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).

Silly mistake!

I've had a couple of sessions on the river in the past week. It's still mild and even though we've had the odd downpour the water is in nice condition. My first trip was an hour in the afternoon of a bright, sunny day and I was hoping to catch perch or chub. I didn't have time to catch any baits so I tied on a small Rapala (+ 15lb wire trace) and set off. It seemed dead until I reached the last spot I could fish. I cast upstream under the trees into a 'chubby' spot and began a fast retrieve to keep pace with the current. Almost at once I was into a decent fish but the thrashing and powerful run suggested that it wasn't the desired species. Sure enough it turned out to be a modest pike in mint condition. After taking its picture and releasing it I went home.

A few days later I opted to try livebaiting for perch. Again it was afternoon but this time it was overcast and dull. I cut the Rapala of the previous trip off the trace and simply tied on a small circle hook. I gave the set up a decent tug to test the new knot and all seemed to be well - as it turned out a serious mistake. I started off using a paternoster with a small dace lip hooked. The first three or four spots produced nothing at all and my back was beginning to ache a bit so I walked on upstream to a shallow, grassy margin on my bank. I lowered the little fish into the slack and within a minute there was a flash of green and gold as it was siezed by a nice pike. "Thank heavens for the wire!" I was thinking as I immediately tightened the line. The fish plunged away and it was gone!!!! I was gutted.

When I reeled in I was even more gutted to find that the trace had parted at the knot to the swivel. After all these years of fishing I still make stupid mistakes. I should have retied the wire at both ends or given it even more of a test. No good crying over spilt milk so I decided to try and catch the pike and remove the superfluous hook. I wasn't sure where the fish had gone after being hooked the first time so this time the baited hook (a bigger circle just clipped on to a new 15lb trace) was suspended under a small cork so that it could wander freely round the pool in search of the pike. It was several minutes and perhaps three or four metres from where I had the first bite before the cork shot away. I tightened and I was in. A decent pike but was it the same one? The fish fought like stink tearing out into the current and making one good run after another. I slithered down the bank and slid the net into the water. Away the fish went again and it was a little while before it slipped safely into the meshes.

A quick inspection revealed the other hook and trace still in the jaw of the pike - excellent. I removed both hooks, took a few pictures and returned the fish (slimly built but middle teens I guessed). So, what had I learned from my mistake (apart from the fact that I was a prat not to retie the trace)? Firstly, pike will usually take a second (or third or fourth) time only minutes after being hooked - if you can locate them (I already knew this). Secondly, the circle hooks, whatever their size, work well for pike (I also knew this). Thirdly, it was interesting that both hooks were in an identical (usual) position around the maxilla of the fish. Anyway, I was pleased with my spell of fishing and no doubt I'll be going again soon.

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 -

Not a chub.

A beautiful little pike taken on a small Rapala.

Better one.

Not a perch but certainly satisfactory.


The smaller circle hook had clearly done its job.

Could do better.

Still too much sky - even though I was squatting down in the nettles.