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).

Carping with Ben.

My friend Ben rang the other day to ask whether I fancied a session after carp. Now I know that Ben has a similar approach to me when it comes to this sort of thing. We both enjoy catching fish off the top using sensible gear (a rod, a reel, a line and a hook) and it was bright, sunny day with no wind so I jumped at the chance to go.

I drove to the lakes and got the gear out of the car before walking round to look for my pal. In fact I found him at the first fishable spot I came to and he was looking slightly crestfallen. Apparently he'd only been fishing a few minutes and had hooked a carp, well into double figures, which he played for five minutes before it managed to release itself from the hook in a dense lily bed. At least it seemed encouraging, each of us having blanked on a recent trip.

Leaving the disturbed spot we wandered on looking for signs of carp activity and to be honest it was pretty quiet. Several other anglers were in action, mostly fishing on the bottom, and despite mountains of expensive gear none of them seemed to be catching. After trying a couple of likely places we decided to shift to a small lake where no one else was present. We arrived to find most of the water surface covered in a white carpet of willow seeds. Only one end of the lake was reasonably clear of seeds and we walked round to discover that there were a few carp moving about on the edge of the drifting blanket of fluff.

We chose spots about twenty metres apart and settled down to fish, dropping our crusts close to the irises, overhanging branches and roots which clothed the waters edge. It was only ten or fifteen minutes before Ben called out and I looked up to see that he was playing a carp. I reeled in and grabbed the camera but by the time I walked round to his position the fish was still fighting hard. Clearly it was no monster but his rod was well bent and the fish showed no signs of giving in. Eventually a fully scaled mirror of seven or eight pounds was in the net and after a couple of pictures it was returned and we went back to our fishing.

Ben now moved away to his left to a patch of lilies while I returned to my former pitch where a couple of carp were still showing. Twenty minutes later Ben was in again. The whole process was repeated except that this time the fish was a beautiful common, bigger than his previous catch and fighting, if anything, even harder. Back went the fish and once again we reverted to our fishing. It wasn't exactly hectic but there were enough fish showing to keep us interested. Eventually my rod pulled round as a decent carp took the crust and this time it was Ben who had to do the honours. Just like the other two carp my fish fought like stink and it was some time before it slid into the meshes of my net held by my mate. Excellent! This carp was about the same size as Ben's common but not as attractively scaled (more leather less scales). After we'd returned it we decided (possibly mistakenly as it turned out) to try another spot. We had a couple of tentative plucks from carp in a reedy area but caught nothing else. All in all a very pleasant afternoon.

All in all it was a very pleasant afternoon's fishing. Three reasonable carp caught on a few penceworth of breadcrust, all of them fighting like demons (they really did battle exceptionally hard) and plenty of things to chat about as we packed in. Enjoyable!

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 -

He's in!

Ben's rod bent into his first, hard fighting carp..

Got it.

The carp is lifted ashore.  Note the dense blanket of willow seeds.


The massive scales on these fish are amazing.

-- and another!

Ben nets his second fish.  My pitch is just visible in the far-left background.


A really nice, fully scaled common.


Not really a beast but certainly less 'fishlike' than Ben's common.