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).

Small hooks! No real joy!

I've never been one to use small hooks. If I'm after bass it will be a size 6/0 or 7/0, for carp it is generally a size 6 and even when I'm maggot fishing in the river I rarely go smaller than a 12. However, this week I broke with tradition and when we had a warm day with the river in decent condition (an unusual combination since I got back from my trip to Brazil) I decided to go pike fishing. To start with I needed a couple of baits so it was out with the float tackle and try for a dace. I looked in the bag for a suitable maggot hook and the only ones I could find were size 18s lurking in a packet that had clearly been unopened for years. "I expect they'll do to catch a few baits!" I thought and tied one on the end of the line. It was nice and sharp and the maggots slid on easily so I began to fish.

For a while I trotted my float down into the pool. There was a fast run in mid-stream and I tried to work around the edges and into the eddying water on either side. It was slow going but eventually I had a bite and struck into something much too large for bait. After playing it for I while I saw that it was a grayling of several pounds. Then it came off. I muttered the usual polite comments and called myself a few unkind names (even though I don't see what else I could have done). I baited the hook again and began to fish. I was slightly encouraged by my bite so next time the float dipped I was ready for it. This time I saw at once that I'd hooked a damned great trout - even bigger than the grayling. It went berserk, twisting and turning and rushing all over the pool. "At least I'll land this one!" I thought, but no, after a couple of minutes the line fell slack and I retrived only the tiny hook. Bugger! Back to the drawing board.

Having no other hooks I baited up once more and began to fish. My next catch was a tiny, out of season trout. At least it was a fish but obviously no use for bait so I took its picture and put it back. A few more trots and another bite produced one of the smallest grayling I've ever caught. Again it had its picture taken before being slipped back in. Now things slowed down and it was ten minutes before the next bite. This felt more like it and a flash of silver showed that it was a bloomimg great female dace. Then that was that. Perhaps I'd been a bit heavy handed but whatever the reason I wouldn't have managed more than the one bait.

As it turned out it was one of those days. My piking induced two bites - both from smallish fish, neither of which could manage the bait. Both of them came off so that was that. Better luck next time.

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 -

Tiny trout.


Titchy grayling.


Decent dace.