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).

Big carp.

There's nothing like a change. The other day because it was a bit cooler than of late I decided to try spinning for seatrout. In fact I fished for perhaps three hours (a long session for me) and had half-a-dozen follows on the Rapala and Mepps lures. I only managed to hook two fish. One was a decent seatrout which shook off after being played for a couple of minutes and the other was a titchy brown trout. One of the follows was a stonking great salmon and two of the others were big seatrout but clearly they were not 'Mad On!'

Having failed with the trout, today I decided to try for carp. Now it's a while since I fished for carp and last time they were more interested in breeding than taking bait. However, I thought that by now they might be keen to take a crust. I tackled up with my usual gear - bass spinning rod, shimano reel, braided line and a strong size 6 hook. The bait was simply lumps of crust torn from the remains of a small white loaf.

My usual approach for this type of fishing is to look for carp activity - shuddering reeds, tenting lilies or ripples close to the bankside - before lobbing my bait in the general direction of the fish and waiting. My first spot was a big bed of flowering water lilies. Almost at once I noticed a few carp moving so I gently lowered the crust into a gap between the floating lily pads. It was no more than five minutes before the leaves shook as a fish moved towards the bait and sucked it in. I grabbed the rod to stop it arrowing into the lake and the clutch began to give line, then everything went slack. The fish had unhooked itself. "Buns!" I muttered and baited up again. I thought that the plunging carp may not have scared all its mates away and plopped the bait back into the same area.

This time it was ten minutes before I had a bite. The carp was firmly hooked and before long I had it in the net. No monster but six or seven pounds of battling common. A bit of consolation for the first loss. Now I moved off to another spot - nothing! I walked round the lake looking for signs of life but it was some time before I came to another area of lilies with a hint of movement. I flicked out a crust and waited nothing doing! While I sat I dropped a couple of small crusts into the margin. I sat watching my bait for a while longer but as I waited I noticed some ripples widening from under the bank where I sat. I couldn't see the fish that was feeding but I flicked in another piece of crust and shortly the ripples came again. I reeled in and rebaited before lowering the crust down by the bank. It was actually touching the short grass growing at the water's edge. The rod was placed on the ground with only the tip ring sticking out and just enough line to reach the bait. The wait began again.

No more than five minutes passed before I saw ripples close to my bait then the rod jabbed downwards as a fish hooked itself. Line screamed out against the clutch and the carp plunged off into open water. I knew that if I was patient I would be able to land this one. The fight lasted quite a few minutes but eventually a beautiful, golden scaled,common slid into the net. I took a few pictures and weighed the fish. Just over twenty four pounds - fantastic! Of course by the modern standard of carp from stocked lakes and from continental venues this is no monster but in my local waters (and in my book) this is a very good specimen. After that the loss of another modest fish which transferred the hook to a lily stem was anti-climax but I wasn't bothered. I'd almost forgotten how much fun surface fishing for carp can be. Must give it another go.

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 fish.

My smaller carp is safely in the net.

Not bad.

I didn't weigh it but it was six or seven pounds.

The big one.

A beautiful, fat, fit, fish.


This was the best I could do clutching to fish to my chest.  Glad I was wearing the plastic coat.