught more of the trahira which proved to be rather a nuisance due to their bad habit of grabbing the bait and plunging into the reeds. We caught small peacock bass - iconic sport fish in Brazil - and were well pleased with them. Finally Rich landed an oscar, resplendant in brown a fluorescent orange scales. Richard also managed to catch a small pacu on a fragment of shrimp (we also tried cheese, bread and fish as baits with varying degrees of failure). All in all an interesting place to fish. Livebait was clearly much more effective than lures (so what's new?) and there is scope for catching something bigger (we were told of peacock bass up to 12pounds+ having been taken). Perhaps Richard will have it sorted out before I visit him again.

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 -

Freshwater lagoon.

Reeds and lily pads covered 95% of the water surface.

My first fish.

My first trahira taken on a J11 Rapala, a cause for celebration (well, we thought so).


How's that for a set of teeth - you can see why they're called tiger tetras.


What a glorious tail.  Richard caught this one and I just had to have a picture of this caudal fin.


They would look quite at home in a tropical aquarium but these fish were present in teeming millions among the grasses at the water's edge..

Livebait trap.

A local design. Baited with a bit of bread and floated with just the neck above water these traps soon produced plenty of bait.

Bait bucket.

Just right for holding half a dozen tetras.

Peacock bass.

We had a number of these on livebaits but we're not sure which species they are.


Another interesting fish that fell to livebait.


There were several species of these fish present in the lagoons.