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).

Pike again.

I've hardly been fishing since I returned from Brazil in late February. One tiny bass at the coast on a lure and one blank when I fished a bait the following morning was the sum total. Yesterday my pal Nigel rang to say he fancied a last stab at catching a grayling before the start of the close season and asked if I wanted to join him. Unfortunately we had already arranged to meet our daughter Rachel and her son Marcel that morning so I had to say no. However, we were back at home for a late lunch and at three o'clock the sun was shining and it looked like Spring. I didn't want to waste time trying to catch a bait so I grabbed the spinning rod, clipped on a Slandra and set off for the river.

When I arrived I found Nigel's car still parked by the roadside but he was nowhere to be seen. There had been a fair amount of rain recently so I was fearing the worst so the most pleasing thing was that the water looked reasonably clear. Before seeing the conditions my plan had been to fish the ends of ditches, which are generally less coloured than the main flow, but it looked as though I'd be able to cast anywhere with confidence. To begin with I stuck to my plan and worked my way down a ditch a couple of metres wide towards the river. There was only a short length of fishable ditch so it didn't take long. The soft, weedless, plastic 'eel' wriggled beautifully even on a slow retrieve but there was no sign of a pike. Where the ditch met the river bank there was a wide slack only about half a metre deep. By this time of year the pike should be gathering in weedy areas for spawning so I began to fan my casts across the shallow pool.

My first few casts close in along the river bank produced nothing so the fourth or fifth chuck brought the lure wiggling across the centre of the pool. Suddenly was a big bow wave appeared and careered for two or three metres across the surface to intercept the lure. Wallop! The little rod was yanked round and I was in. After thrashing heavily on the surface the pike immediately swam towards my bank and nose dived into a huge mass of brown rotting leaves. I could still feel the fish kicking but it wouldn't shift and wasn't near enough for me to reach it. I picked up my long handled net and carefully began to pick my way through the submerged bankside reeds. It was pretty soft underfoot and I was only wearing wellies (unusual for me) so I was a bit apprehensive when the water neared the top of my boots. I still couldn't reach the fish with the net so I jiggled the rod and to my surprise the pike swam out into open water. Now I had to get back onto terra firma so I turned and, ever so slowly, paddled back to the bank. Phew! I was back in the field but of course the pike had, by now, dived into another mat of trailing, strappy leaves. This time it was easier because another jiggle of the rod tip persuaded it back out into open water and it was only a couple of minutes before I had it on the bank.

After taking one or two pictures I returned the fourteen pound pike to the river and watched it swim away. Excellent! Feeling pleased I set off downstream to see how my pal was getting on with the grayling. It turned out that he'd only had a couple ofsmall ones plus a similar number of little trout. He stopped fishing to watch as I spun my soft plastic through a couple of likely pools but there was nothing doing. We made our way back upstream and I left Nigel float fishing so that I could try a deeper pool just downstream of a bridge. On the second cast, as my lure swam close to the near bank there a was a flash and a tug as a pike snatched and failed to hook itself. Encouraging! A couple of casts later there was a boil as I lifted the lure from the water and I caught a glimpse of a fish as it turned away. I thought it might be worth fishing from the bridge to try and cover more of the pool, so I clambered up and began to cast. Firstly I tried the deeper water under the left bank. Nothing! Then I allowed the lure to swing across and began to retrieve along the shallower side. As I watched a pike rushed in from the deeper water and hung itself on the lure. Now I had to climb back over the bridge rails and down onto the bank before I could play and net my catch. This one was only six or seven pounds but it was again nicely hooked in the lip andswam off strongly after having its picture taken.

All in all not a bad session. As I walked back to the car I found Nigel cheerfully hauling out small grayling from a shallow glide in a millstream. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Can I squeeze another session in before I have to start fly fishing for 'game' fish?/P>

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 fourteen pounder in my net at last.


Beautifully hooked in the jaw.


In nice condition and ready to be returned.


The second pike - smaller but just as lively.


Again perfectly hooked but this one had ripped the tail of my lure..