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).


The other day was a little cooler than it had been recently, slightly overcast and threatening showers. I decided to give the carp another try to see whether they would bite better with the drop in water temperature. My tactics were the usual spinning rod, braid, strong size 6 carp hook and big lumps of bread crust cut from a small farmhouse loaf. I find that about a third of a loaf is plenty for one of my sessions, usually lasting a couple of hours, so it's pretty cheap fishing (about 35p's worth of bait).

When I got to the lakes I found that someone was fishing on the opposite side from where I'd intended starting and for some reason they'd lobbed two big orange topped marker floats right over to my side. No chance for me to fish there then. If I'd hooked a carp it would surely have ploughed through the other blokes lines. I was slightly perturbed but there's plenty more water so I went on to another spot where the lake is almost entirely covered in the oval, waxy, floating leaves of pondweed. Right in the middle of the weed was a patch of open water a couple of metres square where on a previous visit I'd seen some good sized carp cruising about. On went a big lump of crust, a quick dunk to give it some weight and cast it out into the open area. I drew the floating bait back until it nestled against the leaves on the near edge and laid the rod down. Within minutes a big carp appeared and slid towards the bait. There was a loud slurp, the crust disappeared and my hand hovered over the rod waiting for it to be dragged round. Nothing happened and after a few minutes I wound in to find that the bait had gone. Clearly the carp had just sucked the bait from the hook.

I baited up again and flicked the crust out into the same area. It landed a little to the left of the previous cast but I wasn't concerned. I drew it back to the near edge and once more I waited. This time nothing happened. I saw the odd bout of wobbly water as carp moved under the leaves and the occasional fish crossed the open patch but nothing seemed interested in the bait. As I sat on the ground by the rod my attention began to wander to the activities of dragonflies and moorhens. Suddenly I was startled to feel the rod clatter aginst my leg as a fish, already hooked, made off. I grabbed the rod and stood up leaning back as I did so to get the carp up to the surface. It thrashed heavily but I soon had it sliding through the weeds towards me. It wasn't one of the larger fish so it was only a couple of minutes before I had it in the net. A quick picture, remove the hook and without lifting the fish out I simply lowered the rim of the net and allowed it to swim away. Good start!

I decided that I wasn't likely to extract another one from the same spot after all the disturbance so I moved on round the lake 'til I found another gap in the pondweed carpet. I did the same thing again with a big floating crust hard against the leaves. Perhaps five minutes passed and I was in again. Magic! This one was even less trouble than the first one but I had to lift the net out so that I could unhook it and take a picture. A little heavier than the first - perhaps just double figures. This was turning out to be better better than my recent sessions. I walked back to the spot where I'd originally intended to fish only to find that the marker floats were still there so I continued on my way looking for suitable weedy spots to fish. Now the weeds were mostly patches of water lilies with big leaves and tough stems, a much trickier proposition for extracting carp then the area of pondweed. When I came to the third patch of lilies I saw a disturbance of the vegetation indicating the presence of a carp so I simply lowered a bait into a small gap between the leaves close to the movement. The shaking of the plants indicated that something was approaching my bait and shortly afterwards the rod whanged over as a carp hooked itself. Fortunately this fish swam out into open water rather than burrowing in for a tug of war. I picked up the camera and snapped a few shots as I was playing the fish. Into the net, unhook it and release it. The smallest of the three that I'd caught - perhaps only six or seven pounds in weight but another nice looking common. Three fish in a session, just what I needed. Must have another go soon before the weather warms up again.

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 -

First carp.

A leaf of pondweed in the net with the carp.  These plants are quite soft and don't usually cause any problems even with larger carp.

Second carp.

Another nice fully-scaled common.

---and a third.

This one's just a tiddler but fighting hard in open water.


Ready to be released.