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).

First pike of the winter.

Since returning from Australia I've only been fishing once. I went to the river on the first relatively warm day after a series of hard frosts. The water was at a decent level but it was more coloured than I expected, perhaps not so good for piking but (I thought) fine for catching one or two silver fish. My idea was to try and catch a bait and then to go pike fishing - not a chance. I couldn't buy a bite on the maggots and after an hour of fruitless trotting I gave up in disgust. Since then we've had another couple of frosty mornings and also a spot of rain. After two successive mild nights I decided to give piking another go.

Again I started off by trotting maggots and it wasn't long before I had a bite. The jagging, twisting, splashing fight showed that the fish wasn't what I was after - just a small trout. Slightly encouraged (at least it was a fish) I continued and had another trout, then a bigger one, then two more small ones. Time was beginning to run out. It wouldn't be long before the sun went down so when I had a bite and landed a modest dace I was ecstatic. I grabbed the pike rod and set off for a pikey spot. This time the water was quite clear and I was hopeful. My set up was simple; the line was 20lb Whiplash with four feet of 15lb clear Amnesia and a trace of knottable wire tied to a size 4/0, debarbed circle hook. As a float I had half of a wine bottle cork, split and pushed onto the nylon and positioned so that the bait could swim a-metre-and-a-half below it. I lip hooked the dace and lowered it into two metres of water. It behaved perfectly and swam down towards the bottom towing the float along behind it.

For once the bait was well behaved and chuntered round the slack close to the bank where I stood. I occasionally drew it away from bankside snags but otherwise it was allowed to swim freely. I fished for three or four minutes and as I was raising the rod point to readjust the position of the bait I felt a sharp knock. I was sure that it was a pike. I kept the line tight and waited. Yes! I could feel the weight of whatever had taken my bait. Within a couple of seconds the pike began to move off and gradually the rod bent over as it tightened the line. Further and further the rod curved over then the fish realised it was being restrained and began to swim faster - it was hooked. I played it for a while before picking up the net and sliding it into the water. Now it was just a matter of drawing the pike over the rim - which I managed at the second attempt. A nice fish of about ten pounds. Not a bad start. The bait was no longer there and the sun was now on the horizon so I walked across the fields back to my car well satisfied.

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 -

A pike at last - nicely conditioned and not a bad size.


The circle hook has worked perfectly and is just nicked into the skin behind the maxilla.


My 'selfie' is in reasonable focus for once.