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).

Wired for pike (and everything else).

Old and not so old fishing books and magazine articles often emphasise the need for subtlety in tackle. The finest fluorocarbon or nylon traces are usually said to be essential if you are to maximise your catches. Now I can't say that this is wrong because it is tricky to prove whether you would have caught more or bigger fish by minor adjustment in your trace. However, what I am certain about is that modern, knottable, wire traces will still catch you plenty of fish. Of course if you don't actually need wire to avoid bite-offs, because the fish that you are catching don't have teeth sharp enough to slice through nylon, then it's best to avoid it. This is simply because it introduces another level of complexity in your gear and so one more thing that can go wrong.

Let me explain. If I'm fishing in tropical saltwaters I almost always use a wire trace because so many of the fish have serious dentures. Barracuda, houndfish, needlefish, various mackerels and kingfish, lizardfish, snappers and even puffer-fish are all sufficiently well armed to nip off a hook or a lure. Even if I'm after fairly toothless bonefish, jacks, tarpon or snook I still use wire simply because the odds of hooking one of the better armed species are high. Now you are thinking 'Yes, thats fine for these unsophisticated tropical fish but what about the educated coarse fish or smart salmonids of our freshwaters?' Well, I guess we all know that pike are not too fussed by a length of 10kg wire in front of the bait or lure and it certainly stops them escaping with a hook in their mouth. Now for many years I've used lures and/or livebaits to catch salmon, seatrout, perch, chub and thinlipped mullet from my local rivers; the problem is that the pike don't know that my attractive morsel is intended for one of these more or less toothless species and they are liable to take anything that they fancy. This means that rather than risk losing ten or fifteen quid's worth of lure and worse still leaving a pike with hooks in its mouth I HAVE TO fish with a wire trace.

The outcome of these many years of fishing with wire is that I'm confident that it doesn't seem to deter other species from feeding. For example, perch, trout and chub are perfectly happy to accept a live minnow tethered on a length of wire. Salmon, seatrout, chub and perch cheerfully try to engulf plugs, spoons and spinners attached to twenty or thirty centimetres of wire. In recent years I have been fishing for seatrout and results have been a bit mixed but not through lack of bites. My favourite tactic is to use a jointed 7 or 9cm buoyant Rapala, cast it down and across and allow it to swing across the flow before being retrieved. It helps if you can drop your casts within inches of the far bank as seatrout often lie close to the river's edge but it's easy fishing. I no longer fish for salmon because the stocks are so poor but these small, shallow diving plugs are usually pretty selective for seatrout so it's win win.

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 pike on my 'seatrout' lure.


This perch took an illuminated spinner on a wire trace.


A small seatrout/trout on a wire traced Rapala.


Same set up - biiger seatrout.


Another toothy specimen on the Rapala.


... and a considerably bigger pike engulfed the little plug.