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).

Plug vs minnow.

Following my recent attempt to catch fish on live minnows I returned to the same stretch with identical tackle apart from the fact that I was using a J7 black and silver Rapala. I guess this is just about as close as you can get to a large imitation minnow but it was just me being too lazy to catch minnows for bait. The river was low and clear and it was quite hard going but I managed a couple of perch and two small trout before I arrived at the spot where I caught the chub mentioned on the previous Freshwater page. On about the third cast I had a reasonable trout of perhaps a pound-and-a-half. There was nothing else doing in the streamy water so I cast into the deeper stretch upstream and immediately hooked a fair sized pike of perhaps six pounds. After playing the pike for a while I wedged the butt of the little rod between two roots and eased the clutch so that I could extract my camera. After taking one or two pictures of the pike I released it, packed in and went home.

Two days later, feeling a little ashamed that I had not tried live baits again I decided to have another go. This time I trudged to a spot where I knew there were shoals of good sized minnows. I spent half-an-hour winkling out a dozen or so baits. This wasn't as easy as it sounds because I had to wade carrying the bait bucket over my left arm while I fished for the minnows. I must get better organised. Having collected sufficient little fish I walked back down to where I'd had the trout on my plug. I lip hooked the biggest minnow and flicked it out across the fast water. there were a couple of twitches and the line tightened so I slowly reeled in and a cracking trout exploded into the air. What a start! I played the fish until it slowed down and then slid it ashore for a couple of pictures. It measured 52cm and was nice and fat, as they should be in October, so about three-and-a-half pounds. The size 6 circle hook was neatly lodged in the lower jaw so I unhooked the fish and released it. It recovered and swam off strongly within a minute or so.

My next cast was blessed with a perch and later I had another trout of perhaps a pound. No chub this time but good fun all round. By now it was tea time so I released the unwanted minnows (I'd only used three) and packed in. I do enjoy this type of fishing. Braided line makes it easy to cast an unweighted minnow and nearly all the fish are lip hooked. I miss a few bites but I think that the larger fish are generally hooked. The only down side is having to catch baits. I think that if you can cast a minnow to any likely, fish holding spot, without having scared the residents they will usually take the bait with confidence despite the wire trace. As usual with circle hooks it is essential to tighten rather than strike. Plug fishing is quite effective but it does occasionally require a bit of delicate surgery when fish take the plug more enthusiastically than usual. Consequently I try to avoid using small, multi-hooked lures if pike are likely to be frequent catches.

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 -

Not a bad browny on the little plug.


Fish of all kinds tend to try and engulf the lure.


I though it was worth a selfy before it went back.


The pike from deeper water, fortunately this one was lightly hooked..


My bigger trout on the live minnow, lip hooked this time.


... and another selfy with the larger trout.