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).

River 'Grand Slam'.

Sea anglers in the USA often refer to their special catch as a Grand Slam. This varies according to where they are fishing but for 'inshore' angling it will mean that they've caught - bonefish, permit, snook and tarpon - in a single day's fishing. They also have grand slam groups of species for trout, bass, billfish and so on. No doubt it can be satisfying to catch a variety of fish in one session and I have my own personal 'grand slam' lists for saltwater shore fishing (bass, pollack, mackerel, scad) and for river fishing (pike, chub, perch, trout). In my case not only are the fish caught in the same session but usually on the same tackle. This week I had my river grand slam on just one lure - a J9f black and silver Rapala.

The river had fined down nicely and, if anything, was a bit too clear and low. I had the day to myself and decided to try plugging some of the spots that I haven't yet tried this season. I'd barely begun when I was into a decent pike. It fought like stink. To be honest I don't like using plugs for pike as it's too easy for them to be deeply hooked, but this one was easy to unhook and release. Press on Mike.

I was now fishing a wide shallow pool and as I made my third cast with the little Rapala I saw a decent fish rise almost on the far bank. "Chub!" I thought. I reeled in and flicked the lure towards the spot where I'd seen the rising fish. There was no wind so the Rapala sailed out on the Nanofil and, for once, landed precisely where I wanted, just beyond the target. I'd scarcely turned the handle of the reel when the rod bowed to a take and I found myself playing a nice chub. I reeled it in took its picture, measured its fork length (easier than weighing - 52cm - so a nice fish) and released it. Good start.

A few more casts produced no more bites so I waded downstream through the thick beds of Ranunculus (there's a lot of streamer weed this year) to the next deep slack. This time it was my first cast that produced the bite and I landed a beautiful little perch - all green, gold and orange/red. Two down. Nothing happened for a while and I'd walked two fields downstream before I came to another good fishable spot. This was a deep glide where I've caught quite a few big chub in years gone by. I waded into the river thigh deep so that I could get a cast straight upstream. Out went the lure and it landed exactly where I intended, almost a perfect cast, but the slight breeze just looped the gossamer strand of line over a projecting willow twig. I twitched the rod sideways to flip the line free and it came off. At the same instant the plug was seized by a good fish, my second chub of the session. I waded to the bank and beached the fish in shallow water so I could measure it - 55cm and a fat as a barrel, fantastic! I reached for the camera but as I did so the fish gave a kick, came free and swam away. Bugger!

Now I'm thinking "time to try somewhere else. I trudged back up the fields to my car and drove to another stretch of river nearby. I started fishing, still with my Rapala, in the torrent of water downstream of a small dam. After five minutes of cast and retrieve I'd reached the middle of the dam. Suddenly the rod jerked and I saw a big trout, perhaps five or six pounds, snatch at the plug and turn away. I'd missed it. No point crying over spilt milk, I could come back and try later, I waded downstream but it was difficult fishing. The water was shallow with lots of streamer weed. Where there was bare gravel it was often coated in algae which fouled the lure as soon as it touched a stone. After I'd waded perhaps two hundred metres without another touch I pitched the plug a long way down to drop just behind a bed of water buttercup. It was grabbed as it fell and a beautiful trout exploded clear of the water. Five times it jumped but it was well hooked and I was able to bring it close to have its picture taken before I unhooked and released it. Probably a couple of pounds and liberally patterned with dark spots. Not as big as the one I'd missed but a beauty nonetheless.

That was more or less that, four species on my Rapala in a couple of hour's fishing. On my way back up I dangled the plug into the race where I'd seen the big trout and something had a half hearted tug but wasn't hooked. Ah well! I know where it lives and there'll be another day.

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 -

Nice pike.


The first chub - also a good fish.


My perch, smaller but prettier than the others.


Close up - nicely hooked.


The trout - jeez did it jump!.


Not quite so well hooked but OK. Note the weed bed.