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).

A few short sessions.

It rained at the weekend and since then I've been fishing a few times. None of the sessions lasted very long - usually an hour or an hour-and-a-half - so I'll put them all on this page. If I haven't caught something in that time I usually reckon that I'm in the wrong place at the wrong time. My first trip was on the evening following the heavy rain. I went to the river assuming that the rain would not have had a major effect on the flow or the colour of the water. I was right but there were more bits of weed drifting down than usual and this was a bit of a pain when tiny pieces of Ranunculus fouled my lure and messed up fifty percent of the casts. Having caught a small seatrout and missed several more on a previous trip (before the rain) I'd quessed that these fish might be more active after a taste of fresh-water. I walked to the river and began to fish at the tail of a pool. The first cast was slightly upstream and across to the far bank and three -quarters of the way back the little Rapala was 'monstered' (my pal Alan in New Zealand loves to say that) by a two pound bar of silver which repeatedly flew into the air shaking its head. Eventually the seatrout quietened down and I was able to net it and take a picture. I don't like netting fish caught on lures with treble hooks but needs must when you are unable to reach them by hand or slide them ashore. Good start! Without shifting my position I cast again, this time diagonally downstream and wallop! I was in again. This fish was a little bit bigger than the first one and equally fresh and burnished. Two in two casts - excellent! Of course it couldn't last and although I had a couple more bites before packing in I didn't catch any more trout. Best not to be greedy eh?

The next day my pal Phil had arranged to pick me up after my evening meal and take me to a sandy beach about half-an-hour's drive from my house. When we arrived it was low tide and Phil said that if there were any fish about we probably wouldn't catch until the tide started to flow. In truth there would only be thirty minutes or so when we could realisically fish before the strength of the tide and the suspended weed would put an end to our operations. Phil said that casting a fair distance could often be an advantage so I started with a weighted Redgill. There seemed to be nothing doing and the many terns that were flapping about were not even bothering to fish, so as the tide began to move I switched to an 11cm jointed, floating Rapala. I stood knee deep in the water and cast as close as I could to a line of boulders with the tide swirling over them. As predicted the flow increased and my lure began to pick up weed on most casts then I had a bite. My catch turned out to be a tiny bass which typically had nipped at the tail treble. I reeled the fish in, took its picture and slipped it back into the sea. We fished on for a further ten minutes and I had one more pull but no more fish. Still, at least it was my first fish from the venue so no doubt I'll go again.

My third trip, on the following afternoon, was to my local ponds to fish for carp. Before describing what happened I must mention my previous carping trip. I'd taken a bag of crusts from the freezer and allowed them to thaw out and then had to postpone the session so the crusts languished in the bag for over 24 hours before I was able to fish. The delay turned out to be a disaster. I had several takes from decent carp but every single one managed to suck the crust off the hook without hooking itself - clearly the long wait had softened the crusty bit and allowed the fish to extract the bread from the hook by sucking hard. I made sure on the next carp session that I was using freshly thawed bread. My first cast was to a small hole, perhaps a metre square, in a huge bed of Canadian pondweed. I attached a big crust to my size 6 barbless hook and flicked it beyond the hole before drawing it back to rest against the near edge of the weed. I lay the rod down, closed the bale and tightened until there was just a nice bow of slack line, enough to let a fish mouth the bait without pulling the rod over. I sat down and waited. Twice in the next half hour I saw a carp move by the far edge of 'my hole' before disappearing into the weed. I was sure that the fish would have seen my crust so I waited patiently. This is probably the toughest part of surface fishing for me - there's always the temptation to rebait and cast again but I've made that mistake before. I'd just glanced at my watch and noted the half-hour's wait when a nice common slid out from under the weeds, nuzzled up to my bait, sucked it in, turned away and obligingly hooked itself. I grabbed the rod to stop it arrowing into the lake as the fish made a desperate plunge into the weed. I hung on tight as I didn't want to be playing a ton of vegetation but it had already burrowed in a couple of metres and felt pretty solid. I waggled the rod a few times and suddenly the carp was on the move again so with a tight line I took a couple of paces back and hauled it flapping into open water. Now I was confident. I steered the fish around in the clear, shallow margin firmly preventing it from taking sanctuary in weed or lilies.

Before long I had a nice common of fourteen pounds in the net; I took its picture and slipped it back in. Afterwards the fish more or less ignored my crusts even when they were within inches of them. Funny fish carp!

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 fresh two pound seatrout first cast.


... and another one.


My tiny, but welcome, bass. Thank's Phil!


Lots of carp but no interest in floating crusts.


The successful bait (arrowed) waiting for a carp to take. Note the solid bed of weed.


Got it! I've extracted the fish from its weedy haunt.


Not a bad fish.