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).

Bigger bait - bigger fish.

Last week during a lull in the rain I decided to try a change from my recent spinning activities on the river. I don't like doing it but I took two rods: one for catching baits and the other for fishing. The main trouble with this approach is that it makes me reluctant to move about from one pitch to another lugging the superfluous gear and I don't like being stuck in one spot for a complete session. Anyway, I did it. I started fishing with the float gear and single maggot to try and catch my baits and it proved to be easy. First cast I had a nice fat minnow and it wasn't long before I had plenty of baits swimming round in the bucket. After five or ten minutes I had a better bite on the maggot and landed a bleak which was added to the minnows and it was shortly followed by a second one. Time for some proper fishing.

My perch tackle was a simple paternoster with a small weight and a 20lb knottable-wire dropper armed with a size 6 circle hook (just as when spinning I need an anti-pike set up). I grabbed a nice lively minnow and hooked it through the top lip before swinging it out into the wide, deep pool in front of me. Within seconds there was a tapping bite (it always amazes me how quickly the predators find a live fish). I tightened after a few seconds but there was nothing there so I wound in to discover that the minnow was still lively so out it went again. Again I had a knocking bite and this time as I tightened I felt the resistance of a hooked fish. My capture turned out to be a small perch - not a good sign as it often means that there's not much chance of a big one. This proved to be the case and I caught one perch after another until I ran out of minnows.

Since I needed to catch a few more baits I decided on a slight change of tactics. I removed the link with the weight on it and squeezed a single shot onto the line just above the wire trace. Half-a-split-cork was pushed on to the line as a float and I lip hooked one of the bleak, lowered it in, loosened the drag right off and lay the rod dowm while I set about catching a few more baits. I became engrossed in watching the little float until suddenly I saw the livebait rod swing round and begin to bend. Quickly I reeled in the bait rod and picked the other one up. Sure enough I could feel something there so I wound up the clutch and let the line draw tight. It was on! Clearly this was no perch and almost at once it hurtled into the air - a decent pike. Half-a-dozen times in between strong runs the fish cleared the water - very exciting stuff. Eventually I was able to net the fish and I was pleased to see that the little hook was neatly in the scissors of the pike. I took a picture as it lay in the net before slipping it back into the river. I resorted to fishing my minnows under the cork but it only produced a few more perch with the best not much more than half-a-pound. It was a really pleasant session topped by one of the liveliest pike I've ever caught.

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 typical small perch on the paternoster.


The fish are almost always lip hooked.


With the minnow still on the hook and the perch again lip hooked.


My supercharged pike - sorry about the wellies in the picture.