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).

Plugging for chub.

Although I enjoy fishing for seatrout and my catches are often interspersed with the odd perch or pike, it can be a pleasant change to fish for something different. Chub despite their rubbery lips are fierce predators of smaller fish. Although they don't grow quite as large and are not as lively as seatrout, they are a very attractive species and I really enjoy trying to catch them. Last week I felt the need to try spinning for something else so I had a couple of coarse fishing trips. The first time I was lazy and simply took the gear that I had set up for seatrout - small Rapala, wire trace and all - and went to a place where there are less trout and many more coarse fish.

The technique of plugging is almost exactly the same as for the trout but rather than fishing mainly 'down and across' it's often a matter of adapting every cast to the local conditions. Sometimes it's best to speed the lure back after a cast directly upstream and at others simply to jiggle it slowly through a slack under the near bank. The first place that I tried was a shallow gravel bedded section where I could wade upstream. I was casting as far ahead of me as possible so as not to disturb any fish which were present. I know the stretch well so deeper pockets of water and slacks behind overhanging bushes were probed for what might be there.

I'd only been fishing for five or ten minutes when I had the first bite. It was a solid take but after a couple of twists and turns the fish, a modest chub, soon came to hand (I'd stupidly left my net back in the car). I took its picture before unhooking it in the water and allowing it to swim off. Another ten minutes and I had a second fish not very different to the first. This one had been tight in against the bankside.

At this point I decided to walk on downstream and try a wooded section. The banks were very overgrown and there were only a few access points. Because of the high banks and variable depths wading wasn't an option here so I simply walked along looking for spots where I might find room to wave a rod about. The first place was a wider point where the main flow went under a large overhanging willow bush on the far bank. I flicked the plug across and as it hit the water upstream of the bush it was grabbed by a decent fish (?chub) which wasn't hooked. I cast again but not surprisingly there was no repeat; however, on the retrieve the plug was taken by a tiny perch. Three more casts and another couple of perch persuaded me that I should move on.

The next possible spot was a tiny, overgrown gap in the trees. I peered through and could see a small shoal of reasonable sized roach close to my bank and ahead and above them was a large solitary chub. It barely looked fishable and I thought it was likely that any approach would scare the chub - but I decided it was worth a try. Creeping on my knees with the rod poking out ahead of me I was able after a few minutes to get close to the bank. The fish, including the chub, were still there. I let the plug swing forward, pendulum style, before releasing it. It plopped into the water a couple of metres beyond the chub which immediately turned towards it. Slowly I wound the plug back just under the surface. The chub turned to follow and just as the lure arrived under the rod tip it mouthed the tail treble and I was in. Now I had a problem! I should have thought about how I would handle the fish but in truth I never expected to hook it. Anyway I played it to a standstill and tried to take some pictures before unshipping the bag and slithering as close to the water as I could, pliers in hand. At a stretch and hooking my left arm round a branch with my free hand I was just able to grab the hook and remove it before watching the chub, I estimated at about five pounds, swim away. Success!

With some difficulty and a few nettle stings I scrambled back up the bank and made my way upstream to the next spot - a wide, gravel shallow. My first cast up and across resulted in a sharp take and another chub was hooked - this one only about three pounds but in good condition. Another half-an-hour without a bite convinced me to 'give them best'. All in all a good session; I'll save the other coarse trip for my next page.

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 -

The first chub hooked on the mid-body treble - no monster.


The second one - this time on the tail treble.


One of several tiny perch.


A rotten picture of my big chub but I couldn't get any closer with the camera.


... and the last of my chub, not the biggest but the most attractive one.