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).

Spinning the river.

The recent hot, dry spell of weather, often combined with unfavourable tides, has deterred me from going to the coast. I have a feeling that, on the fortthcoming spring-tides all the weed middens will have dried to a crisp, seriously reducing the chances of a surface-feeding fest. In addition to all this, it has been tricky sleeping through the hot, humid nights, so I have often been waking up early. The other morning I woke, in the dark and reached for the clock to find that it was half-past-three. The choice was to stay in bed feeling like a boil-in-the-bag meal, to get up and mooch around the house or to grab some gear and go fishing. No contest!

My little spinning rod was already set up with a thin wire trace and a 7cm Rapala, so wearing a minimum of hats, coats, boots etc. (had to take my headlamp so I could avoid tripping over things and so I could see the keyhole in the car door), I hopped into the car and set off for the river. My first stop was a small weir where the only way to fish is by wading onto the sill and casting downstream into the outflow. In the past this spot has often produced a big trout or a pike, but the river was very low and it was still pretty dark so it wasn't easy to fish. I didn't want to use my light, so I could not see where the lure was landing. To avoid the overhanging branches and other familiar snags I kept my casts short and into open water - nothing doing! Now I know from past experience that the fish will sometimes begin to bite as the light improves a little, so I persisted for ten minutes - still biteless!

By now I had almost paddled across to the far bank, so I retraced my steps. I'd reached the point where the main flow (such as it was) ran towards the left bank. I flicked the little plug into the fast moving water and allowed it to drift downstream, drawing the braid through my fingers as it went. When I reckoned the lure had gone about twenty metres, I closed the bale arm and began to retrieve. I could feel the plug vibrating strongly in the current and now it was almost back to the base of the weir when there was a fierce snatch, the rod was wrenched round and then - nothing! I'd missed a good take from ? a pike, ? a trout, ? a chub. It could have been any of the three. The speed of flow and position close to the weir suggested trout - but I could not be sure. I cast again in the forlorn hope that it might take again - it didn't - but in the next five or ten minutes I missed a couple of much more tentative tugs and then, at last, I hooked a fish. It did not fight too hard so I was soon able to swing it to hand - a chub of about 3/4lb. better than nothing. It was still pretty dark and since I was standing calf-deep in the water I was reluctant to try and get the camera out of my (heavy) bag. I unhooked the chub and let it go. I fished on for a few minutes but the options were limited so I decided to drive to another weir pool.

At the next spot I was surprised to find that there was no water at all flowing over the main weir. The entire flow was now passing down a side channel and through a small culvert on the far bank. The weir pool was reduced to a still, calm 'lake' with just a little flow (from the inflow) on the far side. My buoyant plug wasn't going to get down more than a few centimetres. In one or two metres of water depth - not ideal. So, I made my way to the shallower, tail of the pool and began to cast across. A long cast would put the lure perhaps half-way to the far side, so I would have to wade to cover all the water. The first cast produced a missed bite, probably a small chub or a perch, then nothing. After a few more casts I waded downstream through the ankle deep water, thick with duckweed, to a deep hole with the flow close to the steep bank. Second cast I was into a better fish, which turned out to be chub of less than two pounds. After a couple of pictures I released it before walking back upstream to the main pool. A cast upstream produced a half-pound perch - then nothing else. I decided to pack in but as I walked back to the car I noticed a couple of chub close to the bank. I flicked out the lure (under hand, through a gap in the trees) and began to wind - almost at once it was taken by a chub slightly smaller than the previous one. Not a bad way to finish.

Plugged chub in the duckweed.


A second picture in case I didn't catch anything else.


The perch splashing wildly.


... now it's a bit calmer.


...and ready to be released..


The final chub hooked from a high bit of bank. Moving so a bit blurred.


Lifted out and about to be unhooked and released.


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 -