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 query.

I have to admit that I'm not really a carp angler. I enjoy carp fishing but it's just a sort of stop gap between lulls in the sea fishing and during the close season on the rivers. In addition it is easy for me to go carping for an hour or two because I don't have far to drive before I'm at the water. The other afternoon I picked up my rod, my haversack, my landing net and my little bag of bread crusts and set off to walk round the lakes doing a bit of carp spotting. It was a pleasant, sunny afternoon and there were only a couple of other anglers ensconced in bivvies to avoid.

I'd walked for about ten minutes when I noticed several nice carp nuzzling at a small, grassy island - it looked promising. As I was putting the bait on I watched the fish and I could see that there were also lots of smaller fish (rudd?) splashing and flapping in the overhanging sedges on the fringe of the islet. Interesting! It was a bit tricky to get my crust out to the right spot without flicking it off (I had to dunk it to gain a bit of weight) so it took two or three casts before it was placed to my satisfaction. As it turned out I might as well not have bothered, the carp were not really interested in my bait. After ten minutes it was clear that I wasn't going to get a decent bite (a couple of fish sniffed the crust) so I decided to move on. I concluded that the rudd were spawning among the grasses and sedges (I believe that they spawn April to June and it's been very warm this month). Presumably the carp were eating the eggs and ignoring my bread. Do any of you carp anglers know whether this is likely?

My next choice of spot was a narrow channel where I saw one or two fish hurrying through. I cast my bait so that the line hung vertically from a willow twig and the crust floated in mid-channel. As I waited probably eight or nine fish, in ones and twos, swam straight past the bait. A couple glanced at the bait but then just kept going. After perhaps fifteen minutes two common carp of quite different sizes came along. As they approached the bait the smaller fish was ahead and it came up and nudged the bait with its snout. Within seconds its buddy shouldered it out of the way, grabbed the crust, hooked itself and tore off in the direction it had come from. A battle royal ensued witht the carp splashing wildly, making strong runs and diving in under the bank. Eventually the fish tired and I was able to get it into the net - sixteen pounds. I picked it up and used the time delay on the camera to take a picture of me before I returned it. Excellent stuff!

I moved on and found a few more active fish in a reed lined bay. I dropped a couple of crusts in the margin, sat down and waited. After a while a fish slurped in a crust so I lowered the baited hook in the edge. It was some time before my bait was taken properly (I missed a couple of bites). I seem to find that it is best to place the bait as close to (touching) the reeds as I can because the carp usually take these baits before any that are drifting even a few inches out. Perhaps it's just my imagination. Anyway, eventually a nice mirror about half the size of the fish Id taken earlier, hooked itself and put up a fine show before it had its picture taken. Not a bad afternoon I thought!

The following afternoon I went down with the camera to look for more spawning fish. Sure enough I found some right in by the bank amongst the roots of overhanging willows. When I looked it was clear that there were rudd right in the edge, clearly spawning and often with their backs out of the water. To my surprise there were also bream of decent size indulging in the same activity just beneath the rudd. There's little wonder that rudd x bream hybrids are fairly common. My attempts to take pictures of the activity (while hanging from a branch by my knees) were not very successful but I'll put a couple of pictures in to show the sort of place. In addition, just as on the day before, there were a couple of carp nosing about among the roots, presumably in search of rudd or bream caviare.

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 -


The carp is battling hard.  The willow twig that my line was on is visible top left.


At this stage I could see that it was a beautiful fish.

In the net.

It took quite a while before I had the fish on the bank.

Ready to return.

I still haven't got the hang of taking my own picture confidently.

Second carp.

This mirror was browsing along the margin.

Me again.

It's a much smaller fish and I almost missed being in the picture this time.


Too much reflection but one fish is visible just at the end of the leafy twig.


All the disturbance in the edge is caused by flapping rudd.