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).

Small baits, small fish.

I really do enjoy all sorts of fishing but sometimes I feel as though I need a change. This week I decided to have ago for a big perch so my first activity was to catch some reasonable sized livebaits. Typically, the livebaits proved difficult to come by but after an hour of float fishing I managed a couple of five to six inch dace and a roach - pathetic I know but that's the way it was. I set up a simple paternoster with a small lead and a size 6 circle hook. On went one of the dace and I lobbed it out. It was about two seconds before the line tightened and the rod bent - pike! Fortunately I had used a short wire trace so I wasn't worried about being bitten off. I played the pike (about 4lb) in and took its picture before unhooking it. On went another dace, again the line tightened at once but this time it was a snag and the bait came off. One bait left so I crossed my fingers and had another go. No bites so after a couple of minutes I reeled in to inspect the bait. As it skittered towards me across the surface a bigger pike slashed at it. No point trying to catch perch with that in the swim so I dropped the bait back in and it was taken at once. Again I played the pike and took its picture before releasing it. What to do next?

Rather than struggle to catch some more decent baits I decided to resort to minnows for bait. The perch loved them and as fast as I could catch minnows I caught perch. Unfortunately none of the perch were any size and despite the big fat minnows the predators ranged from about three inches to about nine inches long. I caught a perch on virtually every minnow and in fact one bait produced four perch on the trot. It was amusing but not quite what I'd hoped for.

I couldn't face another minnow bashing session so the following day I decided to try fly fishing for chub. As I've often said I'm no great fly caster so I wasn't too confident with the low clear water and bright conditions. I tied on a big, fuzzy dry fly on a size 12 hook, plastered it with floatant and set about trying to find a chub. For perhaps an hour I could only get bites from minnows and I was unable to hook them (or I might have been tempted to leave one on the hook and see if anything took it). Anyway, I was just about deciding to give them best when I came to a gravel shallow with a deep run under some bushes on the far bank. there was a bit of a downstream wind and lots of willow trees behind me so casting wasn't too easy. Eventually I resorted to a sort of roll cast which flicked the fly across to the bushes. On about my third attempt there was a big, bubbly rise and the rod bowed to a decent fish. I leaned back and tried to stop the chub burrowing beneath the bush and, amazingly, I succeeded. Eventually I landed the fish - a four pounder - and unhooked it. I thought I'd have another go with the time delay on the camera but, for some reason it came out fuzzy and overexposed. Anyway, it was a nice fish to end my session and - it made a change.

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 -

Pike no 1.

this one took the bait as it sank on the first cast.

Pike no 2.

This one was bigger and it missed on its first attempt.


This was one of a great many and the big minnow didn't put it off.

Chub lie.

I had to bully the chub out from under the bushes.  The red arrow shows where it took the fly and the blue one the direction of flow.


A rotten picture but you can see that it's a decent fish.