Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle


Information Page

Freshwater Fishing

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).

Pike and grayling again.

My good pal Steve Pitts has had a busy winter one way and another, so he's done virtually no fishing at all. Anyway, last week, when he rang me to say that he would be able to come down to Dorset for a spot of piking I was delighted. When Steve came he brought an old friend, Bill, who has also found it difficult to get onto the river bank for a year or two.

The first signs were not good. Once again the dace were reluctant to bite and apart from one that I caught almost on my first cast that was it. Lures and dead baits were going to be the order of the day. The first few places that we tried seemed to be devoid of pike and we had no action at all for perhaps an-hour-and-a-half. My pal Nigel was grayling fishing near the top of the stretch and he broke the monotony for us by landing a nice fish on his float rod and centrepin reel.

By this time we were all ready for a spot of lunch so we went back to the car and dumped surplus gear before setting off, refreshed, for the afternoon session. Things looked up when I had a bite almost at once. Unfortunately the pike was only four or five pounds so after it had dropped the bait (our only dace) twice I opted to leave it and try elsewhere. Steve and Bill were fishing a variety of spoons, soft plastics and wobbled sprats - still to no avail. We moved on downstream and at the next pool I had another bite on the dace which produced a fish of perhaps seven or eight pounds. I tried to get a picture using the time delay (the others were too far away to assist) but (as usual) managed to include too much sky.

By now Steve, using a big shad, had had a follow from a salmon but it was't really interested. In the next pool that I tried (still using the same bait) I had another pike, similar in size to the other one I'd landed. The luck seemed to be with me. We moved on to perhaps the largest slack on that stretch of river. Steve stuck to his shad, Bill switched to a wobbled deadbait and I had now tied on a J11 Rapala. This time it was Bill's turn to score and he was soon into a nice pike. As he played his fish I had a take on the plug and found myself playing an out of season salmon which was quickly unhooked and released. As it swam away the rain started in earnest and by the time we packed in we were all thoroughly soaked. Perhaps not the best day's fishing ever but when you've been confined to barracks for a while a really pleasant 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 -


Nigel fiddles with the net and plays his grayling at the same time.


Nigel's grayling is safely netted.

The bait.

The bunch of maggots is clearly visible in the mouth of the grayling.

What a beauty!

2lb 13oz - Nigel's first fish of the season landed on New Year's Day.

One of my pike.

Not a bad catch on a really slow day.

Bill's in!

At last!  Bill's pike plunges into the depths.

- there's more.

Bill's fish is still battling away.

Got it.

It's always a bit of a relief to land a fish on a day like that.