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).

A gift of sea trout

I've been retired for about twenty years now. When I was working one of my colleagues, and a good fishing friend, was Terry Gledhill. Terry, like me, is an all round angler and for years we fished together for bass, mullet, salmon, chub, perch, pike - you name it. Terry is an expert on freshwater biology, in particular the identification of water mites - tiny, little known, spider-like creatures which are abundant in rivers and lakes. Another of his hobbies is growing cacti and succulents. In short, we have a lot of common interests and about forty years ago, together with our late pal Harry Casey, we wrote the book "Operation Sea Angler".

These days Terry and I see each other about once a year when, with his wife Judith, they visit Dorset from their home in the north. Earlier this week they called in on their annual trip and to my surprise they brought us some fantastic plants, surplus to my pal's requirements. He also gave me a six-piece spinning rod which he has no need of. I was chuffed with the rod - exactly the sort I like to use (10', casting 15-40g). It will be fine for both fresh and saltwater spinning and is meaty enough to cope with lobbing out a big bait for bass or pike if I want. As they left I said that I would try the rod as soon as I had a chance, and send hinm a picture if and when I caught something on it (it had never been used).

Our friends had barely driven away before I was putting the rod together and fitting it with my Mitchell, fixed spool reel loaded with fine braid. I couldn't wait to give it a go. That evening Lilian was working, so I tied up a new wire trace, clipped on a 7cm Rapala and popped out to the river for an hour. The rod was fine although I should probably have used a heavier lure more suited to its capabilities. There was a stiff breeze from behind me, but it only took three or four casts to get the hang of using it (I managed to hook the far bank a couple of times to start with) and after that it was fine. I worked my way downstream, casting down and across and fishing the lure slowly back to where I stood. I'd probably gone about a hundred metres and was wondering whether there was going to be anything doing when I had a bite and hooked a sea trout of about a pound-and-a-half. Just the encouragement I needed.

I took a quick picture of the fish and returned it to the river. I pressed on and it wasn't long before I was into another sea trout of similar size to the first. Excellent. Two casts later and a bow wave moved away from where my plug landed - clearly I'd scared another trout. A bit further and I had a third bite which I failed to hook but, ten metres further on, I was into a better sea trout, bigger and spottier than the first two fish. This was pretty hectic fishing, to say that the sun was just going down behind the trees. I made a long cast into a wide pool and had another bite which felt like a small fish but wasn't hooked.

On the next cast, into the riffle below the tail of the pool, I was in again and this time landed a fish of perhaps two pounds. It seemed likely that there might be more fish in the streamy water so I proceeded on my way and sure enough, twenty metres further on I hooked my fifth and last sea trout of the session - roughly the same size as the biggest one I had caught before. All in all it was a fantastic spell of fishing. Seven bites and five nice trout. Every fish exploded into the air and most of them jumped several times. All were lightly hooked and returned safe and well to the river. Now I must write to Terry and thank him (again) for his gift and for all the pleasure I'd already had from its use.

The first, encouraging, sea trout. The rod really looks new (not for long I suspect).


The next one, a bit spottier but much the same size.


A good bit larger than the first two this one is heavily spotted but still silver scaled.


The fourth fish, similar to the first two.


A bigger one to finish off with.


The cover of the original book.


A prickly gift - what a plant!


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 -