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).

Mixed results.

I'd intended to go down to the coast this morning to try and catch a December bass. I got up before dawn, dressed, opened the door, saw the trees bending in the gale, closed the door and went back to bed Sometimes it's like that, particularly at this time of the year with a succession of depressions (now with 'helpful' names) streaming in from the Atlantic.

Anyway, earlier in the week I'd had to buy myself a new landing net. As I mentioned last time the old one gave up the ghost when the ring collapsed with metal fatigue after landing last week's pike. Having purchased a net I felt a compulsion to try and christen it so the best option seemed to be to try and catch another pike. I only had a handfull of maggots left so catching bait could have presented a problem. So it proved. After five minutes of trotting the float my first bite was hooked and began that strong wriggle which just shouts grayling! I reeled it in and took its picture but, although the pike are happy to eat them, they are not the best baits in the world so I tried again. A few more casts and I was into another wriggler, bigger and more powerful this time so it took a little while to extract it and take another picture. Was I ever going to catch a dace? By now the afternoon was waning and it was beginning to look pretty gloomy. Anyway, in next two casts I landed a couple of dace and with no further messing about I grabbed the pike gear and set off.

As usual I lip-hooked the bait on a circle hook and slid half a wine bottle cork onto the trace for a float. The first spot seemed pikeless so I shifted a few metres to my right past a small alder tree overhanging the bank. The water was fairly deep and slack and the bait had hardly gone beneath the surface when a green torpedo swept up and grabbed it. I gave it a few seconds and then allowed the line to tighten. The fish was on and began to take line as it rushed downstream. Then it came off! I said a few choice words and lowered the bait back in but the fish failed to oblige and after five minutes I left it and walked on to try elsewhere. The next worthwhile spot was five minutes walk away through nasty sticky mud but when I got there it looked good and sure enough. I lowered in the bait (which was still OK despite its adventure) and it wasn't long before I hooked a six pounder which slid nicely into the meshes of my new net. After performing the necessary unhooking, snapping and returning time was running out so, rather than look for another fish, I decided to return to the spot where I'd missed the first pike which was clearly bigger than the one I'd caught.

I trudged back up, put on my second bait and gently lowered it into the spot where I'd seen the first pike. Within a minute the float zipped away and I was in. This time the fish was firmly hooked and before long I netted a nine pounder, again in good condition. Pity I hadn't had a double in my new net and, to be honest, I've sort of decided that I should have bought a bigger net as I can envisage problems getting that thirty pounder into the new one. Perhaps I ought to invest in something larger before I try 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 -

A small grayling.


Larger grayling which fought hard on the light gear.


A dace 'bait'.


The smaller of my two pike.


The one I caught second time of trying. I think the net might be iffy with a bigger fish.


I like a close up.