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).

Rods, confidence and a strange creature in my net.

I mentioned recently that I'd missed a few good fish when I was spinning. I was beginning to have qualms about the spinning rod that I've been using for a couple of years now and thinking that it didn't hook fish as well as I recalled doing years ago. Now this may be absolute tripe but since confidence in the gear is ninety percent of the battle my paranoia was becoming a problem. By chance this week I had an email from Leon Draper as follows:-

"Hello Mike,"

"Iíve been using one of your 11ft Surespin 15-60gm rods for several years now but unfortunately on Saturday evening,the tip cracked off during a cast about 15Ē from the top of the rod! Looking at it,I think I may have damaged it somehow as there were a few scratches on the exact spot where it snapped,bugger!!!! What makes this worse is that Iíve just spoken to VMO and the lady there has told me that they donít stock them anymore and they may be discontinued?"

"Iíve had some great sport with this rod and have thoroughly enjoyed using it so to find out I canít get hold of a replacement is a bit of a blow. You wouldnít know if there are any top sections(or indeed complete rods)that I could get my hands on? Iíve already searched eBay and the internet but have found nothing."

"Thanks and tight lines....!"

"Kind Regards"

"Leon Draper"

I Replied

"Hi Leon,"

"Thanks for the e-mail. it's a bit of a coincidence that you should ask me. For starters, I still have my original (prototype) Surespin."

"After trying a more modern (?fashionable?), shorter/lighter spinning rod for a couple of years now, I decided that I was bouncing too many fish off (I caught some good ones too of course). It came to a head recently when I lost/missed two or three big seatrout and several decent perch and chub in a few sessions."

"Thinking (as I do occasionally) that in years gone by I didn't seem to miss so many fish I took the reel off the little Teklon rod (a pleasure to fish with) and put it on my old 11 footer. First outing (on Monday) landed two good seatrout and a perch from three bites. Now I KNOW it's not significant but confidence is often most of the battle so it's back to the Surespin for me. The design of the original Veal's rod was based on the 12ft, 1.75lb TC 'carp' rod that I used to use for all my spinning. It caught literally thousands of bass, salmon, pike, etc. and I was really attached to it. I guess that the modern equivalent would be what they call a barbel rod. the manufacturers/designers were, understandably, reluctant to go for my rather odd, preferred 12ft "spinning" rod - hence the 11ft Surespin."

"Anyway - that's enough drivel. I'm afraid you are going to have difficulty getting a tip section. In my experience even the tips of what's supposed to be the same model are not always interchangeable. I think the Surespin is long discontinued so your only hope is the internet. Perhaps you can find a second-hand version? You could try one or two of the clubs online? Sorry I can't suggest anything more useful but I feel your pain. I'd really miss my old rod if it gave up the ghost. I've been using it for live and dead bait fishing for bass as well as spinning and apart from the odd new ring it's as good as ever."

"Let me know if you manage to get one and I'll ask around to see if anyone has any idea what else you could do."



To return to the fishing. Of course I was catching fish on the modern style rod until recently and the last one was a small brown trout which took my Rapala in a shallow gravel run last week. As I said I then switched the gear (reel, line, trace and plug) to the old rod which I'd been using for carping). Next time out I went for an hours' evening fishing on my local river. On the third cast there was a mighty yank on the rod accompanied by a surface boil and I was playing a good seatrout. I was in a bit of an awkward position (the same spot where I wrecked my elbow landing a fish a month or two back) so it took me a while to manouver the fish to a place where I could net it and lift it safely. Once I had the rather coloured fish on the bank I weighed it at over 2kg (4.5lb) and took a couple of pictures in the gloom before slipping it back. I continued fishing and in the next twenty minutes I had two more bites and landed a perch of about a pound and a nice fresh two pound seatrout - both returned alive and well (excellent stuff!).

On the following evening I had another go (well I had to didn't I?) and landed several tiny perch but missed no bites. After I packed in I was walking back down the river bank in the dark and as I crossed a bridge I couldn't resist having another chuck. I propped the net against the bridge rail and had a couple of fruitless casts. I wound in for the last time and turned to pick up the net - still in the dark with only a glimmer of moonlight through the clouds. As I leaned forward to pick up the net I thought that the mesh was moving so I stopped and looked harder. I was certain that the net was flapping about and since there was no wind I was puzzled. I switched on the headlamp and there, trying to push through the black netting was a jet-black female mink. The mink was clearly unsure how to get out of the net so I had plenty of time to grab the camera and take a couple of shots before the animal put its nose over the net ring, scrambled out and trotted off the bridge. Having done some work tagging mink many years ago and seen what their teeth can do I was rather pleased that I noticed the net moving before I picked it up. An interesting end to the evening's fishing.

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 -

My most recent fish on the 'mod rod' - a smallish brown trout still battling.


Ready to be unhooked.


This week's 14lb carp; one of many I've caught on the Surespin.


A good seatrout caught on the Surespin restored my confidence a bit.


Couldn't resist a selfie.


The next seatrout - a bit fresher run than the big one.


Well I never did! The first mink I ever 'netted'.