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).

Fishing at last!

I finally managed to get out for a couple of hour's fishing. It hadn't rained for 24 hours, the wind was only about force 5 and the river, although it was all over the fields, was beautifully clear. I started off by float fishing with maggots in an attempt to catch a couple of livebaits but it was a hard grind. After an hour or more all I managed to land was a couple of salmon parr and a grayling of about half-a-pound. Not quite what I'd hoped for but I was grateful to catch anything after the long lay off since I returned from holiday.

Anyway, I was prepared for the worst and I'd put a couple of small dead dace from the freezer in my pocket - just in case! I rigged the four-piece spinning rod and Stradic with 20lb Nanofil and a clear Amnesia leader with a knottable wire trace and a size 4/0 Mustad Demon Circle - fine wire, Ultrapoint hook. I don't usually give details of tackle because I'm not that fussy about the precise sizes and makes as long as they are reliable. However, I realise that for some other anglers the brand name etc. may be the only way they can find out what sort of thing I'm using.

I hooked one of my little dace (about 6" in length) through both lips from below, squashed it a bit to expel air and prevent it from floating and set off downstream. There were one or two really large pools and the water often extended well into the surrounding fields. I combed all the likely spots casting and slowly twitching the little bait through the slacks and the grassy margins. Nothing! It looked really promising and I was disappointed not to move a pike from any of the better spots. After an hour-and-a-half I'd made my way almost back to the car. To get back I had to cross a big ditch lined with reeds. It was in full contact with the main river and I know that it is used for spawning by pike a little later in the year so I thought I'd give it one last go. I paddled to the edge of the reeds and cast upwind along the ditch. Twitch, twitch, twitch, I could see the flashing, slowly twirling bait as it made its way back towards the rod tip. Almost there now. I noticed a big, V shaped ripple behind the bait and careful inspection revealed a decent pike following slowly behind the dace. I gave it one sharp twitch and the pike grabbed it. Let it turn away and tighten the line - it was on!

To be honest it wasn't much of a fight and within a minute or so I was able to slide the pike, about six or seven pounds, onto the wet grass. A couple of pictures, a twist of the fingers to remove the hook which was neatly in the edge of the upper jaw. Back it went. Not the biggest or most exciting pike I've ever caught but one of the most welcome.

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 -


Salmon parr can be a real nuisance if you're fishing with maggots.


No monster but a nice fish.  Too fragile to use as a bait though.


A frozen dace which needed squashing to make it sink.

Circle hook.

You need plenty of exposed hook when you're deadbait fishing like this.


What a welcome catch this was.

Beautifully hooked.

I think that circle hooks really are the business.