Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle


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13 May 2003.

More carping.

I have to admit that when I go fishing I like to see what's going on. I think it's a bit like the 'watch-a-float'syndrome that affects many of us when we first start fishing. Anyway, the point is that most of the fishing I do these days seems to be centred around seeing fish take my bait or lure. I always enjoyed lure fishing for pike in my local rivers because nine times out of ten I would see a bulge, swirl or flash as the fish struck. Similarly, plugging for chub and perch is visually exciting as is fly fishing for thicklips, popping for bass and even spinning for thinlips. I think that I get just about equal pleasure out of each of these methods. One other visual approach that I really enjoy is surface fishing for carp and as I said the other week I tend to fill in quiet spells with a spot of carp fishing.

Last week I had two carp fishing trips. All I need is the rod, the net and a little bag of softened, rubbery mixers. However, from habit, I always take the bag with me. 'The bag' contains everything but the kitchen sink - just in case!!! If, when I got to the lakes, I found perch feeding, or rudd taking flies or indeed any other sort of fish from bream to zander I would have something in the bag that would give me a chance. Anyway, that's by the way because I'm generally mesmerised by the carp.

My approach is to look for the part of the lake that is in the sun (the west end in the morning and the east end in the evening - carp usually like that), that is shallow and full of reeds, weeds and overhanging trees (carp love them) and ideally the shore towards which any wind is blowing. All the bits of rubbish, including rejected bread and other floating delicacies, tend to accumulate along the windward shore. If I can get all these factors coming together I reckon that my chances of a carp are good.

A good approach seems to be to walk quietly along and chuck a dozen loose mixers into several likely spots - then sit back and watch. Ripples are the best guide because not only do they indicate a feeding carp but they show exactly where it is. As the carp sucks in the free offerings it makes waves that expand in a circle from its exact location. Slurping noises are also a good guide to fish that have found my baits Having found a fish I creep up and lower the baited hook as close to it as possible. The fish seem to take more confidently if I have the bait actually touching the reed stems, lily pads etc. and the line off the water.

To get back to last week's sessions (each of about two hours) on the first one I had a carp of pounds which took three mixers hanging from a reed stem. I had to walk backwards to haul it out of the reeds but it never looked like escaping. On the second trip I had two fish, both of them from clumps of sedge within six inches of the bank where I sat. Each time the excitement was intense as the fish came up and took the bait. On both trips a number of fish took the baits and rejected them without being hooked so, in fact, the suspense and excitement was more or less continuous throughout the two hours - what more could I ask for?

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 -



May 13th 2003

Eight pounds.

This one took among dense reed stems and had to be hauled out by walking backwards.

Eleven pounds.

A fully scaled mirror that took mixers in the margin.

A smaller fish.

This one was feeding under an overhanging tree but took the bait from the bankside.

A fine sunrise (also last week).

A bass fisher's dawn but no bass.  Note the same bag that I take carp fishing (arrowed).