Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle


Information Page

08 December 2004.

They're off!

Last Sunday I went fishing with my pals Nigel and Joe. We were hoping to catch pike and/or grayling from the river. At first we all went after pike using floats and fish baits. It was only minutes after we started that Nigel had a run. He leaned into the fish and it seemed to be well on but after ten or fifteen seconds of tussle it came unstuck. Unusual! Nigel dropped another bait into the swim and the scenario was repeated just as before. Amazing! A few minutes later I crossed over to a pool on the opposite bank. seconds after my bait hit the water it was taken, the float shot away and - you've guessed it - I played the fish for a while and before I had seen it - it came off. "Small fish!" I thought. It was at least five minutes before I had another take and this time I saw the fish sweep out and grab the bait, it was ten or twelve pounds. Yet again I played the pike for a while and eventually it managed to unhook itself. Sheer incompetence you might well think. Joe came across and joined me so I suggested that he tried for the pike. He had a run and this time the fish seemed well hooked so I picked up the net and prepared to land it - it shed the hook and escaped.

By this time paranoia was setting in. The hooks were sharp the method was no different to what we normally do but the fish were getting away. At pools further downstream Nigel and I lost another pike and still further down Joe lost his second one. This was ridiculous. Joe continued fishing for pike while Nigel and I switched to the grayling tackle. This proved more difficult - we couldn't buy a bite. Eventually, after feeding almost half a pint of maggots into a swim I managed to land a grayling - success at last.

All three of us reverted to piking and I took Joe over to the opposite bank again to try a big slack on the inside of the bend. I left my rod on the bank and took the camera with me, hopeful that Joe might tempt a decent fish. He drifted his bait round the shallow slack on the inside of the bend with no sign of a bite so I suggested that he tried the still water close to the bankside reeds. Within seconds there was an almighty splash and the rod was almost pulled from his grasp. The pike fought like stink and I managed to get a few pictures as he was playing it. The first time it came to the net Joe missed it but the second time it was just sliding over the rim when the rod suddenly straightened, the fish gave a swirl and it was gone. We were gutted. We had seen that the circle hook was only lightly in the fish's scissors so no doubt it shed it quickly but when we looked it was clear that the wire had parted close to the hook - disaster. The fish was well into the teens of pounds - probably Joe's best yet so it was doubly disappointing. Before we packed in Nigel landed the pike that he had hooked first cast of the session but all in all it was a chronicle of losses. That's fishing!

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 -

Joe piking

Nigel's first fish took just to Joes right.

My grayling.

This was my only catch of the session.

Joe's in!

This was a good fish.

Nearly ready for the net.

Joe played the pike well and it never looked like coming off but shortly afterwards the trace pinged.

At last.

This fish gave Nigel his first and last bites.