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).

Does the lure matter?

My wife had to attend a field meeting last weekend and it happened to be held on the bank of the river owned by Wimborne and District A.C. Now I'm a longstanding member of the WA&DAC so I thought it might be a good opportunity for an afternoon's fishing. I dropped Lilian off at her meeting and parked the car before walking over to the river. It was low, gin clear and mostly solid with weed. This year seems to be a good one for weed growth in all my local rivers. It was hot and sunny and as I walked over the field in my waders (part anti-thistle and part in case I had to paddle) I was already sweating. I decided to start at the upstream end and work my way down using a J9, black and silver, floating Rapala. After walking the best part of a mile and fishing any likely spot, mostly casting down and across, I hadn't had a bite and was feeling a bit like a boiled suet pudding (anyone remember them?).

I'd reached the impassable bottom end of the section with only one tentative pluck to show for my efforts. Not good! I decided to switch lures to a size 4 silver Mepps and fish back up the stretch by casting upstream and winding back. Mepps slide through the weed stems quite easily when they're going with the flow so I thought it would be my best bet. I'd only gone perhaps fifty metres when I made a long cast up mid river into one of the few, deeper, slack, relatively weedless sections. As I tightened to the lure I felt a heavy tug which I was sure was a fish and I suspected perch. Again I flicked the lure up into the pool and began to retrieve. Half way back I was in and the fish was fighting like a demon. From the weight and head-shaking I could tell that it was a nice perch but even on my gear, which copes with some biggish pike and salmon, it was making me work. It kited towards the far bank and then dived into a massive weed bed. I walked downstream to try and dislodge it but with all the tugging and pulling it came unstuck. Bugger!

The next cast produced another bite and this time I was ready for it. I steered the perch clear of weeds and eventually managed to land it some distance downstream. It measured 43cm to the fork of the tail and was in fine, fat condition. On my weight/length graph a plump perch of this size would weigh not far short of 3lb - a cracker. The disturbance seemed to have put the perch off so I continued on my way upstream fishing wherever I could. The next bite was a pike of seven or eight pounds which I tried to unhook without lifting it from the water. I took a couple of pictures and then I leaned down and gripped the treble hook with my pliers, the pike shook its head and flicked the pliers out of my hand and into the river. Just as well I have another pair.

My upstream progress was interrupted by a smaller pike then I had a small chub, both of these were unhooked in the water. The chub had been in a small, deep, fast run under an overhanging willow bush. well worth another go I thought. Out went the lure, wallop! A trout (probably a seatrout) of about three pounds exploded, Polaris fashion, into the air and shook the hook out. I looked at my watch to find that it was time to go and pick up my wife. definitely a worthwhile fishing session.

I'm certain that either of the lure I used that afternoon would have attracted any of the fish that I caught. The only difference was probably that the Mepps fished a little nearer to the bed of the river than the plug. Anyway, it was a good lesson in making sure you cover the water in three dimensions.

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 fish on a lure and in mint condition.


The fish that lost my pliers.