Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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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).

Nice carp

I still enjoy a spot of carp fishing and today I fancied an hour or two in the sun on a local lake. I bought a small white loaf (1-8p) from the bakers, this will last me for three sessions or more so it's quite cheap. My gear was the Surepopper that I use for heavier bass fishing with livebaits, deadbaits and big surface lures. The reel and line were also the bass tackle. All I did was tie a size 6, strong, barbless hook on the end of the line cut some bread into big cubes and I was away.

The sun was blazing down by the time I got to the water at 12:00hr. I trudged round to a likely spot and lobbed a crust out among the lily pads. It was soon attacked by gangs of small rudd and after five or ten minutes it fell apart. I repeated the exercise a few times and, although I could see quite a few carp, the result was the same. Demolished bread and no bites. I moved to another spot where the water surface was covered in willow seeds. Again I could see s few carp and they seemed quite active but failed to take my bait. This time a couple of freebies were devoured but for over an hour my bait was ignored. I decided on a final move and walked round the banks looking for fish.

Soon I came to a shallow (2'-3'deep) area with thick reeds at the back. Between me and the reeds was just one solid mass of Canadian pondweed and it was heaving with carp, each one in its own tiny space in the solid weeds. I watched for a while and when I'd decided which was the biggest fish I lobbed a crust beyond the small clearing where it was gently finning. I drew the crust back to the edge of the clearing and lay the rod down on a small bankside willow bush (I was expecting the usual long wait). Sure enough after a while the rudd arrived and began to attack my big crust. They broke off a couple of crumby bits and set about pecking them to shreds. The big carp had meanwhile submerged so I couldn't see it. I waited and waited and just as my attention began to wander the rod suddenly whanged round. I grabbed it and the tightly set clutch screamed. The fish burrowed into the weed bed and there was little that I could do except hang on tightly to stop it going too far. The rod was hooped over and the line was singing in the rings but I managed to prevent the carp from going more than a few metres.

Everything went solid but when I held the rod up and eased the pressure a bit the tip was still nodding. Alternately I heaved and eased off hoping to dislodge the fish. Everything was at a critical point and I expected to hear a nasty ping at any moment. Suddenly the fish decided to go again and as I heaved back a huge tail thrashed the water surface. It was no good, the carp once more plunged under the thick mat of weed and went solid. By now I was sweating and my arm was aching. I tried the alternate heaving and easing tactic once more and just as I was wondering whether I'd lost it suddenly it moved again. For a second time the great tail thrashed the water to foam tearing a great gap in the weed bed and I took a couple of steps backwards clutching the spool to stop it giving line. The carp slid over the weeds and into open water. Now I was in with a chance. Five more minutes of give and take and I eased the fish into the net. I weighed it (28lb), took couple of pictures and popped it back into the water. I was chuffed. It had been the hardest possible test for rod, reel, line and hook (and my knot). Next time I go bass fishing I should have nothing to fear, even if I hook a monster.

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 - docladle@hotmail.com

In the net.

I know that not everyone likes carp but they can sure test your gear.

Self portrait.

Not a perfect picture and I'm a bit slimy but well pleased.