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).

Catching bait?

My pal Steve Pitts came down to see me this week. On and off Steve and I have fished together for several decades and recently we've been co-editing a new book relating "Angling Adventures from Around the World". The idea of Steve's visit was to bring a few boxes of the new books to be signed and sorted out and for the two of us to do a spot of fishing. Due to the tides and weather it seemed unlikely that the sea fishing would be much good on the day of his visit so we opted to try the river for pike/seatrout.

On the preceding day I decided to spend half-an-hour trying out the possibility of catching one or two livebaits. Now, since it seems to have rained for the past couple of weeks I knew that the river would be high and probably still on the murky side. In addition for a few years dace, once abundant, have been rather hard to come by, not only for anglers but for scientific research. Anyway, I wasn't too optimistic.

I took my little float rod, four pound nylon, tiny (for me) size 12 hook and a box of ancient white maggots (I keep them as potential mullet attractors so they were quite old and tough) to a small mill stream which usually holds a few dace and I began to fish. In fact the water was a bit coloured but it seemed well worth a try. For perhaps ten minutes I never had a sniff. Every trot down was supplementd by half-a-dozen loose maggots on the premise that if I couldn't find the fish the fish might find me. I missed the first bite and cursed a bit thinking it might be the first and last - but I was wrong. Another five minutes passed and the float buried itself. I struck and everything went solid. Clearly whatever was on the other end of the line was no livebait. For a while the fish bored about in the depths and I concluded that it was likely to be a trout. Sure enough when it showed itself I could see that it was a large, coloured seatrout. I turned to pick up the net and realised that I'd left it in the car fifty yards away. The bank at this point was vertical so no chance of sliding the fish ashore. I decided to wait until the fish calmed down and to lift it out by hand. Much to my surprise the operation was accomplished without any problems so I took a couple of pictures before slipping the trout back. Good start but not what I wanted. Half-an-hour and three more seatrout later (all smaller than the first fish) I decided that there would be no livebaits for Steve and I the following day.

The next day we arrived at the river after lunch and spent a futile ten minutes in search of a dace, just in case they'd turned up. They hadn't. We walked over to the river with our spinning rods hoping for either trout or pike. I used a blue and silver J11 Rapala and on about my third cast I had a strong pull from a seatrout which I failed to hook. Promising! I fished on down towards where Steve was drifting a sardine under half a wine bottle cork. It was probably only five minutes later that I had another strong bite on the Rapala and found myself playing a good sized, out of season salmon. The fish thrashed about and made a few strong runs but it wasn't long before it was ready to be unhooked and released. The problem was exactly how to achieve this. Steve was now weilding the landing net so I drew the fish towards it. At this point the salmon decided to solve the problem for us by attaching one of the hooks on my plug to the net and twisting itself free.

Steve switched to a Mepps with a yellow plastic tail; promptly hooked a good seatrout and after playing it lost it in some trailing brambles. After our flying start neither pike nor trout cooperated so that, as they say, was that.

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 best trout on the bait tackle..


This one was a bit more realistic for the gear (and I had the net).