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).

Another trout on Harry's plug.

On my last Freshwater blog page I mentioned catching a seatrout recently on a plug given to me by my old fishing pal Harry Casey. Since then I heard from his eldest son, that Harry has died after being ill for some time. Over the years I've fished with lots of people but for a big chunk of my life 'Casey' was my best fishing mate and we spent many hours scrambling about on muddy river banks, clambering over rocky shores or sitting in our dinghy anchored in the middle of Swanage Bay waiting for bites and contemplating the "Ways of the World". Harry introduced me to catching turbot off the Shambles, together we landed many big pike, trout and salmon from the rivers and we wrestled with hefty conger from both the beach and our cockleshell rowing boats, usually in pitch darkness. Along with our angling friends we evolved methods for catching bass and mullet from the Dorset shoreline and together with our good friend Terry Gledhill we wrote a book about how we did it. Harry was casting his plug by my side when we made a memorable catch of bass near Chapman's Pool. I have lots of such wonderful memories.

Harry always had a ready smile and a few unrepeatable words even when the fishing wasn't up to much. On the good days, and there were lots of them, we shared the excitement of catching plenty of wonderful fish from beautiful locations. I recall going with him one day to a tributary of the Hampshire Avon and fishing a newly cut side channel. On that day the big perch, pike and huge brown trout flung themselves on our lures as though they were starving. Another afternoon he called at my house to borrow a plug for an hour at the coast. Later that evening he came again having landed an eleven pound bass and told me that he'd snagged and lost my plug on his next cast. When he and Terry caught their first big conger from Swanage pier they knocked on our door in the middle of the night to drag it into our kitchen for a viewing.

He rang me a week or so ago and said - "I won't be fishing with any more Mike, help yourself to my gear." It was what he wanted so I went round and to see his wife Eileen and took a few a few bits and pieces. The other day, just after I'd been told of my pal's death, I decided to go fishing and try another of the plugs he'd given me. I'd fished for an hour or so and had a couple of missed bites so I was thinking about packing in. "Just one last cast!" I thought. I trudged to the large weir and stood on the bridge which crosses it, looking downstream. Big trout often sit right in the white water as it spills over the concrete sills of such places. I plopped the little 'minnow' plug into the race and held it a metre or so downstream of the lip. It wriggled madly in the fast flowing water and suddenly a big brown shape rushed from below and engulfed it. My little spinning rod hooped over and the fish plunged away into the depths. To be fair it didn't fight all that hard, there were no snags or obstructions so I just held on until it tired itself. Now came the difficult bit - getting the fish into the net. I could just about reach down with my long net pole to submerge the hoop in the water but the strong flow made it awkward to manipulate. I would get the fish upstream of the waiting meshes and either the net would be twisted in my grasp or the fish would slide backwards past it. It probably took much longer to net the fish than I'd spent in playing it out. I was quite relieved when eventually it slipped backwards into the folds and I could lift it ashore. Well over four pounds and another excellent catch for Harry's little plug; I'm sure it won't be the last one. I took a picture of the trout before popping it back into the river. Nice one!

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 -

Harry flounder fishing on Swanage pier in the depths of winter.


What a bass!


Harry and me plugging in the teeth of a November gale.


Worth the effort when you caught fish like these.


Harry, me and Terry Gledhill on the cover of our book.


A stonking trout caught this week - on another of Harry's plugs.