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).

Fish at last!

I went to the coast twice at the weekend, once with Bill for an afternoon recce and the following morning on my own to soak a big bait for an hour before first light. Both trips were total blanks. Although I enjoyed being back on the beach the trips left me feeling the need to catch a fish. The next few days were busy so when it got to Friday afternoon and my wife said "Why don't you go fishing?" I needed no second invitation. The river beckoned and it's a long time since I wet a line in fresh water. My first thought was 'pike' and I needed a couple of baits. I'd bought a few maggots in anticipation so armed with my float gear and my pike tackle I set off for a couple of hours enjoyment in the drizzling rain.

I began by trying to tempt a dace or a roach for bait. No bites at the first spot, nor the second nor the third. Half-an-hour had passed and it was looking grim. I returned to my first choice place thinking that by now the few dozen maggots that I'd thrown in might have tempted something to feed. Bingo! On my third cast I had a bite and found myself attached to a big dace of about eight ounces. Magic! I popped it in the bucket and cast again. Down went the float and "What the **** is that!" was my comment as the rod bent into a bigger fish. Certainly whatever was on the end wan't the usual bait size. I set about playing the fish and it turned out to be a tiny salmon of about four pounds, in pretty poor condition even for this time of the year. I landed the fish, took a quick picture and slid it back before throwing in another handful of maggots and casting again. In short order I had two more dace in my bucket so I put the float rod back in the car, picked up the bucket and set off in search of a pike.

My pike tackle consisted of the 4Surespin rod, 20lb Whiplash braid, a short length of clear, 15lb, Amnesia and a length of knottable wire armed with a circle hook. I nicked the hook through the upper lip of one of my smaller dace and set it swimming under a split half of a wine bottle cork. It was probably twenty minutes before I had a strike. I saw the fish take near the surface and could tell that it was only about five pounds so I waited for it to turn the bait. When I tightened it let go. Bugger! This was repeated six times in all and clearly the fish wasn't in the mood to guzzle my bait.

By now it was getting pretty gloomy and, despite the rainwear, I was more or less soaked by the persistent drizzle - not pleasant. Anyway, I walked upstream to try another spot. On went another dace and I set it swimming round the large, slow turning eddy. After a couple of minutes the float jigged and whipped under. I wasn't sure how big this fish might be so after ten seconds I tightened the line. The rod bowed and the clutch screeched as the pike forged out into deeper water. It was clearly bigger than my first taker so I played it carefully. Twice it jumped clear of the water with lots of head shaking and thrashing. Fantastic! I picked up the old net and slid it into the water, gripping the end of the handle between my knees as I played the fish. It took two goes to get the fish into the meshes but I managed it and slid it up onto the bank. I unhooked the pike, weighed it at 16lb and took a couple of pictures before putting it back. After releasing the big dace (still unused and swimming strongly) I packed in and went home feeling that it had been two hours well spent. Can't wait to try again.

Oh! I forgot to say that when I picked up the net I discovered that the ring had (after some years) succumbed to metal fatigue - so I'll have to buy a new one.

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 -

This cracking great dace was my first catch.


A small, ugly, salmon (quite troutlike) which gave me a battle on the dace tackle.


A nice pike in beautiful condition.


Me, looking rather bedraggled, and the pike.