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).

Sluggish pike.

Nigel and I went pike/grayling fishing the other day. It was towards the end of the very cold spell and it was a bit grim. We began by trying to catch bait and within seconds I had a small dace. Normally I'd have considered it too small for pike bait but I had a feeling that we might struggle so I put it in the container. After twenty minutes or half-an-hour with nothing but the odd minnow we decided to give it best. Nigel opted to try for the grayling while I took the one pathetic bait and had a go for a pike. My first spot, usually a banker, was apparently fishless so I moved on. the second place was a deep, bankside hole under an overhanging bramble. I lowered the float in and the bait swam down. the cork jerked. Was that a take? I tightened but there was nothing there. I drew the bait to the surface and as I did so a nice pike loomed up behind it and swept gracefully past - missing it completely. In went the float again and after a couple of minutes the same sort of action was repeated. I tried a third time and once again the pike missed the bait completely. It looked decidedly sluggish.

I'm a bit slow on the uptake sometimes but it seemed to me that, in the cold water, the pike just couldn't be bothered with any sort of chase. I walked along to my pal and borrowed half-a-metre of nylon which I made into a dropper and attached a half ounce weight. This was tied to the swivel of my wire trace to construct a simple paternoster. I took the float off and returned to the pike spot. My idea was to pin the bait in one place so that the pike couldn't miss it. Sure enough, after a minute or so, the line tightened and I was in.

Nigel had the net and by now was out of earshot so I had to play the pike out, lie down on the muddy bank and slide the fish ashore. After a couple of tries I managed and by now my pal, seeing me in action, had returned. He took a couple of pictures before returning to his float gear. The only other action of the session was when Nigel landed a salmon kelt on his grayling gear. still it was a pleasant afternoon and we didn't blank.

The following day was a little bit warmer so I decided to try again. This time I only caught minnows so I decided to try for perch. The minnow was lip hooked on my smallish circle hook but I kept a wire trace just in case. Sure enough after half-an-hour or so I had a bite in mid-river but I could tell at once that it was no perch. After a bit of a tussle I managed to land the pike - not a giant but a beautiful fish nonetheless, nicely hooked on the little circle hook.

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 -

A pike!

At least I caught something.

The same fish.

It really wasn't keen to chase a bait.


This one took my minnow intended for perch.


They always look good when they flare the gills.

Well hooked.

The small hook is nicely placed in the jaw.  Much easier to remove and less damaging than trebles.