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).

Good exercise!

As I steadily recover (fingers crossed) from the longstanding back/leg injury I'm making more and more 'exercise' sorties with the fishing rod. The recent nice weather is an encouragement too. Also, when I simply go for a walk with a fishing rod I'm inclined to try out any new kit or ideas. Anyway, the other day, I picked up the spinning rod, switched the spool to one of the incredibly fine Varivas Sea Bass Max Power 20lbBS (what a name - what a price!!!!), tied on a short nylon trace using the Surgeon's Knot shown to me by Alan Bulmer when I was in New Zealand, blood-knotted on a short trace of 15lb Tyger Wire and clipped on a J9 black and silver Rapala. These little, lightweight, shallow diving lures are ideal while the river is in it's present low state because I can fish virtually anywhere with them. The combination of gossamer fine line and lightweight lure seemed ideal, allowing me to cover the entire width of the river everywhere with a good chance of landing anything that might take from little perch to big pike.

It had rained heavily two days earlier so although the river level had dropped back the water was still carrying a fair amount of colour. Nevertheless, it seemed to me that it was clear enough to give me a chance. An hour or so after I started I was beginning to wonder if I was wrong - I hadn't seen anything at all. I persisted with the lure which was behaving perfectly even though I'd replaced the old mid-body treble with a slightly larger Eagle Claw model. I'd squashed the barbs down to make hooking and unhooking easier but this seemed a bit irrelevant in the absence of bites.

I began to wend my way back downstream and for a further fifteen minutes I was biteless then I made a mistake. I slightly overcast and the lure hooked itself up on a root sticking out of the far bank just above water level. Try as I might it wouldn't shake free so I propped the rod against some reeds and set off to the nearest bridge (a distance of about 300m). I crossed the bridge and walked back down to where the lure was snagged picking up a handy forked stick on the way. When I got to the offending root a few seconds work with my stick released the lure and, instead of dropping it in the water and risking it catching up on another snag or, worse still, being taken by a fish, I placed it on the grassy bank. Now it was back up to the bridge and trudge down to the rod. Flick the lure back into the water and wind it in. What a palaver.

By now time was marching on and my stomach was telling me it was nearly tea time. Anyway, I couldn't resist a few more casts on the way down and, just after rounding a big right hand bend in the river, I plonked the lure up against the far bank in an area of fairly slack water (the main flow was down my side). Two or three turns of the handle and I felt a weight on the end of the line. Raising the rod I held the line taut and I could feel the unmistakable bump bump of a fish. Undoubtedly it wasn't the desired pike, perch or chub but a salmon kelt, and it was a lively specimen to boot. the fish took off downstream into the fast water. It was some time before I managed to subdue it and lead it to a spot where the bank was low enough for me to lie on my belly and remove the hook with my pliers. After all the walking, fence climbing, casting, playing and landing the leg still felt fine - result! Also, the line and the knots had stood up well to snagging and catching a sizable fish. With a bit of luck I'll be rock hopping down the coast with the gear in a week or two. Bass here I come!

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 -


My lively fish makes a bid for freedom.


One last plunge before it's done.


Now I can unhook and release it - easy with the barbs flattened.