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).

Down to earth.

The problem, after you've been catching big fish when you were on holiday, is getting back into the swing of normal, everyday fishing. My second trip to the River was interesting enough to bring me down to Earth. I'd stuck to the using an Ondex spinner given to me by my pal Dave as an alternative to my usual Mepps. The Ondex has a wire 'spring' instead of a solid metal body so it's easy to fish it high in the water on a slow retrieve, ideal when the river is very low and weedy as it is at present. My previous session had produced only a single fish, a chub of about three pounds, not large but encouraging. The fish had taken the spinner after I made a long cast upstream into a deep, slow flowing stretch. Until it gave up fighting (after about ten seconds) I thought it might have been a jack pike - which is what I usually catch at that spot.

Anyway, I started off my second river visit fishing a weir pool and this time there was a bit more action. Straight away I was into a small perch so at least I hadn't blanked. Two casts later I had a firm take and found myself playing a pike of about eight pounds, not a bad fish for that stretch. I played it back across the pool with all the usual short runs and headshaking sessions that you expect and I had it close under the rod tip. Slipping the bag off my back I reached into the side pocket for the camera and - the pike came unstuck. For several minutes it simply stayed where it lay and, although I tried to take its picture, there was just too much ripple and glare. I returned to my spinning and landed another eleven perch, none large, in the next half-hour before deciding to wander on downstream and try some other places.

Now the perch fishing had more or less dried up so I'd only had one more when I looked at my watch to see that I'd been fishing for an hour. Walking further downstream I arrived at a big, deep pool which often produces a few perch or a jack pike. I was fishing from a high bank a couple of metres above the water so when the spinner was grabbed by a heavy fish, in the deepest spot, I was immediately wondering how I could get it out. As it turned out my concerns were well founded. The fish gave up the ghost pretty quickly but it kited in towards my bank. The result was that the spinner lodged in a really tough bunch of reeds. The head of the fish was out of the water and I couldn't shift it despite a lot of tugging and pulling at the line. The water was deep, the bank was steep and I'm not much of a swimmer. I layed the rod down and VERY carefully slid down towards the water. It was just possible to maintain a foothold in the soft earth without plunging in. I leaned forward and stretched out my left arm while hanging onto some nettle stems with my other hand (I can still feel the stings). I could just reach the fish. Stretching my fingers as wide as possible I just managed to get a grip across the back of the fish behind its head. At this point I realised that it was a BIG chub. Fortunately it was also a tired chub and it didn't wriggle or kick as I lifted it onto the wet grass above my head before scrambling back up myself. Phew!

While the chub lay quietly I removed the hook from its lip and measured its length with my tape - 54 centimetres and big and fat with it. I took its picture before sliding it back into the deep water. When I arrived home I switched on the computer and looked at my graph of weight/length for chub from that river. Well over seven pounds - a real beauty and well worth all the mud and nettle stings required to land it.

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 -

tiny perch but at least it was a fish.


Only a bit bigger but beautiful nonetheless..


Nice chub. They're almost as fat as hunky carp.