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).

Carp and trout.

I had another short session after carp this week. As usual the fish were behaving differently from the previous trip - they do this all the time. Certainly they had shifted from the reed bed where I had my last fish so after letting the crust-bait soak in the reeds for twenty minutes without a sign of a fish I walked on round the lakeside. I'd already noticed a couple of carp swirling near an overhanging bush on the far bank and when I approached it I could see that there were quite a few fish' idling' in the open water. "Worth a try!" I thought and baiting up with another crust I flicked it across the overhanging willow twigs, laid the rod down and turned the reel handle until the crust was on a tight vertical line under the bush. Now the wait began. Within minutes a fish had approached and 'sniffed' at the bait but it didn't take. However, I now knew that the carp were aware that the bait was there so I simply waited. It was probably fifteen minutes before the nuzzling started again, then there was a slurp, the twigs shook, the rod tip was pulled over and the clutch began to buzz. I grabbed the rod and took a few strides to my right so that the line would slip off the twigs, which it did with a jerk. Now I was playing the carp and it was only a couple of minutes before it was in the net. The hook dropped out after I netted the fish so without lifting it from the water I took a picture and slid it out over the net rim. Excellent!

Earlier in the week I'd had an email from my good pal Steve Pitts who lives in Bristol. Steve has been fishing a local stream and he gave me the following account of a recent trip -

With the trout season on our local stream opening on April 1st my mate Rob Pope had sneaked in a late evening session and in his text to me the following morning he confirmed 5 trout on the score card. So plans were made to meet up at 5pm at our chosen venue.

This was to be an evening of several firsts for me:

• First time fishing this particular stretch of the stream

• The first time out with my new ultra-light combo ~ Greys G-Lite and 1000 Rarenium

• My first trial with the fabled Sonic Rooster Tail lure

• I was using mono for the first time in nearly 20 years

• and I took along my brand new Witchwood Rover landing net ~ just in case

Rob landed a small trout from one of the first fishable swims so I leap-frogged ahead of him and found a nice little glide which looked übertrouty. Unfortunately it was also übersnaggy and I lost my first Rooster Tail in a submerged branch. My guide tried to find and free it for me, but failed, so I decided not to tip him. We then tried all the likely looking spots for the next half-mile but even the most troutiest looking swims didn't produce including where Rob had caught his fish the previous evening.

In an attempt to salvage the evening and avoid a blank for me we walked back to where we'd parked the cars and fished downstream of the bridge, which if I'm honest, didn't look like it would be trout central. By now I had changed lures again to a silver and black Rapala J7, which I always feel sorts out the bigger trout, but the evening was closing in now and I had to be leaving soon. A swirl, a flash of yellow and quick tug on the rod tip signalled a missed bite and despite several more casts in the same spot the culprit wasn't going to be fooled a second time. A move down to the next fishable swim didn't fill me with confidence as it was slow and deep, so I cast upstream into some shallower water and wound the J7 back quickly to get it working in the current.

My little G-Lite banged around and soon it was bent down to the butt as what appeared to be a decent trout headed upstream. The drag on the Rarenium gave a few feet of line and then I put my finger on it so's it wouldn't give any more. The fish stayed deep and didn't splash about like the tiddlers do so I was hoping this was going to be a good one, but it was difficult to tell as I was unfamiliar with the rod and reel and, as this was the first fish I'd hooked on it, the trout could have only been a few ounces for all I knew. The fish turned and swam with the current until it was in front of me and was now hugging the stream bed with me applying as much pressure as I could with the light gear. Then it headed downstream which meant I had to stretch out as far as a dared as there was a tree to the right of me and now it had the current to its advantage so I stretched a bit further and applied as much pressure as I thought the rod and 6lb line would take. I was going to need the Rover net to get this one out but it was back up the bank and out of reach so I drew the fish into a little slack on the inside of the bank and manage to grab the net and a hand full of stinging nettles.

The trout knew it was all over and it was in the back of the net before the final whistle. A fine male brownie and probably my biggest so far from the stream. After a couple of photos were taken it was released without further drama. I was chuffed that the new rod and reel had been christened and that the new net now has that fishy smell about it that all good landing nets should have. I left Rob to fish on into the dusk and he had a couple of on/off's before calling it a day too.

Well done Steve! A nice little fishing tale. It just goes to show that my favourite trout lure (a little Rapala) works anywhere and that you can have just as much fun catching trout as carp (or for that matter bass or tarpon or pike or what have you). I must ask Steve why he was using nylon mono, as I find that 20lb Nanofil is just as effective and might have enabled the rescue of his Rooster Tail.

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 -

My carp from the 'bush'.


Steve's nice trout.


Smile please! It's a close up.