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).

Last seatrout of the season?

Having had some success with pike the other day and also missed/lost a couple of good sized fish I decided to have another go. This time I didn't bother trying to catch any bait as I had recently wasted a fair bit of time on this activity. My gear was identical to the previous trip and I even stuck to the 13cm Rapala which had attracted pike before. After an hour of careful searching I hadn't had a bite. The river looked identical (still high with a tinge of colour), the weather was mild and it seemed good but there was no sign of pike. Time for something different. Although my pal Chris had failed to tempt a seatrout on our previous session I felt that there should be a chance of a fish. so I simply unclipped the big plug and replaced it with a 7cm, jointed, black and silver Rapala - same wire trace, same line, same rod, same reel.

I had more or less reached the upstream limit of the fishing when I changed the lure, so I set off to fish my way back down. The tactic was to cast down and across and allow the lure to wiggle its way back to my side before retrieving it under the near bank. The only difference from the piking (apart from the smaller lure) was that I bypassed the slacks where pike tend to lurk. In the steady flow it was easy to feel the plug working and there was little need for trying to impart action using the rod or reel. After four or five casts I had a pull which I missed - disappointing but encouraging! At least there were fish interested. I continued on my way downstream and it wasn't long before I found some action. The lure was grabbed in mid-stream, a big, square tail thrashed the air and the reel began to buzz. I played the trout for a while in the strong flow and gradually managed to work it up towards where I stood. I don't like using my landing net when the lure is armed with trebles but there was no choice. The trout flopped into the meshes and I slid it onto the damp grassy bank. I unhooked the fish - about five pounds - and quickly took a couple of pictures before slipping it back into the river. Excellent!

The next five minutes were spent untangling the hooks from the net before I could resume fishing. A little further downstream I had another bite which produced a more silvery version of the first fish weighing roughly a-pound-and-a-half. This one was much more lively and cleared the water a few times in its efforts to escape. Again it was landed and had its picture taken before being released. For once the lure wasn't tangled up so I pressed on. The third trout was bigger than the second one and again twisted the lure into the net. The wire trace was looking a bit curly by now but I checked it and it seemed sound so I fished on.

It was approaching time to pack in, the wind was gusty and, as per the forecast, had increased a lot; so there was a risk of the little balsa lure flying to the far bank. As usual, I couldn't resist a few more casts. Aiming down the middle I winged the lure as far downstream as it would go, a fair distance on the fine braid. I held the rod up and watched the satisfying tick of the tip as the lure wobbled in the current. There was a powerful snatch and I was in. The fish didn't show and it set off downstream tearing line off the reel at a good clip. As usual my clutch was set pretty tight but I couldn't stop it taking line so it was a matter of hanging on and trying to regain a few metres when I could. At this point I'm thinking that 'I'm into a big pike'. Three times the fish made further strong downstream runs but eventually I felt that I was gaining some sort of control. Now it swam into a slack area near the bank and there was a big swirl as its tail broke the surface - it was a sizeable salmon!

Risking a soaking I picked up the net and paddled through the flooded field, as close to the submerged bankside as I dared. By reaching out with the long handle it was just possible to get the net-hoop beyond the reedy margin. I lifted the head of the fish and guided it into the meshes. Now it was just a matter of unhooking it and putting it back in the river. I went home feeling well pleased with the trip.

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, largest and reddest of my seatrout.


A selfy with the camera balanced on my bag.


Smaller but much fresher.


The third fish, in size between the other two.