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).

Seatrout after rain.

I tried for seatrout a couple of times last month without a sniff but to be honest the rivers are so choked with water buttercup this year that my usual approach is often a bit tricky. I like to spin with a small plug, generally a black and silver, J7F Rapala, and even though it fishes very shallow it often gets stuck in weed beds or picks up bits of drifting weed. In truth I don't mind the weed and I'm sure that it doesn't stop fish coming up the river but it does present a bit of a challenge. The other minor problem is the long mid-summer days which mean that if you want to fish in darkness, often the best time for seatrout, it means a very late start after eleven o'clock at night and that's not my style. Anyway, I know that I can catch fish in daylight so this week after a spot of rain I decided to try again. Although we'd had almost a full day of drizzle, when I looked at the river there was not much colour in the water so I was encouraged.

I started at the upstream end of the stretch, trying each of the small areas of open water (about one every 200m) by casting down and across and allowing the lure to swing across in the flow. The nice thing about Rapalas is that you can feel them working and even the tiniest bit of debris on the hook kills the action. This saves time wasted by fishing with a fouled lure. These days with fine braid it is possible to cast even these lightweight lures long distances so it is easy to cover the water. Apart from fishing down and across it is always worth having a chuck upstream into any gaps between weed beds as the trout are lightening fast to chase and grab a lure if they really want it.

I'd probably covered half a kilometre of water before I managed my first indication of a fish. I made a very long cast down into the head of a pool and very slowly retrieved the plug into the streamy run where it entered the slack water. Suddenly the rod twanged round and a beautiful silver fish of three or four pounds splashed, flashed and jumped before coming unstuck. Well at least it was something. I tried another couple of casts around the same spot cast but as usual it was futile so I continued on downstream. Apart from a tentative pluck in a deep spot there was no sign for a while then I came to a wide shallow stretch with lots of weed. On the far bank there was a nice looking glide but between my stance and it was solid weed right to the surface. I moved downstream a short way so that I could cast diagonally upstream to the head of the glide. For once the lure dropped exactly where I wanted and as soon as I began to wind a huge bow wave appeared behind the plug. I kept winding and the wave raced after the lure only for the trout to ground itself on a gravel bank in midstream before thrashing about and rushing back up to where it had started. It wouldn't come again so I never actually saw it but clearly it was big. Bugger!

By now it was getting on towards teatime so I was thinking about packing in but having seen a couple of nice fish I was inclined to fish on for a while. A little further down was a very wide, shallow, weedy section. With an effort I could just about reach the far bank and by keeping the rod up and winding fairly slowly the little plug would wiggle in an arc back towards me. On the third cast the lure was almost back at my feet when a grey torpedo rushed after it, grabbed hold and tore away with the clutch screeching. Clearly the trout had followed across and made a last despairing grab as the lure neared the bank. The little Teklon Concept rod was well bent as the seatrout made several runs upstream. Unusually it didn't jump at all. I was standing on a fairly high bank so I decided to try and guide the trout downstream to a spot where it might be easier to reach with my long handled net. I was half way there when the fish decided to tuck in under my feet. I could no longer see it because of overhanging grass and cow parsley but it had managed to wrap the line round some sort of plant stem because I couldn't shift it. With the rod held out at arm's length I walked downstream and managed to wangle the gear free of the snag. Now it was just a matter of leading the tired fish into the net. Excellent - got one at last.

I had another go a couple of days later but the fish were much less interested. My pal Nigel, fishing with me, lost a decent trout hooked on a dry fly - it snagged him in the weeds. I had one bite which turned out to be a modest perch - still it was better than a blank.

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, fat, silver seatrout at last.


Five-and-a-half-pounds, just the ticket.


The slightly disappointing perch.