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).

Back to the carp.

I've just had my third carp fishing trip of the year. Each time I went on a warm, sunny afternoon and stayed for perhaps an hour-and-a-half. The first session, last week, produced nothing but I did see quite a few nice fish sauntering about on the surface. They looked as though they should be interested in my (usual) lumps of crust, but they weren't. Yesterday I went again. The first fish that I saw melted away into the reeds so I walked on round the lake until I came to a reedbed at the end of the next pit. As I stood and watched a group of dead reeds began to shake so I progged a big lump of crust on the hook, dunked it once and flicked it underhand to the area of moving reeds. The crust fell perfectly with the line across a broken reed so I lay the rod down, closed the bale and tightened the line to hang vertically down to the bait. "Could be a bit of a wait!" I thought.

Less than five minutes after I cast there was a swirl near the bait then a carp began to nuzzle the crust. My hand hovered over the rod and I had to resist the urge to pick it up. I held my breath and sure enough the line tightened, the rod tip whipped round and I was in. Now it was more or less a tug of war. In the shallow water it was just a matter of trying to slide the carp across the surface without giving it enough slack to plough off into the reed bed. By now I was standing up and it was relatively easy to keep the fish coming towards me by walking slowly backwards. Pick up the net; place it in the water and draw the fish over the rim. I had it! A common, just on 10kg (22lb) - fantastic! What a way to start the year After returning the carp I wandered on to the next likely spot but although there were a couple of carp moving about I had no more bites. The prospects of a bite weren't helped when three young blokes came round and threw pellets into all the likely spots including where I stood. Presumably they were preparing to fish the various places later. I put their thoughtlessness down to youthful ignorance. A little later another angler who I know, a keen club member, came along and said he was there for the night. I was making my way back to the car now and we walked along together. My pal pointed out a large fish, which he knew of, swimming in a snaggy, area full of dead branches. I made a mental note of the spot and went on for my tea.

The following day we had visitors in the morning but after lunch, with a cool breeze but the sun shining, I decided to try for another carp. I arrived at the ponds at about three o'clock, time for an hour or so's fishing before I had to leave. I noticed a new path cut through the gorse which gave me access to the back of another dense bed of reeds, always a good bet. As I came to the bank a fish was swirling in the edge and shaking reeds showed that there were others close by. I hooked on a match-box sized crust, pinged it a few metres out into the reeds, lay the rod down and waited. While I was waiting I dropped a couple of free crusts into the small area of open water at my feet. It was perhaps ten minutes before one of my free crusts was taken with a loud slurp. After the fish had moved on I reeled in, rebaited and plopped the crust into the spot where the loose crust had been. Shortly afterwards the second free crust was sucked down. By now I was holding my breath. Sure enough it wasn't long before a carp took my bait and, in time honoured fashion, hooked itself. It was no monster so it was relatively easy to keep it under the rod tip until I could net it. After taking its picture I released it - an eleven or twelve pound mirror - not bad but a little disappointing after the previous day's fish.

Still half-an-hour before I would have to go so I walked on round to where I'd been shown the big carp the day before. I could see nothing but I baited with a crust and lobbed it over a twig a few metres out from the bank, put the rod down and tightened the line so there was none on the water. Now I waited five, ten, fifteen minutes with nothing showing then I saw a swirl in the edge to my right. A decent fish was working its way along towards where I sat. It came past me moving from right to left and began to veer out into the lake. It was some way past where my crust was hanging now and I lost sight of it. At this point the carp must have turned and come back towards me because a minute or two later the crust disappeared the twig dipped and the line drew tight. I grabbed the rod as the carp ran off to the left under a submerged branch. Line was still pouring off the reel so I applied some pressure to the spool with the palm of my hand and managed to slow the carp's progress. I shoved the rod tip down and walked backwards heaving the fish back towards me. After a bit of a tussle I had it in open water and I lifted the rod to slide it into the net - it was a beautiful common of 14kg+ (over 30lb) and I quickly took its picture in the net before taking a selfie and returning it. Wonderful stuff. Not bad at all - four or five hours at the water, half-a-dozen bits of crust and three carp averaging well over twenty pounds apiece.

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 fine 10kg common.


Lovingly held - I'm not allowed to take the old waterproof coat indoors now.


The mirror - smallest of my three fish.


What a fish, thirty pounds of bronze beauty for my old Surespin rod.


Tightly clutched and ready to go back, I'm stll not too confident with the time release on my camera.