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).

Carp challenge.

The wonderful weather tempted me to go carp fishing this week. After my first trip I wished I hadn't bothered - let me explain. There were stacks of carp basking in the sunshine and cruising about so the first signs were good. I had taken a couple of breadcrusts for bait because I like fishing on the top and I thought that the weather was ideal for the method. No such luck! The fish weren't interested in my baits and they didn't even attack the free bits of bread that I chucked in. I might have thought that it was the method that was wrong but I had a chat with a couple of blokes who'd been legering all night and all day (unbelievable!), three rods each and one missed bite between them - WHY!

I really couldn't believe that it was too cold (after all I had two nice fish off the top in February) and the fish were very active so - were they thinking about spawning? It seems far too early for them to be distracted in this way. Anyway, on my way home I pondered on the challenge presented by the 'uncatchable' carp. Later on I had a chat with my pal Nigel, who knows more about carp than I do, and he said that it may be a matter of the stable weather conditions. Apparently they will often bite well when there is a sudden warm up. Whatever the reason I decided to 'be prepared' the next time I went.

The following day I took breadcrust, Chum Mixer and luncheon meat - just in case. The weather was again excellent - warm and bright - but to be honest the fish were just about as wary as on the previous day, whatever the bait. I was lulled into thinking I'd cracked it by an early success when a common carp of about eight pounds took a crust within five minutes of casting out. However, after catching the fish it was back to the doldrums. Not a sniff for two hours or so. I decided to pack in and as I was walking back I saw a big carp slowly cruising in the shallows under some trees. I couldn't resist. I waited until the fish had gone past on its patrol and then, baiting with a big lump of crust I lobbed it over an overhanging hazel bush so that the line was draped over a twig and hanging straight down to the bait about six feet from the edge. Within minutes the carp reappeared but it was right in the margin. Would it see my crust? For what seemd an age it fiddled about in the edge and then turning very slowly it approached the crust. A gentle suck and then it backed off. For ten seconds I held my breath and waited. The carp moved in again and this time the crust disappeared into its mouth. I struck and it was on. The fight was total anticlimax. The fish, an ugly looking leathery mirror of about twenty pounds, simply wallowed under the rod tip until I slid it into the net. A quick click of the camera and it was back in the water and away. An excellent finish to a slow session but the behaviour of the fish is still a puzzle.

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 -

Loads of carp.

Fish of all sizes were active everywhere but not feeding.


This small mirror totally ignored the nearby crusts until I left.


Small but beautifully marked this one fought like stink.


Built like a beach ball this mirror did not put up any sort of struggle.