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).

The carp were feeding.

After a few slow bass trips (everyone but me was catching plenty) I needed a boost. I had a couple of bags of breadcrusts, cut into big cubes, in the freezer so I decided to try carp fishing. We've had a few warm sunny days now so I hoped that the carp might be obliging. As I walked to the lake I saw a small group of deer walking through the bracken. They stopped to watch me. I rooted out the camera, too late, they were wandering away. Then a single straggler arrived so I took its picture as it stared at me. The fishing didn't start well. I went to a swim with a big area of lily pads. Usually it's possible to see the pads shaking as the carp move about but there wasn't a sign. Now I don't mind 'fishing blind' so to speak but I find it's always best to put the crust as close to a fish as possible. Anyway, I walked on and looked at a couple of other 'lily pad pitches' nothing!

I thought that perhaps the fish had moved elsewhere so I continued on again to a shallow area with a dense growth of reeds. As soon as I got there I noticed carp movement. Even with my Polaroids it wasn't easy to see actual fish but the shaking reeds and whelming water suggested that there were a fair few carp in the area and that they were pretty active. I put the bag down and baited the barbless size 6 hook with a nice big lump of crust. Dunk, flick and the crust dropped behind a small clump of reed stems with the line resting on one. I laid the rod down on the ground so that it was propped up on a tree stump with the reel clear of the grass. I closed the bale arm and wound the handle so that there was very little slack, then I waited.

This, for me, is the exciting bit. There were a number of rippling swirls and shuddering stems close to the bait and several times I found myself holding my breath. A nice carp swam slowly past me almost under the rod tip but I resisted the urge to wind in and offer it a crust. Then I saw the crust on my hook tremble. A carp nuzzled and nudged at it. Eventually the crust disappeared, the rod tip was dragged round and I was in. This carp fought really well, kiting away to my right and crashing through the reeds. I placed the net in the water in preparation then, as I drew the fish in towards it a submerged bramble stem caught the line. There was a hairy moment as I struggled to untangle the line before netting a beautiful carp of about eight pounds. I took its picture and slipped it back. To my surprise the carp were still in front of me, in numbers, undisturbed by my playing and landing the fish.

I baited up again and swung out another crust to a slightly different spot. Ten minutes later the whole business was repeated except that this time the fish was a bit smaller - perhaps six pounds. Now I had scared them and it had gone quiet. My third bait was ignored for twenty minutes or more so I reeled in and walked on round the bank. I came to a spot where a big, bushy willow tree grew out from the margin, covering several square yards of water and extending quite a long way out over the lake. I swung the crust like a pendulum before allowing it to drop over the lowest twigs of the willow with the line hanging vertically down to the bait. The rod was put on the ground, the line tightened and once more I waited. It was probably ten minutes before I saw a carp swim boldly up to the crust, suck it in and swim off. By now I had grabbed the rod and was in action. This carp was much bigger a than either of the others but instead of rushing away it simply wallowed until I managed to draw it into the net. Weighing in at nineteen pounds it was a good way to finish the session.

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 -

The last of the deer.


Carp number two - about six pounds.


Carp number one a hard fighting eight pounder.


The final flourish, a big fat common - not quite a twenty.