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).

Late season seatrout.

It's getting to the end of the seatrout season here in Dorset. The fish will be thinking about spawning in November so the chances of catching a fresh run, silver monster are more or less gone. However, the fish are still there and it's always possible to land a good specimen if you are lucky. At the moment my wife is reading the proofs of her latest archaeology book so rather than sit in watching crap on the telly I'm inclined to venture to the river in search of seatrout. I was given extra encouragement recently when my pal Adrian reported landing a nine pounder on a Mepps. Of course I put all my fish back but it is good to have a few pictures for the website and to aid my memory.

Anyway, last night I popped the spinning rod in the car at about 19:00 hr and set off for the river. I hadn't been for a while so I decided to start at the upstream end and work my way down. The top pool is quite a big one with a strong flow through the middle. A decent cast witha size 4 Mepps will just about reach the far bank. As it was already getting dark I decided to try with one of my glowing green 'Lumi-lures' and I started to fan my casts up and across. After about the tenth retrieve I was casting across the tail of the pool and as the lure hit the water right under the far bank there was a boil and a big fish grabbed it and was hooked. At first it took line off the reel in a series of short runs and I managed to draw it towards me into deep open water. The fish stayed well down and was not very active so I began to wonder if I'd been mistaken and that it might be a pike but then it showed a broad spotted flank and began to fight in earnest. Again and again it took line and not only was it pulling line but it was heading upstream against the strong flow, clearly it was a really good seatrout. Then the line went slack as the lure came out. I was gutted but there is nothing to be done when fish come off like that so I checked the state of the hooks and knots (all good) before continuing to fish.

Of course it is always very disappointing to lose a good fish in that way but as usual I consoled myself with the thought that if one was taking there could be others. I continued on downstream as the light gradually faded to nothing. When it was too dark to see the lure splash down I switched to a J9 black and silver Rapala because the lightweight balsa plug is less likely to reach the far bank than a heavy spinner and can more easily be fished over fairly shallow water. The general idea is simply to cast down the middle of the river, nothing fancy to avoid getting hung up in the nettles, bushes and grass on either bank. For the next forty minutes or so I had nothing apart from a couple of snatches - presumably small trout and I was just considering packing in.

I'd just reached a deep, straight glide about 100 m in length; it was an easy stretch to fish so it seemed pointless to pack in before reaching the downstream and of the reach. On about my third 'last cast' the lure was taken with a great crash as a fish sprang into the air. Eureka! Now I had to play the trout to a point where it could be netted. I was standing a metre or more above the water on unstable bank and there was nowhere better to move to so I waited until the fish began to tire and eased it towards my stance. I lowered the net into the water with my left hand and gripped the handle between my knees. Switching on the headlamp I could see that the seatrout was already close to the rim of the net so I lifted its head and slid it towards the black bag. At this point the fish decided to twist and twirl tangling to hooks in the mesh but, fortunately, propelling its body into the waiting net. I grabbed the net handle and backed away sliding the fish up the vertical bank. Phew! Now it was just a matter of unhooking the fish, weighing it (just over six pounds) and taking it's picture before slipping it back into the river. Both trebles of the plug were firmly lodged in the tough netting so there was no point trying to extract it. I cut the line, picked up the gear and made my way back to the car - a stimulating session.

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 good seatrout with the lure tangled in the net.


The best I could do for a selfie.