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).

Pike but no seatrout!

I had been trying to arrange a fishing trip with Chris Green for some time. Chris happened to be in Dorset on holiday this week so the first (and only) time I was free to go was this morning (the 24th). We were going to meet on the river bank at 09:30 so I went twenty minutes early to see if the live-bait situation had improved - it hadn't, and by the time my pal arrived all I managed to catch was a little trout which of course went straight back.

I had brought a single frozen sardine as my fall-back pike bait (I know I should have had more - it was a left-over from bass fishing). Chris opted to try and catch a seatrout using a small lure. We walked together to what I thought was a good, potential seatrout stretch. I left him fishing and wandered off to try and find a pike. I progged the sardine onto my 6/0 circle hook, slid half a slit, wine bottle cork onto the trace above it and lowered it into a deeper hole by my feet. The water was a little murky but I could see the sardine perhaps a metre down as I jiggled it about. Maybe ten seconds after I lowered the bait in I saw a pike which I estimated to be in the upper teens of pounds sweep out and miss it. I gave it another twitch and this time the pike took the sardine. I waited for a few seconds and then allowed the fish to tighten the line. The rod bowed and the clutch of the reel zuzzed as the fish swam away, then it went slack. I reeled in to find that only the head of the bait remained on my hook. "Buns!" I said, lowering the remains of the bait back in and letting it drift round the pool. No further sign of the pike was forthcoming.

What should I do? I decided to try spinning and delved into my bag for a suitable lure. There was a nine-inch Slandra that I use for bass. Ideal, I thought, for the shallow, slack water and slow retrieve that I wanted to try. I removed the circle hook trace and clipped on the soft-plastic. I cast it right up the slack where I was standing and ever so slowly inched it back just under the surface; it looked enticing; to me at any rate. On about the fourth cast there was a sploosh and tug as a decent pike (a bit smaller than the first one) grabbed the lure, I tightened at once but it wasn't hooked. "Buns, buns!" I muttered.

I continued spinning on the assumption that if there were two good pike in the pool it was likely that there were others. I moved round to a different vantage point to try and cover another area. A third pike had a go and failed to ingest the soft plastic lure. Time for a change to something a bit more 'hookey'. In the bag was a 13cm, black and silver, jointed Rapala. These things have a fantastic action and two sizeable treble hooks but tend to dive a bit too deep unless you wind at snail's pace. I could do that, I thought. On went the plug and I cast again. Almost at once the lure was seized by a pike of perhaps eight pounds, and this time it was hooked. I played it in and slid it ashore through the wet grass (I try to avoid using the net when I have treble hooks on the lure; otherwise it is ten minutes untangling the hooks from the meshes plus a risk of damaging the fish).

Having unhooked the fish, taken a couple of pictures and slipped it back I was joined by Chris. Apparently the trout had been less cooperative than the pike. We continued on downstream, fishing in the likely places. Neither of us had a bite and time was marching on (I was due home at mid-day). We decided to have a last dabble up by the weir pool and off we trudged. Chris was still spinning for trout and I persisted with the plug that had produced my pike. On my first cast into a deeper stretch I was in and called for Chris (who hadn't yet started casting) to come back and do the honours with the net. We landed the fish and unhooked it before my pal took the obligatory 'grip and grin' photograph for me. I couldn't pack in now, having just caught a fish so we decided to give it 'another ten minutes'. I swapped banks and had a few more cast with the big plug. Suddenly it was grabbed by a really good pike which simply rolled and came unstuck. How do they do that? Six bites, two pike and no seatrout. I suppose you could call that a decent morning's fishing.

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My first pike landed - no monster but a lively specimen.


A better view of the big plug in its mouth.


My second pike - roughly double figures. Pity about the big ones I missed.