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).

End of season!

Only another couple of weeks of river coarse fishing to go but at least the possibility of a bass or mullet down at the coast is now getting more realistic. Anyway, when my pal Richard Gardiner emailed and asked if I fancied an hour or two at the river I was keen to try. I hadn't seen Richard for months so it was good to have a chance for a natter and to catch up with the fishing news. To be fair the conditions looked a little 'iffy'. It had been the usual one day fair-one day rain and the river was up and down like a yoyo. Nevertheless we went.

I arrived ten minutes before my pal and set about trying to catch a couple of pike baits. A day or two earlier I'd done exactly the same thing - float fishing with maggots - and caught some stonking great dace. This time however the fish were harder to come by and I only managed a few smaller specimens interspersed with big fat minnows. I had been catching the dace from a slack pool downstream of a closed hatch and the larger ones were were almost all fat, slippery females. Dace spawn early in the year and I think that this was a pre-spawning aggregation away from the male fish which would already be waiting in the streamy water of gravel bedded shallows.

When Richard arrived I decided to have a go for a pike while he began trotting maggots in hope of grayling. At first we both struggled and for an hour or more neither of us had a touch - even though it had been a mild night and the water was not too coloured. Eventually my bait was taken. The pike whipped the float under so I tightened to try and see how big it was. Disappointment! This one couldn't manage my bait and was simply carrying it round in its mouth. I lowered the landing net into the water and tried to steer the pike in but it let go when it saw the net.

I walked back up to see how my pal was doing. After a biteless session at his first spot he'd moved to another nice glide and he said he'd just had a bite and missed it. I stood watching as he trotted the stream and after five minutes or so he had a second bite which again was missed. By now Richard was becoming a bit frustrated because it didn't look as though the fish were exactly 'mad on'. I said I was going to try another pool for pike before I packed in and set off trudging through the wet field. I'd only gone about fifty yards when I was called back by a shout from my pal. I grabbed the camera and trotted back to see him playing a good fish. After a bit of a struggle he netted a fine grayling of well over two pounds - fantastic. I went on to try for pike but didn't have any more takes. Richard told me that he'd had a second grayling not quite as big as the first one so all in all an entertaining afternoon.

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 -

Nice dace.

One of the dace I had a couple of days earlier.

Even better.

A big fat dace of about half-a-pound - not to be sniffed at.

He's in!

Richard playing his big grayling.

Good one.

What magnificent fish grayling are.  Note the bunch of red maggots on the hook.

Well done.

Richard admiring his well deserved catch.